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E. G. SIHLER, Ph.D. 




Since by strength 
They measure all, of other excellence not emulous. 




Copyright, 1908, 

All RighU Retervtd. 

TJCortaooto ^Brrsi 

J. 8. CuRhlng Co. — Berwick A Smith Co. 

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 










— that I might leave 

Some monument behind me which pure hearts 

Should reverence. 


The autumnal frosts of life are apt to bare many a 
bough which in our own springtime had delighted our 
souls with the beauty and the promise of vernal blossoms. 
And so too in the case of classical scholarship, so long and 
so strongly attached to the culture and educational tradi- 
tions of modern times, the writer cannot but feel that it 
has come to be in evil case. Well nigh there has passed 
from the minds of men the conviction that the Greeks (an 
abstraction glibly made) were exemplars and exponents 
of fair and perfect humanity : that, being without the 
shackles of a religion or creed brought to them from 
abroad, they had achieved the ideals of our human kind. 

Of late indeed and particularly in the zoological phi- 
losophy of modern times, they have not figured so highly, 
bat have been reduced to furnish convenient social data 
for Herbert Spencer, as do the Ashantee negroes of Africa 
or the Papuas. Of all the didactic and doctrinal fictions 
moulded into a dogma, not one is so apt to take the very 
heart out of history as, e.g., Spencer's thesis that individual 
man is but a cell in the social organism — whereas he is 
really a small universe in himself and passes through this 
world of sense and seeming absolutely alone, guided and 
determined by himself alone. The noisy diversion of gre- 
garious joys, the prattle of quasi-common concerns may 
for a while deceive the soul of man as to his essential soli- 
tude and as to his personal responsibility, but not for 


This book is written in the full conviction that man is 
endowed with an immortal soul and with a transcendent 
responsibility of conscience and conduct, a responsibility 
rising infinitely above social convenience or convention, 
— and that man's personality is the highest thing in 
nature known to us, and that all efforts to bestialize man 
by any form of physical or zoological hypothesis must 
prove futile in the end. 

I have spent some thirty-six years in reading and re- 
reading with earnest and loving concern most of the 
writers which have survived of classical antiquity, so- 
called; I have also, as very many scholars have, examined 
and attempted to determine many of the minor problems 
possible in this aftermath of our own time, have followed 
with maturer powers, much of the life and learning of 
famous classicists from Petrarch, from Erasmus to Bent- 
ley, Ritschl and Mommsen — but at the end of it all there 
has come over my soul a profound melancholy. So much 
of the infinite industry I see about me seems to be spent 
in the fond belief (hallowed by long academic tradition) 
that Classic Literature was something absolute, something 
precious and transcendent in itself, that the addition of 
a monograph no matter on how infinitesimal a detail of 
classic tradition (though destined to be read by two or 
three specialists alone, perhaps) was an adequate object 
of life and labor. All technical scholarship as all work 
of man has a moral side as well; let us hear Pascal: 
"and finally others devote their lives to recording all 
these things, not to become wiser thereby, but merely 
to display the fact that they know them." 

But, as a matter of fact, there is also a fashionable de- 
preciation and decrying of classical scholarship in the 
zoological philosophy and in the meek and vicarious utter- 
ance of the same in many mouths, as of a mere department 
of anthropology. 

To return : Wilamowitz of Germany and many others, 
eminent and brilliant in these studies, have in some 
measure abandoned for the Greeks (glib and erroneous 
abstraction) the claim of perfect humanity. This too is 


to be laid away then in the herbaria of human fancy and 
academic nomenclature. What then, we say, remains ? 

Much indeed for all those souls who desire to recover 
the feeling of freshness and youth and to bathe their spirit 
in the simple directness and original power ever dormant 
in those letters : but greater I believe is their historical 
import. They show, nay they are, in great measure, the 
course and range of man's powers and aspirations : and 
they abundantly reveal this to us in our concern for the 
higher and highest things. 

I propose to set forth, then, for younger or older 
scholars and for all those readers who with the author 
hold to the absolute and divine worth of revealed reli- 
gion, to set forth, I say, what was the course and character 
of the religion and worship, of the morality and conduct, 
of the Greeks and Romans among whom the church of 
Christ came up : to present, very largely in the exact words 
of their most eminent writers, in versions made for this work, 
their views or aspirations concerning the soul, life and 
death, God and the world — in short, whatever we may 
designate as the spiritual elements in classic civilization. 
And I hope to accomplish this with greater exactness per- 
haps and with greater fairness too than has hitherto been 
the case. 

The two first chapters are written by way of prelude : 
Culture and the Human Soul, — Humanism and the Hu- 
manists. Why are these themes presented first? Because 
in both of them Classicism attempted or attempts to re- 
duce Christianity to a position of inferiority or even of 
hostility; further, because Classicism, quite justly, has 
demeaned and still does demean itself as one of the purest 
forms of human culture ; and because it is of lasting im- 
portance to see whether, when Classicism had attained an 
absolute and dominant position in European culture, the 
fruits of that tree may not fairly be inspected for evidence 
of its practical and palpable relation to spiritual things. 











Culture and the Human Soul 

Humanism and the Humanists 

Gods and Men in Homer and Hesiod 

The Seven Wise Men. iEsop 

Voices from the Lyrical Poets . 

Heroes and Hero-worship among the Greeks 

The Craving for Immortality. Pythagoras 
The Mysteries of Eleusis. Greek Piety 

The Anger and Envy of the Gods. JEschylus 
Herodotus. With Some Pertinent Notes on 
the Greek Character . 

Sophocles of Kolonos 

The Sophists and the New Learning 


The Triad of Greek Thinkers 

Hellenic Decline. Attic Morality. The Soci- 
ety Drama of Menander. Epicurus and Zeno 

Actual Worship in Greek Communities. The 
Voice of Tombs . . . . 

Roman Spirit and Roman Character . 

Ritual and Worship among Roman Institu- 












XVI. Cicero of Arpinum. Cato of Utica . . . 362 

XVII. Two Roman Epicureans 382 

XVIII. L. AnnjEus Seneca, the Versatile, and the 

Rome of Seneca 402 

Epilogue and Appian Way 431 

Appendix to Chapter II : Chronology of Humanists . 435 
Index of Phrase, Names, and Matter .... 439 




Culture is a much quoted term: it is one of the current 
coins in human exchange and human valuation, standard 
and absolute: it is considered meritorious to enhance cul- 
ture even in* the slightest degree: to be called uncultured 
is a severe and humiliating designation. Certain lands 
claim more culture as a whole than others. Athens claimed 
a vast preeminence over Boeotia and Thebes, where physi- 
cal excellence and good eating flourished in the days of 
Aristophanes: Florence in the Renaissance and in a meas- 
ure beyond excelled Rome in this respect, and even more 
outranked Naples: mere physical loveliness and large 
generosity of soil and charm of sky and sea 'always seem 
to deaden and dull the higher mental and spiritual powers 
of the dwellers in such regions. Who would compare 
Naples with Scotland in this respect? 

The German cultured class is having a severe struggle 
at the present time to withstand the imperious call to 
material success, to wealth and worldly power, in fact. 
A recent writer, Oskar Weissenfels, would find a panacea 
in a return to the study of the great German classics. But 
apart from this, his book deals with many incidental ques- 
tions warmly and searchingly. Many, he justly observes, 
are so shallow as to take social etiquette and the amenities 
of that life as culture. One cannot deny that if we form 
an exact conception of culture the practical view of the 

B l 


matter will prove exacting in turn. Culture is a condition 
of certain powers in man, a condition of reasonable per- 
fection of certain powers within us. Clearly not of all 
powers. The professional boxer possesses physical powers 
cultivated to an uncommon degree. The overvaluation of 
physical culture in our day is a notorious fact: it is a 
matter, however, that must not divert us much at this 

The Greeks themselves, with their unmatched faculty 
of symbolism, have in their sculpture created a type of 
Hercules which is essentially coarse and vulgar, and with- 
out even the slightest intimation that that hero8 too was a 
saviour of primitive society, and an enemy of the enemies 
of mankind. And so the witty Athenians with their un- 
failing instinct for the absurd and inconsistent were rather 
fond of producing him as a gigantic eater in some of their 

To return : the loudest cry of the present time is that 
of material culture : man indeed has appropriated force 
after force of nature: some leaders of public opinion are 
fairly intoxicated in the sense of that power, and bless 
human kind with a great blessing for having witnessed 
these things : none of which, however, has essentially 
affected, enhanced, or deepened the specific powers of man, 
through which alone true culture exerts itself — for I do 
not believe that trip-hammers, telescopes, or Rontgen rays 
have added one hair's-breadth to the essential stature of 
the purely human powers. 

Futile, too, and ecstatic is the idea of the indefinite per- 
fectibility of man held by poor weak Rousseau and iterated 
by many of the modern zoological philosophers. 

But let us proceed in a somewhat orderly fashion to see 
how in modern times earnest students of man have con- 
ceived of culture in the larger movements of mankind and 
particularly of the classical world. 

And first we must decline to see in " humanity " so 
called more than an academic or literary fiction: the grasp 
of, and sympathy with, the best thought of all ages is 
given but to a few souls among the millions. Extraor- 


dinary penetration and survey of some one great student 
is often in a vague and awkward fashion credited to a 
whole generation, or epoch of history and national life. 
Thus Aristotle was himself a veritable cyclopedia of Greek 
achievement, and from him proceeded the movement of 
pure erudition, soon to be continued under circumstances 
of dynastic favor and generosity at Alexandria. And 
still the world of central Greece was then rapidly passing 
into decay : the debilitation of political life, the with- 
drawal from action, the contempt for labor, the decline 
of the family, the veneer of mere rhetoric and sophistry, 
all these and more were salient features in that world, in 
which the most cultured of Greeks lived his life. 

Herder (" Ideas on the History of Mankind "), a pupil 
of Spinoza and Shaftesbury, was a Pantheist. He was an 
enthusiastic believer in the fiction of a Humanity im- 
perishable while the souls perish. Humanity is the great 
and multiform organ of God. Man rose above the other 
beasts but gradually : his upward course was mainly the 
blessed sequence of his perpendicular gait which favored 
the development of his brain. He acquired his reason 
gradually. The Greeks were possessors of a perfect 
humanity. Human nature is capable of indefinite per- 
fectibility. Athens was the mother of all good taste. 
Her climate and marbles were advantageous for the at- 
tainment of the Beautiful. You must not apply Christian 
standards to the practical morality of the Greeks, an ideal 
foreign to them. They were as far advanced as we are : 
in a certain point of view, they were further advanced. 
Their political fabrics grew and perished like a flower in 
nature. Like Buckle and the modern zoological philoso- 
phers, Herder believed that political history followed ever 
recurrent natural laws, in cycles. 

The Gods of Greece were the fairest idols of human 
fancy. They have perished. Will the less beautiful 
ones also perish? 

Of the Romans on the whole, Herder speaks with 
aversion. Rome was the tomb of Italy. Rome's con- 
quests are an object of his abhorrence. Rome gave noth- 


ing to the East which it conquered. The Romans brought 
no light into the world. Her culture consisted of blossoms 
already faded. The genius of Rome was not that of national 
freedom and philanthropy. He hates Rome as the de- 
stroyer of nationalities, being radically different in his esti- 
mate and sympathies from Gibbon or the later Mommsen. 
Throughout he declines to recognize any element of design 
in human history. Nations are simply huge plants and 
when blossom and fruit have had their unfolding, the 
process of decay sets in with intrinsic necessity. To 
conceive the Roman world as preparatory of Christianity 
would be unworthy of " God," which figment differs in 
Herder not essentially from the cosmic movement of 
Herbert Spencer. The movement of history of any given 
nation belongs to the general category of physical phe- 
nomena, which follow each other in endless cycles 
of growth and decay. There is no moral freedom and 
there are no decisive personalities. 

One readily recognizes the intellectual sympathy of 
this curious philosophy with his friend Goethe, who 
helped him to the post of chief clergyman of Weimar. 
Curious post, was it not ? A religion without a God, a 
world without design, without objective or divine laws of 
life and conduct. Herder, like Goethe, is your typical 
pantheist in this too, that there is not in him a trace of 
moral judgment as something primal and absolute. Even 
when he refers to things essentially immoral, as when a 
sculptor made a model of his boy-concubine, he refers to 
it with a light and graceful touch. 

Herder had, much to the displeasure of his erstwhile 
academic teacher, Kant, passed decisively from Deism, 
the fashionable philosophy of the eighteenth century, to 
Pantheism. Among the Deists proper, the greatest critic 
in the domain of letters was Lessing, whose virility and 
veracity greatly excelled that of Goethe. 

We will here briefly turn to Lessing's famous essay, 
" liber die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts," the last 
important work of his life, published in 1780. Education, 
he holds (§ 4), gives nothing to man, which he could not 


possess himself of, by himself alone, too ; only more 
quickly and more easily. Hence — and this is the very 
essence of Deism — revelation gives nothing to the human 
race, which human reason, left to itself would not reach, 
but it is only more early that revelation gave and gives 
to man the most important of these thiags. To Lessing 
the movement of history is replete with design. Lessing, 
a keen and eminent classicist, held that polytheism came 
out of monotheism. God gradually trained the Jews to 
the idea of The One. 

The reflecting scholar, here as always, was in great 
temptation to project his own cogitation into things and 
events, and Christianity in its turn for him was mainly a 
cogitative process. Indeed ! — God, his being and plan 
(§ 22), may very well be conceived as consistent with the 
mortality and annihilation of human souls. Common un- 
derstanding was bound to arrive at the immortality of 
the Soul. Lessing conceives God as a being of which 
reason, by intrinsical necessity, must have a true concep- 
tion, a necessity utterly declined by the modern zoological 
and mechanical philosophy, and by its occasional corollary 
of agnosticism. All religious progress, as all progress, 
is a refinement of reason and of its processes. Christ 
inferred truths. Christianity brought nobler motives of 
right conduct, whereas the nobler ones among the Greeks 
and Romans had been moved largely by the desire of 
posthumous fame. 

The New Testament (§ 65) is a book which has occu- 
pied human understanding more than all other books. 

Lessing, like all one-sided intellectualists, is naive 
enough to believe that a very high degree of clear reasoning 
will produce purity of heart, goodness of will and conduct, 
and (in § 85) he utters a dithyrambic prophecy of a ra- 
tionalistic millennium when motives for right conduct will 
cease to be necessary. All this is the philosophy of his 
"Nathan," the Cantica Canticorum of Deism. The inci- 
sive and earnest words of Lessing impress one vastly more, 
to-day, than the flighty and somewhat sophomoric enthusi- 
asm of Herder's naturalism and pantheism, — but it ap- 


pears to me also utterly dogmatical to assume that Reason 
of itself points to great intellectual and moral truths or 
even goals, and furnishes, so to speak, not only chart and 
magnet for the soul's navigation, but also port and end of 
voyage, or even Isles of the Blessed. 

The great metaphysician of Konigsberg, Immanuel Kant, 
in 1784 published his " Idee zu einer allgemeinen Ge- 
schichte in weltbiirgerlicher Absicht, " a cosmopolitan phi- 
losophy of History. He is impressed with the observation, 
that but a poor idea of wisdom and design is noticeable in 
the history of man. But perhaps a Kepler or Newton for 
History may arise. It is to him intensely antipathetic to 
conceive that bleak and sombre thing, accident, as taking 
the place of the standard of Reason. Reason does not 
operate instinctively: perhaps infinite series of genera- 
tions are required for the perfection of the race, one gen- 
eration transmitting its enlightenment to the other. He 
is not friendly to Rousseau's state of nature — an Arcadian 
shepherd's life of mankind would permit all talents to re- 
main dormant: men would not be much more than sheep 
themselves. From a fibre as twisted and gnarled as the 
wood from which man is builded, nothing straight can be 
builded. Kant believes in a theory of human progress 
from beast condition or savagery upward. 

History is generally conceived by Kant as a design of 
nature (NaturamtalV). 

A more decided turn towards classical antiquity was 
taken by Wolfgang Goethe, the master of German expres- 
sion, wizard of letters, and himself a notable exemplar of 
a kind of universal culture. Before I enter this theme, I 
desire to say that I am entirely emancipated from the 
charm and thraldom of my youth, which period of life is 
apt to lend itself to the witchery of that great writer's 
pen. Here it is well to hold in reserve the moral judg- 
ment which must remain sovereign above aesthetics and 
the genius of literary perfection. Thackeray's critique of 
Madame Sand may here be fitly cited: " We may, at least, 
demand in all persons assuming the character of moralist 
or philosopher, order, soberness, and regularity of life; 


for we are apt to distrust the intellect that we fancy can 
be swayed by circumstances or passion; and we know how 
circumstances or passion will sway the intellect; how mor- 
tified vanity will form excuses for itself, and how temper 
turns angrily upon conscience that reproves it." 

When Goethe in the latter part of summer, 1786, some- 
what suddenly and abruptly decided to leave Karlsbad for 
Italy, he was thirty-seven }^ears of age, a pupil of Rousseau 
in his belief in the autonomy of human sentiment, passion, 
or appetite, and a pantheist of strong conviction: strongly 
attached, also, to the wife of another man, Charlotte von 
Stein, mother of seven children, and forty-four years old: 
still, I say, in this attachment, though the sojourn in the 
South in great measure forced his mobile and susceptible 
soul from these bonds. For Goethe had been from his 
youth up the particular object of women's admiring wor- 
ship, and as regards them, he was truly weak as water. 

To Frau von Stein he wrote, Aug. 23, 1786, " and then 
I shall live in the free world with thee (mit dir) and in 
happy solitude, without name or station, come nearer to 
the earth from which we are taken." On concubinage in 
Germany he writes (Oct. 25, 1786) : " Our priests are 
clever people who pay no attention to such trifles. Of 
course, if we were to request their approval, they would 
not permit it." Goethe's interest in classical antiquity 
was mainly if not exclusively directed to art: he drew 
and designed with indefatigable industry and it took 
nearly a year and a half to have him realize that all these 
aspirations were futile — apart from this he was convinced 
in advance that the freer and continual contemplation of 
works of art, in sculpture and painting, as well as of 
southern landscape, would powerfully and fruitfully 
quicken his faculty of style and expression, for with his 
wonderful sense of literary form, there was coupled amid 
all the rapt habits of swift production a practice of acute 
self-observation and psychological analysis of his own 
mental processes and states of being, and much practical 
shrewdness in converting the world and circumstances to 
his own advantage, interest, and comfort. Of classical 


history, Goethe never had any accurate or first-hand 
knowledge ; the stern lessons of history were a strange 
thing to this aesthetical and literary voluptuary, and 
Greek philosophy as all metaphysics he in the main ab- 
horred. We may therefore fairly define him as an archae- 
ological enthusiast, indifferent to the mere erudition of 
that department, keenly attentive to the elements of the 
beautiful in it everywhere. 

He desires "to learn and cultivate himself before he 
reaches forty." He gains an "unalloyed sense of the 
value of an object." He purchases a plaster cast of the 
large head of Zeus: "it stands opposite my bed, in good 
light, that I may at once direct my morning prayers to 

On Jan. 19, 1787, of the recent death of Frederic the 
Great : " that he may converse with the heroes of his 
own kind in the lower world." In Naples he met Lady 
Hamilton, whom he calls " the masterpiece of the great 
artist." In Sicily he utters strong disinclination for his- 
torical reminiscence : no Punic wars for him : he prefers 
the present : beautiful nature and the gratification of his 
sesthetical faculties. Sicily kindles in him a design to 
reconstruct with these forms the court of Alkinoos and 
the island of the Phaeacians, and his Nausikaa is to com- 
mit suicide because she cannot possess Ulysses : a classic 
Werther in petticoats indeed! — conceiving himself by 
the bye as the wandering Ulysses with whom all fair 
women fall in love. He feels ecstasy in contemplating 
the image of a young goddess on a cameo. Regrets the 
absence of sculptured forms in his youthful training. He 
uses Winckelmann everywhere for a guide. He does not 
share Herder's dream of a millennium of pure humanity. 
He removes remorse and pain from his soul as merely dis- 
agreeable states of being. 

" These high works of art (of classical antiquity) have 
at the same time been produced as the highest works of 
nature by men in accordance with true and natural laws : 
whatever is arbitrary and fanciful collapses: there is 
necessity, there is God," i.e. the God of pantheism. 


" Thus I live happily because I live in that which is my 
Father's." This insolent and contemptuous use of scrip- 
tural forms is quite characteristic of Goethe, who was 
utterly emancipated from Christianity. Coupled with 
his ecstatic pursuit of classic art is the incessant interest 
in concrete science from which he was swift to gather 
over and over again substructure for his pantheism. He 
was absurdly naive in his belief that it was a necessary 
and intrinsically simple act to go forward from any exact 
study of any branch of natural science to his own view of 
things, to pantheism : and his allusions to Lavater, Clau- 
dius, Jacobi, who believed in a personal God, are full of 
bitterness and scorn. 

He enjoys Herder's u Ideas " : " As I am not looking 
for any Messiah, this is my dearest Gospel." 

In a few significant words (of Oct. 27, 1788) he lays 
down his own axiom of living : " So to bear oneself, that 
one's life, as far as it is dependent on oneself, may con- 
tain the greatest possible amount of rational happy 
moments." Early in 1788 he penned the following, also 
of the same Epicurean vein : " The importance of each 
and every momentary enjoyment of life, often appearing 
insignificant. . . . Now I see, now only do I enjoy 
the highest that has remained for us from antiquity, the 
statues." March 15, 1788 : " In Raphael's villa, where in 
the company of his mistress he preferred the enjoyment 
of life to all art and to all fame. It is a sacred monu- 
ment." As not believing in a personal God, he adopted 
at this time the phrase of " higher demons " when he de- 
sired to express something like " providential," a phrase 
which recurs much in the conversations of his old age. 

How poor and puny after all was this aspect and this 
culture of Greek statues and cameos, this determination 
of ignoring everything that did not touch the aesthetic 
chords in his own being : as if great and gifted nations 
had lived their life on earth, had struggled, sinned, es- 
tablished notable institutions, laid the foundations of 
culture, taste, political order, kept at bay the despotism of 
Asia, had essayed all the problems of thought and being, 


had lost their pagan and natural mode of being in a great 
religious revolution that gave a new moral order to the 
western world, merely to the end that the human form 
modelled in great perfection should delight a few choice 
spirits of the same western world! Absurd. And when 
Goethe at last from this new birth of his culture had re- 
turned to Weimar, he did two things: he began to study- 
anatomy and he installed a young woman of the humbler 
class as a concubine (Egmont and Klarchen, over again), 
and wrote his Roman Elegies: in his culture there was 
no place for any divine law. 

Goethe has written a novel, "Wilhelm Meister," in 
which we may fully believe we have his delineation of 
much of himself and particularly of the stages of growth 
in the development of his own culture. 

Few books so strikingly as this one reveal the demoral- 
ization which France had produced in Germany: "to 
France," Goethe himself says, " we owe the greatest part 
of our culture." Strolling actors and actresses and loose 
living : highborn men and women — almost every one is 
morally corrupt, all, however, presented in graceful colors 
as of one who was at one with this society: to have only 
one paramour constitutes a young woman "a good girl." 
There are few other elements of romance in this novel (if 
that is romance) than illicit love : passages which are in- 
terpolated with pretty essays on all kinds of themes : on 
Shakespeare's " Hamlet " ; on Corneille and Racine ; on 
art collections ; on stagecraft and the drama in general ; 
essa} r s on society and social classes. 

All the women, from the mere child Mignon to the 
Countess, fall in love with Wilhelm, who is morbidly sus- 
ceptible towards them all : his literary powers raise him 
to easy familiarity with the wellborn and the highborn. 

In these tangles of loose living, of incessant intrigue 
and adultery, one fails to find any trace of absolute or 
objective moral law. It is really a pathological mirror of 
the corruption which in great measure was swept out of 
Germany by the stern actualities and the misery which 
the iron broom of Napoleon's legions and eagles caused to 


the people and to the courts and courtlets of the Holy 
Roman Empire of the German nation. 

The only person who turns towards Christianity is the 
Count, a superstitious fool and dotard, and the fear of 
death is his main motive. The morality or theory of 
ethics which pervades this congeries of clever essays, 
of social putrescence and a few noble lyrics, is Rousseau- 
ism : we need heed nothing but the unalloyed motive 
which comes from our human impulse, which is called 
heart, or nature, or some other fine name ; it is sentimen- 
talism running rampant and uncontrolled. There is no 
sin but only folly or unwisdom. Moral remorse is 
absurd : why not, when there is no objective law of 
righteousness and no personal God who is going to judge 
the quick and the dead ? Principles are a mere supple- 
ment to mode of living, morality a mere human creation. 
" O how unnecessary is the severity of morals, since 
nature in her beautiful manner moulds us into that which 
we are to be ! " 

The apotheosis of culture and the implied apotheosis 
of self cannot be carried much further. What utter per- 
version have we here of the transcendent value of the 
human soul ! What of the millions of plain people who 
cannot attain to such culture ? Are they mere hewers of 
wood and drawers of water, to till the lands and pay 
tithes and taxes that the few heroes of culture may strut 
as peacocks among the highborn and wellborn ? Or is the 
belief in a righteousness willed by the God of Eternity a 
mere Hebraism as Matthew Arnold, a later high-priest of 
culture, would have us believe ? — We pass on to another 
noted pantheist. 

Hegel was a thinker who at first blush — in his philos- 
ophy of history — had much to say of spirit and of culture. 
His fanciful theme was that, e.g. in the sequence of Greek 
political history, there was a logical necessity in the un- 
folding of things, really the revelation of his pantheistic 
" God." Of course, the individual soul counts for nothing, 
the millions only live and die in order to " produce " 
(whatever that may be) the occasional great men of gen- 


erations and of nations. It is the world through academic 
eyes and rearranged in academic reflection. The " world 
spirit " manifests itself in the extraordinary men, and when 
Napoleon in the autumnal days of 1806 hurled the Prus- 
sian monarchy to the ground, Hegel saw in the great 
Corsican the incarnation of the world spirit. The ab- 
stractions which the reflecting professor of metaphysics 
gained out of his cogitations he projects into the practical 
measures of governmental procedure and into the policy 
of states : ideas govern, so with the Spartans the " idea 
of civic virtue : as a matter of fact, there prevailed in 
their commonwealth the hard practical necessity of main- 
taining an armed camp to the end that the helots, the 
ancient owners of the soil, might be kept in serfdom and 
subjection. Why did Alexander die so early ? Not be- 
cause he had weakened his health by many forms of ex- 
cesses, nor because malaria had been superadded, oh no: 
" it was rather a necessity ; in order that he might stand 
as the youthful hero for later generations, an immature 
death had to carry him off." These intrinsic necessities 
abound in that weird and fanciful so-called philosophy of 
history — the reduetio ad absurdum is easy enough now, 
but time was when this wisdom was reverently treasured 
and fed to academic youth from the professorial chairs. 
But this Hegelian creed — for it was like most meta- 
physical systems, but vicariously held — has in the main 
receded into that herbarium or museum of intellectual 
anatomy called history of philosophy. — Mommsen, the 
vigorous worshipper of Caesar, still remains a widely read 
author. I have noticed in his popular book, " History of 
Rome," a curious revelation of the Hegelian spirit in deal- 
ing with the problem of spirit, of culture, of the human 
soul. " It is more than an error," Mommsen says (Book 
V, Chap. 2) ; " it is a wanton crime against the Holy 
Ghost potent in history, if one considers Gaul solely as 
the training or drill space in which Caesar trained himself 
and his legions for the impending civil war." As to the 
semi-blasphemous phrase of the Hegelian, we wash our 
hands in transcribing it. Why then did the myriads of 


free Kelts perish ? In order that Germany and other 
commonwealths should base their culture on Classicism. 
Indeed! And is it not rather the truth that but a handful 
of the cultured ever read a Greek play with devotion and 
vivid sympathy : and what an infinite blessing has it 
proved that to a limited class of professional teachers, the 
"Antigone" of Sophocles is not as remote and faint as 
the literature of Sanscrit, or Persian? 

But for Mommsen there is nothing positive or absolutely 
true or precious in the history of humanity. All indeed 
is in a flux : "Even the loftiest revelations of mankind" 
("Roman History," Book V, Chap. 10) "are transitory; the 
religion once true may become a lie ; the political system 
once beneficent may become a curse." What then, one 
may say with Pilate, what is truth? 

Culture is not even the greatest boon of human kind, 
if the soul were perishable and mortal, because it is an 
economic and political necessity that the overwhelming 
majority of the race must spend life and strength in the 
support of life and social order ; and it is as absolutely true 
as an axiom of mathematics that for this body practical 
justice and peace are of incomparably greater value than 

But we will admit that when the immortality of the 
soul be abandoned, when even the belief in God is given 
up and Atheism is dignified as the finality in the forward 
and upward movement of the human mind and absolute 
truth — then both the soul and culture assume a different 
position, are subject to new and quite different valuations. 

Thus Auguste Comte, who carried forward the mate- 
rialism of the French Encyclopedists and spiced his theory 
of Atheism with a sociological codification, gives a new 
appreciation of all these things and of the great concerns 
of mankind. He holds the biological theory of man, who 
reaches his proper perfection when he puts all belief and 
concern about God away, and with an equally radical 
elimination of metaphysics, limits all his higher concerns 
to assuming a practical relation to natural laws, the 
irrefragable and final truth — positivism. History is dis- 


solved into an analysis of former " society " and its 
economics and its anthropological phenomena. Comte, with 
his pretentious dogmatism of the three stages and the arti- 
ficial creation of an absolutely successive routine in the 
movement of the human mind, treats history, of which he 
had but a general, cyclopedic knowledge, with a naive 
brutality and dogmatic conceit rarely observable elsewhere 
in the history of speculation. His glib generalizations fit 
but ill many parts of history, for every phase of which he 
had the moulds of his categories ready. Why one should 
reason or argue in this system, at all, is not clear : when 
the brain functions are physical phenomena given like any 
other and operate with mechanical definiteness. His vision 
of history was clearly modified by his direct environment 
and by the Parisian atmosphere in which he was reared, 
e.g. as when he says (ed. Martineau, Vol. II, p. 185) : " The 
political influence of religious doctrine has never been 
great," — whereas the spread of Christianity in the Roman 
Empire, the dual monarchy of pope and Roman Empire in 
the Middle Ages, the Crusades, the spread of the Islam 
from Delhi to Granada, the split of Europe in the Refor- 
mation, utterly turn to absurdity that shallow apothegm. 

As all the concerns of the soul in the positivist creed 
are with this world of sense and seeming alone, interest in 
material well-being and political and economic things dis- 
place the spiritual interests : — "As theological hopes of a 
future life lose their power, and till the positive philosophy 
establishes itself forever by exhibiting the connection of the 
individual with the whole human race, past, present, and 
future" (ih., p. 195), really Spencer's "cell " in the social 
organism. He speaks of the Greeks : " Their cerebral 
energy, finding no adequate political occupation." Ho 
calls Christianity (p. 211), "This revolution, the greatest 
the world has ever seen, except the one in progress" i.e. the 
adoption of Comte's philosophy as the finality of human 
attainment. Quite Hegelian (although utterly mistaken) 
is his note on the rise of Christianity, — "A necessary 
(*ie) result of that combination of Greek and Roman in- 
fluence, at the period of their interpenetration. . . ." 


In the course of his life, Comte was more and more 
filled with a missionary fervor, which is revealed in his 
" Positivist Catechism ": he is the founder of a new "reli- 
gion," in which humanity takes the place of God : prayer to 
the dead heroes of humanity is inculcated as a daily duty 
of the new cult : the new Trinity consists of Space, Earth, 
Humanity; scientific men are to be priests. There is 
then a Faith of Positivism (Foi Positive) limited to the 
interest in the mechanism of phenomena, utterly banishing 
concern as to the causes and ends of things. Draper and 
Buckle were his disciples in their attempt to bring the 
new insight to bear in the domain of human history, — 
"for," he claims, "the phenomena of intelligence and 
sociability are also subject to invariable laws which 
permit a systematic prevision of recurrent phenomena, the 
only characteristic aim of true science." The submission 
to fundamental law is the positive dogma. Of the new 
religion of Humanity, Love is the principle, Order the 
basis, and Progress the aim. He charges Christianity 
with a fundamental egoism because it holds that we are 
guests and strangers in this world. The altruism of Comte 
is stolen from the universal charity in the divine obligation 
of Christian ethics — this altruism is a spook and an in- 
truder which endeavors with much academic prattle and 
fuzziness of technical nomenclature to occupy the throne 
on which Christ has placed the Love of Mankind. There 
is in this final society the moral providence of women, the 
intellectual providence of the priest of the new religion, i.e. 
the man of science, and the material providence of the patri- 
cians as a body : the new religion is soeiocratic, not theo- 
cratic, whereas theological religion is essentially egoistical 
and individualistic. The two things which this sociological 
atheist most detests are " theologism " and " war." One 
thinks of the Horatian phrase that some things are so 
ingrained in man that they will ever return : even here, 
reasoning without reason and establishing a religion with 
saints, with a calendar, with a service and a Supreme 
Being, though without God and without an immortal 
soul — one of the undulations that came out of Paris — 


not alone the Paris of Diderot and Helvetius, but also the 
Paris of Robespierre and of St. Simon. 

Rarely has human thought attained a greater abase- 
ment of the human soul and a more brutal divestment of 
that spirituality which constitutes at once its dignity and 
its essence, to rob it of hope and reduce it to a sum of 
cerebral irritations. Though all this lore is at bottom 
not so very novel: let us hear Berkeley, who wrote of 
some foes of Christianity in his day, in the England of 
1732 (Alciphron, Dialogue 2) : " with an air that would 
make one think atheism established by law, and religion 
only tolerated. ..." Indeed in the Comtian order the 
soul of man really disappears, and we have (to use again 
an expression of Berkeley's) " a beast, without reflection 
or remorse, without foresight or appetite of immortality, 
without notion of vice or virtue, or order, or reason, or 
knowledge." No, true culture can hardly stand with 
materialism and mechanism, the dignity of the soul as 
well of all human personality is closely bound up with 
its immortality and with its specific and separate dignity 
in each human being. 

This dignity of the immortal soul, then, is the central 
point of our own contention, and this also, that no matter 
how profoundly it is connected with this transient body 
in marvellous interdependence, still it in itself is immate- 
rial. " For," to use the words of Blaise Pascal, " it is im- 
possible that that part of our being which thinks within 
us should be other than spiritual, and if one were to 
affirm that we are but corporeal, this probably would even 
more exclude us from the comprehension of things, inas- 
much as there is nothing as incomprehensible as to say 
that matter understood itself." And it is in this impor- 
tant and grave relation of things, I believe, that Pascal 
elsewhere in the earlier part of his " Pensees " utters the 
remark that man has really no relation at all to (that 
mystery of material recurrent phenomena which we calT) 
nature. " We shall never," says Lotze (" Metaphysics, 
III, 239), "succeed in analytically deducing the feeling from 
the nature of its physical excitant"; and (ib., § 248): 


" We shall never see the last atom of the nerve imping- 
ing upon the soul, or the soul upon it . . ." and (i'6., § 
249) " We do not look for man's personality in body and 
soul alike, but in the soul alone." 

Rarely, I believe, in the academic controversies of the 
nineteenth century have these matters been discussed 
with more vigor than by the noted historian, Johann 
Gustav Droysen, in his critique of Buckle's injection of 
physicalism into history and historiography. This was 
essentially making a mechanism of even operation out of 
human consciousness, and decrying the moral principle 
and the freedom of the will. Droysen finds himself called 
upon to define civilization and to give the delimitation of 
culture from it. " That, which in history, Times and 
Nations have elaborated or achieved for mankind, — to 
have worked through it in spirit, with thinking, as a 
continuity and lived through it — this we call culture 
(JBildung). Civilization is contented with the results of 
culture ; civilization is poor in the abundance of wealth, 
blasee in the opulence of enjoyment. And what 'prog- 
ress' is that where perhaps there is some advancement 
of intellectual truths coupled with a weakening of moral 
truths! In the history of nations, there are at work 
moral forces and ideas. Duty, virtue, choice of action, 
are there at work. Mind, conscience, will, are the great 
elements in history: or are men merely mental automata? 
Nature study indeed is never concerned about individuals 
but about types alone. History is the yv&Oi aavrov of 
mankind, the conscience of mankind." 

I have said so much of the problems of culture and the 
human soul because I now wish briefly to add the Chris- 
tian position, which for the writer is absolute, because it 
is that of Christ. 

The soul of man is the precious thing in that valuation: 
it is that which is the object of this concern: the turning 


of it back to God. The little children, the poor, the un- 
cultured, are no less precious in His sight, because they 
are endowed no less with immortal souls. How pro- 
found, how incisive his spiritual righteousness, the inner 
attitude of the soul, not the satisfaction of outward stat- 
utes (Matthew 5, 20; 15, 2; Mark 2, 27; 7, 2-15). The 
Summum bonum is not indeed this life, but the life be- 
yond this life (Matthew 5, 25 sq. ; 6, 20; 7, 23; 8, 12, etc.). 
Christ and Christians must dispense with the approval of 
the Neopagan Nietzsche, who has called the Gospel a 
system of Ethics for slaves. As if a little eloquence or 
some lyrical faculty or keener analytical power, or per- 
haps a symmetrical countenance, or some other possession 
or acquisition raised the possessor above these soul-needs 
or soul-truths, or as if such exceptional particular quali- 
ties or possessions really satisfied the soul, where genuine 
honesty and veracity prevails, — or as if a novel or clever 
rearrangement of the lapilli that constitute the assets of 
human consciousness and human history — as if this could 
do more than make a new pattern in the mosaic of the 

Christianity is not the sum of an evolution of human 
speculation, it is not the goal of any purely human move- 
ment, although it has suffered sorely at the hands of those 
who wished to justify it academically, for ever it has been, 
and is, and will be, "unto the Greeks, foolishness." It 
seems utterly wrong, to me, to separate the progress of 
understanding and of art, letters, and material civiliza- 
tion from the moral decadence and decay of the Classical 
World as summarily delineated by Paul (Romans 1). 
Even where no higher standard of ethics prevails than 
a utilitarian, it would seem wrong to dissever the one 
from the other. 

Paulsen, a voluble and voluminous writer, has said 
some apt and not at all shallow things about Christianity 
coming into the world not by any means as a product of 
evolution, but as the hard fact of the greatest revolution 
the history of mankind has known (" Geseh. der Ethik "). 
He writes felicitously of the essential difference between 


Christianity and Greek humanity, but his first-hand 
knowledge of classical antiquity is by no means in con- 
formity with the sweeping abstractions and universal 
theses so dear to the pen and voice of academic men : his 
vision of the classic world is not close and clear enough, 
though of distant landscapes mere sketches are often most 
useful to those who have no access of their own nor closer 
vision. I propose, later on, to furnish data that will war- 
rant a fair induction in the formation of judgment. 

As to culture and the human soul, it remains for me to 
pen a few pertinent matters before closing this chapter. 

I radically dissent from much of the loose generalization 
of current unbelief, which, while removing a personal God 
and his design from this world (of which we really know 
but a very little), talk glibly of a systematic progress in 
which culture is accumulated for future generations. 
Thus then we are to believe that man, and the souls of 
individual men, are as nothing in themselves but gain 
value merely as elements in a totality comprehended and 
enjoyed by what happens to be at the given moment, the 
last or most modern generation. What legislation then 
establishes this new kind of design ? Who brings this 
purpose into human history ? A full generation have I 
striven to gain a closer vision of the classical world, and 
I have seen there a movement, which, taken as a whole, 
was one of decline and decay, even in a cultural aspect. 

It is entirely possible for academic arbitrariness or any 
other whim to make out a fictitious unit of successive hu- 
manity when the actuality are individual persons, and 
souls. " Humanity," says Lotze (" Outlines of the Phi- 
losophy of Religion," 1882, Leipzig, §81), "for certain re- 
quirements of morality may be fictitiously assumed as 
something actual in this universality. But specific, 
living reality it does, in fact, possess only as the plu- 
rality of generations that succeed each other ; and an 
1 education ' is incomprehensible which constantly changes 
its material, throws away those who are incompletely 


educated, and accumulates the fruits of education upon 
later generations without the deserts of the latter, and 
without having the previous generations, which have 
shared in the production, receive any share in the enjoy- 
ment of these fruits." 

There is little space in this chapter and little inclination 
in the writer to turn aside to Matthew Arnold's " Culture 
and Anarchy," essentially a polemic of the passing hour 
and permeated by a flippant spirit and pretty shallow wit, 

— controversial papers which have given to Swift's phrase 
of "Sweetness and Light " a new currency. His main 
thesis is that the British Philistine (a phrase borrowed 
from the German) was too much devoted to " Hebraism," 
the righteousness of the Old Testament, and that he, the 
Philistine, should turn more to "Hellenism," i.e. "the 
habit of fixing our minds upon the intelligible law of 
things," or " the letting of our consciousness play freely 
and simply upon the facts before us." 

Arnold has evidently pondered much on culture, and lie 
has coined terms which he jingles much and with the air 
of a very confident trader. " Culture and Totality " are 
man's one thing needful. Culture he also defines as the 
harmonious perfection of our whole being : whereas 
Goethe, for whom Matthew Arnold has some affinity, 
certainly excluded, or subordinated, morality to culture. 
And righteousness is greater than taste, is it not ? " Cul- 
ture," then, for Arnold is the court of last appeal, which, 
e.g., determines what is essential in any given religion 

— culture, personified in what man or men? In that 
loose and light fencing, this modern pupil of the Deists, 
with infinite ease, couples and really identifies reason and 
the will of God : one thinks of Lessing or Shaftesbury. 
Elsewhere he calls culture " a harmonious expansion of 
all the powers which make the beauty and worth of hu- 
man nature. ..." Again he presents culture as a study 
of perfection. He credits the Greeks (the old glib and 
convenient generalization) with "the immense spiritual 
significance . . . due to their having been inspired with 
this central and happy idea of the essential character of 


human perfection " — a quality largely injected into " the 
Greeks" by Matthew Arnold himself. Also, Arnold 
speaks with enthusiastic reverence of Herder and Lessing. 
We get at the root of the matter when Arnold, at last, 
reaches the greatest and gravest theme of the experience 
of mankind, Sin (p. 117), and here we cannot consider 
him otherwise than as a man with little historical sense, 
and very shallow moral sense, when he marvels that there 
is so little of sin in Plato and so much in St. Paul ; the 
mere ease in itself with which Arnold chooses to make 
such crude juxtaposition at all is odd. He is one who 
looks out upon the world across a library table, and who, 
of himself, believes that all recorded utterance is merely 
letters and equally food for the critic. The present 
writer utterly declines to assent to the following defini- 
tion of Christianity (p. 120) : "Those beneficent 
forces which have so borne forward humanity in its 
appointed work of coming to the knowledge and posses- 
sion of itself. ..." As if Christianity fairly considered 
were not something for which humanity owes absolutely 
no thanks whatever to itself, and which in its very founda- 
tions contradicts, denies, antagonizes the pride and strength 
of mere humanity. 

The concerns of the Human Soul, we hold, are universal 
and (unless we descend to the conception of mere myriads 
of zoological units, perishable as to body and soul) are 
indissolubly wrapt up with the hope of immortal life and 
of a divine law of conduct for this being, here, and now. 
Compared with this vast periphery of interest and tran- 
scendent concern, the interests of culture must of neces- 
sity deal with a small number who actually have 
in the main, very many of them, overvalued them- 
selves and their exceptional endowments, and have con- 
tributed little, very little, to the real, that is the universal, 
postulates of the human soul. Does the professional 
study of the classical world at all affect or determine the 
spiritual interests of the student ? I am not prepared to 


speak for others. It cannot be denied, however, that the 
attitude of the given man to Christianity or the absence 
of a definite attitude will certainly color the vision of men. 
How different the conception of a Luther and of an Eras- 
mus, of a Milton and of a Shaftesbury, of a Thirlwall and 
of a Byron, of a Gladstone and of a Swinburne. 

We close this chapter with a few citations : two from 
Goethe, whom the Germans are wont to revere as the in- 
carnation of culture, the other from John Rusk in, who, in 
the English-speaking world, has furthered interest in the 
Beautiful more than any other man of letters. Goethe, 
at the age of sixty-four, wrote to Jacobi (Jan. 6, 1813) as 
follows: "I for myself, considering the multiform tenden- 
cies of my own nature, cannot satisfy myself with a 
single way of thinking. As poet and artist, I am a poly- 
theist, as a student of nature, I am a pantheist, and the 
one as decidedly as the other. If I need a God for my 
personality as that of a moral human being, that is pro- 
vided for. The affairs of heaven and earth are so exten- 
sive a realm, that the organs of all beings alone, united, 
can comprehend it." 

His culture-pride is also well expressed in these lines: 

" Wer Wissenschaf t und Kunst besitzt 
Der hat Religion ; 
Wer jene beiden nicht besitzt, 
Der habe Religion." 

— "Zahme Xenien," VI, publ. in 1836. 

On the other hand, Ruskin, in his old age ("Praeterita": 
The Campo Santo), wrote thus: "One must first say a 
firm word concerning Christianity itself. I find numbers, 
even of the most intelligent and amiable people, not 
knowing what the word means; because they are always 
asking how much is true, and how much they like, and 
never ask, first, what was the total meaning of it, whether 
they like it or not. 

"The total meaning was, and is, that the God, who made 
earth and its creatures, took at a certain time upon 
the earth, the flesh and form of man ; in that flesh sus- 


tained the pain and died the creature he had made; rose 
again after death unto glorious human life, and when the 
date of human race is ended, will return in visible human 
form, and render to every man according to his work. 
Christianity is the belief in, and the love of, God thus 
manifested. Anything less than this, the mere acceptance 
of the sayings of Christ, or assertion of any less than 
divine power in His Being, may be, for aught I know, 
enough for virtue, peace, and safety; but they do not 
make people Christians, or enable them to understand the 
heart of the simplest believer in the old doctrine." 



It is almost six hundred years since Petrarch gave 
himself up to the joy and study of his own classicism. 
The movement which he led was away from the dictation 
and control of the mediaeval church and from its literary 
forms and from its culture. This movement is often 
called Humanism : the German writers Voigt and Burck- 
hardt, the English eesthetician Symonds, and others have 
unfolded this powerful movement in the higher pursuits 
of men quite fully. The sanest of the three scholars I 
have named is Voigt. The base and hope of each of the 
three is the force that determines and guides the limner's 
hand, that furnishes shade and color in their painting. 
Symonds is often curiously ecstatic — as when he speaks 
of the " new-found, Holy Land of Culture,'' of the " inde- 
structible religion of science and the reason," this " search 
after the faith of culture," and other phrases morbidly 
exaggerated, wide of the truth. And the same writer 
says very justly : " Yet we, no less weary of erudition than 
Faust was " — or again : " Disenchanted and disillusioned 
as we are by those four centuries of learning, the musical 
lament of Dido and the stately periods of Latin prose 
are little better, considered as spiritual sustenance, to us, 
than the husks that the swine did eat." We hear the 
same soul, uttering itself — accordingly as the intellect 
and aesthetic sense, or the immortal spirit, predominates. 

My own study aims at this: I desire to show, fairly, 
how conduct and spiritual interests kept company, and 
what company, with the new movement of culture domi- 



nating and precious for its own sake. In this quest 1 
have striven to gain a closer vision of things and minds : 
I am not content to merely transcribe from the pages of 
Symonds or of the two Germans. Symonds indeed has 
fully seen and felt the moral and spiritual reverse side of 
this bright coin : he has seen there " the conflict of medi- 
aeval tradition with revived paganism;" — "it led to 
recklessness and worldly vices, rather than to reformed 
religion." He speaks of "ascetic piety and pagan sensu 
ality ; " — " it was the universal object of the humanists 
to gain a consciousness of self, distinguished from the 
vulgar herd ; " — " the standard whereby the Italians 
judged this 4 virtue ' was aesthetical rather than moral ; " 
— " only at rare intervals, and in rare natures of the 
type of Michel Angelo, did the Christian ideal resume its 

As for the great exile of Florence, Dante Alighieri, he 
is indeed not so permeated with the spirit of the Middle 
Ages as many would have it : he clearly stands on the 
threshold of new things. His high valuation of what he 
knew of classics and the classical world, pointed the way : 
it must have been in the air : for the human soul will not 
be permanently a mere funnel and conduit pipe for the 
tenets and paragraphs of bygone ages and generations. 
Aristotle, who furnished to Scholasticism logic and cate- 
gories, was revered by Dante. As he idealized everything 
written in classic Latin, so did all the further spirits of 
Humanism to Erasmus, to Montaigne and far beyond. 
And this attitude of idealization is both the strength and 
the weakness of the entire movement. And so it is even 
now. But why should the Tiber be more " classical " or 
associated with loftier or finer ideas and reminiscences, 
than the Thames ? Or why should Helicon, Kastalia, or 
the Ilissos be more precious than the Charles River at 
Boston, Lucian more classic than Voltaire, Horace more 
than Addison or Chesterfield, Philopoimen or Aratos 
more so than George Washington, Lysander more so than 
Nelson or Blake ? And even the very guide of Dante's 
Inferno, Vergil, has been, by common consent, reduced to 


a much lower position as an Epic poet than Dante him- 

As a matter of fact, the canonicity of Vergil as " the 
poet" came to Dante through an unbroken tradition of 
the Roman grammatici from Quintilian onward. And as 
Vergil was idealized by the genius so vastly superior, thus 
too did the Ghibelline Exile idealize Julius Caesar, one of 
the most consummate self-seekers among the practical poli- 
ticians of all time, because the victor of Pharsalos and 
Tbapsus was, to Dante, the incarnation and type of Mon- 
archy and the Emperor. Dante knew not that he himself 
was, or was to prove to be, the very Homer and more of 
the Tuscan tongue, the "vulgar" tongue, in comparison 
with Latin, of which in the " Convito," I, 5, he says : 
" in nobility, because the Latin is perpetual and incorrupt- 
ible ; the language of the vulgar is unstable and corrupt- 
ible. Hence we see in the ancient writings of the Latin 
Comedies and Tragedies that they cannot change, being 
the same Latin that we now have ; this happens not with 
our native tongue, which being home-made, changes at 

Dante's Greek lore is a faint and distant thing, through 
reflection from Latin letters ; suspended in Limbo though 
these Greeks were, still were they possessors " of great 
names," "souls of mighty worth." 

Dante, too, cherished it as a dear and noble conception 
that the Italians were, after all, heirs and descendants of 
the race that once held universal sway, were in fact Latin 
(JDe Vulgari Eloquentia). 

Pain and disgust with the present had much to do with 
the new movement. Villani (who died at Florence of the 
great plague, 1348) visited Rome in 1300 under the spe- 
cial indulgence proclaimed by Boniface VIII. Among the 
thoughts there suggested and set free was this one: "and, 
seeing the great and ancient objects of it (viz., of Rome) 


and reading the stories and great deeds of the Romans, 
written by Vergil and by Sallust and Lucan, and Titus 
Livius and Valerius and Paulus Orosius and other masters 
of history, who described both the little things and the 
great things, also of the uttermost parts of the whole world; 
to give record and examples to those who are to come close to 
their style and form, but, considering our city of Florence, 
daughter and product (fattura) of the Romans" etc. In 
Petrarch, bel esprit of Europe's fourteenth century, the 
newly discovered elements of beauty and strength of Clas- 
sic Latinism found a soil curiously fitted and predisposed 
through aims and ideals. Not only did he " study " the 
liter 03 humaniores — whether he himself coined the phrase 
or not, I have not been able to determine — but he led the 
way in the dash of immersion, appropriation, imitation. 
For the aim was now to think the thoughts, to be con- 
cerned in the concerns, to write the style, of Vergil, of Cic- 
ero, of Seneca ; to endow them, in a word, with a practical 
and absolute authority, at which their own contemporaries 
would have marvelled, at which they themselves perhaps 
would have smiled. His time became enamoured of him: 
his letters were eagerly copied for their Latin style: it 
became the most notable achievement of power and taste to 
write in this fashion. " Virtue and Glory " are a prominent 
feature in these letters, particularly glory : it was his delight 
to dub his friends Laelius, Simonides, and the like. It is 
tedious to us to wade through his pages dripping with 
classic allusion and ornament. The reminiscence of the 
Ciceronian phrase fails to flash upon us as a superhuman 
achievement: his treasures have largely turned to ashes. 
His pages curiously reveal the struggle between Christian 
morality and pagan worship of glory and of the things of 
this world. His poems to the eyes of Madonna Laura 
were based on what Symonds calls a respectable friend- 
ship: though they have given to the world of letters the 
sonnet. Knight or Prelate was still the choice of gifted 
men in that age : Petrarch had to live and mainly lived from 
the favors and prebends of great prelates. His two ille- 
gitimate children, Giovanni (1337) and Francesca (1343), 


were subsequently legitimized by papal bulls. The great- 
est labor of his life was devoted to an epic in heroic verse 
in the Vergilian manner, devoted not indeed to the glori- 
fication of Pope or Emperor, but to the memory of achieve- 
ments of the elder Scipio. He called it Africa and he was 
duly crowned on the Capitoline Hill at Kome, in April, 
1341, receiving the Laurel from the hand of a Roman Sen- 
ator. In our own day, Oxford and Cambridge are well- 
nigh the only places left in all the Renaissance movement, 
where high academic prizes are awarded to this form of 
culture — the elevation of the Exotic — once dominating 
the intellectual ambition of Europe. Like Aristippos of 
Kyrene, he knew how to use without much being used, to 
hold and not be held, to receive ample donations and still 
maintain a high degree of personal independence and free- 
dom of movement. The ancient man belonged to his 
state, the mediaeval man belonged to church and feudal 
overlord — this graceful stylist, often called the first of 
modern minds, belonged, in the main, to himself alone. 

His letters are often very charming: the purity and 
psychological truth with which he reveals and delineates 
sentiment, reflection, emotion, would still entertain us, if 
the heavy parallels of ancient history and classic citation 
in general did not weary and repel us. But it was this 
very thing which encircled his brow with the laurel 
eagerly offered by his contemporaries. And if he had 
written all this in his own superb Tuscan, we would read 
and reread with permanent delight. But as for Cicero, 
Vergil, and Seneca, we enjoy them more, if we enjoy them 
at all, at first hand and in their virginal utterance. 

When, at thirty-two, he had accomplished the ascent of 
Mt. Ventoux, in the Provence, not far from his favorite 
abode of Vauclause, this brought to his mind the Hsenius 
in Thrace and Philip of Macedon, Hannibal, and the 
Livian story of his passage of the Alps, as well as Athos 
and Olympus. It was just ten years that he had brought 
to conclusion, at Bologna, his academic career. His soul 
was flushed and strongly moved by the thought of much 
sin and folly of the past, the feeble and imperfect steps 


towards betterment and Christian virtue. With him he 
had a copy of St. Augustine's Confessions: he opened and 
accidentally lighted upon 10, 8, 6, which made so strong 
an impression upon him because it was so near and so 
much in harmony with his own favorite train of thought, 
with his very philosophy of life. The words were there: 
" And men go to admire the peaks of mountains, and the 
huge tides of the sea, and the vast moving volumes of 
streams, the vast extent of the ocean, and the orbit of 
the stars, and they neglect themselves." Indeed, he goes 
on to say, there is nothing wonderful besides the soul of 
man : to the soul nothing is great. Here we have, as 
Voigt well urges, the central point of Petrarch's concern : 
and all his further life long there was in him some strug- 
gle between the cultural and the spiritual concerns of the 
soul. And still his active actual life was one long chas- 
ing after the phantom of glory, immediate, direct contem- 
porary glory. And so it remains to him a moral axiom 
(" Rerum Senilium," V, 6) that to richly endowed minds 
glory is a mighty spur — generosis ingeniis ingens calcar 
est gloria. It was the glory attainable through human 
speech and its literary forms: and so he says (in the same 
letter) of his secretary who had left him: "and he him- 
self, through reading, writing, reflection, imitation, seemed 
destined to grow better day by day and destined to reach the 
summit of a lofty name : " in a few and simple words we 
have here that which was the life and labor and the goal 
of the Humanists who revered in Petrarch their founder 
and great exemplar. 

Few mortal men are able to bear so heavy a burden as 
is high praise of one's own entire generation; a more 
than human humility would be required for any man, 
soberly to realize, that his whole century was following in 
his footsteps and bidding all hail to the pathfinder. It 
was Petrarch's fortune, if fortune it be. Many were the 
searching visits into his own heart: earnestly he often 
represented to his soul the passing of this little life ; he 
lay down on his couch as corpses were wont to be laid out 
for burial ; representing to himself the moment of disso- 


lution, first, and all the awe that men are wont to associate 
with the great crisis, — but actually he remained insatiable 
of that contemporary glory in which he had so long lived 
among his own generation, and which had come to be the 
very atmosphere of his being. 

The church fed and nurtured this pathfinder of the 
Humanists. And still soon it was clear that the New 
Learning at bottom tended to emancipate its devotees from 
the church, nay, from the very basis of living and being 
on which it was at first grounded and reared. The 
shocking swiftness with which was revealed the interde- 
pendence of the new movement with the emancipation of 
morals and morality was strikingly revealed in an admirer 
and disciple of Petrarch, viz., Giovanni Boccaccio of Cer- 
taldo near Florence (1313-1375), nine years younger than 
Petrarch. The Black Plague of 1348, which so cruelly 
ravaged Italy, found Boccaccio thirty-five, and the chain 
of novels which is reared upon this catastrophe constitutes 
the most powerful plea of mere animality known to human 
letters. I am too fond of truth and too profoundly con- 
vinced of the eternal obligation of divine law to pour any 
further tepid dish-water into the well-established puddle of 
literary admiration — obligato — which wearily iterates 
itself in the books of the literary historians and rostbeti- 
cians. And this, while Boccaccio after 1361 would have 
gladly cancelled and recalled his "Novelle," when it was 
too late. " Triumphant Adultery " one might inscribe the 
greater portion of these narratives. From Burckhardt's 
delineation of the Renaissance we do indeed receive the 
impression that little exaggeration, if any, of social disrup- 
tion and decadence is here met with. We do seem indeed 
to be face to face with a society which knew no romance 
beyond the snapping asunder of matrimonial law, and 
shrank from no detail which added to the delineation of 
impurity. Contemptible as Boccaccio made purity and 
marital fidelity, lie trampled upon a sacrament of the 
church as well. But the church itself and its official 


representatives, the clerics from the Pope down to hermits 
appear in these " Novelle " as utterly corrupt and contemp- 
tible. Boccaccio hated the monks even in his character 
as classicist and restorer of the Old Learning. In the 
great library of Monte Cassino (where he often stopped in 
passing and repassing between Florence and Naples) he 
noticed with disgust how, frequently, the indolent clerics 
instead of studying precious parchments of old, abraded 
the ancient characters and inscribed missals and legenda- 
ries to sell them to the people. Other classics lay in dusty 
oblivion on the shelves. — The Jew Abraham of Paris 
(I, 2), willing to become a convert to Christianity, goes to 
Rome, and there sees the " court of Rome." There, with- 
out revealing either himself or his mission, he studies care- 
fully the life of all. He finds them all abandoned to 
dissoluteness both natural and contrary to nature, fond of 
gluttony and the bottle, given up to grasping avarice also, 
the buying and selling of church benefices in full vogue, 
with current euphemism for all this, as though God, says 
Boccaccio, could not pierce this thin veil. Returning to 
Paris then, the Jew Abraham replies to his Christian 
friend : " As I judge of it, with all anxious device, and 
with all his native power and with every art, your shep- 
herd, methinks, — and consequently all the others, — are 
rushing forward to reduce to nothing and to drive out of 
the world the Christian religion." And that in spite of 
shocking corruption of the pastors and leaders, the Chris- 
tian religion does not vanish from the earth, this — so the 
Jew Abraham reasons — must be a proof of that religion's 
divine character. And so, in Paris, is the Jew Abraham 

Still more incisive is Boccaccio's attitude towards the 
Christian church in his novel (I, 3) of the three rings, 
which has furnished the central theme to that classic Song 
of Songs of Deism, Lessing's " Nathan." This famous 
didactic parable leaves it quite undetermined and un- 
determinable whether Mosaism or Christianity or Mo- 
hammedanism has the better or more divine authority : 
each earnest in asseveration and conviction, none really 


stronger than the other. Swift's "Tale of the Tub" 
will occur to many of my readers. 

The "evil hypocrisy of the Religiosi" is, as I have 
above suggested, one of the favorite themes of these 
stories, — hypocrisy largely in two forms, viz., those of 
Greed and of Lust. The corollary that they were not 
any better than the secular people who went about their 
quest without any pretence or cloak, is quite obvious. 
We are fairly entitled to believe that here as elsewhere 
this clever Florentine, with his curious mixture of moral 
indifference and searching moral satire, merely mirrored 
the current conviction of his own time. Calm and delib- 
erate are these words (I, 7 ) : " The vicious and foul life 
of the clerics, a sure sign (fermo segno) in many matters 
of wickedness, without undue difficulty, presents itself as 
an object of conversation," etc. 

And still Boccaccio made his peace with the dominant 
corporation of human life of his day: he became serious, 
he turned state lecturer on the life and works of Dante. 
Earnest monition had reached him from a Carthusian of 
Siena to change his life and his works. As for selling 
his library also, Petrarch dissuaded him. His own last 
years were full of disease and other misery: he desired 
death and still he greatly feared it. Suffice to say that 
he willed his library to Brother Martino da Segna, his 
confessor, providing that ultimately the books were to 
go to the convent of Santo Spirito of Florence for the 
use of students. One may fairly ask : if that freedom 
and that emancipation which the early manhood of Boc- 
caccio did so much to spread abroad — if this freedom 
was good and wholesome for the human soul, why did not 
its erstwhile devotee proclaim it to the end ? 

The popes indeed had returned from Avignon and 
from their French vassalage to the Seven Hills of Rome. 
But after a few years, in 1378, followed the election of 
a counterpope, who again established his court at Avignon, 
Clement VII, who thus became a much more pronounced 


vassal of the French court than his predecessors had been. 
Thus began the great Schism, which not only rent Chris- 
tendom in twain, but dealt an irreparable blow to the 
Papacy itself, whose Vicarage of God was now in the 
balance. Whose excommunication was divine ? At the 
same time, each court with its full measure of needs, and 
with the reduction of the taxable area for each, was con- 
strained and driven by sore need to increase the financial 
burdens which it imposed, for its sustenance, upon its 
own subjects. 

We thus reach the beginning of that fifteenth century 
of European History which was destined to be the space 
of time made memorable by the Renaissance of Letters 
and Art, a Golden Age indeed, if we are to believe some 
of the ecstatic eulogists thereof. 

But it is utterly unhistorical to ignore the profound 
and very essential interdependence which prevailed actu- 
ally between the Renaissance and the decadence and 
convulsions marking the Annals of the Church itself. 
Who were the leaders of Humanism then ? What sort 
of men were they ? What attitude did they take in the 
agony of the Church and in those tremendous struggles 
which were made, in the first half of the century, at Pisa, 
Constance, and Basle, for a Reformation of Head and 
Members ? 

Poggio Bracciolini of Florence (1380-1459), who had 
studied Greek under Manuel Chrysoloras, became A.pos- 
tolic Secretary at the Papal Curia at Rome, in 1402 or 
1403. It is not necessary here to enumerate the Latin 
Classics which he conveyed to Italy out of Swiss or 
German monasteries, openly or by filching them. Our 
task here is to gain a closer view of his moral personality. 
If he had any moral ideals, the very court of which he was 
so conspicuous a part was impregnated with practices and 
principles essentially vicious and vile. It was an age 
" when the psaltery chimed ill with the secular lyre," 
when Balthasar Cossa, the infamous Neapolitan, a mem- 
ber of the Sacred College, as John XXII (charged later 
with having procured the removal of his predecessor 


through poison), became an expert in finding new prices 
for the entire range of ecclesiastic preferment. 

Of all the works of Poggio, his collection of anecdotes 
alone remains in the hands of men : nor can they be read 
at all unless we agree to consider them a pathological 
symptom of the culture and concerns of the foremost men 
of that generation. For all the graces and turns of highly 
polished Latinity are here debased to the service of jestful 
impurity, compared with which Boccaccio is elevated and 
refined. And so even the very form of phrase or speech in 
which Cicero had presented the most serious thoughts of 
the Greek sects on Religion and the concerns of the soul, 
the tongue in which the incomparable moralist Seneca had 
lashed the foibles of the human heart, the tongue in which 
venerable forms of liturgy and worship had been handed 
down fairly from the primitive church itself — this noble 
and grave speech, I say, was debased to the company of 
Satyrs and Pan, as though the court-robe of a great and 
noble lady were used to deck a smirking and berouged 
courtesan. Nor is the sang-froid with which the papal 
secretary refers to the corruption of his own class as a 
matter of course and of no further concern, to be neglected 
in these Faeetice. 

The scorn with which the clerics proper do duty in the 
Satire of this Humanist is even more strongly revealed in 
his Latin dialogue to be presently named. The faintest 
sympathy or trace of concern in the great councils of 
Constance or Basle is sought and searched for in vain in 
the lines of Poggio. His u Dialogus contra Hypocrisim " 
was written in his advanced age under the great Human- 
ist pope, Nicholas V himself (1447 sqq.). Poggio, in that 
famous diatribe, intimates that Eugene IV (1431-1447) 
had been surrounded with such clerical hypocrites, ea- 
gerly pursuing the interests of their several orders. The 
preachers before the pope had furnished Poggio much quiet 
amusement with their empty prattle. One faint and fleet- 
ing citation of St. Matthew, the rest Cicero, Terence, Sal- 
lust, Seneca: the further discourses Chronique Scandalewe, 
in which there is infinitely more joy in the vileness itself 


than moral concern whatever: and while spreading out 
this putrescence, Poggio, entirely in the manner of his 
great rival and contemporary, Laurentius Valla, slips 
into a defence of incontinence as being obedience to an 
overmastering impulse of our common nature : utter- 
ances consummately cynical and coming from a mind eman- 
cipated from any divine law and subject to a "humanity" 
of its own fabrication. All this dramatically, with an 
abbot as one of the participants in the dialogue. And 
when this protagonist of the new learning and confiden- 
tial secretary and adviser of many popes concluded his 
sweeping charges against the friars, viz., that their pur- 
suit in the end was " the setting of bird-catchers' traps 
for women or money" — then we must remember that 
Poggio retired to Florence rich and honored and was 
buried at last with pomp in Santa Croce. 

His fellow-student, Lionardo Bruni of Arezzo, was a 
more serious soul and a somewhat nobler character. Pog- 
gio survived him to deliver his funeral eulogy before the 
magistrate of Florence. 

Early he too served in Rome as Apostolic Secretary, 
where the new taste for purer Latinity determined pre- 
ferment. His scholarship and interest in the newly ac- 
quired Greek seems much more pure and genuine than 
in Poggio's case. He refers to Plato with awe : " The 
majesty of that great man." Contemporary history and 
politics are wrapped to his gaze in classic names and 
moulds ; the ancient Romans are : Nostri, our own men, 
our own ancestors. He calls the schism of popes: "This 
pestiferous division." Bruni himself, while he saw the 
curia full of men looking for preferment, declined the 
bishopric offered him by Innocent VII. 

The modern Romans are a poor lot, " to whom from their 
ancient glory nothing but empty boasting has remained." 

He too visited Constance in connection with the great 
Council, January, 1414. His correspondent at Florence, 
Niccoli, indeed, is not at all interested in ecclesiastic 
matters : his soul is wrapped up in the renaissance of 
the old letters; to him church affairs are "wearisome 


concerns and objects of craze of men" (tcedia et delira- 
menta hominum). Non-Italians are, of course, barbarians. 
He calls Nature "that mother and maker of the Uni- 
verse." A year later Bruni was settled at Florence while 
Poggio,in the retinue of John XXII, was at the Council. 
But Brum's concerns were centred as before, not on that 
matter of mighty moment, the reformation of the church, 
the pacification of the souls of Europe; but the recovery 
of the classical world remained the essential point of his 
concern. "This" (under date of Sept. 13, 1416) -as- 
suredly will be thy glory" (to Poggio), "that thou art 
restoring to us, through thy toil and care, the writings 
now lost and perished, of eminent men." And when he 
hears that Quintilian entire is at last regained, he wishes 
only to see the work before he dies : a Nunc dimittis of 
the ecstatic classicist. Poggio had written with enthu- 
siasm of the noble defence and noble death of Jerome 
of Prague, at the stake : "You might have called him 
another Cato," — his eloquence the papal secretary had 
compared " with that of the ancients whom we admire so 
much" — "none of the Stoics ever had a soul so unswerv- 
ing and so brave." Bruni warns him to be more cautious 
in praising a heretic. Angrily he calls a detractor at Rome 
a wretched Sodomite. His study of Aristotle's " Ethics " 
was not merely historical and critical : the Stagirite 
furnished to his soul a very pabulum and dogma : a 
veritable substance and authority, while Cicero is to fur- 
nish the literary manner. He confesses that in literary 
matters he has become a voluptuary, an Epicurean. He 
commends a certain Englishman who has come to Italy 
for culture: "A most enthusiastic devotee (ardentissi/nux 
affectator) of our own studies, as far as the endowment of 
that nationality permits." Referring to the open flout- 
ing of moral law and decency of life by one of the fore- 
most classicists of Florence, Niccoli (Bruni, "Upistolce" 
Florence, 1741, Vol. II, 20), he goes on to say: "and 
do we wonder, if this is the opinion of the common peo- 
ple, that the men devoted to the study of letters do not 
believe in God, do not fear him ! " 


This same Niccoli is called by a modern student of 
these times, Gregorovius, " beautiful personality." O 
words, words, words ! And still this same ecstatic de- 
lineator of the Renaissance knows his ground too well to 
be quite blinded to the truth (" History of the City of 
Rome," Engl. Tr., VII, 2, 531): « But in spite of Dante, 
Cola di Rienzi, Petrarch, and Boccaccio (siV), the Renas- 
cence in the fifteenth century appears as a sudden resur- 
rection of paganism , . ." (p. 533), "while at the same 
time the laxity of morals reached a depth of depravity 
equal to that of the time of Juvenal." The interdepen- 
dence of the classic cult with that demoralization is ad- 
mitted. Why then, in Gregorovius, the tedious iteration 
of " noble culture " ? How so noble, if it so utterly, so 
signally failed to ennoble its most prominent devotees 
and professors : or shall we also become ecstatic and call 
them confessors? 

A protagonist among them was Antonio Beccadelli of 
Palermo (1394-1471), student at Siena, court poet, and 
secretary and historiographer at the court of Alfonso the 
Magnificent of Naples. While pursuing academic life of 
the baser kind, at Siena and Bologna, he infiltrated him- 
self with the matter and manner both of the debauched 
verse of Catullus, Ovid, and Martial: he published these 
elegies of pornography in 1425-1426, and dedicated them 
— not to the world of libertines — but to the first citizen 
of Florence, Cosmo dei Medici. Even Poggio shook his 
head, but Beccadelli defended himself by naming " Catul- 
lus, Tibullus, Propertius, Juvenal, Martial, splendid poets 
and Latin poets " — exemplars in the literary Olympus of 
that generation and a court of last appeal. And Guarino 
of Verona, the classical professor so highly esteemed as 
sane and industrious and of reputable conduct, is so 
ravished with the literary cleverness of this verse as to 
greet Beccadelli as a rising bard, and with transcendent 
absurdity to compare the Sicilian's muse with that of 
Theocritus ! Both were Sicilians. And as to the gross- 
ness, Guarino finds a curious justification therefore: " Or 
will you on that account bestow less praise upon Apelles, 


Fabius, and the other painters because they painted bare 
and undraped details in the human body . . .?" "Of 
greater weight with me is the authority of a poet of the 
same earth with myself" (conterranei : he alludes to Catul- 
lus), "a poet of considerable grace, than the clamor of 
the uncultured, whom nothing but tears, fasting, psalmo- 
dies can delight, forgetting that one there must be placed 
before our gaze in life, another in literary expression." 

Such were the dominant voices and the leading senti- 
ments almost throughout this entire fifteenth century, 
hailed as voices of the light. 

A far stronger mind was that of Beccadelli's rival at 
the court of Naples, Laurentius Valla (1406-1457). He 
translated Herodotus and Thucydides and with keen 
study of Quintilian more than of Cicero became a prac- 
tical model and laid down theories of pure Latin writing. 
He served his master Alfonso of Naples efficiently and 
thus further undermined the authority of the papal see, 
if that were possible then, by proving the Constantine 
donation a forgery, but shrinking not even from an 
attack upon the Apostles' Creed. More frankly than his 
fellow-humanists, he cast aside the checks ancl norms of 
divine obligation in conduct. His essay, "De Voluptate et 
vero Bono" gives voice, in order, to Stoicism, Epicurean- 
ism, and Christianity. The second voice pleads for the 
justification of lust and against the immortality of the soul 
and against a judgment to come. He was opposed to the 
Scholastics of his time who held that the Christian Faith 
can be reasoned out in the Aristotelian manner and pro- 
cedure. He profoundly detested the claims of the Clerics 
— claims of spiritual superiority, claims of being some- 
thing apart from the laymen. In his essay, "DeProfessi- 
one Religiosorum" he attacks these spiritual claims of that 
most powerful class and corporation of the Middle Ages, 
whose autocratic rule even then was being enfeebled, and 
in this controversy exhibits a good knowledge of St. Paul. 
He deals vigorous blows too against the normal monastic 
vows, and quotes St. Paul against enforced celibacy, I Tim- 
othy 4, 3, and goes on to say: "O would that bishops, 


priests, deacons, were husbands of a single wife, rather 
than lovers of one courtesan ! " The Clerics were power- 
less to destroy the bold critic who reposed under the 
powerful shield of King Alfonso. Under the Human- 
ist pope, Nicholas V, Valla even triumphantly entered 
Rome itself and reaped there high honors and rich emolu- 
ments. " Thus, for the sake of his erudition and stylistic 
talents, the supreme pontiff rewarded a man whose chief 
titles to fame are the stringent criticism with which he 
assailed the temporalities of the church and the frank 
candor with which he defended a pagan theory of human 
conduct" ("Encycl. Britannica "). This same Pope 
Nicholas was much more moved by the desire to save 
Greek manuscripts when Constantinople fell than to save 
the Greek Empire itself from the Ottoman deluge. 

More clear-headed on these grave issues of the Christian 
world was the second one of these Humanist popes, Enea 
Silvio Piccolomini, who took the title of Pius II 
Neither he nor the church at large were able to rouse 
distrustful Europe to a new crusade; the laity and the 
feudal aristocracy merely suspected a new pretext for an 
impost of money. As for this Pius II himself, how could 
he who was the very incarnation of secular scheming and 
a man of the world in his character and career — how 
could such a one rouse the spirit of Peter the Hermit or 
of St. Bernard of Clairvaux ? The world and the flesh, 
money and pleasure, had then well-nigh smothered what 
spirituality there was in the church. 

In his youth, he had written an erotic novel in which 
he had dissected all the phenomena and all the sensuality 
of sexual passion with a detail and a love for these things 
in which he fairly outdid Boccaccio. A diplomatic agent 
and negotiator of great prelates of the Council of Basle, 
he ultimately became the secretary and adviser of Fred- 
eric III of Austria. His restless and active mind was 
bent upon grasping the actualities of things, of seizing the 
vital point of human affairs. He loves learning, he loves 
fully as much money and power. With bright and exact 
eyes he outlined eminent contemporaries in his "De Viris 


illu8tribu8." Of the military leader, Braccio de Montone, 
he says: "He says he was bitterly hostile to the clergy, 
thinking there was nothing after death." He notes the 
honors and the rich stipends which Guarino won at 
Ferrara, where he taught the prince's son to compose a 
Latin poem, to write a Latin letter. With an admiration 
(as genuine as that of our contemporary journalists when 
they commend the millions derived from some accumula- 
tion of industry) he expatiates on the splendid success of 
Cosmo dei Medici, richest man of Florence, nay, of Italy, 
whose vast financial transactions were not even checked 
by exile, who is now ruling in Florence without seeming 
to rule: who furnishes money for the government by hav- 
ing the revenues hypothecated to himself. His mansion 
is fine enough for an emperor. He has built the mon- 
astery of San Marco for the Dominicans. There he has 
installed "a wonderful library packed with Latin and 
Greek books." 

The present successor of Bruni in the chancellery of 
Florence is Carlo of Arezzo, " soaked in Greek and Latin 
letters. His Latin verse is written with good taste and 
his prose is not inferior to the former." In his own youth 
Enea Silvio heard the glowing ascetic, the Franciscan 
Bernardino of Siena and was almost swayed to follow him. 

Barthold of Cremona, apostolic secretary and later arch- 
bishop of Milan, who crowned the emperor Sigismund at 
St. Ambrose's, was impregnated with Vergil and wrote very 
good Latin verse. Enea's characterization of Sigismund 
(who had actually brought to a conclusion the great schism) 
shows how church politics or world politics were equally 
manipulated by men who were without a spark of inward 
religiosity. " Sigismund," says Enea, " was of manifold 
impulse, but lacking in consistency, witty in speech, fond 
of wine, passionately inclined to sexual indulgences, 
charged with numberless adulteries, prone to wrath, 
easily moved to forgiveness, guardian of no treasure, a 
lavish spender, more generous in the promise than in 
keeping his word, a great story-teller. When he was at 
Rome with Pope Eugene, he said : i There are three 


things, most holy father, in which we differ, and again 
there are three in which we agree. You sleep in the 
morning, I rise before daybreak. Yon drink water, I 
drink wine. You flee from women, I pursue them. But 
we are at one in these things : you generously spend the 
treasures of the church, I keep nothing for myself. You 
have gouty hands, I have gouty feet. You are ruining 
the church, I, the empire.'" 

We pass on to one who among all the Humanists of the 
fifteenth century was himself a conspicuous exemplar, a 
veritable microcosm of the entire Classic Renaissance. 

This was Francesco Filelfo (1398-1481). Trained at 
Padua, and a budding professor of the Classics at Venice, 
he spent eight important years at Constantinople as sec- 
retary of the Venetian embassy. His aim was to become 
a master of Greek. Returning to Venice in 1427, with a 
Greek wife and a collection of Greek codices noteworthy 
in that day, he was engaged by some of the richest and 
most prosperous states of Italy to teach the language and 
the culture of the Classics : he thus became, in a way, for 
longer or shorter periods, the intellectual centre, the auto- 
crat of the most cherished forms of learning at Florence, 
Siena, Bologna, and, for the longest stay, at Milan, both 
under Visconti and Sforza. His reading was wide, his 
interest in Greek and Latin letters, antiquities, and above 
all, in the reproduction of prose and verse, was genuine 
and profound. It is hard for one who has carefully 
perused some one of the folios containing letters of his, to 
determine, whether his craving for gold or his desire 
to acquire codices or his insatiable appetite for notice 
and renown was stronger or strongest. 

His letters often were composed as official epistles from 
state to state by direct mandate of his princely patrons at 
Milan. Among the noble or distinguished recipients we 
notice the Emperor of Byzantium, several popes, car- 
dinals and archbishops a plenty, the republic of Florence, 
King Charles VII of France. But the most besetting of 
all his sins, the typical failing of the Humanists, was his 
vanity. At thirty (1428) he writes to his fellow-human- 


ist, Victorius da Feltre : " that thou rejoicest that my 
name is dwelling in the mouth of all, far and wide, 
throughout Italy. . . ." " I am fully aware who I am!" 
. . . Aristotle's ethics, rather than that of the New 
Testament, had taken possession of his soul. He ad- 
dresses the cardinal of Bologna (in 1432) as "pater hu- 
manissime." At Florence (Oct. 1, 1432) "the eyes of all, 
the conversation of all, are directed towards myself. All 
rate me highly, all extol me to the sky with praises." 
He reminds Cosmo dei Medici (May 1, 1433) that Cosmo 
had first called on Filelfo when the latter came to Flor- 
ence as professor. He deplored the jealousy of two 
scholars of Florence : " but are they really superior to 
me in native ability, in learning, in power of literary 
expression, in taste of demeanor, in spotless conduct ? " 

He has a lively consciousness of his power (dated Siena, 
Sept. 13, 1438) not only to teach classic diction to youth, 
but impart to them the most refined theory of ethics. 
With all this vanity which was powerfully nurtured by 
the drift of the times, and by the universal itch for a 
quick and wide reputation — with all this there was in 
Filelfo a keen and trenchant intelligence which forsook 
him only when he dealt with himself. When Filelfo had 
entered Milan in 1440, his report of the event was ren- 
dered in these words : " My arrival was received with great 
delight both by this distinguished prince as well as by the 
whole commonwealth, so that Filelfo is highly regarded 
by all." His theory of morals gradually takes on a dis- 
tinctly Stoical coloring in terms and categories. This 
was the effect of his academic expounding of practical 
Stoicism, and that noble striving for the boons inherent in 
the soul, a soul withdrawn entirely from craving of wealth or 
fame — of this there is not the slightest trace in this rep- 
resentative Humanist. The Envy of the Gods is fused 
in his moralizing with a frequent admixture of ill-related 
Christian phrase. 

It is clear that Filelfo's desire to publish ultimately all 
his letters proved a check on him (which check he 
utterly threw aside in his "Satyrce"^). As many others 


of the Humanists, so Filelfo too when (rarely) he seems 
to speak with genuine sentiment of his religious feelings, 
betrays that vague deism of God and Virtue which 
went hand in hand with peaceful or even friendly rela- 
tions to church and to Clerics (in the miseries brought 
on by the siege of Milan, Feb. 26, 1450) : " whether one 
should call that Fate or Necessity or by any other name 
whatsoever — that which is above us. ..." But the 
chastening influences of this time of need and stress seem 
actually to have quickened his earlier Christian senti- 
ments : he writes in October, 1450 : " For thou knowest well 
that we are sojourners only in a strange land, and are un- 
free as long as we live here." And, soon after this time, 
he was deeply immersed in the writing of his frivolous 
" Satyr w." In short, while the Humanists charged the 
Clerics with hypocrisy, they were very far from consist- 
ent sincerity themselves, much as they vaunted that they 
spoke and lived in complete harmony with their convic- 
tions. Of these indeed the proud belief, that, by their 
Latin verse, they could bestow immortality, comparable to 
that once bestowed by Vergil or Horace, — this conceit 
was exceedingly strong, and we must add it produced them 
many purses of gold from those who were thus immortal- 
ized (cf. letter of January, 1451 : ex hominibus dec* 
facer e to make gods out of men). We will close this 
brief delineation of Filelfo with a citation from an 
epistolary admonition directed to Poggio and Valla: 
Why (March 7, 1453) do you hate me so bitterly? And 
why are you so foul towards one another? "As far as 
I hear, there is no form of abuse, which while you are 
flashing your blades at one another through every insult 
of vituperation, you have left unhandled. And that too 
in the Roman curia, that is, in the most famous and the 
most brilliant theatre of the whole world." 

The tutor of the children of Lorenzo dei Medici, Poli- 
ziano, in his mastery of Greek and Latin, stood quite alone 
in Italy after the death of Filelfo (1454-1494). A Wun- 


derkind in the exceptional precocity of his early resplen- 
dent powers, translating at sixteen several books of Homer 
into Latin hexameter, he soon lectured at Florence, and 
from this academic source the first English teachers of 
Greek as well as the German Reuchlin derived impulse 
and instruction. 

The wonderful ease and grace of his Latin verse almost 
makes one pause to ask whether the cunning of Horace, 
of Catullus or Ovid, had actually had a literary palingene- 
sis on the Arno. 

But we must turn to his themes and look beyond this 
formal facility. We see, indeed, the paganism of glori- 
fying lust ; both Latin and Greek verses are there so foul 
in their enthusiasm of unnatural lust that we marvel not 
that Madonna Clarice, the wife of Lorenzo, in .the end 
caused Politian's removal from the household, as being a 
plague to her sons. This man was teacher of the future 
Pope Leo X. 

The greatest skill and an almost incredible control of 
word and phrase does Politian display in this verse, in 
which the phenomena of mere sexualism are enumerated 
in a manner that fairly outdoes the Pans and Satyrs of 
Catullus and Ovid. We notice that the most repulsive 
of these themes both in Greek and Latin is so turned that 
the more recondite tongue, Greek, is to him an even more 
unrestrained sphere of animal abandon and truly pagan 
art. Weirdly incongruous there appear in this company 
of Aphrodite Pandemos some lines of a quasi-religious 
nature in Greek hexameters, filled of course with solid 
patches of Homeric phrase, grotesque application of Zeus- 
epithets to the Almighty to whom in the end the creature 
of clay confesses his sins. But the studies in the portfolio 
of this protagonist among the later Humanists are mainly 
pagan and unreservedly so, and in the laudation of a rav- 
ishing maiden, masked under the classic name of Lalage, 
we are told that she is worthy of the couch of Jove. Two 
hymns in honor of the Virgin Mary were penned by the 
same hand (v. "Prose Volgari inedite e Poesie Latine e 
Greche" Florence, Barbera, 1867). 


Meanwhile the notorious decline of the church and its 
government had kept pace with this much vaunted Re- 
naissance of Classic imitation. Church politics, church 
government, the financial exploitation of Christendom 
with ever new forms of Sacerdotal Commerce, the un- 
blushing secularization of the central see of Rome and all 
its works, the conversion of the Roman pontiff into a 
prince and politician among the princes and politicians of 
Italy, the splendid nuptials of papal daughters, the estab- 
lishment of short-lived dynasties and principalities for pa- 
pal sons — these and many more things mark the last gen- 
eration of the Italian quattro cento. The paganism of the 
Humanists found itself in calm concord with the general 
drift. This church and this world indeed were as one, 
nay, they were merely different phases of the same world. 
In 1478 Pope Sixtus IV supported the murderous plot 
of the Pazzi at Florence, in which a brother of Lorenzo 
dei Medici was actually stabbed to death in a church dur- 
ing divine worship, and Lorenzo himself, the central saint 
in the wearisome cult of the Renaissance, barely escaped. 
The pope made his case worse by issuing an edict of ex- 
communication against all Florence, all, it seems, on ac- 
count of the political interests of the Count of Imola, his 

In 1484 Innocent VII succeeded. He had seven bas- 
tard children. He had pledged himself to the cardinal 
politicians of the conclave to promote but a single one of 
his kin. He broke this pledge, and also enraged the 
municipal Romans by bestowing the fat places on non- 
Romans. He chose his son-in-law of Genoa, a financier, 
to supervise the city taxes ; in fact, with the commercial 
spirit of his native Genoa well expressed, he was cleverly 
attentive to the papal ledger. One of his sons married 
a daughter of Lorenzo, the so-called magnificent. As a 
practical consequence of this family alliance, three years 
later Lorenzo's son John was made a cardinal, though a 
mere stripling of fourteen, destined to become pope 
further on, and last of the Humanist popes, a species 
which, after the revolt of Luther, became somehow quite 


impossible, a cessation which the Herr Geheimrath von 
Goethe greatly deplored in his time. In 1492 Alexander 
VI (Roderigo Borgia) at sixty-two purchased the papacy 
from his fellow-cardinals. What he did for his children 
and what they were and what they did, is it not recorded 
in the diary of the papal master of ceremonies, Burchard ? 
Recorded, I say, in a very cold-blooded manner, although 
the Latin is not at all up to the Humanistic standard. 
And so we will leave the genial Cesare and the romantic 
Lucrezia to those who wish to rave about the great moral 
emancipation wrought in beautiful Italy by the Renais- 
sance ; or when they have become a little exhausted by 
the ecstasies of the comely Walter Pater, ecstasies about 
Mona Lisa or some other item in the latter's calendar of 
Renaissance saints both male and female, to which I sup- 
pose Rafael's Fornarina also belongs. For the aesthetic 
Pater is indeed a great guide in the worship of the 
beautiful, and if the senses could replace the conscience, 
and if the emancipation of the flesh could make the 
spiritual needs of the soul dispensable, then the ecstatic 
worshipper of the comely would indeed not be what he is, 
a blind leader of the blind. 

An arch-saint also in the traditional cult of the Renais- 
sance was Lorenzo dei Medici, very magnificent indeed in 
spending the wealth of his grandfather and barely suc- 
cessful in concealing his own insolvency with money that 
belonged to the commonwealth : a commonwealth that he 
had with cunning planning gradually deprived of self- 
government, and which under his wretched son Peter 
became an easy prey to France. We must content our- 
selves here with transcribing from the pages of Villari, 
one of the most patriotic and learned Italians of these lat- 
ter times : " Among all his inventions, the most celebrated 
were those called the Canti Carnascialeschi, gay ballads, 
composed for the first time by him, and intended to be 
sung at masquerades during the carnival. ..." "We 
cannot have a better picture of the corruption of those 
days than by reading those songs. In the present day, 
not only the young nobles, but the lowest rabble would 


be disgusted by them, and were they to be sung in the 
streets, it would be such an outrage to public decency as 
to call for punishment. But their composition was the 
favorite occupation of a prince praised by all the world, 
and held up as a model to other sovereigns as a prodigy 
of talent, as a political and literary genius. And such as 
he was then reckoned, many now hold him to have been. 
He is pardoned by them for the blood he shed in main- 
taining a power which had been unjustly acquired by 
his family and himself ; for the disorders he caused in 
the republic ; for plundering the public treasury to de- 
fray his extravagant expenditure ; for the indecent prof- 
ligacy to which he was given up, although infirm of 
body ; and for the rapid and infernal system of corrup- 
tion of the people — an object to which he never ceased to 
apply the whole force of his mind : and all this is over- 
looked because he was a patron of letters and the fine arts." 

But Erasmus remains, and without some view and 
vision of this protagonist among the Humanists this chap- 
ter would be wretchedly truncated and inadequate. Of 
him even in our own day may be said what Schiller said of 
Wallenstein. For here too preeminently do we see the 
variation and vacillation, the mutations and oscillation in 
the delineations of his character, which are due to the 
favor and to the hatred of party and faction. 

I must be somewhat precise myself. Fair indeed I can- 
not be to those critics who with the literary and aesthetical 
voluptuary Goethe and all his school and kin deplore the 
reformation as a jarring in the current of the Renaissance, 
and as a displacement of a movement dear to them by 
one alien to them. 

For a century or more had the more earnest spirits whose 
spirituality had not been smothered by the inferior things 
cried out for a radical betterment. The Humanists had 
contributed somewhat less than nothing to this cry and 
craving. Their satire could not amount to anything be- 
cause they themselves were the most pronounced advocates 
of that emancipation of the flesh which they fully and 
unrestrainedly exemplified in their own lives. Erasmus 


then, born and reared in the time of great, if not the 
greatest, humiliation of the papacy, was, in the production 
of Latin letters, the greatest of all the Humanists. A 
keen and penetrating soul was his, and the lifelong occu- 
pations of critical scholarship were ever whetting that 
edge. Is there anywhere in literature a more radical 
satire than his Praise of Folly ("Encomium Morice" 1509) ? 
Lye and vitriol, vitriol and lye, do drip from this pen, scorn 
and sweeping condemnation alone is here uttered, in the 
cosmopolitan scholar's learned tongue. We may ignore 
the classicist embroideries so dear to the Renaissance and 
their humanists: to-day indeed no one would tolerate such 
in the letters that people cherish. And so we ignore 
what his time so eagerly cherished: his allusions to Midas, 
Pan, Hercules, Solon, Jupiter, Plutus, Homer, Hesiod, 
Gardens of Adonis, of which, in spite of the ever increas- 
ing erudition of little coteries, the souls of men have be- 
come somewhat weary. There is much affinity with 
Lucian, some of whose things Erasmus edited. But he 
also edited the New Testament and spared not there the 
arid futilities of scholasticism nor the actual corruption in 
the actual church. It was in the air: in England noble 
souls, men like Colet and Thomas More, became his friends. 
Again and again he visited England, and the young 
Prince Henry assured him that he wrote a style which all 
the world praised. After he had gained European celebrity 
through Aldus of Venice, and during a sojourn at Rome, 
after this he was again invited to England, where he notes 
that Thomas More " has his hours of prayer, but he uses 
no forms and prays out of his heart." Even then, in 
1509, the corruption of things clerical and ecclesiastical 
was so universally, so perpetually felt, that the young 
king, Henry VIII, uttered these words (whether the 
ideas had oozed into his soul from men like Colet, I do 
not know) : " It has been and is my earnest wish to 
restore Christ's religion to its pristine purity." 

To proceed: the revival of the Scriptures followed upon 
the revival of the Classics. Which was more potent? 
Which was more important ? As for Erasmus, he loved 


truth in a certain intellectual and scholarly way, and he 
loved to utter his satire : and still he understood with 
marvellous adroitness to maintain pleasant and profitable 
relations with the very powers whose substance and 
foundations he had so brilliantly attacked. Thus in his 
New Testament, on Matthew 19, 12, he had published 
sharp comments, widely condemnatory of the practices of 
the clergy in his day. On Matthew 24, 23, he had com- 
pared the military pope Julius II to Pompey and Caesar; 
elsewhere he had proclaimed against the use of Latin as 
the language of public worship; on I Timothy 1, 6, he 
had condemned the problems of scholastic theological 
learning; on I Timothy 3, 2, he had fairly approved 
clerical marriage (as had Valla before him): and still, 
curiously enough, his New Testament, of which 100,000 
copies were sold in France alone, was published with the 
approbation of Giovanni dei Medici, better known 
as Leo X, last of the Humanist popes, quondam pupil of 
Poliziano, and long canonized in the Renaissance cult. 

There was probably no single soul in the church more pro- 
foundly indifferent to the New Testament than Leo himself. 
Leo is he of whom a distinguished English critic and ex- 
pert in Italian letters (Richard Garnett) wrote (" Encycl. 
Britannica ") : " The essential paganism of the Renaissance 
was not then perceived." "His sesthetic pantheism, 
though inspired by a real religious sentiment " (whatever 
that may be, Dr. Garnett), " fixed the reproach of pagan- 
ism upon her " (the church) " at the precise moment when 
an evangelical reaction was springing up." He and his 
Italian generation were greatly interested in Beauty and 
Pleasure, but in no wise were they concerned in spiritual 
things. To our ears it is mere timbrel noise when his 
beneficiary and biographer, Paul Giovio, Bishop (save 
the mark) of Nocera, raves about that " Golden Age " and 
calls his patron the "delight of the Human race." It is 
this man then of whom Erasmus made a kind of patron 
for himself. For some one wrote to Erasmus in 1514 or 
thereabouts : " The Holy Father was charmed with your 
style." So great was Erasmus become that he could 


afford to decline a bishopric offered him by young Charles 
of Spain. In dedicating his Jerome to Leo X he indulged 
in flattery so fulsome that Leo recommended him to Henry 
VIII for an English bishopric. We must credit his 
biographer and eulogist, Anthony Froude, with very con- 
siderable candor, when he says ("Life and Letters of 
Erasmus," 1894, p. 205) : " He (Erasmus) had none of the 
passionate horror of falsehood in sacred things which in- 
spired the new movement." The reader must be reminded 
here also that in these grave matters, Froude indeed took 
sides, and emphatically (on p. 206) utters his denial of any 
divine revelation, and also sets forth, that on questions of 
absolute religious truth the temperament of Erasmus was 
essentially negative. The great crisis of 1517 forced men 
into avowals and into definite positions. But Erasmus 
chose to abide with and within the church which he had 
so bitterly satirized and censured. And even after the ref- 
ormation had actually begun, he wrote: " Time was, when 
learning was only found in the religious orders. The re- 
ligious orders nowadays care only for money and sensuality, 
while learning has passed to secular princes and peers and 
courtiers." And still he says of himself: " I have written 
nothing which can belaid hold of against established order." 
" I would rather see things left as they are than to see a 
revolution which may lead to one knows not what. Others 
may be martyrs if they like. I aspire to no such honor." 
u Luther's movement was not connected with learning " 
(p. 288, Froude). Abundantly the arch-humanist testifies 
that the great revolt and the rehabilitation of the New 
Testament was essentially not kin to Humanism. "You 
remember Reuchlin," he wrote on Oct. 10, 1525, (i the 
conflict was raging between the Muses and their enemies " 
(the "Epistolce Obscurorum Virorum ") " when up sprang 
Luther and the object thenceforward was to entangle 
the friends of literature in the Lutheran business so as to 
destroy both them and him together." 

Nor do we hear of any martyr for spiritual truth in the 
fatherland of Humanism, Italy. They were generally 
quite willing to accept some preferment in the church it- 


self : when they were sometimes eager to suppress some 
of their Latin verse. The reformation was to them, to 
use a phrase of Giovio's, " the crazy mouthing " of the 
Saxon monk, and they continued to measure everything 
by the "majesty of Cicero's style." For such a one 
Savonarola was an object of taunts and reproach. The 
exotic repristination of letters of long ago in the naive 
conviction that these forms were a finality of perfection — 
with but slight immersion in Greek — this remained the 
type of the Italian Humanist. 

But their immorality and generally contemptible char- 
acter rather made a byword of the name Umanista, as we 
may see in the Seventh Satire of Ariosto, when the great 
poet of Ferrara on the one hand speaks of the humanistic 
culture as of the "arts which exalt man," but also adds 
that few Humanists are really free from the practice of 
unnatural lust. Much of the current coin had proven 
spurious : the world wearied of it. 

Uncritical admiration and mechanical reproduction had 
seemed to the leading minds of Europe for some two hun- 
dred years a finality of culture : thus they had committed 
the grave and stupendous error of ignoring the broad 
basis of sin and corruption, the worship of nature and the 
apotheosis of our common clay, which lie at the base of 
the history of the classic world, together with that rigid 
limitation of concern in narrow bounds of petty republics 
or the glorification of force, as in Rome. 

The Humanists, in a word, knew the ancient world but 
ill, but as the bluebottles gather around the carcass of an 
animal, or clouds of gnats hover over the effluvia of the 
barnyard, so many of them circled around what was de- 
based and putrescent in the letters and art of the classic 
past of the Mediterranean world. 

Note. — Much of the available leisure during two years of my life 
was devoted to the task of gaining a closer and fairer vision of this im- 
portant subject. For I have a constitutional dislike of using aught but 
first-hand material. Burckhardt, it may be well to note for younger 
readers, with all his mastery of infinite detail, is wholly under the 


thrall of Hegelianism. Pater is a morbid worshipper of the Beautiful. 
Geiger's " Petrarka " is not very searching and decidedly inferior to 
Voigt. In Symonds's fine books there is a note of sadness. I will now 
briefly enumerate some of my more original material. But I must 
content myself now with mere enumeration : J. A. Froude, " Life and 
Letters of Erasmus," 1894 ; Erasmus, " Encomium Moriae " : Pe- 
trarch's Latin works, fol. Basle, 1581 ; Boccaccio, " Decamerone " ; Leo- 
nardo Bruni, " Epistolae," ed. Melius, Florence, 1741 ; Afacckiavelli, 
"The Prince"; Burchardi "Diarium"; Traversari, "Epistulae," in 
Muratori ; Enea Sylvio, " De Viris illustribus " ; Poggio, " Dialogus 
contra Hypocrisim " ; the same author, " Facetiae " ; von der Hardt, 
" Documents, etc., of the Council of Constance " ; Gieseler, " Church 
History," Vol. 4 ; Paulus Jovius (Giovio), " Vita Leonis Decimi " ; 
the same author, " Elogia vivorum in Uteris illustrium " ; Filelfo, 
"Epistolae," Venice, 1489; L. Valla, various essays; L. dei Medici 
autobiographical sketch. 

Of the painters of the Renaissance I will say little ; but compare 
their treatment of the traditional biblical and religious subjects with 
that of the outright mythological ones, which they owed really to the 
craze of the Humanists. You will then see as in a flash how the 
worship of beauty per se had come into power and how spirituality 
had departed. Compare, e.g., Lionardo da Vinci's head of John Bap- 
tist with the same painter's head of Leda. It is incredible how much 
there is of the same mould and design, pose of head, and that gentle 
smile or faint suggestion of a smile over which the conoscenti rave. 
His Christ bearing the cross is by no means St. Bernard's Salve caput 
cruentatum — but is of incredible physical beauty. Merely cancel 
cross and crown of thorns, and fairly nothing remains of the Man of 
Sorrows and the Redeemer of the World. 



In settled Greek education, Homer simply was The 
Poet. Merely to trace, to-day, the erudition bestowed by 
Greek scholars upon these Epics, would be a task of 
many years (Sengebusch). One has spoken of the Greek 
Bible. The Greeks as a nationality certainly never 
dropped or disavowed those poems of their Gods and 
mighty men of war. I am uttering a commonplace of 
academic tradition. Even as I write, Greek, as an ele- 
ment of general or liberal education, is receding like an 
ebb-tide : and while learned men will certainly maintain 
Greek erudition, culture derived or derivable from Greek 
will be ever more circumscribed. The more need of a 
book like mine. Gladstone's " Juventus Mundi " is a 
term fairly commonplace. But these Epics are by no 
means primeval, let alone primitive, things. Centuries 
may have passed until they assumed the form in which 
not Solon only, but before him, Archilochos or Hesiod 
even, heard or chanted them. The best units of metrical 
phrase and, particularly, of hexametrical cadence, early 
passed into usage and currency. I must decline here to 
drag in any tags or tatters of erudition, or tell — for who 
cares — what the various critics have uttered, critics from 
Plato or Aristotle, from Aristarchos of Alexandria, from 
Krates of Pergamos, down to Porphyry, down to Wolf, 
Lehrs, Grote, Jebb, or Seymour. I must disavow any 
concern as to how these things, the Gods of Greece, were 
"evolved": concern, e.g., for Herbert Spencer's "Ani- 
mism" or any other figment misbegotten out of present 
scientific conceits. 



It is the singer who creates and transmits fame and 
repute, chanting in baronial halls — he an essential con- 
comitant of an aristocratic order of society. So Phemios 
in the Odyssey (8, 479) is the son of " Terpios " (who 
produces delight.) This singing of Gods and men had 
long been going on when these Epics were making. The 
legends themselves were as the warp: and as for the woof 
(of phrase), the shuttle of centuries had been active. 
Each community had its local heroes and legends: at 
Corinth it was Sisyphos and Bellerophontes; in southern 
Thessaly, Peleus, Thetis and Achilles, Jason and Medea ; 
in Thebes and Argos, Heracles; in Crete, Europa and 
Zeus, Minos and Pasiphae, Minotaur and Daidalos ; in 
Thebes again, the dark fate, the woes and curses of 
(Edipus; at Argos, in particular, the golden gleam of 
Pelops and the curse upon his house, and many more. 
Almost any of these might have been wrought into an 
epic of the bulk and worth of the Iliad. The vale he 
happened to traverse, the hall where he was entertained, 
determined the theme of the travelling singer. But 
whether the minstrel was matched in direct contest (agdri) 
or whether he had to chant, where many a harper had 
chanted before (" Hymnus on Delian Apollo," 169 sqq.*) — 
he was compelled to strive to excel. Thus were produced 
the hexametrical formulae in a practice where the ear was 
trained wonderfully, even long before the general use of 
letters: formulae, I say, satisfying and iterated without 
causing critical offence. The charm of exceptionally per- 
fect elocution, rather than the creation of anything really 
new, was that which gave pleasure, a pleasure which 
approved of " immortal gods, who hold the wide heaven," 
" the child of the Aigis-holding Zeus," " shepherd of the 
people," " Hear me, O Lord," " ambrosial night," " rose- 
fingered Dawn," and a hundred more formulary units of 
hexametric phrase. But even more did the singers thus 
fix and canonize the Gods and their attributes. 

But, while of epic art and kindred matters I could not 
well say less, I must not say more: Bacon, on the whole, 
has well said on this subject: " for you may imagine what 


kind of faith theirs was, when the chief doctors and fathers 
of their church were the poets ." Poets and poetical minds 
will always feel, as Schiller did, much affinity for these 
bright images, for these significant symbols of nature. I 
must now ask the reader to consider well the much quoted 
words of Herodotus, II, 53 (after stating that the Hel- 
lenes took over the names of the Gods from the Pelas- 
gians, Herodotus goes on to say) : " but whence each of 
the Gods arose, whether even they always were, all of 
them, what kind of beings they were as to their shapes, 
they (the Greeks) did not know, so to speak, until the 
day before yesterday and yesterday" (compared with 
Egypt). " For I think that Hesiod and Homer as to age 
were four hundred years before my time (i.e. before, 
about, 430 B.C.) and not any more : these are the ones 
who made (we should say fixed or canonized^) a theogony 
for the Greeks, both bestowing upon the Gods their 
appellations and discriminating their (various) honors 
and functions, and indicating their forms." A great 
number of later poets and prose writers dealt with these 
things, Pindar, iEschylus, the beginners of Greek histori- 
ography — but the consciousness of the Greeks, broadly 
speaking, remained unaffected, unimpressed, unswayed, 
by these epigones, many of whom nobly strove to elevate 
or to refine the religious ideas of their countrymen. 
The descriptions of local usages as they are given by 
Pausanias in the sunset of Greek paganism, abundantly 
testify how naively, and how stubbornly, these things 
were actually conserved. 

What we seek here is this : not to carry owls to Athens, 
nor to add any new theory to those sleeping in the her- 
baria of libraries, but to set forth, with the utmost fair- 
ness, the actual attitude of the Greeks towards their God 
and his under-gods. Zeus indeed, the god of light and 
of the bright firmament vaulted over us, is also (with that 
smoothly gliding symbolism so innate in the Greek in- 
genium) the power over all. It is he who plans to honor 


Achilles and bring discomfiture upon Agamemnon (II., 1, 
523 «££.)• Though Poseidon and Hades (II. ,15, 185) are 
called co-regents, with distinct and independent spheres of 
power, still Zeus is above all. When or how this physical 
dome celestial has passed into personality, we are entirely 
unconcerned. Storms, indeed, rain showers, winds retard- 
ing or speeding seafaring men, sudden gales: these are not 
so much the work of Zeus — in a way they are Zeus; they 
are, what men perceive of him. " Zeus rains" (II., 12, 25), 
he " started a gale of wind from the Ida range " (v. 252), 
he starts the snowflakes on a winter's day, nay, " he starts 
to snow," the rain shower is his (v. 286), his thunderbolt 
uproots the sturdy oak (14, 414). A congeries, then, of 
physical forces is he, and, as supplanting his father 
Kronos (Time breeds and devours its own begetting, 
obviously), Zeus is simply the cosmic order in which men 
actually live. Rarely is Zeus, in Homer, conceived 
as a moral force: " On a day of autumn when Zeus pours 
down water profusely, when he has an angry grudge 
against men who violently on the market give crooked 
decisions at law and drive out justice, having no concern 
for the vengeance of the Gods" (II., 16, 385 sqq.). 
Further, Zeus does indeed protect strangers (Zeus Xenios) 
and their plaint is his concern (13, 625; Od., 6, 207; 7, 
180, 269; 13, 25, 213; 14, 283, 389). He too ordains 
the order of time: hence are "sacred day," "sacred 
darkness," "ambrosial night," "seasons of Zeus." The 
rivers are "Zeus-fallen," i.e. (14, 434) the water that 
replenishes them ultimately comes from the sky. A 
physical power then, order, ordainer, in the main : his 
will is ascertainable through te'rds (wonder) and sSma 
(sign) (see the Homeric Lexica). 

The fatherhood of Zeus is of practical import mainly to 
the aristocracy. The historical retrospect of the Greeks 
of these earlier records was narrow. Clearly their legends 
were in the making, when the southward movement down 
to Malea, when the displacing and dislodgment of Achae- 
ans by the sterner and stronger Dorians, when the forcing 
of the Ionians across the iEgean had not yet been con- 


summated. It was a time when the cone of Olympus was 
of a truth a central " high place," the u highest place " the 
Hellenes all knew or knew of. Of Zeus-derived ancestry- 
then I was speaking: an undisputed preeminence of he- 
roic leaders was best maintained with such claims of ances- 
try. The Greeks, I say, came into their own peninsula 
from the north, and still in every vale were potent living 
legends — potent to the time of Hadrian and into the very 
eventide of the Greek pagan world. In these legends 
almost uniformly the local founder is presented as an " au- 
tochthon " (springing from the soil), not as an immigrant. 
This, particularly, was the proud belief of the leaders of 
Greek intelligence, the people of Attica (although they 
were really of immigrant stock no less than their compa- 
triots) — a form of particularist vanity which perpetually 
interfered with real political consolidation of this excep- 
tionally gifted nationality. It was not any more mirac- 
ulous then to cite Zeus as an ancestor, Zeus, under whose 
specific grace and inspiration lay kingship and all talent to 
rule and direct: from him particularly are derived fame 
and honor (II., 17, 251). 

But is Zeus himself fully and absolutely sovereign? 
He indeed moderates, directs, dispenses, retards, acceler- 
ates, in one word, manages: thus only is the plot and plan 
of the Wrath of Achilles conceived and conceivable. But 
" Moira " (Fate, i.e. allotment, portion, share) (more rarely 
" Aisa ") is the coordinate power, gloomy and oppressive. 

Vainly thus does Zeus bewail the impending doom of 
his own son Sarpedon (II., 16, 433). Whereat his spouse 
Hera reminds him of the folly of this concern: does not 
Sarpedon belong to that order of beings to whom death is 
fated long ago ? " But (v. 445) if thou sendest Sarpedon 
alive to his home, ponder thou lest thereafter many a 
nobler one of the Gods may wish to send his own beloved 
son away from mighty battle: for many sons of the Im- 
mortals are warring about Priam's great city whom you 
will inspire with direful anger." We must content our- 
self with citing the eminent student of these and kindred 
things, Carl Friedr, Naegehbach ("Homerische Theologie," 


2d ed., 1861, p. 145): "Homer's conception utterly failed 
to keep apart the spheres of both activities, inasmuch as 
it sways to and fro between distinguishing and amalga- 
mating the will of the deity and the will of fate." Zeus 
indeed is presented as holding the golden scales in which 
repose the fates of death — as he listeth, apparently, caus- 
ing one to descend (cf. II., 8, 69 s^.; 11, 336; 12,402; 
19, 223; 22, 209, etc.). 

And so, too, the Overgod rules over and overrules his 
Olympian household, enjoining (though not really with 
success) neutrality upon them all: he alone is conceived 
as being a match and more for them all (8, 210 sqq.*). 

On the whole, earthly power and prosperity is merely 
another name for the favor and blessing of Zeus; and there 
is not, in the entire range of Epic poetry, as there is not 
in the noblest strains of ^Eschylus, any inkling whatever 
of the inscrutable profundity of the chief verities reposing 
in the Book of Job. 

The Odyssey has been aptly compared (by an ancient 
critic) to the sun in his lower slanting rays, after the 
noon: in the Odyssey then in the Book of the Dead (book 
11) there is a general view of the woe of Agamemnon (v. 
436) : " Oh, verily, greatly, and with uncommon force 
did Zeus hate the race of Atreus, on account of woman's 
wiles from the beginning; for many of us, for Helen's sake, 
did perish," etc. 

I wrote above this chapter "Gods and Men." In the 
higher sense Zeus towers alone. As for the undergods 
they are, in their essence, repositories in perfection of cer- 
tain powers and gifts which men hold and have from them. 
From Hera are matrimony and matrimonial blessings, and 
these ever repose with her. Thus she favored Jason (Od. 
12, 72). Again: the daughters of Pandareos had been 
left orphans (Od., 20, 685 sqq.*). Aphrodite reared them 
with cheese and sweet honey and pleasant wine (they be- 
came fair to see). Hera endowed them above all women 
with form and with wisdom: tall stature chaste Artemis 
provided them: Athena brought them to work famous 
works. Apollo, in the Iliad, has nothing to do whatsoever 


with the sun. Helios is not of the Olympians at all. 
When the crews of Odysseus have slain the steers of 
Helios (Od\, 12, 382) the latter threatens to descend into 
the realm of Hades and shine among the dead. Upon 
which the sovereign of Olympus promises prompt satisfac- 
tion. Apollo, then, is as yet purely the archer and the de- 
stroyer of pests (II., 1, 39): prophet at Delos and Delphi; 
giver of music, personal minister of Zeus. Antiquarian 
speculation, e.g. as to how the symbolism of swift death 
(e.g. by paralytic stroke) and of archery blended and 
united in this personified force, concern us not here. We 
seek merely to gain a closer vision of the actual religious 
ideas of the Greeks, the working ideas. 

Where a mortal is distinguished by extraordinary skill 
with bow and arrow, such a one palpably enjoys exceptional 
grace and good will from the archer god ; and he, who 
conspicuously fails of the mark, has been hampered by the 
same Apollo (8, 311) : great archers, like Eurytos of 
Oichalia, challenge even him, with dire results (Od., 8,226). 

These forces, then, humanized though they be, have but 
rarely the whole range of human joys, sorrows, and sym- 
pathies. They are — all the undergods of Zeus — limited 
forces, living on from generation to generation of men, 
but, to say it at once and once for all, they are not good, not 
essentially good. They may be beneficent or they may not. 
Who will determine their mood or favor? Their foibles 
and their passions are merely those of man, actual, average 
man. During the Wrath of Achilles, Hera plans to with- 
draw her sovereign spouse from his concern for mortals 
by connubial blandishments. These are furnished her by 
Aphrodite, the goddess of sensual beauty and sensual love 
at the petition of the Olympian queen (II., 14, 198): " give 
me now love and desire, wherewith thou overcomest all 
Immortals and mortal men." (Aphrodite) "spoke it and 
from her bosom she loosened the zone worked with the 
needle, splendidly composite, where all her blandishments 
were wrought : therein resided love, therein desire, there 
whispering persuasion which beguiles the minds even 
of those who think shrewdly." We are presenting the 


permanent and enduring book of the Grecian world. 
On this book the literary culture, we may boldly 
say the universal culture of Greek youth, was grounded 
for roughly one thousand years or more. What a sovereign 
God, or sovereign of gods is this one of whom the singers 
chanted further (v. 294) : " As he beheld her, so desire 
darkened his shrewd mind," etc. No effort whatever was 
here made to etherize or to symbolize. The affinity which 
this unvarnished naturalness always had for all those who 
deceived their souls of " pure," i.e. unalloyed, humanity in 
Homer, grist on their particular mill (as Rousseau, Goethe, 
Byron) is quite obvious. Neither Purity nor Humility 
nor Mercy have a seat at the Olympian board. Zeus him- 
self — a grotesque lapse of psychological concinnity — to 
his lawful spouse recounts the rare and radiant beings, 
mortal or immortal, through whom mortal heroes traced 
paternity to him (the Alexandrine critics desired, in 
their higher criticism, to set these verses aside, but the 
lines were there long — long before Aristarchus, Zenodotus, 
and the rest were born) : the spouse of Ixion, mother of the 
valiant Pirithoos, Danae of Argos, the Phoenician princess 
Europa and the rest, staple of much of Greek art and 
Greek verse, later on. And so, too, the warriors before Troy 
have captive women for concubines, — Briseis, Chryseis, 
Tekmessa. Agamemnon himself returns to royal Mykenai 
as an ox enters the shambles, with the ill-fated prophetess 
Kassandra, his unwilling concubine. The unveiled though 
ever euphemistically phrased sensuality of Odysseus and 
Kirke or Kalypso, of the suitors in Ithaca with the maids 
in that baronial hall, is familiar to readers of Homer. 

Gladstone (" Juventus Mundi") has made some clever 
conjectures explanatory of the contemptuous treatment 
dealt to Aphrodite in the martial Epic. Did this par- 
ticular Personification not, in time, become refined or en- 
nobled or was not this grossness purged away? I cannot 
see it. Thus in the " Homeric " " Hymn to Aphrodite," 
Zeus indeed had been her victim : easily (v. 35 sqq.) she 
had filled him with passion for mortal women. But now 
Zeus turns about in retribution, filling Aphrodite with love 


for a comely mortal youth — Anchises, who tends the sheep 
on the slopes of Ida. The sovereign and overpowering 
impulse is delineated (149 sqq.) : This impulse will I fol- 
low, no man or God will hold me, — now, this moment: 
" not even if the far-shooting Apollo himself shall send 
forth his groanful missiles from his silver bow," etc. And 
so, too, in the morality of the earlier Epic, the avowal of 
concupiscence is made with absolute frankness, as, e.g., of 
the Suitors of Penelope (Od., 18, 212 8qq.^). 

But, one may say, is not Intelligence highly extolled? 
Is not Athena the second figure in the entire Olympus ? 
Is she not, indeed, rather than Hera, really the foremost 
one among the undergods of Zeus? It is so. And so too 
it is Odysseus, rather than the valiant and choleric Ajax, 
who is the veritable microcosm of Greek nationality and 
the embodiment of Hellenic consciousness. 

If one examines with patient care, as I have done, 
every passage concerned with Athena in the two Epics, 
one realizes, in a very impressive manner, that this much- 
vaunted deity of Intelligence is purely a force of shrewdness 
and prudence and discretion : utterly alien to goodness or 
mercy, inextricably bound up with profit and loss, with 
success and with the avoidance of failure : success is every- 
thing. The delicate symbolism of early Greece made her 
leap forward, panoplied, from the head of Zeus, who hears 
her more willingly than his own spouse. So bitter is she in 
her hatred of Troy, that she even seconds Achilles : ignoble 
to the most elementary sense of chivalry is her being in 
at the death (II., 22, 276) of by far the noblest figure 
in the entire Epic, and draining deep the cup of revenge. 
In the roaming adventures of the wily Ithacan she is, so 
to speak, the divine correlative of her favorite, his source 
of strength, his unfathomable resource. When at last 
he awakes on the soil of his native isle, there enters to 
him his tutelary deity in the garb of a young shepherd, 
whom the wily wanderer asks what the name of the 
land might be. And to hide his identity he proceeds 
to tell a glib but mendacious story about himself and 
how he came there (Od., 13, 220 sqq.~). But it is 


this very trait of resourceful lying which Athena loves and 
admires in him ; she is fairly carried away by delight : she 
changes her form of epiphany (v. 282) to " a woman fair 
and large and knowing shining works " : having stroked 
him with her hand " and giving voice she addressed to 
him winged word : Lucre-loving must he be and crafty 
who would get ahead of you in every wile, even if a god 
should meet you. Intolerable one ! Tortuous-minded, 
insatiable of wiles : thou then wast bound not to cease 
from thy deceptions, not even when thou wast in thine 
own, and from crafty tales which are dear to thee from the 
ground up. But come, let us no more discourse on these 
things, we both knowing the gainful things, since thou art 
by far the best of all mortals in counsel and tales and I 
among all gods in design am I famed and gainful conceits." 
And as he still perseveres in pretending ignorance, she 
bursts forth (v. 330) : " Always have you such a conceit 
in your heart : therefore also I cannot forsake you when 
you are in distress because you are glib of speech and 
close-minded and prudent." 

In a word, then, these "gods" are merely narrow 
powers and impulses of man, — " laws," as some say, 
in his range of growth and being. 

Clearly, then, in this circumscribed substance and 
range of their being they not only lack all moral eleva- 
tion, nay, they are, to specify closely, alien to all moral 
category in themselves. Their motives in action are pre- 
cisely as good or as bad as the motives of the natural man 
are apt to be. Curious Godhead in which the good has no 
share, is no element; puzzling congeries of forces, this 

To turn to the darker side, then : they are lustful, 
and adulterous even, as in the ballad of Demodokos con- 
cerning Ares and Aphrodite. The seducer "gave much 
and shamed bed and couch of the lord Hephaistos " 
(Od., 8, 269). Helios told the wronged husband who 
later trapped the guilty pair. But why go farther? 


Here is revealed the current morality of the aristocracy 
of the iEgean Sea, to whom such adventure and intrigue 
were, in the main, amusing : "unquenchable laughter arose 
among the blissful gods, as they looked upon the devices 
of the shrewd Hephaistos "(v. 326 sq.} : amusing, this scan- 
dal in " high life," how the slow one caught the swift one. 

There were critics, higher or otherwise, in antiquity, 
who would consider this an "interpolation." This is no 
longer believed : the modern absurdity (Ameis, e.g.) is to 
differentiate "the gods of the cult from the gods of 
comedy." No, this ballad fits the essence of both fig- 
ments with perfect aptness. " Evolution," that divine 
maid of all work of the zoological philosophy, did not 
at all somehow operate here with academic propriety. 
But why be so squeamish about a " divinity " worshipped 
by Greek prostitutes and courtesans everywhere, e.g. at 
Corinth? If she be a divinity, then the legend sung by 
Demodokos is divine enough. 

But I say, and must say for them, many Greek teach- 
ers and scholars (v. Dindorf's " Scholia," Oxford, 1855) 
were annoyed or distressed. Some said that Homer in- 
serted this story to make his hearers sober and sane : it 
was really a deterrent example. Allegorical interpreta- 
tions also were resorted to — Beauty associated with fire 
and with iron to produce works of art ; others dragged 
in, absurdly enough, the tenets of Empedocles of Agri- 
gentum (fl. 444 B.C.). For as Homer more and more 
became the canonic book of Greek education, the teach- 
ing profession strained its ingenuity in such futilities. 
But even if such refining and purging exegesis (for which 
there is no scintilla of evidence) had dominated the 
Greek world, still we must remember that the local le- 
gends (as they appear to us in Pausanias, in the even- 
tide of Greek paganism) had a vitality as tenacious as 
the recurrent seasons, exceeding all eruditional crusts set- 
tled on the national Epic. In these legends the forcing 
of beautiful mortal women by some of the " gods " is not 
rare. The following may be cited (Apollodorus's "Bibli- 
otheca ") : Apollo enamoured of Hyacinth ; Thamyris and 


his unspeakable wager with the Muses; Poseidon, from 
anger, causes the bestial love of Queen Pasiphae ; He- 
phaistos tries to force Athena even. Aphrodite caused 
Smyrna, who had not honored her, to couch with her 
own father. But why go on? 

The academic lie of drawing " culture " from everything 
Greek ought to cease, the sooner the better : the histori- 
cal perspective of classical antiquity being the only true 
and wholesome one, and tenable one too, which is to be 
well considered by all concerned. 

Graver still is the legend of Ganymede, of the Trojan 
aristocracy (II., 202,32), "who was the fairest of mortal 
men, whom too the gods snatched away on high to be 
cupbearer on account of his beauty, that he might dwell 
with the immortals." To call the fair divine, Winckel- 
raann and the other sesthetical hierophants would say: 
it is very well said, very fine. Unfortunately soberer 
thinkers than these and better judges of Greekdom 
speak differently; mask and justification was Ganymede 
for the most unspeakable form of lust ; thus the legend 
was particularly elaborated in Crete and Euboea, where 
this vice was particularly endemic. The greatest disciple 
of Socrates, Plato, wrote in the work of his old age, tin' 
"Laws," I, 636, C: "We, all of us" (all Greece), " charge 
upon the Cretans the legend concerning Ganymede, (al- 
leging) that they invented the story, since it was the 
settled belief with them that their laws had come from 
Zeus, and that they superimposed this legend directed at 
Zeus, in order that, following the god, they may reap this 
pleasure also." If then we say the Iliad passage is merely 
(very convenient adverb) the apotheosis of beauty, it 
certainly did not long remain so. For, after Plato's 
clear condemnation the ogling article in Roscher's Lexi- 
con, with its moral obtuseness, is doubly vapid. Again 
we ask : where is thy Altiora Peto, thou Evolutionist 
believer ? For history here records but decadence and 
decay. But leaving this to the coming herbaria of Time, 
we proceed. Man deifies that which he would justify in 
himself. Justify the law in the members, I take it. Thus 


too the youth in a Menandrian play of that decadent Attic 
society (Menander flourished ab. 300 B.C.) latinized in the 
" Eunuchus " of Terence : " there was this painting, i.e. the 
fashion in which they say Jove sent a golden rain into 
the lap of Danae. I also began to view it, and because 
he (Jove) had played quite a similar game even of yore, 
my spirit rejoiced more greatly that a god changed him- 
self into a man and came upon another man's tiles through 
rain for the purpose of fooling a woman. But what a 
god ! who shakes the tops of temples with the crash of 
the heavens. I, little human being that I am, should not 
do it? Indeed I should, and freely, too." 

Thus the gods are mirrors of human lust. But they 
are also jealous and revengeful. Artemis sent the 
Kalydonian boar, because King Oineus in iEtolia had 
not included her in the sacrifices of the harvest (II., 9, 
534). The following are in the collection of Apollodorus: 
Apollo flayed Marsyas for challenging him in Music; 
Hera flung Side into Hades for vying with her as to 
beauty of form. Phineus was blinded by the gods 
because he foretold the future to mankind. Zeus 
blinds the healer Asklepios because he fears men may 
make too much headway against death and disease. 
Such were the gods made by the Hellenes for them- 
selves. What then was the worship of sacrifice and 
prayer ? 

The Homeric men " raise up their hands " when they 
pray (II., 5, 174; 6, 257 sqq.), to Zeus in the main: gen- 
erally when they desire some specific advantage or suc- 
cess : before speeding an arrow, to stay flight, to grant 
retribution : often they pray for a sign whether they shall 
venture upon an enterprise or not : he hears them by 
sending his eagle (II., 24, 301), cf. Od., 3, 173 ; or Od., 
20, 98 (thunder follows). The reader may find abundant 
data in the books of antiquarians such as Schoemann. 
Two things may be noted : one is the symbolism of 
cleansing before prayer. Deep is the feeling, I am sure, 
that sin makes the praying person unworthy. So II., 9, 


172 : " bring water for our hands and bid all hush, that 
we may pray to Zeus, if he will have pity," etc. So also 
Telernachos on the beach (Od., 2, 262), "having washed 
his hands in the gray sea water, prayed to Athena," etc. 
Or Achilles, in a famous passage (II., 16, 225 sqq.) hav- 
ing made libation from the cup which he used for Zeus 
alone : " he washed his hands, and dipped from sparkling 
wine : and then he prayed, having taken his stand in the 
middle of the enclosure and poured out wine, looking up 
into the sky : O lord Zeus of Dodona, dwelling far away 
ruling over frosty Dodona. . . ." " You heard me in the 
past, now crown with success my plan of sending out 
Patroklos," etc. Often the praying one reminds Zeus 
(and this is another point) of the sacrifices which he has 
made to him in the past (II., 15, 272). And indeed the 
function of priests largely resolves itself into an interpre- 
tation of a t'eras or a suggestion as to the proper mode of 
removing obstacles, e.g. the adverse winds at Aulis: how 
to placate, soothe, or propitiate. The symbolism of " clean 
hands " was not utterly unmeaning. For while Odysseus 
thanks Athena (II., 10, 280) for accomplishing the massa- 
cre at night of many sleeping victims, in their tent — 
on the other hand the murder of a guest is heinous : the 
murderer cannot pray to Zeus : cf. Od., 14, 406. (Eu- 
maios the swineherd to Odysseus disguised as a beggar.) 
In the main, however, the gods are convenient forces 
who may help or mar, bless or destroy: Fear seems to be 
at the base of it all. 

As for oaths, that by Styx (trickling Shudder-brook) 
has often been discussed. This, the symbol of cold death, 
is awful to the gods themselves : for the Olympians are 
the very personifications of life, pleasure, vigor : their 
immortality is curiously vague and often quasi-contin- 
gent (II., 14, 271 sqq. ; 15, 36), for they are abiding, 
but sinful and morally weak themselves, and cannot 
dispense with periodical consumption of ambrosia, the 
very stuff of immortality. One appeal, too, I observe in 
the war-epic to those powers that inflict retribution 
(rivvfiau) in an existence consequent upon this life (II., 


8, 276 sqq.^): "Father Zeus, — and Sun who seest upon 
all things and overhearest all things, and Rivers and 
Earth and Ye two who even below inflict retribution upon 
those who have toiled " (above) : " he teaches," says an 
ancient Scholiast, "that even after death those who do 
wrong are not relieved." 

While the sacrifice may seem to be a more substantial 
form of propitiation than prayer, the finest portions serve 
as a banquet for the worshippers, and the gods must be 
content with the savor of suet and thigh bones. Every- 
where the soul of the Greeks sought satisfaction in symbols 
or symbolic fitness of certain specific forms, as a heifer to 
Virgin Athena, a black ewe lamb for Earth, a white one 
for the Sun : matrons to bring a peplon (or a draping 
garment) to Athena. Sacrifices are, outright, called the 
proper way of desiring to accomplish a worldly aim — 
as in II., 8, 238. Here Agamemnon declares that on his 
way to Troy he never passed by any altar of Zeus " but 
at all burned fat of oxen and thigh bones, desiring to 
destroy the well-walled city of Troy." And an answer 
came, too : an eagle came and dropped a fawn at the altar 
of Zeus Pan-omphaios (of every omen). This is striking : 
not righteous living, but a multitude of sacrifices invests 
the worshipper with a merit, which the gods cannot fairly 
fail to recompense : so when Hector perishes, Apollo calls 
his fellow-Olympians cruel and destructive (II., 24, 33) 
for not requiting the many gifts of honor, i.e. ascending 
savor and libation. The sinner, too, fully aware of the 
moral wrong of his conduct, actually rewards the gods 
for the successful accomplishing of his designs. Thus 
Aigisthos, the paramour of the queen Klytaimnestra 
(Od., 3, 273) : " many sacrifices he made to the gods, and 
many precious gifts (textile fabrics and gold) he hung up" 
(i.e. when at last he had accomplished the seduction of 
Klytaimnestra) " having accomplished the great feat, 
which he had never dared to hope in his mind." 

Sometimes indeed more than those slender symbols of 
suet and thigh bones are given up : as when the swine- 
herd Eumaios (Od., 14, 419) acts as priest (Aparche is 


the beginning, initial portion : also called argma : clearly 
the gods are conceived as the honored guests to share the 
cheer of men, to share the best they have). But Eu- 
maios goes farther : when the roast was on the table he 
made seven portions : one for the nymphs and Hermes, 
the other six for those present. 

Autolykos, the maternal grandfather of Odysseus, was 
distinguished among men "by cunning and oath " (i.e. he 
was "smart" as the New England farmer says). Why? 
God Hermes bestowed this upon him, for he was wont to 
burn for him pleasing thigh bones of lambs and kids. 

The essential sameness of gods and men (apart from im- 
mortality and an irrevocable title to happiness) is the re- 
sult of this partial interpretation of salient and recurrent 
data. But the advancing of mere men to that divinity of 
the hews, sharing with the older Olympians and often re- 
ceiving greater worship than they, — this striking feature 
of Greek religion, the apotheosis of our own kind, has not 
yet been established at the time when the great epics 
were consummated. In the Iliad at least Kastor and 
Polydeukes (Pollux), the brothers of Helen, are merely 
underground, are merely dead and gone, like other mor- 
tals, valiant though they be (II., 3, 243). But even Hera- 
cles (Hera-Mes, renowned through Hera's rancor against 
him) is merely mortal and has died in the common way. 
Indeed he is described as "awful, worker of enormous 
feats, who has no remorse in doing wicked things, who with 
his archery inflicted hurt on the gods who inhabited Olym- 
pos " (i.e. on Hera), often miraculously succored by Zeus 
(II., 8, 362), cause of violent quarrels in the Olympian 
household (15, 18) : but he too had to die. " For not 
even the mighty brawn of Hercules escaped Fate (Ker), 
Hercules who was dearest to Zeus the lord, son of Kronos ; 
but him the Moira subdued and the heavy anger of Hera " 
(18, 118). No trace then as yet in the older Epic of the 
worship of mighty men. As for the Odyssey (8, 223), 
Hercules is rated with the mightiest archers of old who 


dared to vie with the Gods themselves : nay, he wickedly 
slew his own guest (21, 25 sqq.). 

In the Book of the Dead (Od., 11, 601 sqq.*) his image 
only {eidolon) dwells among the shades, " but he himself 
among the immortal gods rejoices in the feasts and has 
for wife the fair-ankled Hebe." Critics agree that this is 
a later insertion into the younger Epic. Life, strength, 
stout valor, feasting, satisfying to the full every appetite 
or impulse, — these are the ideals that gleam over the sur- 
face of the Homeric world. Death, however, reigns in the 
Odyssey, book 11. In the gloomy farthest westland is that 
abode, on the current of Okeanos : the sun never shines on 
it. A momentary reanimation is granted to such only who 
are permitted to lap of the elements of mortals' sustenance, 
sheeps' blood, with wine, honey, and flour. They are 
called, but the real prayers are directed to Hades and Per- 
sephone. To weep for the dead and to bury them is di- 
vinely enjoined upon the living. It is a " joyless abode" 
(v. 94). The fire has destroyed flesh and blood, but the 
soul like a dream flew away and is flitting. Significant 
are the names of the infernal rivers : Acheron (Lamenta- 
tion), Kokytos (piercing wailing), Pyriphlegethon (burn- 
ing with fire), and the trickling water of the Styx (Shud- 
dering) (Od., 10, 513 sqq.*). Of all the idola in that 
nether abode, that of Teiresias alone remains wise, the 
others flit as shadows. There is not even the bliss of 
Lethe — "the other souls of the dead stood grieving, and 
each told her several woes" (v. 541). 

Passing by the familiar figures of Tityos, Tantalos, Sisy- 
phos, we take leave of this world of grief, gloom, and shades 
with the significant utterance of the mighty Achilles 
(487) : " don't recommend death to me ; I should prefer in 
the fields to be a day laborer for another, with a man who 
has no land-lot of his own, who has not much of a living, 
rather than rule over all the dead." 

Apart from some regard for the stranger who is within 
the gates, I would be greatly puzzled to name some one 


specific point where this " religion " furnishes — or consti- 
tutes — a rule of conduct. On the whole it is a futile re- 
ligion. For that other category, an " sesthetical religion " 
of Walter Pater et id omne genus, that too is a futility, 
albeit an academic one. For the wrath of Achilles, the 
pride and anger of Agamemnon certainly were to blame. 
When, however, at last there is accomplished a reconcili- 
ation between these two, the guilty king very solemnly 
declines to shoulder the responsibility for the evil he has 
caused (II., 19, 86): " but I am not to blame; Zeus and 
Moira and Erinys who strides in darkness, who in the 
assembly put in my mind fierce Ate." The Odyssey in- 
deed ends with the reunion of the heroic and cunning 
wanderer with his spouse, rare Penelope, honor of women. 
Still all is accomplished amid unspeakable carnage, far be- 
yond just retribution. Sombre are the words of that lady 
when at last she receives the wanderer (Od., 23, 209) : " Be 
not angry with me, Odysseus, since in other respects thou 
art wise among men : it was the Gods, who bestowed mis- 
ery upon us, who begrudged it to us to remain together 
and so enjoy our youth and come to the threshold of age." 
As for Helen, she would not have broken her marriage 
vows, if she had known the consequences. " Her a god 
stirred to do the unseemly deed, and the Ate she did not 
in advance place in her soul, grievous Ate, from which 
first sorrow came to us too." 

Truly, then, men, even the foremost in station and most 
gifted in powers, are " wretched " (deiloi) : this is their es- 
sential nature as over against the blissful gods (Naegels- 
bach, p. 375). Men thus are nothing. Nowhere are they 
(in these Epics) rated typically, by noble will, by conscien- 
tious conduct, least of all by immortal soul. Thus the 
archer-god to the sea-god (II., 21, 464): " Earthshaker, 
you could not call me sane, if indeed I were to wage war 
on you for the sake of mortal men, wretched ones, who, 
resembling leaves — sometimes are very fiery, while eating 
the fruit of the field : at another time they waste away 
without heart." Or, as Glaukos the Trojan says to Dio- 
mede (II., 6, 146): "just as is the generation of leaves, 


such also is that of man. The leaves, in part, the wind 
tosses upon the ground, but others does the forest produce 
when it quickens the blossoms and the season of Spring 
comes along — thus the generation of men both grows and 
terminates." When men are done living they are done 
toiling also, done laboring, suffering ; hence the dead are 
named "they who toiled once" (kamdntes, II., 23, 72). 
Where then is the much vaunted vernal gleam of Homeric 
humanity ? Fear on the part of man ; jealousy, indiffer- 
ence, or arbitrary whim on the part of the gods : this, in 
essence, is the Homeric conception. As Achilles, the slayer 
of Hector, speaks to suppliant Priam (II., 24, 525): "For 
thus the gods have allotted the thread to wretched mortals: 
to live with lamentation ; but they themselves are without 
troublous concern." (We will think of these grave words 
later on, again, when we have come to ^schylus and to 

The soul of man with the experience of the billions of 
his kind before him, ever before him, will, somehow, look 
upon death as a gloomy mystery. Why not cheerfully sub- 
side into this ocean of periodic coming and going ? Why 
should men, in the face of this uniform and overwhelm- 
ing experience, call themselves Brot6s, Brotoi t This word 
really means, as the best etymologists {e.g. Vanicek) ex- 
plain it : obsessed by fate, by death, in fact mortal; whereas 
ambrosia, conversely, is the food of immortal life. But 
the voice of the Latin world strongly enough confirms this 
wail ; for homo is from humus; man is of clay veritably ; 
but he alone in the wide domain of organic life is conscious 
of his limitation, it is from this gloom of vision that he 
designates his own kind. 

Many pages could be filled with transcriptions from 
Greek thinkers, bitterly rejecting or censuring the Ho- 
meric Olympus. A few must suffice. Of Pythagoras : 
"They say that he (P.) having descended to Hades saw 
the soul of Hesiod bound to a brazen pillar and screeching, 
and that of Homer suspended from a tree and serpents 


about him — in return for what they said about the gods" 
(Suidas). Xenophanes of Kolophon, poet, thinker, rhap- 
sode of his own verse (fl. ab. 540 B.C.): "But mortals 
think that gods are born, and have their own faculty of 
perception (i.e. men's) and voice and shape." "All those 
things did Homer and Hesiod assign to the gods, whatever 
among men is opprobrious and censurable ; to steal, to com- 
mit adultery, and to deceive one another." " But, indeed, if 
cattle or lions had hands, either to paint with hands or to 
accomplish the precise works which men do, steeds would 
design images resembling steeds, and the cattle like unto 
cattle, and they would make bodies resembling precisely 
the form which they themselves had" (Mullach, "Frag- 
menta Philosophorum Graecorum," 1883, Vol. 1, pp. 101- 
102). Plato repeatedly reverts to Homeric religion and 
its intrinsic conflict with pure morality or with any re- 
fined conception of the gods (e.g. in his M Republic," 2, 
p. 379, c). 

Clearly he charges Homer with the current religion of 
actual Greece in his own day. Of this we may append 
an illustration or specific example : " The wandering beg- 
gar-priests (" Republic," 2, 364, b) going to the doors of 
the rich persuade them that there is in their own posses- 
sion a power provided by the gods, by means of sacrifices 
and incantations, whether a sin has come from himself or 
his ancestors, to heal it with pleasures or feasts and, if he 
wishes to inflict any injury upon an enemy, with small 
expenditure, to injure the just or the unjust." The cleav- 
age here observable grew deeper in time. In vain did the 
Stoics endeavor to make Stoics out of Homer and Hesiod, 
viz., by allegorical interpretation (Cicero, "De Natura 
Deorum," I, 41). But the people at large clearly were 
unconcerned as to the assent or dissent of these illuminate 
and went on in these conceptions and in this religion. 

Hesiod, the son of a Greek immigrant from JEolic 
Asia Minor, is a very distinct personality, moving about 
among the farmer folk and shepherds of Boeotia. It is 


day there, but a humdrum day and a hard-working world 
of peace and small things. 

The Homeric epics are essentially made and consum- 
mated before his day. Hesiod deliberately strove to sys- 
tematize the religion of Homer and that world. Likewise 
he strove for some refinement of the morality of Zeus and 
his court. Not very effectively. P"or as he told the tale 
also of the rare and radiant local heroines, he could not 
do aught but iterate the amatory passions of the god of 

Hesiod was indefatigable as a nomenclator. But I deem 
it wasted labor to tread after scholars like Schoemann and 
turn over his muse-names, his names of the fifty daughters 
of Nereus the Seagod; the luxuriant faculty of the Greek 
tongue is charmingly revealed (Theogony, 240 8qq.~)\ or 
again, in the enumeration of the daughters of Okeanos, 
346 sqq., beating very thin the poetical gold of popular 

Thus the vapory mists were fixed as on a drop curtain, 
fixed, I say, but as unsubstantial as such a painting : the 
recurrent life and order of this nature teeming with fig- 
ures. But Hesiod dovetails into this fabric a whole world 
also of human concerns and human woes and human expe- 
rience. How readily and smoothly does he append to his 
primeval Night the kindred abstractions of Fate and of 
Death, of Sleep and Dreams, and of Discord, of Toil, of 
Hunger, of Griefs ("Theog.," 211 sqq.}. 

Clearly the farmer and the shepherd has been badly 
treated by his brother Perses, who has bribed the 
" Kings," the local aristocracy who had jurisdiction. The 
poorly rewarded toil of his lot, and a bitter and pessimis- 
tic view of women, particularly, are salient features in his 
"Works and Days." 

He transmits to us the popular legend of Prometheus, 
and of the steady decadence in the successive generations 
of men. The familiar descent from the Golden Age to the 
present, the wretched Iron Age, is related (" Works and 
Days," 109 sqq.}. (That " Golden Age " differs not much 
from Homer's description of the Phseacians, their life 


and their land.) It was under Kronos, in a cosmic order 
preceding that which we know. " Like gods they lived, 
having a spirit void of grief, without toils and Lamenta- 
tions ; nor was wretched old age associated with them, 
but always like as to feet and hands they lived a life of 
enjoyment in banquets, beyond the reach of all evils ; and 
they would die as overcome by sleep; all fine things had 
they; fruit bore the wheat-giving land of itself plenteous 
and abundant . . ." and so forth, in a gloomier and 
gloomier decrescendo. We notice further, how Hesiod 
furnishes forth and provides a world of spirits and of 
intermediate beings, from the spirits of these more blessed 
earth dwellers of old : spirits " on earth, guardians of mor- 
tal men, givers of wealth." This crude first philosophy 
of history is, however, inconsistent in one point: a race of 
mighty men of war (temporarily) checked (as they lived 
and fought) this otherwise irresistible decline. 

"The divine race of heroes who are called half-gods, a 
former race on the unlimited earth; " those who fought 
against Thebes, those who made war on Tro} r . And these 
have their particular reward : they dwell, without any 
care or sorrow, on the Isles of the Blessed ( W. and D., v. 
171), along the deep-whirling Okeanos, " rich heroes, to 
whom pleasant fruit blossoming three times in the year 
bears the grain-giving field." Let us observe all this a 
little more closely. Simple and childlike is this belief : 
that the mighty men of war have assigned them a para- 
dise. Why? Because all Greeks are proud of them. And 
the gods are essentially national; they are all-powerful, 
but they reward Greek heroes for being heroes, primarily 
for being Greek heroes. This is the beginning of Greek 
hero-worship. The moral puzzle remains how gods were 
held as gods whose favor and sway was after all so cir- 
cumscribed, whose concerns were so limited. And this 
admission of men-made gods and nation-made deities did 
not at all lead them to doubt or distrust. 

Religion was essentially national or ethnical, and the 
notion of a revelation or of a deeper authority or guar- 
antee troubled them not. The fact that they, the Greeks, 


lived and flourished was to them intrinsically a living 
guarantee, stronger than any academic demonstration or 
philosophical proof. And when they saw, later on, the 
religion of other nations, as when Herodotus, e.g., trav- 
elled in Egypt, they had no doubt of a national correla- 
tion of the divinities of the Nile, a correlation to the 
Egyptian nation in no wise less genuine, actual, and 
effective, than the Hellenic Olympus held for the Hel- 
lenic nation. 

There is not the faintest trace of a desire to win pros- 
elytes ; nay, the prevailing sentiment is one of utter 
contentedness and even exclusiveness. This is our way, 
this is ancestral, this is bound up with glorious traditions. 
The Persians, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, have their 
own ways, which concern us no more than their food or 
dress, or their mode of giving in marriage, or burying 
their dead. 

But to return to the Heliconian farmer and shepherd. 
These times, our times are evil : where might is right, 
where the hawk despoils the nightingale at will (202 
sqq.}. This is the Iron Age (v. 176 sqq.}: neither in the 
daytime do men cease from toil and woe, nor at night do 
they pause in their experience of perishing. Infidelity 
is common in marriage and children dishonor their own 
parents as they grow old. Violence and perjury prevail. 
Envy is everywhere. Aidds (the delicate shunning of 
evil) and Nemesis (the suum euique in the dealings of 
men) have left the abodes of men and sought refuge 
among the Olympians. How gray and gloomy is this 
life, then. Twice did the knowing husbandman of Askra 
work into his verse the national legend of Prometheus, 
so close was his affinity for it. That men have some fair 
measure of civilization, the very possession of Fire, that 
mighty and universal instrument to better this poor life of 
man on the earth: it has come to man, not at all through 
the mercy or bounty of Zeus, but against his will. Pro- 
metheus (fore-counsel, fore-thinker) secretly filched it 
from the abode of the Gods and brought it to men. The 


gods then begrudge to men the prime agency for better- 
ing their life and lot : their own exclusive privileges are 
trespassed upon by Titan's son : men assimilate them- 
selves unduly to those beings who are essentially their 
betters, but who cherish and desire to maintain their own 
superiority and men's inferiority. Such gods are feared : 
they cannot be loved. 

As to the bitter and gloom)' delineation by Hesiod of 
the estate of marriage, of celibacy and fatherhood we have 
reason to surmise, that the Heliconian had personal expe- 
riences that colored unfavorably his general abstractions 
and led him to the cheerless views which he takes of 
women and children, the former being for him, in the 
main, drones in the hive ("Theog.," v. 595). It is a 
narrow horizon. 

In the latter part of the " Works and Days " we have 
the odd blending of wisdom and folly, of hard sense and 
superstition, of experience and folklore beliefs. We learn 
when work must be done, and how it must be done in 
order to be profitable and productive — a farmer's alma- 
nac — and also the earliest exposition of the homely cycle 
of semi-religious fancies growing into the souls of men 
out of his worship of Nature. Marriage and offspring 
are treated ("Works," 695 «<??•) ^ n ^ ne mam as a matter of 
husbandry and domestic economy: the moral aspect of 
all these things is not at all conspicuous. 

The essence of these earlier records of Greek supersti- 
tion is an obvious symbolism, e.g. do not beget children 
when you have returned from a funeral, but when you 
have come from a sacrificial banquet. Do not cross 
rivers on foot before you have prayed, looking into the 
current, and washed your hands with clear water. Simi- 
larly is the Sun honored. As to the variety of days, good 
and bad, we must limit ourselves here to a small number 
of illustrations : the sixteenth day of the month (v. 782) 
is very profitable for plants : it is not a good day for 
birth or marriage. The seventh day of the month is a 
sacred day : on this day Apollo was born by Leto. It 
is bad for a girl baby to be born on the sixth of the 


month ; but a good day for the gelding of kids and 
young rams. 

The ninth is a favorable day for the birth of girl or boy. 
Few know that the twenty-ninth of the month is the best 
day for launching a ship. The fourth is the best day to 
bring the new bride into your own home. On the whole 
there was much dependent on personal and on individual 
experience : " One praises one kind of day and the other 
another, but few know.'" "Sometimes a day is a step- 
mother and sometimes a mother." The "discrimination 
of birds " (v. 801) is a subject upon which I cannot enter 
here in detail. Suffice it to say that Bird and Omen, both 
in Homer and in Hesiod, are veritably interchangeable 
terms. These particular birds, however ( Oidnds), are the 
great ones, — eagles, vultures, kites, hawks, who soar and 
float in the ether, and are thus "co-dwellers with the 
gods." On the whole we feel that these tenets and ten- 
dencies mark the religion of the Greek people, a congeries 
of usages bound up with worship and observation of this 
nature in which men live and have their being, the mo- 
tives being in the main comprehensible as residing within 
the categories of profit and loss. 

Note. — This book is intended neither to be a further antiquarian 
book nor a bibliographical index. Such accumulation has come to be 
quite an academic fad, and utterly fictitious as to serious value. 
Particularly is this so when dished out (from the card catalogues of 
modern well-stocked libraries, like that of Columbia University, in 
New York, e.g.) upon the unsuspecting and somewhat remote reader ; 
particularly by some youth who in a year or two desires to attain 
distinction as a " scholar." I shall, then, append (for those who 
wish to pursue the subject further) the names of only a few books or 
of their authors. 

In America, Professor Seymour of Yale, taken from us since I first 
wrote this, has pursued Homeric studies with more consistent devo- 
tion than any other classicist. Of Hesiod the hundred years or more 
of American classicism have not, if I am not mistaken, produced a 
single edition. The most eminent student of Hesiod in Europe 
during the nineteenth century, in my opinion, was Georg Friedrich 
Schoemann of Greifswald (1793-1879). His discussion of Greek 
Religion (in Vol. 2 of his " Griechische Alterthiimer," Berlin, 3d ed., 
1873) remains the sanest and soundest treatise known to me. Schoe- 


mann had a profound aversion to inject into remote data any current 
academic notions or categories of speculation. The " Scholia " on 
Homer's Iliad, precious remnants of the best learning of the Greek 
world itself, are available now especially in the Oxford edition by 
Wilhelm Dindorf, 1875-1877. From these relics of the past, infinitely 
better than from any modern edition, can we realize the tremendous 
import of Homer for the Grecian world. Unchanged by any later 
book is the value of C. Fr. Naegelsbach, Homerische Theologie, N Urn- 
berg, first edition 1840, and later editions. This great and noble 
scholar had at bottom the vision of St. Paul, of antiquity groping 
after truth. Of English scholars, I mention Gladstone's "Jurentus 
MuikU," "the Gods and Men of the Heroic Age" published by him at 
fifty-eight or so, 1868. 

For mere knowledge of data and spirit of ancient myths, Preller 
remains notable. The Mythological Cyclopedia of W. 11. Koscher, 
" .1 usfii/irliches Lexikon der Griechischen und Iiomischen Myiholoqie" 
1884 sqq., is well known. It is a sweeping together of every shred 
or grain without any regard as to intrinsic value or weight. Anti- 
quarian and aesthetical interests dominate here : many of the collabo- 
rators are morally obtuse and suffer from a certain strabismus. If 
it had not been for the wonderful dexterity and noble perfection of 
Greek sculpture, most of that detail would be, to the last degree, 
vapid and without importance. There is an unctuous and devout 
tone in many of these writers, which tone, considering the essential 
futility of their lucubrations, is quite amusing. I conclude this note 
with a passage of Quintilian, who lived SO much nearer to, nay, in the 
Miss of both legends and art works (I, 8, 18): "For to pursue in 
detail (persequi) what every individual person, at any time, of those 
absolutely unworthy of any consideration, has said, is the mark 
either of excessive wretchedness or of empty boastfulness, and re- 
tards or smothers the native abilities (of young students) which were 
better devoted to other things." My second chapter has, I flatter 
myself, put the Golden Age of the Humanists into soberer illumina- 
tion. It is simply absurd to claim that you cannot get too much of 
this culture. How much insincere pretence is still bound up with 
this academic attitude ! 



In the century or more preceding the Persian wars 
a popular philosophy gained wide currency among the 
Greeks, which they attached to definite men of their own 
speech, mainly men of practical life and public service. 
The currency of any form of wisdom demands our re- 
spectful attention. Let us see what the Seven Wise Men 
really were. 

A Canonic number is more quickly established than are 
the canonic qualifications for intellectual and moral leader- 
ship. Of course and obviously the Seven never met. But 
the Greek people loved to conceive all human goodness and 
wisdom in some concrete and palpable human relation, of 
descent or discipleship : here they had tales of banquets 
or conferences, or of a splendid prize, a golden tripod, 
which was sent from one to the other. That the names 
of these Sages became dear to the Hellenes is honorable 
to them. How did they become national figures ? After 
all, the bright world of the iEgean was in a state not of 
lethargy but of incessant contact of its elements through 
trade, through tale and gossip, but much more through 
the local or regional or universal assemblies, a form of 
non-political concourse which the Greeks called Pane- 
gyris (All-gathering), where things Greek were born and 
whence, I believe, they passed into common possession. 
In the main, as I have already intimated, these were men 
honored at home for public service or guidance. It was 
this tried and tested character in the main that endowed 
pithy sayings of theirs with so wide acceptation. No 
efforts were here made to solve the great problems of life 
and thought : any Greek could appropriate and absorb 
the homely wisdom ascribed. It would be quite futile to 



waste effort on attempts to decipher and delineate indi- 
vidual or racial character here. Greek national feeling 
cherished these sayings and some were, in time, rendered 
doubly famous by especial commemoration in what we 
may call the Westminster Abbey of the Greek world, 
the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Thus Pausanias, the 
travelling antiquarian of Hadrian's time and of the An- 
tonines, reports (book 10, 24, 1) : " In the pronaos (fore- 
temple) at Delphi there are written beneficial sayings 
bearing on human life : they were written by (i.e. the 
authors are) men who the Greeks say were wise. These 
were, of Ionia, Thales of Miletus and Bias of Priene, of 
the ^Eolians in Lesbos, Pittakos of Mitylene, of the Dorians 
in Asia, Kleobulos of Lindos (Rhodes), and Solon of Athens 
and Chiton of Sparta. As for the Seventh, Plato the son 
of Ariston has enumerated" (in his " Protagoras," 343, 
a) : "instead of Periander son of Kypselos, Myson of 
Chenai. ..." "These men then came to Delphi and 
dedicated to Apollo the ever quoted sayings : ' Know 
Thyself and ' Overdo Nothing.' " Periander, the autocrat 
of Corinth and patron of the poet Arion, Periander, I say, 
was by the current judgment of Greece enrolled with the 
Seven, and so too by Plutarch in his dramatized essay. 
The Seven were, in short, honored for their wit and 
wisdom : no standard of moral or political perfection was 
exacted of them by the consciousness of that earlier 
Greece. The main thing then for us is to observe that 
the Greeks laid aside the extreme clannishness and the 
petty and mortal jealousy which ordinarily vitiated their 
political life and made their peculiar failure of political 

Nearest to exact habits of scientific observation and of 
physical speculation was Thales, whom Greek tradition 
made journey in the famous Kingdom of the Pharaohs in 
quest of science and wisdom. 

What then were the sayings which the Greek spirit 
prized so much ? " Money, money makes the man : no 
poor man can attain eminence." As a mere convenience 
of tradition, I shall ascribe names as they are transmitted 


in the compilation of Diogenes Laertius, I. (It is purely 
an antiquarian matter and of exceptional futility to try to 
do more.) 

Of Thales : " Not many words display sensible opinion. 
Some one wise thing search for, some one precious thing 
choose thou ; for (thus) you will stop the unlimited talk- 
ing tongues of babbling men." " The most ancient of ex- 
isting beings is God, for he is unborn. The fairest is the 
Universe, for it is the work of God. Greatest thing is 
Space, for it holds all things. Swiftest thing is the 
Mind, for it runs through all. Strongest thing is Ne- 
cessity, for it has power over all. Wisest thing is Time, 
for it finds out everything. ..." To Thales is ascribed 
the saying that "everything was full of gods" (Aris- 
totle, " De Anima," I, 5) : an abstract axiom of the basis of 
the popular polytheism of the Greeks, i.e. life is curi- 
ously and mysteriously all-prevailing, a brief point only 
away from the Pantheism which seems so obvious to the 
soul that loses sight of the soul. Practical wisdom, how- 
ever, will rarely concern itself with problems so profound, 
with concerns so grave. Of Bias were cited the follow- 
ing : " Be pleasing to all the citizens, in whatever common- 
wealth thou tarriest ; for it has very great gratefulness ; 
but Self-pleasing manner often flares out into harmful 
woe." "Unfortunate is he on whose shoulders misfor- 
tune is not laid." "It is difficult nobly to bear the 
change for the worse." " It is a disease of the soul to be 
in love with things impossible." " One should measure 
life as though anticipating a long and a short span of 
living." "One should love with the conviction that 
sometime in the future the loved ones will hate you ; 
for most men are evil." Being asked in what pursuit 
man takes pleasure he answered : "In making a profit." 
"Do not speak fast, for it betokens insanity." "Of the 
gods say, that they are." " Whatever welfare thou hast, 
ascribe it to the gods." "Do not praise an unworthy 
man on account of his riches." "As thy travelling 
money from youth to old age take with thyself wisdom ; 
for this is more enduring than the other possessions." 


Even Heraclitus, the bitter-souled philosopher of Ephesns, 
spoke appreciatively of Bias, and the people of Priene, 
the city of Bias, consecrated an enclosure (t€/jL€vo<;, tSmenos) 
to his memory (Diogenes Laertius, I, c. 5). Of Kleobu- 
los of Lindos in Rhodes, there were quoted : " When thou 
bestowest thy daughters in marriage, they should be vir- 
gins as to their growth, but women as to their sense." 
" Bestow benefactions on thy friend that he be more thy 
friend: as to thy enemy make him thy friend." " Do 
not be tenderly attentive to your wife nor have a conten- 
tion with her in the presence of strangers." "Do not 
chastise a slave in the course of cups, for you will seem 
to be drunk." "Measure is best." "Ignorance prevails 
in the major part of mankind, and so goes prolixity of 
speech." "Be a master of pleasure." "Love to hear 
rather than to talk." " Educate your children." "Dis- 
solve enmity," or as it was presented in a later iambic 
form : " Educate thy children, understanding that by so 
much is the wise man stronger than the untaught, as a 
god is judged to differ from a mortal man." " When 
prosperous be not haughty, do not grovel when you are 
in trouble." " Marry from among your equals, for if you 
take from your betters you will get yourself masters 
instead of kinsmen." "Know how to bear bravely the 
changes of fortune." 

One of the greater personalities among the Seven was 
Pittakos of Lesbos. About 608 (a little before the prime 
of Solon) his fellow-citizens made him a kind of dictator 
or arbitrator among the bitterly contending parties or fac- 
tions of his native isle. The aristocracy had succumbed 
to the vindictive fury of the suffering demos : a tyrant or 
autocrat thus arose : him, it seems, Pittakos drove away. 
To Aristotle's retrospect (" Analytica Priora" II, c. 27) 
this patriotic statesman was the embodiment of the stren- 
uous and energetic character: further, he was on the one 
hand ambitious but no less liberty-loving : he was good, he 
was wise. A man, in short, not much below the stature of 
Solon: for he too had it in his power to appropriate the 
supreme power : he chose not to do so. Or was it merely 


in his lucid mind the wiser balancing of boons and of 
evils. I for my part, profoundly impressed with the 
essential evil in the moral groundwork of man, an im- 
pression deepened by a wide observation of life and human 
history, I for my part am cheerfully willing to emphasize 
this political goodness. Some of the interlocutors in 
Plato's " Gorgias " would have called him a fool : so would 
he be in the ethical system of the great Corsican. With 
this noble patriotism and political disinterestedness there 
was coupled in this Lesbian sage a practical knack for 
enacting wise statutes, e.g. that the penalties imposed 
upon tort committed in drunkenness should be twice as 
large as those laid on the sober malefactor. The little 
commonwealths of the Greeks made such moderation and 
self-denial as that of Pitta kos doubly noteworthy because 
death, exile, confiscation, were the ordinary phenomena 
attending political victories or factional defeats : an up- 
rooting of the very blessings of civilization and social 
order. The unutterable bitterness of exile reminds one 
of Dante and the factional fury of Florentine politics in 
his day, but it exceeded this by far. He died, according 
to Diogenes L., in 569 B.C., a centenarian, according to 
repute. I excerpt a few of the apothegms ascribed to him 
(e.g. by Stobseus, " Florilegium" 3, 79, 4) : " Remember 
friends when present and absent." "Do not affect beauty 
in thy outward appearance, but in thy pursuits be thou 
comely." " Do not enrich thyself wrongly." " Inaction 
is annoying." " Lack of learning is an oppressive matter." 
" The sweetest thing is to realize a passionate desire." 
" Teach and learn what is better." " Put thyself under 
bonds : woe is at hand." " Do not hesitate to flatter your 

The noblest saying assigned to him by Greek tradition 
is this : " Forgiveness is better than Remorse," this, 
whether it accompanied the pardon of Pittakos freely 
granted to the (unwitting) slayer of his own son, or whether 
it was pronounced when he permitted his bitter political 
enemy, the leader of the aristocratic faction, the poet 
Alkaios (Alcseus), to go free : so Heraclitus alleged. 


The saying in the later case varied a little : " Forgiveness 
is better than retribution." Cited also in Stobseus, "Flori- 
legia," 19, 14. Simonides, a thoughtful and somewhat 
dialectic poet of the Persian wars, criticised a famous say- 
ing of Pittakos. It was in a victory-ode written for the 
rich baron of Thessaly, Skopas. " 'Tis difficult to be 
good," i.e. morally good, sound. 

Chiton represented Sparta in the canonic Seven. We 
must rest content with the pale data of Greek tradition. 
Should we anticipate any particular manifestation of the 
Doric or Doric-Spartan spirit we would probably be dis- 
appointed. Of the nobler sayings cited as from him are 
these: his gold test may come first (Diog. Laer, I, 71): 
" On the sharp edges of (certain) stones gold is tested, 
giving a palpable proof ; and in the matter of gold the 
mind of good men and of bad gives demonstration." The 
Spartan spirit, perhaps. " Control thy tongue, especially 
at a wine party." "Do not threaten any one: it is 
womanish." " Do not speak ill of the dead." "Rather 
choose loss than a base profit, for the one grieves you for 
once, but the other, forever." Behold, dear reader, the 
simple, but transcendent gravity of conscience: "forever," 
why " forever " ? Clearly here too Matthew Arnold's 
"free play of intelligence" is inferior to righteousness: 
it does not, in itself, beget righteousness. But the danger 
and elusive problem in bringing up from the fragments of 
tradition a fair statement of what actually was held and 
honored, lies in the subjective sympathies and antipathies 
of your scholar. The truth, here, lies between the Eng- 
glish Radical and follower of James Mill, and believer in 
the institution of democracy, George Grote on the one 
side and Ernst Curtius on the other. A pupil of Welcker 
and Otfried Miiller, Ernst Curtius, has been called the last 
of the Olympian victors. Particularly in his " Greek 
History," II, 4 ("The Unity of Greece"), Curtius yields 
himself up to that ecstatic idealization, which his own sub- 
jective temperament has injected into the Hellenic world. 

I return to Chilon. Other sayings are these : " Do 
not speak ill of the dead." " Do not laugh at the un- 


fortunate." "Let your tongue not run ahead of your 
mind." " When you are strong, be gentle, in order that 
those near you may revere you more than fear you." In 
his old age, so says the tradition, he once said that he was 
not conscious of anything unlawful in his own life. But 
he was doubtful about one thing. He was judge in the 
case of a friend. When the time came for the verdict, he 
himself gave it in accordance with the statute, but per- 
suaded his fellow-judge to acquit the defendant: before 
death then he regretted such a compromise. The person- 
ality of Periander as one of the Seven is indeed a problem, 
no less for Plato who refuses to recognize him as worthy 
of a place among the Seven as for the modern student of 
the spiritual elements in Greek civilization. It is indeed 
puzzling that the Greeks should at all have assigned so 
high an honor to a personality of which their own records 
told so much evil. Son of a successful autocrat of Corinth, 
he reflected much on the best ways of managing such a 
government. Periander ruled over Corinth forty-four years, 
drawing the reins of government much more taut than his 
father Kypselos had done (Aristotle, "Politics," 5, 12). 
But he is charged with having caused the death of his 
pregnant wife Melissa by a kick. Later he slew the con- 
cubines through whose slandering insinuations he had been 
induced to do the deed. Of acts involving the extrtmest 
forms of sexual infamy I will say nothing : these reports 
may be due to the bitter hatred which his hard govern- 
ment and ruthless acts of spoliation had engendered in the 
breasts of his Corinthian subjects. Vastly more than 
Croesus might he have served Herodotus as the example 
to illustrate the transitoriness of human happiness. 
Plutarch indeed sets his banquet of the Seven Wise Men 
at the very court of this prince, but, with a fair regard for 
the fitness of things, he places it at a point in the career 
of the Corinthian ruler preceding that chain of sin and 
of woe. The Italian princes of the Renaissance could 
furnish ample material for parallels, for which, however, 
we have no space. Aristotle rates him with the Seven, 
maintaining herein, it seems, the prevailing voice of the 


popular Greek tradition. To him were ascribed, e.g., 
"It is difficult to please all.'' "Pleasures are perish- 
able, honors immortal." "Do nothing for the sake of 
money." He is said to have died from grief at baffled 

The greatest name among the Seven is that borne by 
Solon of Athens, whom his countrymen soon canonized. 
Aristotle's specific account of the history of the Athenian 
government (one of his numerous monographs on specific 
city commonwealths, first published in 1891 by Kenyon) 
has added much to our previous knowledge. A patriotic 
Athenian, impatient of any stain or humiliation of the 
fair fame of Athens even in his earlier manhood, he served 
her in her greatest need. In so small a commonwealth, 
with so narrow opportunities of livelihood, the lot of the 
poorer citizens, of tenants and other humble people of 
Attica, had become deplorable. The bitterness and tension 
had reached a point where internecine strife and civil 
disruption seemed truly imminent. Here Solon as an 
extraordinary commissioner (while nominally the first one 
of the Nine "Archons") revised the form of government, 
facilitated a settlement of hopeless debt troubles, not only 
by reducing the value of the monetary standard of Athens, 
but also by bearing a personal loss of seven talents. 

From his earlier manhood Solon was wont to compose 
practical poetry, in the current form of the Elegiac two- 
line form, the "distich." In that earlier portion, how- 
ever, Solon also sung of love. Comprehensive word, this. 
I am grieved to say with all plainness that the " love " of 
these poems was as vile and gross as the current form of 
Greek vice. Plutarch ("Urotikos" c. 5) cites the lines with 
apologetic comment. I cannot well omit them. " In the 
lovely blossoms of youth thou wilt love boys, yearning 
for thighs and sweet lips." Let us credit Plutarch at least 
when, proceeding, he refers to all this as an association 
contrary to nature (jrapa fyvaiv). The passage just cited, 
then, Plutarch charges to Solon's young manhood : the 
following he thinks were composed by him when advanced 
somewhat : " The deeds of the goddess born in Cyprus 


are now pleasing to me, and those of the wine-god and 
those of the Muses who cause good cheer to men." Solon, 
I say, wrote both. And Apuleius of Madaura, a pagan 
rhetor of Africa (fl. 170 A.D.), refers to the first citation 
as versus lascivissimus, in spite of which Solon was a 
"serious man, severe, and a philosopher." One might 
refer to this unspeakable vice as the very worm which 
under the bright and beautiful surface was destroying the 
very core and kernel of Greece. Whether the successive 
philosophies accomplished anything for betterment here, 
we will see later on. I shall not devote any specific treat- 
ment to this awful and persistent matter (in my book). 
Plutarch may fairly be described as one of the earlier 
classicists, who strove to idealize and nobly illumine the 
greater figures of the Hellenic past. But, with all this, 
his vision of " Greekdom " was vastly truer than that of 
Winckelmann, Goethe, Walter Pater, and the remaining 
ecstatic members of the choir innumerable. I say I shall 
not build any one chapter of my book that it may be a 
charnel house. Still I will so far digress at this particular 
point as to cite significant words not indeed from St. Paul, 
but from this same Philhellene, Plutarch of Choeronea, 
from his discourse on Love ("Erotikos," § 9). " Only the 
other day " (so to speak) " subsequent to the stripping 
of lads and the baring of their persons Love slipped into 
the gymnasia and gaining association imperceptibly and 
working its way in, then little by little in the wrestling 
schools having grown feathers (a Platonic reminiscence 
of Plutarch) in the wrestling schools, is no longer re- 
strainable, but it abuses and treats with contumely that 
connubial love. . . ." 

As for the rest, Solon, in his famous code of 594 B.C., 
had a statute forbidding a pornus (male prostitute) to 
address his fellow-citizens, to speak in public at all, thus 
branding him with that civil infamy which was the chief 
deterrent from evil doing in the commonwealths of Greece, 
there being no religious or philosophic system of morality 
(cf. Diogenes Laertius, I, 55). To realize this is espe- 
cially difficult for the modern reader. A few other data 


from his code noteworthy to us here are these : " If one 
does not support his parents, he shall be wilfully infamous. 
So also shall he be who consumes his patrimony." Infamy 
also was laid upon him who remained neutral in the time 
of civil feud or, as they called it, " Stasis," when two parties 
actually rose against each other. (Aristotle, on the 
" Government of Athens ," c. 8.) On the whole, he reaped 
small thanks from the rich as well as from the poor and 
had to be content with the consciousness of having achieved 
the political salvation of his own commonwealth. With 
that noble endowment for reflection and searching after 
underlying causes — a gift, I say, more possessed by the 
Attic people than the other Greeks — thus then Solon too, 
in his maturity of achievement and service, refers to the 
moral consequences of excessive wealth : " for surfeit in- 
solence begets, when great wealth goes with those men 
whose mind is not fair" (Aristotle, ib., c. 12). His politi- 
cal wisdom and rare penetration of judgment might be 
further illustrated, but let us rather turn to the most 
significant utterance of this man of affairs preserved for 
us in Stobseus, " Florilegium" 9, 25, which that noted com- 
piler transcribed under the caption of "Righteousness" 
(haccuoa-vvT)). I append my version : " Ye bright children 
of Memory and Olympian Zeus, Pierian Muses, hear ye 
my prayer. Give me prosperity from the blissful gods 
and from all men always to have good repute. And that 
I may be thus sweet to my friends, but bitter to my enemies : 
to the former an object of reverence to behold, but awful to 
look upon for the others. Money I eagerly desire to have, 
but unjustly to possess it I will not ; at all events later 
comes retribution. Wealth, which the gods give, comes 
into the possession of man (as wealth) enduring, from the 
lowest root to the cop : but he, whom men honor under 
the spur of insolence, he walks not in orderly fashion, but 
then follows the persuasion of evil deeds, against his (better) 
will; and swiftly baneful ruin is intermingled. 

"A beginning comes from a little like a grain of wheat: 
paltry at first, but it ends with distress ; for not long for mor- 
tals endure the deeds of insolence. But Zeus looks at the 


end of all, and abruptly, as the wind suddenly scatters clouds 
in springtime, a wind which first moves the very ground 
waters of the billowy barren sea, and then, over the wheat- 
bearing earth ravages the fair tilling of men, and then 
arrives at the steep vault of heaven, abode of the gods, 
and makes one behold the cloudless blue again: and the 
power of the sun shines fair over the fruitful earth, but of 
clouds there is nothing more to see: such is the retribution 
of Zeus, nor at each individual occurrence like a mortal man 
does he become filled with sharp anger; but not always to 
the very end does he escape his attention who has a sinful 
spirit, and utterly is it revealed at the end; but one suffers 
retribution at once, another later; but if they escape them- 
selves and the fate of the gods does not pursue and over- 
take them, by all means it will come again another time; 
guiltless men suffer retribution for the deeds, or their chil- 
dren or their race farther on. Now we mortals thus think 
both good and the evil one holds the opinion that he him- 
self will find one (advantage?) before suffering anything; 
but then (when stricken) immediately he wails; up to this 
point gaping we are rejoiced by empty hopes. And who- 
soever is oppressed under troublesome diseases, how he will 
be well, this he deeply devises; but if one lives in penury, 
and the works of poverty force him, his thought is that by all 
means he will acquire much money. One strives from this 
starting point, the other from that: the one roves over the 
sea, the deep, rich in fishes, desiring to convey home in 
ships his grain, carried along by troublesome winds, in no 
wise sparing his soul; another, tilling the earth rich in 
trees, for a year does he play the serf, of those to whom 
the curved ploughshares are a care; another, knowing the 
accomplishments of Athena and of Hephaistos rich in 
craft, with his two hands gathers a living; another, taught 
endowments (that come) from the Olympian Muses, know- 
ing measure of lovely wisdom; another has been made a 
soothsayer by the lord the far-shooting Apollo, and discerns 
the evil coming to man, from afar off, whom ever (i.e. the 
soothsayer) the gods attend on; as for that which is fated 
neither any bird will fend it off, nor sacrifices. Others are 


they who hold the achievement of Paion rich in remedies, 
the physicians; and on them attends no consummation. 
Often from a small smart a great pain results and one cannot 
remove it by giving soothing remedies. But him who is 
disturbed with evil and troublesome diseases, taking hold of 
him with his two hands speedily he renders sound. Moira 
(Fate) brings to mortals both good and evil; but the gifts 
of the immortal gods one cannot escape from. 

" Upon all works does risk attend : nor does any one know 
how it will be when the affair is beginning; but he who 
attempts to do it well, falls into great and heavy woe, and 
to him who does badly, a deity (0eo?) in all matters 
grants good fortune a delivery from foolishness. Of 
wealth no stated limit is established for men; for those of 
us who now have the amplest living, strive hard with twofold 
earnestness. Who can satiate all? Gain do the immor- 
tal bestow upon mortals, but baneful ruin (from gain) 
raises its head: which, whenever Zeus sends to avenge, 
one man suffers it now, another suffers it then." 

A kind of searching after some divine order: but a 
grave admission that is by no means discoverable in the 
way men fare: for the essence of Moira is, that it is in- 
computable and incalculable: it would seem akin to him 
to blind whim. We see, however, amply enough, that 
the sage, as he looks out upon actual life, and the varied 
pursuits of men, lays stress on the absolute helplessness 
of man and also expresses his belief in a divine retribution 
of wrong. The gravest sentiments I have made more 
striking to the eye of my readers. 

As a kind of foreign member of this famous assemblage 
of Sages, the Greeks were fond of placing Anacharsis the 
Scythian. Even Homer has an admiring conception of 
the "excellent milkers of mares" of the North, trans- 
danubian Nomads, whose communal mode of living made 
a strong impression upon the Greek world: the lack of 
squabbles about profit and loss, the contentment with 
their simple existence, especially however the rigid ex- 


elusion of material luxury, which latter breeds so much 
of economic and of moral evil among the sons of men — 
all these things invested these rude barbarians with a 
glamour, which we may fairly compare with that dogmatic 
veneration bestowed upon the so-called children of Nature 
by Rousseau and all thinkers kin to him. The estimation 
in which the Romans in their decline, e.g. Tacitus, held 
the Germans, may likewise be fitly adduced. These 
Scythians, by the by, are considered by the experts to 
have been of the great Mongolian race. A queer and 
rare phenomenon to the Greeks then was the above-men- 
tioned Anacharsis, who came among the Greeks to learn 
of their culture and civilization. The Greek Cynics 
of later times made him a kind of saint in their particular 
cult, an advocate of the simple life. As the tradition is 
presented to us in Diogenes Laertius, I, 101, he came 
to Athens in 592 B.C., in Solon's day. Of that eminent 
man he requested to be made a guest-friend, although the 
Attic sage asserted that such relations were possible only 
in one's own land. But he, the Northern stranger, pro- 
fessed himself a citizen of the world. The furious onset of 
Greek athletes, and their bruising strokes, they say, made 
him pause in wonder. The use of wine, the mendacity 
of trading, the risks of navigation, and other forms of 
civilization he considered foolish, or evil. 

Even more faint and vague is the personality of ^Esop, 
embodiment of the practical wisdom of human experience. 
The item alone that he was once the slave of Iadmon of 
Ephesus, seems to be widely established in ancient tradi- 
tion: a Phrygian perhaps. Plutarch gives him a foot- 
stool in the august company of the Seven Sages. — As to 
the philosophy or literary theory of the Fable, the keen 
mind of Lessing has disposed of these things decisively. 
We notice the wonderful receptivity and assimilative dis- 
position of the Greeks for this homely philosophy, in 
which the folly and wrong-doing of mankind are marked 
and mirrored. It is obvious that so germane a sphere 
and substance of human wisdom was ever increased. The 
nimble-witted and nimble-tongued Athenians ever im- 


provised freely in this realm: for the fixity of detailed 
symbolism, where each beast had a well-established 
meaning made for continual employment, the tendency 
of the human soul to endow non-human and non-spiritual 
things, beings, beasts, with moral and spiritual meaning, 
all this is well illustrated. The general, the prevailing 
and ever recurrent type of human folly or error or sin is 
exemplified: at bottom we see the abstractions of human 
life, and the experience of mankind. The individual 
is lost, and universal conviction settles down as it were 
into palpable and permanent moulds. Large indeed 
is the range of this symbolism. There figures a start- 
ling array of beasts: the eagle, the nightingale, goat, 
weasel, the cock and hen, fox, bear, frog, ox, crane, owl, 
pig, gazelle, stag, elephant, heron, viper, tortoise, mule, 
tunnyfish, gull, horse, camel, ape, dungbeetle, crab, 
beaver, donkey, jackdaw, cuckoo, raven, dove, swan, dog, 
dolphin, gnat, hare, lion, wolf, bee, ant, mouse, hind, bat, 
wild ass, panther, quail, ostrich, steer, peacock, cicada, 
hyena, watersnake, toad, swallow, goose, parrot, flea. 
But gods and men too appear, nor are trees lacking. 
Personifications even serve, such as Pleasure and Virtue. 
The homely world is thus endowed with a kind of spiritual 

This morality in the main is of the utilitarian order, and 
the wisdom is that of deeper and better fathomed self- 
interest. These tales entertain children, but they were 
all of them devised for the sake of the moral. Many of 
them have become the possession of mankind, as, e.g., 
the country mouse and the town mouse, the donkey in 
the lion's skin, the false cry of " wolf," the bag with alien 
faults to the fore and our own unseen, the peasant's sons, 
who could not break the bundle of sticks, the two women 
picking the dark and the gray hairs from the head of 
their lover, the stag admiring his antlers but holding 
his fleet legs in slight esteem, how the steed purchased 
its own servitude, the oak destroyed and the swaying 
reed surviving the hurricane, the dog in the manger, the 
dog swimming across the stream and carrying meat. In 


the main these fables cry out in monitory fashion : " Do 
not! " And so, as in the German epic of Reineke Fuchs, 
the fox is the deepest, the resourcef ulest, — it must be 
added, — the most prosperous, exponent of mendacity and 
intrigue: a bitter tone of resignation is there in this 
condemnation of actual human society. Negative and 
condemnatory are almost all of these fables. Thus many 
lead up to what we may call the Hellenic virtue of Modera- 
tion, Saneness, Knowledge of one's limitations (/ieT/MoV???, 
aco<f>poavvrj) . A number of these Apologues deal with 
the practical, current religion of the people. A poor 
man (No. 58, Halm) suffering from disease vows a heca- 
tomb to the gods if he recover. He regains his health, 
but pays his vow in little oxen formed of tallow. There- 
upon the gods send him a dream: he is to go to the 
strand and find a thousand gold pieces. Hurrying hither 
he is carried away by pirates who sell him for a thousand 

A poor man has a wooden god, to which (or should I 
say to whom) he prays in vain for benefaction. In a fit 
of anger the worshipper dashes it to pieces against the 
wall. The head breaks off and gold rolls forth. The 
man shouts: " Tortuous art thou and unreasonable: when 
I honored thee thou gavest me no benefaction, but when 
I struck thee, thou didst reward me with many bless- 
ings" (No. 6G). 

A master is smitten (No. 73) with an ugly slave girl, 
and the latter, loaded with gold and purple, defies the 
mistress of the house, and also sacrifices, vows and prays 
to Aphrodite who wrought all this. But the goddess, 
appearing to her votary in a dream, tells her: "Not have 
I made thee comely, but I have perverted thy master's 
mind in my anger." 

A carter (81) had the misfortune of having his cart 
tumble into a ravine. The carter stood by idly, praying 
to Hercules for aid. But the god appeared and said: 
" Take hold of your wheels and prod your oxen, and then 
pray to the god, when you too do something." 

A farmer's hoe was stolen and he determined to put 


under oath those whom he suspected. But as he deemed 
the rustic gods too simple he determined to hie himself to 
town, the urban deities being shrewder. But barely had 
they entered the gates when they heard the voice of a 
herald proclaiming a reward for the capture of the thief 
who had robbed the god. The swain then said : " I come 
for nought, I see, for this god knows not who filched 
from him!" (91). 

A peasant a- digging finds a piece of gold and daily puts 
a garland around Rhea's (Demeter's) idol. But Fortune 
appears to him and chiding him for the false turn of his 
gratitude, says : " If this gold should escape from your 
possession, then indeed you would blame Fortune! " (101). 

A sorceress made a good living by offering incantations 
concerned with the ill will of the gods. She is haled into 
court as an innovator of religion and condemned to death. 
A person who saw her in court addressed her thus: "You 
professed to have the power of turning the anger of the 
gods : why were you not able to persuade mere 
men?" (112). 

Zeus enjoined upon Hermes the task of administering 
a dram to all craftsmen. The god of Cunning did so 
and came last of all to the cobbler. The remnant of the 
potion was very large, but it was all given to the worker 
of the last. And so it came about that the craftsmen all 
do lie, but most of all the shoemakers (136). 

Zeus ordained that Hermes should write the sins of 
men on shells and place them in a chest near him in order 
that he might exact the penalties of each. But inasmuch 
as the shells have been utterly jumbled together, some 
shells fall more slowly and some more swiftly into the 
hands of Zeus (152). 

A man had a demigod (heros) in his house and made it 
his business to sacrifice to this one in a costly fashion: as 
he was consuming his fortune, the demigod stepped to 
his side by night and said : " My good man, stop wasting 
your substance, for if you drain all, in the end you will 
blame me " (161). 

A raven, caught in a snare, prayed to Apollo, promising 


to sacrifice incense to him. But, having been saved from 
the danger, he forgot his promise. And again, caught by 
another snare, letting go Apollo he promised to sacrifice 
to Hermes. And the latter said to him: " You scoundrel, 
how can I trust you who denied and wronged your former 
master ? " 

Interesting sidelights these, affording glimpses of the 
actual religiosity of the Greek people, — mainly of the 
order: I give that thou may est give. 

A few, only a few of these fables, are positive and noble 
in spirit, pointing to laws that are categorical, absolute, 
or eternal. The morality is utilitarian, self-interest well 

But these homely forms of literature made of a people 
in successive ages, symbolizing the shrug of the shoulder 
and the bitter sneer, are endowed with that curious force- 
fulness of actuality. 

The JEsopean fable was not inaptly made the chief 
theme for the preparatory exercises in the schools of the 
Hellenic world, where the future orator and pleader was 
prepared for his professional life. 



Rhythm and Melody, chant and footfall, have passed 
beyond the vapor of the Nevermore here : and nowhere, in 
the main, is there more insincerity in the conventional 
ecstasy of the professional classicist than in dealing with 
these fragments of ancient tradition. 

More than elsewhere, in passing among these remnants, 
are we compelled to be content with gleam and rarer ray, 
and even the strength of a Pindar is as numb and remote. 

The measure of the Elegy, with its unit of the proud 
hexameter joined to its truncated epodic brother, formed 
a field quite different from this, its epic sire, the proud 
measure of the banquet hall and of the listening multi- 
tudes. Thought, reflection, truth, and maxim, as well as 
the knell of death and the setting forth of the worth of 
the departed, all this and more found expression in the 
Elegiac distich. 

Solon we have discussed above, and now shall first take 
up some of his fellow-writers of this measure. Mimnermos 
of Kolophon (fl. ab. 600 B.C.) presents that ever familiar 
view of life, the worth of which passes when youth and 
comeliness depart. It was the time when Ionian towns 
submitted to the conquest of the Lydian kings, when 
there ensued much interfusion of spirit and civilization, 
antithesis of Doric hardness. Sexual joys then are the 
summum bonum (Fragm. 1) : the flower of the perfect 
bloom of life: when these have passed away: woe when 
painful old age comes on, " that renders ugly even the 
comely man." In this valuation of Life man is more 
truly a mere brother of bud and blossom than metaphors 
have it. There is no ascent to higher things, no rare- 
fying and elevating process for mere animality. " We 



grow (Fragm. 2) like the leaves in the season of spring 
rich in blossoms, when abruptly it increaseth by the gleams 
of Sun; these resembling do we for a cubit's length of 
time enjoy the blossoms of maturity, of the gods knowing 
nor evil nor good. At our side stand the black Fates, 
the one holding the consummation of troublesome old age, 
and the other, of death; small grows apace the fruition of 
nature's maturity, to that extent only as the sun is 
scattered over the Earth. But when this consummation 
of season has passed, straightway is it better to die than to 
live. For many evils come up in his soul. At one time 
his substance is ground away, and Death performs his 
painful deeds : another in turn has to do without offspring-, 
yearning most after which he goes down into Earth to 
Hades. Another has a soul-wearing disease : nor is there 
any one among men to whom Zeus does not give many 
evils. " Gloom in the main — and other sentiments ancient 
anthologists did not excerpt from his works: versified 
wantonness it seems constituted a goodly portion of his 

The short pithy sayings of Phokylides of Miletos (fl. 
ab. 537 B.C.) had much vogue among the Greeks, and 
conformed to the Ionic spirit: they remind the modern 
reader not a little of Hesiod's saws and sentences. Little 
is left for our purpose in the small remnant that has 
escaped Time. Fragment 9 (Bergk) reveals a little more 
precisely the true meaning of that elusive Greek term, 
a(b(f>pa)v : really he who is of sound mind, sane. The 
Ionic sentence-maker conceives as the antithesis of this 
the light-minded (eXafypovoot), so that the virtue of 
cra)(j)poavv7] would not be very far removed from the 
gravitas of the Romans : to be well balanced, well poised 
in action: nothing very deep in motive of conduct. 
Much as the Greeks vaunted this virtue, it cannot fairly 
be credited to the Greek nationality as a whole. The 
Roman spirit, up to the agony of the Republic, may lay 
claim to this avoidance of excess much more fairly. (The 
Greeks of Magna Grsecia, who were much richer than those 


of the mother country, were, to the Romans, the very em- 
bodiment of riotous luxury; see the phrase pergrcecari of 
the age of Plautus.) "In the Love of Justice," says this 
versifying proverbial philosopher, " in the Love of Justice 
every Virtue is comprehended." 

Theognis of Megara, next to Solon, was probably most 
highly prized by the Greeks as a writer of sententious 
Elegy. He flourished about 544 B.C., suffered much, as 
the narrow humanity of the ancient world involved keen 
suffering, — as an exile from his native land. 

He, in the manner of aristocrats of birth in many ages, 
reveals the spirit of pride with unreserved decisiveness. 
These families are the good : there were probably few 
Cotters like that of Burns in any pagan world, and the 
striving after the seemly was even more emphasized by 
the fact that every social valuation involved the institu- 
tion of the slavery of man. 

"Rams we seek and asses, O Kyrnos, and horses, of 
noble breed, but with ludicrous inconsistency many a 
noble desires to mate with a rich wife of mean extrac- 
tion" (v. 183 sqq.). 

" The money (197 sq.) which comes to a man from 
Zeus and with justice and cleanly, always abides with 

(Many verses from Solon's collections have crept into 
this body of verse, — e.g. 731 sqq.) Some of the most 
stirring lines seem wrested from his very heart by the 
bitter experience of a father, lines penned long before 
" King Lear " was written by the greatest poet of all 
(273 sqq.) : "But the worst of all among men, more griev- 
ous than death and all diseases is this : when you have 
reared children and furnished to them all things fitting, 
and stored money for them, having suffered many trouble- 
some things, they hate their father and curse him that 
he may perish, and they abhor him as they would an 
approaching beggar." Erring and sinful is mankind in 
its very essence, you cannot (325 sqq.) square yourself 


and be friendly to your friends if you were to nurse 
anger for missteps of your friends. Sins QafiaprwXal) 
among men will follow, will be intrinsically associated 
with mortals : " but the gods are unwilling to bear them " 
(328). Excellence is attained if you follow the middle 
course, and avoid extremes, — excellence, so difficult to 

Let me reward my friends and avenge myself on mine 
enemies, I ask nothing further — but let the very words 
come forward, for it is here that we behold the very 
essence of the natural man : " May Zeus (v. 337) grant 
me requital on my friends and on my private foes, while 
I am to have greater power (for either work). And thus 
I would seem to myself to be a god among men if the fate 
of death were to overtake me, after I had achieved my 
requital" (cf. v. 869 sqq.). He would drink the black 
blood of the men who have impoverished him. "Well 
beguile thou with fair words thy private enemy : but 
when he comes to be in your power, avenge thyself upon 
him, making no pretence whatever." The problem of 
prosperous wickedness (a note so familiar in the book 
of Psalms) (although Bergk suggests here that Solon 
may have penned the lines), 373 : " Dear Zeus, I wonder 
at thee : for thou rulest over all, having honor thyself 
and great power ; and thou knowest well the mind of 
men and the spirit of each one : and thy power is the 
highest of all, O King. How then, O son of Kronos, 
does thy mind dare to hold wicked men in the same es- 
timation as the righteous one, whether the mind be turned 
to self-control, or whether men turn towards insolence, 
obedient to unrighteous deeds ? " (cf. 743 sqq.'). Often 
cited in later anthologies were these lines (v. 425) : " Best 
of all for earthly men is it, not to have come into exist- 
ence at all, nor to have beheld the rays of the keenly 
gleaming sun : but having been born as speedily as possi- 
ble to pass through the portals of Hades and to lie, with 
a great mass of earth heaped over one." There is a 
lengthly warning against drunkenness (480 sqq.^). No one 
can be sophrdn then. Satiety (ko/30?) has undone more 


men than Hunger (605). Intelligence must dominate ap- 
petite (631 sqq.) if thou wouldest not lie in great distress. 
Some form of excellence or prosperity arete still is, not 
yet any definite or intrinsic virtue at all : " Prosperous 
would I be, and (653) a friend to the immortal gods : no 
other aretS do I yearn for." As right conduct has not at 
all any religious character, but is largely determined by 
the civic relations of a man, we do not wonder when we 
read that the exceptional virtue of Rhadamanthys (who 
was ultimately created by Zeus a judge of departed souls) 
consisted in his exceptional possession of 8dphro8yne, i.e. 
sobriety and sanity (v. 701), a very moderate measure of 
moral perfection, perfect control of his own faculties, uni- 
form avoidance of excesses and extremes. Excellence 
and Comeliness are rarely associated in the same person : 
u Happy (v. 934) is he who had allotted to him both of 
these." " All honor him, both young and old yield to 
him in place. When aging he is eminent among his 
fellow-citizens, nor is any one willing to do him harm in 
either the sphere of reverence or justice." It is the true 
spirit of the Greeks. 

The latter part of the bequeathed verse of Theognis 
is of that erotic kind which was cherished almost exclu- 
sively among the Greeks. It is grave that the moralizing 
verse should have proceeded from the same pen as the 
other, but it is graver that Greek antiquity should have 
thought fit to transcribe and transmit. It is still more 
portentous that scholars like Bergk should ignore, in 
their surveys, this ulcerous cancer of the Greek people. 
To say that this reveals the normal early manhood of a 
typical Greek, seems fair enough. In Solon's case the 
contrast between youth and the moral earnestness of ad- 
vanced age is at least inspiring and, in a measure, whole- 
some. How vague and unmeaning is the striving to 
endow Zeus with the attributes of Providence, Justice, 
and Righteousness, when the poet justifies himself by the 
legend of Ganymede whom " the King of the Immortals 
was enamoured of and ravished him away to Olympus," 


etc. (1345 sqq.'). The sesthetical phrases of Winckelmaim 
and all his disciples gloss over and ignore this practical 
result of the Hellenic cult of beauty. For if all the 
higher endowment of man is to find its summum bonum in 
the worship of the Beautiful, if, as Winckelmann (Vol. 4, 
p. 72, ed. 1811) says, it was eminently worthy of human 
conception of sensuous deities, and very charming for the 
imagination to typify the condition of a perpetual youth 
and the springtime of Life — what follows ? Why then 
is it that the Greek spirit has after all revealed some 
moral sense in creating the types of the Satyrs and the 
Sileni? In Winckelmann's case, as always, we see the 
dyer's hand soundly infected with the dye it deals in, and 
that moral obtuseness or strabism revealed, which vitiates 
so much of mythological writing. Theognis certainly re- 
veals that there was essentially no genuine progression from 
the Homeric level of Religion, and that the close practical 
relation between pulchritude of form and unnatural lust 
passed in Greek life not merely as a matter of course, but 
as an essentially vernal thing, a complement of, an inci- 
dent of, Hebe. It is vain to bring in the phraseology of a 
pure and romantic love between the sexes, ending in life- 
long companionship — it is futile, I say, on the part of 
modern writers to gloss over the Venus Canina in this 
manner. The fact is that in the course of time classical 
antiquity degraded, in its interpretation, friendships like 
those of Achilles and Patroklos, 1 for instance, and the 
essentially low level of Greek myths, held and perpetuated 
in the very valleys where they had originated, defied all 
efforts at moral elevation, and triumphed over every at- 
tempt at spiritual refinement. 

There is an almost irresistible inclination in modern 
man to abstract from the exquisite lines chiselled by the 
great sculptors of Greece, and to project into Hellas itself 
the subjective simulacra and phantoms of absolute perfec- 
tion, which psychological process, fortified by a little con- 
tact with literary productions of exceptional originality 
and vigorous simplicity, endows the Greek nationality 

1 Roscher, Lexikon, v. Achilleus, Col. 43. 


with a fatuous and utterly unhistorical ne plus ultra of 
elevation. Chaucer and Pepys's Diary present a goodly 
part of the actual Britain of their day ; but how futile 
would it be to abstract from the rare company alone 
whose marble or bronze images in Westminster and St. 
Paul mark the gratitude or admiration of Britannia, and 
conceive such a Britain at large ! 

The Iambic writers exhibit the very abandonment of 
that Greek virtue of self-control and sanity, and even in 
passing amid their fragments it is often necessary to step 
warily. But few are the remnants available for this book. 
The sharp and bitter verse in the very swiftness of its 
metrical form cleaves to its themes as the skin to the flesh. 
Simonides of Amorgos (Fragm. 1) thus writes gloomily on 
human life at large : " My son, 'tis Zeus of heavy thunder 
who holds the end of all that is, and places as he wills ; 
but sense does not attend the human kind, but ephemeral 
we live like grazing cattle alway, knowing nothing how 
God will bring each one to his end. 'Tis hope and confi- 
dence that nurtures all as they indulge in vain impulse. 
Some abide the coming of a day and others the circular 
movement of years. Next year each mortal thinks he 
will come close to wealth and blessings. But old age un- 
lovely outstrips the one in seizing him before he reaches 
his goal ; other mortals are destroyed by grievous illness, 
still others, overcome by god of war doth Hades send to 
murky realms. And others on the deep by gale are wildly 
driven, and in the myriad billows of the purple deep they 
die . . . and these attacked the noose with grievous end, 
and self-despatched leave the light of Helios. No form of 
evil then is wanting. ..." 

Precisely the same personality stands revealed in the 
famous poem on women and their types ; we think of 
JEsop when we read of her whose type is (Fragm. 7) the 
long-haired ass, whose home is filthy and disorderly. The 
vixen hears of every one's evils and troubles, even those 
of her betters. Another runs aimlessly hither and thither 


as do the dogs in Eastern towns. Another merely eats 
and eats, her sole accomplishment. Another changes in 
her moods like the surface of the sea. Another is likened 
by this bitter writer of iambic verse to the weasel, insati- 
able of sensuality and a desperate thief, who will not even 
spare things destined for the altar. Another is a proud, 
high-stepping steed, all for finery and dress : she needs a 
king for her husband. An ape another is, so ugly, so ma- 
licious, and so mischievous. One noble type alone is given 
us, it is the bee. One hardly would credit woman with a 
soul, in fact ; from Hesiod to Menander resounds this low 
and bitter note, a social, a political necessity then, but 
little more. Where, then, is the Greek Frauenlob? Read 
the extracts in the anthology of Stobaeus, the sixty-four 
extracts, among which no less than thirty -five are from 
the pen of Euripides. That third leaf in the trifolium 
of Attic tragedy, intensely human as he is, has come down 
almost to the lowest rung of the ladder from the high 
level of Homer. No age of chivalry there, before Troy 
or Thebes, however, in spite of the shallow plausibility of 
Mahaffy's pen strokes ; he is essentially the milliner who 
tricks out his puppets with a finery unknown to the saner 
view of clarified and critical vision. 

Even the noble figure of Penelope the vile spirit of the 
later Greeks dragged down from the superb elevation of 
the Odyssey. Her husband is probably the true imper- 
sonation of your genuine Greek ; cunning, adroit, perse- 
vering, always riding on the crest of all the billows of 
emergency or circumstance, but she is noblest womanhood, 
whether as wife or mother. There is recorded one play, 
" Penelope," in the annals of Old Attic Comedy. She 
was also said to have borne a son by Hermes during the 
long absence of her husband, or, according to a still more 
repulsive fabrication, she became mother to a child, of 
which all the suitors were the fathers. Thus, with all 
the canonization of Homer, the Greeks honored neither 
the heroine of the Iliad, for which dishonor there was 
more warrant, nor the lady of Ithaca. 


Indeed, before we pass on to the puzzling and difficult 
theme of Sappho, the poetess and music-teacher of Lesbos, 
it may be well to look at a few essential features of Greek 
womanhood. So young were the brides and so exclusively 
was marriage an economical and political settlement, that 
the seeking out, and the personal choice and deeper satis- 
faction of ultra-physical comradeship, was utterly excluded. 
But I believe I will best serve the interests of historical 
truth and of my work if I simply transfer § 29 of C. Fr. 
Hermann's "Private Antiquities of the Greeks." That 
scholar, in his wonderful erudition, preserved a degree of 
equipoise and sanity rare among the great German classi- 
cists of the nineteenth century, almost all of whom, in 
their own generation, were enslaved by the practice of 
absolute valuation of classical things and themes. 

" In the nature of the case indeed the commonwealths 
of Greece were compelled to lay no little stress on the 
preservation of houses and the matrimonial unions of their 
citizens. This was necessary even on account of certain 
ordinances, civil and religious, which were founded upon 
the family. In some communities we find that this con- 
cern of the states was extended to statutes aimed at un- 
married men. Still, by such means the moral character 
of matrimony but too easily was merged in the legal, and 
as adultery was considered primarily as a disturbance of 
domestic peace which permitted the offended party to 
execute summary and immediate vengeance, so the out- 
raging of a virgin was considered merely as a usurpation 
of alien rights, which usurpation was entirely atoned for 
by subsequent marriage. For the same reason concubi- 
nage in the estimation of the Greeks had but this one 
offensive feature, that the offspring therefrom lacked the 
civil or legal advantages of statutory wedlock. ..." 

" As to what concerns the courtesans, who in manifold 
gradations either personally or in the service of another's 
pursuit of gain made a trade of the satisfaction of sexual 
desires, it is true here that both the general contempt for 
any mercenary trade united with the particular ignominy 
of the courtesan's pursuit joined to establish a stain which 


found expression in many exceptional laws directed 
against this class; but the practical use which the mascu- 
line sex made of their advances was subject at most to the 
considerations of civil prudence, while the commonwealth 
and social custom rather encouraged than curbed it : and 
in the same measure as their freedom from the restraints 
of female decorum made it possible for some courtesans 
to approach more nearly to male society in refinement 
and in the sharing of cultural movements — in the same 
measure that contempt gave way to an indulgence and a 
recognition, of which the first intellects of Greece were not 
ashamed." (And so Socrates himself — Xenophon, " Memo- 
rabilia," 3, 12 — discusses with the beautiful Theodote 
how best she might manipulate and hold her lovers.) 
" Still more early the inadequacy of domestic intercourse 
with the female sex had endowed the love of men with an 
importance in which this relation appeared outright as a 
preeminence of Greek freedom and culture above other 
nations, difficult though it was there to maintain the 
slender line of demarcation which separated it from ad- 
mitted debauchery and perversion of nature. It was 
legally encouraged by most of the states and considered the 
object of such love as enviable (Nepos, preface of Chap. 
4), and even where the statute threatened the voluntary 
degradation of the latter with deserved ignominy, the 
statute granted protection to the fair youth only against 
violence, whereas the corrupter found in the success of 
his suit and in the consent of his victim ample excuse." 
The Gottingen Scholar then proceeds (in § 30) : " Hence 
it is easily understood that it was a necessary consequence 
in Greece that matrimony was considered as barely better 
than a necessary evil, and certainly was treated merely as 
transaction in law, the moral features of which were due 
not so much to the personal affection of bride and groom 
as rather to the general importance bestowed by law itself 
upon this union of the sexes to provide the foundations of 
civil society. As for the virgin at least, every personal 
motive was removed by her domestic seclusion, or if in- 
deed this barrier had been broken through by the occasion 


of a public festival, never was there any question, but the 
girl accepted the husband with whom her parents directly 
or by means of a stranger's mediation had concluded the 
contract concerning her future ; and this contract then 
constituted the betrothal which the Greeks considered as 
the essential condition of a legal association of matrimony." 
But these exact and historically well-fortified delineations 
of Hermann cannot be cited any further. 

Let us now approach the remnants of Sappho. The 
mere scanning of these sometimes reminds me of the play- 
ing on a chordless piano for the sake of the fingering and 
tempo: at all events, the Greek lays or chants have passed 
to the limbo of nevermore, in spite of Horace's imitations. 
Of these fragments, but two are large enough that we too 
may grasp or lay hold of at least some ground for stand- 
ing with the Hellenic world in its praise or high valuation 
of this gifted woman. Love: what a theme! But how 
raised above the stars, how dragged down to the very 
depths of Tartarus! If anywhere, here it should be re- 
vealed, if the Greek soul was not after all earthy, or 
whether in the strongest impulse of man there was any 
admixture of aught but body and physical craving, to be 
satisfied in the only way in which mere animality is to be 
satisfied; whether, at bottom, Love and Lust were inde- 
terminable affections of man; whether they were not 
perhaps convertible terms. As for Aphrodite, the coarse 
idols of older Cyprian art which emphasize mere sex and 
sexuality, as for this personification — it remained the gross 
thing which at bottom is treated with contempt by the bright 
and fearless poet who in the Iliad manipulated the Olympus 
in his own way — a personification essentially incapable 
of serious elevation: typifying an impulse powerful and 
potential for a myriad of consequences. This " Kypris," 
then, was plentifully, with a wealth of consummately 
felicitous epithets and in language positively pulsating 
with passion, invoked, over and over again, by Sappho of 
Lesbos (fl. ab. 590 B.C.). That a middle-aged woman, 
mother and widow, should compose such verse, puzzled 
the Greeks more and more so as time passed by. No less 


than six comedy writers of Athens wrote plays on Sappho 
bearing her name. And no wonder, if they made good 
sport of the paternity of Hercules, and of the wiles that 
deceived the good and faithful Alkmene, why not of 
Sappho ? If the very birth of Athena was fair sport for 
them, though she was the tutelary deity of the Athenians, 
why should they have refrained from the Lesbian com- 
poser? The very development of the full powers of a 
woman's personality was almost a challenge to the Greek 
spirit. Aphrodite, " weaver of wiles " (8o\o7r\oVo?), I 
said, was invoked in these odes: wiles to attain sexual 
gratification, for of romance and chivalry there is nothing 
to be found (cf. Fragm. 52, 130). She loves her daughter 
Kleis with intensity (Fragm. 85), for her she would not 
accept the wealth of Lydia, and still the passionate tone 
of love — for whom ? Her very soul borders on insanity 
in the frenzy of her love-sickness (Fragm. 1, v. 28). Per- 
suasion is to lead the beloved one to her and it is a girl, 
too, who now spurns presents, and flees from Sappho. 
What accomplishment or attainment the " Kypris " is to 
work for the poetess we know not; for this, however 
(reXetroi/!), she prays. 

The other complete poem is an enumeration, physio- 
logical, let it be said, of the symptoms of erotic ecstasy, 
an enumeration of symptoms roused in the music mistress 
by a girl, one of her pupils it would seem. Other Lesbian 
ladies seem also to have given instruction how to sing and 
play on the lyre. They also composed bridal songs. I 
will not go on to the charges made against Sappho by the 
Greeks themselves. Had we the entire nine books of her 
verse, we would be in a far better case. Theognis bor- 
rowed her " weaver of wiles." Quintilian did not con- 
sider her verse fit to form a part of regular literary 
instruction in the schools for Roman pupils. We advance 
little in our estimation by chewing over the Laodicean 
phrase of " unsuitable for the young person," or some such 
current form of eclectic morality. Is it the beginning of 
the particular form of Perversion and the Pervert ever 
after associated with the very name of Lesbos ? Scholars 


like C. F. Hermann, Welcker, Bernhardy, enter the lists 
as her champions. Poor champions. For they speak of 
the perversion of the male sex often in a semi-apologetic 
manner — a terrible stain that cannot be palliated. We 
may well doubt with Colonel Mure as to what "limb- 
loosing Eros " can mean in the verse of Sappho. Her far- 
famed champion, Welcker, actually believes in some rare 
and radiant youth, Phaon, for whom the poetess took her 
own life. One thing is quite definite : let us remove 
fancies of ideal love from our conception of the Greeks. 
If we would like to conceive them loftily, that is quite 
intelligible : unfortunately the data of literary tradition 
permit us in no wise to do so, as far as Love is concerned 
and the particular meaning of erotic has been aptly lodged 
in this Greek word. I append a few lines never yet done 
into English, I believe, of Bernhardy 's (" Hist, of Gr. Lit."): 
" delicate and confidential was the intercourse (of Sappho) 
with virgins beautiful and susceptible, partly also faithful 
(in not changing their lessons ?) who entered into the 
presence of Sappho " (the very phrase bespeaks the pro- 
fessional reverence of the typical classicist) — for what 
end, do you think, dear reader? To learn from her art 
(i.e. how to play on the lyre) "and wisdom" (what wis- 
dom?), the sorrows and joys of Love? Elsewhere the 
scholar of Halle utters the following nonsense (p. 672): 
But Sappho has mitigated the bold sensuality of her race 
(i.e. the ^Eolic) by the delicate fragrance (Duft) of ten- 
der womanliness. Where ? How ? I will not pass on 
before I have cited fair and fit words, written in 1857, 
and published in the Rheinisches Museum for that year, 
an essay entitled : " Sappho and the Ideal Love of the 
Greeks." This judgment of Mure has my cordial appro- 
bation (p. 577): " One who has written so much on the 
Greeks and to the same effect as the author of these 
remarks, can hardly be accused of undervaluing their 
genius. But no admiration for their great qualities has 
ever blinded me to the defects of their social condition. 
Of those defects the worst, the dark spot which sheds a 
gloom over all their glorious attributes, is their unnatural 


vice. That so obvious an impulse, the mere suspicion of 
which attaching to a man, causes him, in most parts at 
least of modern Europe, to be shunned as a pest to society, 
should have been so mixed up with the physical constitu- 
tion of a whole nation as to become a little less powerful 
instinct than the natural one between the sexes ; that its 
indulgence should have been regulated by law ; that in 
the extension of metaphysical science, all speculation on 
the passion of love, its principle or influence, would, in the 
leading schools of philosophy, have been concentrated 
around this detestable impulse, as the mode of that pas- 
sion most honorable to enlightened men, — all this 
constitutes so monstrous, to the Christian moralist so 
revolting, an abnormity in the history of our species as 
can barely be reconciled with the general scheme of provi- 
dence, when viewed as a humiliation to which this tran- 
scendently gifted race was subjected, in order to place 
them on a level with the rest of mankind." 

And while the poetess addressed her glowing verse to 
girls, her fellow-countryman, to use the phrase of Quin- 
tilian, "lowered himself to erotic verse" (ad amoves de- 
scendif), and we may pass on. 

Anakreon of Teos (fl. ab. 531), a contemporary of the 
times when Persia rapidly came forward as the world 
power, and when autocrats ruled, probably, in the greater 
number of Greek communities. His verse glorified the 
boy favorites at such courts, as at that of Polykrates of 
Samos (Smerdis, Kleobulos, Bathyllos). "He loves all 
the comely ones, and extols them all," says an ancient 
critic, Maximus of Tyre. It was all in the service of 
Aphrodite, a religion, if we may force this term to such 
use, of infinite convenience, almost as comfortable as 
Rousseau's pure nature, a service, I say, in such worship, 
where Eros also is much named, a name much bestowed 
later, at Rome, on Greek slave boys. "A great and bold 
design did the Grecian world undertake," said Cicero (in a 
citation from some lost work) (" Lactantius' Institutiones," 
1, 20, 14), " in that it set up images of Cupids and Loves 
in the Gymnasia." An allusion more deeply and gravely 


elaborated by one of the best Greeks of bis or any time, 
Plutarch of Chseronea, in his " Amatorius," cited above in 
Chapter 3. And what, pray, can we say of a religion, 
however ecstatically we may call it a religion of the beau- 
tiful, which could not be brought into any sort of harmony 
with any postulates of moral law, nay, which as at Corinth 
(and Babylon) constituted and appointed a divine worship 
consisting in acts of impurity? The sestheticians from 
those times to the present have almost uniformly acquired 
a curious callosity in that portion of their souls where 
moral judgment is to utter itself, and when brought into 
uncomfortable narrows of controversy, fall back on a 
denial, direct or implied, of moral law. It is an old 
matter : " Of all things is man the measure," said Pro- 
tagoras the Sophist ; " the difference of conceptions as to 
what is permissible," says Welcker (" Kleine Schriften" 
I, 256). In the miserable combination of his gray hairs 
with the same old wretched themes and concerns, Anak- 
reon is about as cheerful and as sincere as one who chews 
apples of Sodom and pretends they are from Eden. Solon's 
old-age verse has a truer ring, as we saw. 

Teuffel of Tubingen in a popular lecture full of con- 
straint, of euphemism and palliation (" Studien und Char- 
akteristiken" etc., 1871, p. 73) is, at least, fair enough to 
call the amatory poems of the Greeks eine Sumpf- 
pflanze, a plant flourishing in morass ; but we may say 
at once, where, in classic Greek literature, is there any 
other? In vain will we look, then, in Greek literature 
for women like Shakespeare's Miranda, Isabella, Beatrice, 
Portia, Rosalind, Katherine, Helena, Olivia, and the others 
— women loving, loving with faithful and honorable love, 
women with personalities so rich and so superbly endowed, 
with moral splendor illumined, and withal so human, that 
we love them all, without the first concern or curiosity 
as to their complexion or eyes, or eyebrows or straight 
noses, or other transitory gift of the Graces. For the 
higher concerns of mankind one of these women of 
Shakespeare is of worth and price so great, that if all 
the Aphrodites of Melos, or Capua or Knidos, were sunk 


into the sea where it is deepest, together with the cow- 
eyed and morose Hera of Ludovisi or other provenience, 
— if this should eventuate as a condition that Shakespeare 
should not perish from the possession of our human kind, 
— I for one would contemplate that submersion with much 
equanimity. Such women, I say, are not to be found in 
the wide range of Greek letters, because they were not in 
Greek life and mode of living. 

Pindar of Thebes (522-442) ranks as the greatest of 
the Nine Canonic Lyrists of Greece : his poems in part 
survive, his melodies or lays have perished. His odes of 
victory for those Greeks who were able to remunerate so 
eminent a poet and composer have been transmitted. Few 
things are so exclusively the domain of a narrow number 
of scholars as the technology of his metres, few things 
as utterly impossible of a renaissance as Pindar's victory 
odes, few if any works of the ancient world so untrans- 
latable as the choral lyrics of Pindar. But our quest is 
not in the hard and well-beaten footpath of literary val- 

The visible palpable glory of physical excellence and 
endurance, the fame of Pan-hellenic observation and praise, 
a renown not less dear to the victor and his kin and com- 
monwealth than portrait statues of marble or bronze, — 
these things are in and over all these compositions. Great 
national services had not been earned by many Greeks 
before the Persian wars, but all the more each community 
clung to myth and legend connecting its aristocracy with 
some one of the gods. These present achievements are 
extolled as a true confirmation of ancestry and mythical 
feats. In the sunset even of this Hellenic world the con- 
tests at Olympia, together with the Eleusinian mysteries 
in Attica, were designated by one of the closest observers 
as the concerns of an especial tutelary divine providence 
(Pausanias, 5, 10, 1). It is, then, in the main the eulogy 
of strength, wealth, glory, and social culture which per- 
vades these odes. Aretd (virtus) in Pindar is simply 


Excellence, some one form of outdoing one's fellows, an 
eminence of mind, body, or fortune — power, in short. In 
the dependence of the individual excellence on the favor 
of some specific god or gods, Pindar stands on the whole 
on the essential basis of the Homeric Epics: it is in a 
certain way the last golden appearance in lofty letters of 
the Homeric Olympians. The critics have observed (any 
reader may easily do so, it is obvious enough) that Pin- 
dar tried to deprive myths of ignoble elements. The tra- 
ditional ecstasy drove Professor Christ to call Pindar a 
" sacred singer filled with deep religiosity," if any Greek re- 
ligiosity could be essentially lofty or deep. Bernhardy 
speaks of " religious consecration " which made Pindar 
strong. But one could not endow the legend of Ganymede 
with purity, one could not explain away the sense in which 
it was held in the wide range of the Hellenic world. The 
naive carnality of Apollo when his concupiscence was 
directed at the innocent nymph Koronis, could not be 
elevated or refined at all, nor does it seem possible to 
endow the Olympians with any essential goodness, or 
dignify in any way the endless and ever present legends 
of the concupiscence of Zeus. Allegorical refinements 
are not essayed by the poet of Thebes. The myths were 
rooted in the soil of the Greek world ; brook, spring, rock, 
and meadow commemorated them from generation to gen- 
eration: they were often inextricably bound up with the 
anniversaries and festal days of the particular community. 
One can take them or leave them, endow them with any 
moral nobleness one could not. Still, it would be unfair 
thus to dispose of Pindar. 

There is a nobler striving in the soul of Pindar. 

The fate of Tantalos is a warning that no man can in 
his action escape the notice of God (01., 1, 64). Zeus is 
invoked as Saviour, " Zeus of the high clouds " ; but also as 
honoring the venerable grotto in Crete (where he was hid- 
den as an infant), 01., 5, 15 sqq. Truth is called daughter 
of Zeus (01., 10, 4). He, the poet, desires for himself 
that (in his further course of life) he may not chance upon 
changes instigated by the jealousy of the gods (Pythian, 


10, 20), holding therefore his prosperity by a precari- 
ous tenure. Pindar would love fair things that come 
from God (Pyth., 11, 50). A notable passage is that of 
Nemean Odes, 6, 1 : " One is the race of men, one that 
of Gods : from one mother breathe we both ; but an ut- 
terly separate force holds them asunder, so that the one is 
nothing, but their ever safe abode, the brazen firmament, 
abides. But in some respects we resemble utterly the im- 
mortals, either in great mind or body, although neither 
by day or night do we know what fate has written for 
us, what goal we are to run to." 

Humility is the wiser course : " Do not vainly try to 
become a Zeus" (Isthmian, 5, 14). "Do not vainly strive 
to become a divinity " (01., 5, 24). The race of men is es- 
sentially " swift-fated" short-lived (01., 1, 66). Avoid inso- 
lence and satiety (01., 13, 10). What are the chief boons or 
blessings ? " To have a pleasant life is the first of prizes: 
to have a good reputation is the second lot ; but the man 
who haps upon them both, and seizes them, has received the 
loftiest wreath " (Pyth. ,1,99). " To be rich with the asso- 
ciated lot of wisdom is best . . . "(Pyth., 2, 56). "Wealth 
is widely valiant, when a mortal man has it blended with 
pure excellence." "I love not to hold great wealth con- 
cealed in my hall, but to enjoy what I have, and to have 
good repute and satisfy my friends " (Nemean, 1, 31). 
The association of fair deeds with a comely person is 
highly extolled : a characteristic Greek conceit (Nem., 3, 
19), which we met above in the didactic verse of Theog- 
nis. " The prosperity planted with God is more abiding 
for men" (Nem., 8, 17). The sum of Greek felicity is 
here brought together : " But if one possessing wealth in 
his personal comeliness excels others, and excelling in con- 
tests demonstrates his strength, let him remember that the 
limbs he drapes are mortal, and that he will be clothed 
with the end of all, earth " (Nem., 11, 13). 

He moralizes (Fragm. 146) on a feat of Hercules, and 
comes to the gloomy conclusion that the sovereign law is 
at bottom nothing but the justification of strength and 
force, i.e. Might, after all, makes Right. 


Pindar was much in Sicily at the rich and splendid 
courts of Syracuse, of Akragas and ^Etna. Perhaps his 
truth-craving soul was arrested by the graver precepts of 
Pythagoras, whose disciples were ever fain to pursue a 
cult of a rigid, if esoteric, observance, a cult concerned 
with the soul, its moral purity or impurity, its transcen- 
dental life from Eternity to Eternity, and the retributive 
justice of a divine ordination. It was a philosophy which 
in its very essence denied most sharply the very fabric of 
life and culture which many now call Greekdom or Hel- 
lenism, i.e. the serene satisfaction with these earthly 
things and their physical limitations. Among the most 
eminent disciples or Apostles of this serious cult was 
Archytas, and Philolaos of Tarentum. Whatever may 
have been the concern or interest of the Theban poet, 
some grave and curious lines of his pen are preserved 
among his verse, as in 01., 2, 66 : " He knows the future, 
that the souls of those who died here, the wicked souls, at 
once pay the penalty, and that the shortcomings com- 
mitted in this realm of Zeus some one judges below the 
earth, giving his verdict with bitter necessity ; but the 
good possessing the sun with equal nights always and equal 
days receive a less troubled life, not stirring the soil with 
the strength of their hand nor the water of the deep on 
account of slender livelihood, but in the company of the 
honored gods all those who have rejoiced in keeping their 
oaths have allotted to them a span of Time that knows no 
tears, but the others endure trouble which eyes refuse to 
look upon. But those who have for three times endured 
sojourning in both places to keep their soul utterly from 
unjust things, they accomplish the way to Zeus along the 
tower of Kronos, where the Isle of the Blessed is fanned 
by the breezes of Okeanos, where golden blossoms gleam, 
some from the soil from brilliant trees, and water nurtures 
others, and with garlands and wreaths of these they en- 
fold their hands in the upright counsels of Rhadaman- 
thys," etc. 

Specifically it is the virtue of reverence for the gods in 
actual worship (eMfieia) and its counterpart, unrever- 


ence or impiety which receive condign treatment or re- 
ward in the world which follows after death : so Pindar 
wrote in his funeral verse, his Threnoi, Fragm. 106 sqq.: 
" For them shines the power of sun during our night, — 
below, and in meadows adorned with scarlet roses is their 
suburb and shaded with incense-bearing trees and loaded 
with golden fruits, and some with steeds and wrestling feats, 
and some with throw of dice, and others with the harps 
rejoice themselves. ..." 

" And all in blessed fate (receive) a consummation free- 
ing them from toil. The body of all goes in the wake of 
powerful death, but a living image of time is still left ; 
for that alone is from the gods. And it sleeps while the 
limbs are active, but for those who sleep does it show in 
many dreams the imperceptibly approaching judgment of 
things delightful and of those which are heavy. ..." 
Again, in Fragm. 110 : " And those for whom Persephone 
will receive the punishment of ancient woe, in the ninth 
year does she give up to the upper sun again their souls ; 
of these, splendid kings are born (grown), and men swift 
in strength, and very great in wisdom. But henceforth by 
men are they called stainless heroes" {i.e. demigods, in the 
peculiar sense of Greek religious ideas). Stainless, as 
though it were indeed highest consummation of the human 
soul to free itself from guilt and sin. At the same time, 
guilt and sin are not conceived very profoundly, not even 
by the noblest of the Greek lyrical poets. Nowhere do 
we observe that sharp antithesis between the moral law 
and between the law in the members ; their morality 
could not very well be higher than their objects of wor- 
ship, and these, in all truth, were not high. The reader of 
Pindar may see for himself in Pyth., 1, 97-98 ; Nem., 8, 
2 ; Isthm., 2, 3-5 ; and particularly the frank and un- 
blushing manner in which a comely youth is praised : fr. 
100, v. Athenaeus, XIII, 601, c, especially the third line. 
Pindar was no prophet of righteousness for his nation. 
Was there any figure at all comparable to the prophets 
of Israel ? No. The belief was widespread that certain 
forms of ritual or sacrificial procedure were quite sufficient. 


Greek men craved no righteousness deeper or higher than 
those of their own gods. These indeed were figments of 
physical personification, but in their morality they were 
indeed very real, for they mirrored the standards of life 
and conduct of that nationality that moulded these idola. 
While very little would be lost to the essential strength 
and truth of the Christian religion, if the masterworks of 
Donatello, Michel Angelo, Rafael, or da Vinci had never 
been made, if worship were carried on by the waterside, 
or under a tent rather than in St. Peter's or St. Paul's, so, 
on the other hand, the low level and the intrinsic worth- 
lessness of the Hellenic religion gains nothing whatever 
through the artistic excellence of a Homer, a Phidias, or a 

Note. — Bergk's "Lyrici" is the most important book of reference 
for Chapter 5. I have used the third edition, 1866. Gilbert Murray, a 
Scottish Professor of Greek Literature (" A History of Ancient Greek 
Literature," Appleton, 1901, p. 84) : " There is some sentiment which 
we cannot enter into : there were no women in the Dorian camps." 
On the Greek cult of masculine comeliness v. Winckelmann " Werke" 
Dresden, Vol. 4, passim: The aesthetic sense of the Greeks, as this 
fifth chapter abundantly suggests, was very far from furnishing, as 
Winckelmann claims (ib., p. 19) for Greek Freedom, the u germs of 
noble and elevated sentiments. . . ." 

The close association between pulchritude and libido is abundantly 
emphasized by Plutarch and Cicero, the former of whom (Amatorius) 
makes the Greek gymnasia directly responsible for the moral degra- 
dation of the Hellenic world : and even there the mien of the Sage 
of Chaeronea is not even ruffled. A fling at women in general seems 
to have been permitted every literary man almost : there is no ideal- 
ization of woman anywhere, v. Stobaeus, " Florilegium" (c. 73), and 
the precepts for wedded life (c. 74) are not much kindlier. Even 
Pythagoras said of her that woman's function was chiefly " to keep 
the house and remain within and receive and wait upon her hus- 
band." I cannot see that Welcker's essay (" Sappho von einem her- 
schenden Vorurleil befreit" " Kleine Schriften" II, 80-144) disposes 
of the problem. Mure was justly astonished at the indulgent tone 
with which Welcker had spoken of the Hellenic vice. 

Before Pindar died, most of the great Sophists of Greece were born — 
when less and less the minds of the Greek leaders remained content 
with the popular religion. The Greek mythographers show that con- 
cupiscence,, often bestiality, was the main thing in the " loves " of 
the Greek gods, hence the utter absence of romance in the relations 


of the sexes is not so marvellous : e.g. Hephaistos enamoured of 
Athena ; Poseidon pursuing Demeter in Arcadia, Zeus (whom Lac- 
tantius justly calls Salacissimus) smitten with Kallisto, Heracles and 
Auge, and so on. Genuine Neopaganism cannot but degrade woman, 
and the purest Lyrics cannot very well be conceived in any social 
order inferior to the Christian. 

Seneca's brief utterance as to the Greek lyricists should not be for- 
gotten: "illi ex professo lasciviunt" (Epist., 49, 5). 



The narrow limitations of physical force and potency 
stained with legends of concupiscence, wrath, revenge, 
jealousy, and every human weakness, the gods of Greece; 
all these were a bar impassable for any serious spiritual 
aspiration in the Hellenic religion, so-called. The worship 
of men, or the extolling close up to the point where wor- 
ship begins, this the Greeks had practised from the begin- 
ning among one another. They had made gods very like 
unto themselves: what need we wonder if they made gods 
of their own kind ? Given the incredible narrowness and 
intensity with which every polls or community advanced 
its own honors, it is easy to see how honors should be 
shown to those of the dead whose names and services kept 
afresh that peculiar form of local pride so characteristic 
of the Hellenes, whose political history is an almost un- 
broken chain of deterrent lessons. 

The usage of creating and honoring in a distinctly 
religious way the spirits of those departed ones to whom 
some particular eminence was gratefully ascribed, this 
usage, I say, is distinctly younger than the Homeric Epics. 
In the Iliad, as I have shown before, Herakles had by no 
means as yet been raised to the Olympus. 

I must revert for a little while again to Hesiod of Askra. 
His rude philosophy of History, the steady decline and 
decay from an almost paradise-like status of new and fresh 
mankind is one of the features of that congeries of Epical 
verse, the " Works and Days." In tracing the Fourth Race, 
he calls it (159 sqq.) the divine race of hero-men who 
are called demi-gods : of these were the Seven who went 
against Thebes, and the valiant men of the Trojan war. 



These, after death, passed on to abodes where they know 
no trouble or care, in the Isles of the Blessed, along 
Okeanos of the deep current, where the generous soil 
presents them every year three crops. 

These, like Achilleus on an island in the Black Sea, were 
revered, while the dead of the Golden Age, the First 
Race, had a more positive and practical relation to man- 

These, after death, are still in existence, in a spiritual 
fashion, as (v. 123) "guardians of mortal men." "They 
watch over acts of justice and over heinous deeds ; clothed 
in mist they go everywhere to and fro on the face of the 
Earth, givers of wealth." . . . Philo, the Alexandrine 
Jew, was reminded by them of the Angels of the Old 

Clearly these departed Spirits were not by the Greeks 
conceived as removed to Olympian felicity, unconcerned 
with the labors and distress of their one-time state and 
place, but approachable in the very spot where they were 
buried, their tombs, their monuments. 

Thus Pelops was conceived to be near the Panhellenic 
site of Olympia: of him Pindar says (01., 1, 93): "but 
now he is made the participant of blood-satisfaction 
splendid, laid at rest by the current of Alpheios, having a 
tomb widely conspicuous, close to an altar visited by very 
many strangers. And from afar off he beholds the fame 
of the Olympian games. ..." 

The scholiasts say that a black ram was annually sac- 
rificed to the heros Pelops. The ritual all pointed, not 
upward to the gods of Light and Life, but downward to 
the abode of the dead: the blood symbolizing some tem- 
porary nurture and sustenance : quite within the material 
limitations and conditions of this earthly life, a procedure 
not much different from that at the pit of Odysseus in the 
Eleventh Book of his Wanderings. And to this same 
class of beings intermediate between gods and men does 
Pindar assign Asklepios the physician, Agamemnon, 
Peleus, Adrastos, Aiakos and his progeny, the Argonauts : 
the essential thing is that the heros is Xaoaefirjs, "revered 


of the people." No quasi-theological belief is uttered of an 
essential, specific immortality or translation to the gods : 
it is the voice of harmonious and unanimous honor rising 
either from any given community or from the sense and 
feeling of the entire Grecian world. The thing so very 
hard for us moderns who in the main are reared in reli- 
gious and moral conceptions transcending time and space, 
absolute and eternal, — I say for us it is difficult to realize 
the narrow limits within which the typical Greek lived 
and died, in which he was content to be honored, the 
fancies and traditions which he absorbed, as the particular 
oak on the particular hillside is nurtured or retarded by 
the limitations of its specific soil and climate, air, light, 
and sunshine. 

Herodotus (2, 44) realizes that the Theban Herakles is 
much younger than the Syrian: hence, he says, the Greeks 
acted wisely in establishing a twofold worship : viz., that 
of the Olympian god Herakles, to whom they offer up 
regular sacrifice with feast attached (®t»<rta), and cut the 
throat of victims for the other. Herodotus (2, 55) also 
made record of the fact that the Egyptians had no cult of 
such demi-gods. 

Founders of tribes and political forms were particularly 
so honored, the consciousness of common descent being 
the essential thing in citizenship, and there was no ob- 
jection to artificial creations, as of the eponymous Found- 
ers in Attika, under the adroit reforms of Kleisthenes there, 
in 510 B.C. (including Ajax, the great name and glory 
of Salamis), when the whole legendary history and great 
names of Attic past were thus incorporated in the daily 
life and nomenclature of the Attic people. 

Many of these heroes had a sacred enclosure (re/ie^o?) 
and a fane or sanctuary (rjpatov^). There was, also, a belief 
in their power to benefit and bless, or to injure and 
work harm ; so that on the whole the motives of fear, hope, 
and civil pride are clearly discernible in this institution. 
The striking uniformity observable here was due, in no 
small measure, to the corporation of Delphi, for Greek re- 
ligion was incessantly concerned with current events and 


particularly with extraordinary or abnormal happenings, 
when the resort to the central point of authority ever deep- 
ened the practical dependency of communities as well 
as individual persons on the Parnassian verdict. The 
Athenians appointed a sacred enclosure for the iEginetan 
Founder Aiakos (Her., 5, 89) by Delphian direction; was 
it to deprive their naval rival of that blessing and power ? 
And when the assembled Greeks at Salamis were prepar- 
ing for the great crisis, they despatched (Her., 8, 64) a 
ship to bring Aiakos to bless and strengthen them : ' did 
they transfer actual bones ? Or was a transfer effected 
merely by some ritual act ? 

The paternity, and thus the legitimacy, of a Spartan 
king was put in jeopardy by the belief of the queen 
mother's husband that the local heros Astrabakos had 
assumed his, the king's, form and appearance (Her., 6, 
69). After Salamis the Persian governor in the Cherso- 
nesos was nailed to a plank by the enraged Greeks because 
he had taken particular pains to defile the sanctuary of 
the heros Protesilaos at Elaius. Besides this the Oriental 
had removed the money and consecrated gifts from the 
fane (Her., 9, 116, 120). On the wall of the Painted Porch 
at Athens there was limned the " heros Marathon " as 
helping to victory ; also there was the founder Theseus 
actually rising from the soil (Paus., 1, 15, 3) : and 
even in that late traveller's time (160 a.d.) "one may 
hear at night the neighing of the steeds and the cries of 
men giving battle." 

In the year 476 the Athenians removed what they 
believed to be the bones of their founder, Theseus. An 
eagle, Plutarch says (" Theseus " 36), indicated the spot. A 
tomb was found containing a coffin with a giant skeleton 
and spear and sword lying alongside of it, of the Bronze 
Age. The sanctuary built for this "Theseus" by the 
enthusiastic Athenians was a legal asylum for slaves and 
for those who feared those who were too powerful for them. 
The greatest annual sacrifice (as to a god) the people made 
to him on the day on which he had once returned from 
Crete, on the eighth day of the month Pyanepsion. Am- 


phiaraos was one of the Seven against Thebes, of a race of 
soothsayers. He perished before Thebes ; that is, Zeus 
split the earth for him, and with his chariot he disappeared 
in the cleft. The people of Oropos were the first to rate 
him a god; later all the Greeks followed their example 
(Paus., 1, 34, 2). 

But why enumerate more? Every village and valley 
had a heros. Epaminondas sacrificed to Spedasos and his 
daughters before he unfolded his oblique order of battle 
on the fateful field of Leuktra, 371 B.C. Why ? Because 
once upon a time two Spartans had outraged these virgins ; 
but these, in their shame and anguish, had slain themselves 
by the noose. The power of retributive justice therefore 
was here invoked by the great Theban captain. 

And not only with names hallowed by civic gratitude 
and an unbroken series of anniversary celebrations did the 
Greeks practise this form of worship and honor, but also 
with figures which stand out in the full light of historical 
noonday. Thus the commonwealth of little stout Platsea 
undertook (Plutarch, "Aristides," 21) to make a blood- 
sacrifice every year to the Greeks who had perished there in 
the national battle (of 479) "and lay there." There was a 
procession led by a trumpeter who blew the signal for the 
charge, there were also chariots full of myrtle and wreaths. 
The victim was a black steer. There were jars with liba- 
tions of wine and milk, nor were oil and unguents lacking. 
After sacrificing the steer so that his blood was absorbed 
by the pyre, there was a prayer to Zeus of the Earth and 
Hermes of the Earth (escort of souls), whereupon the chief 
magistrate of Platsea summoned the brave men who had 
died for Greece, to the feast and to the blood-satisfaction 
(haima-kuria : Plutarch maintains the Pindaric phrase). 
Their health also was drunk. 

" I have a bronze statuette," says a physician (in Lucian, 
" Philopseudes " 21), "a cubit in size, which, whenever 
the wick of the lamp is extinguished, makes the rounds 
of the whole house, making a noise, and overturning the 
phials, and pouring together the potions, and overturning 
the door and particularly when we postpone the sacrifice, 


which we bring to him once each year." Aratos of Sikyon 
was the leading statesman of the Achaean League in his 
time (d. 213 B.C. at Aigion). The Sikyonians (Plutarch, 
"Aratos," 53) conveyed the corpse into their town, the peo- 
ple being crowned with garlands and attired in white rai- 
ment, and buried him in a conspicuous place there, and 
sacrificed to him as to a founder and saviour, down to 
Plutarch's time, i.e. more than three hundred years, for 
having saved that commonwealth from autocratic rule. 
There was a particular priest of Aratos as there was of 
Zeus the saviour. Some said Aratos was a son of Askle- 
pios (Paus., 2, 10, 3). 

In the course of the Peloponnesian war, Brasidas, the 
Spartan general, died 422 B.C., in defending Amphipolis 
against the Athenians (Thucydides, 5, 11). He received 
a public burial : his tomb was placed close by the market- 
place and the monument surrounded with a barricading 
enclosure ; blood-sacrifices downward were rendered to 
him as to a heros, with games and annual burnt-offering, 
they deeming him their saviour. 

The philosopher Anaxagoras was similarly honored in 
Lampsakos on the Hellespont, where he was buried. 
Theron, autocrat of Akragas in Sicily, was honored with 
similar distinction after his death, and when his tomb 
was emptied by the Carthaginians and a plague fell upon 
them, it was widely believed that here was the vengeance 
of the heros (Diodorus, 13, 86). The laws of Lycurgus 
provided that the deceased kings of Sparta should be 
honored " not as human beings, but as heroes " (Xeno- 
phon, " State of Lacedaemonians," 15, 9). 

Whosoever has perused this volume from the beginning 
will not marvel that it would have been not a very vio- 
lent step forward to assign divine honors to one living, to 
raise by one definite step or grade him who was to be 
honored. The Stoics, in many ways the most spiritual 
thinkers of the ancient time, were fond of saying that it 
was in the matter of lasting alone that the Sage dif- 
fered from the gods. A curse always is slavery: given 
the trend to extol and deify force and power (the pal- 


pable ulcer in every neopagan movement), what need 
we marvel at the last and consistent sequence drawn by 
the pagan spirit? The call to be good goes out to 
all mankind, the privilege of being uncommonly strong 
seems an endowment of but few, veritably a natal endow- 
ment : why so greatly extol a gift ? But to return to 
the past. 

When Lysander, generalissimo of Sparta and her allies, 
in 405, at Goat's River in the Hellespont, had, with one 
stroke, destroyed the Athenian empire, the " freed " com- 
monwealths " reared to him altars " (Plutarch, " Lysan- 
der," 18), " as to a God, and sacrificed offerings," hymns of 
victory as to a new Apollo were sung, the Samians voted, 
actually voted, to rename their Hera-anniversary and call 
the celebration Lysa7idria instead. Poets were eager to 
attune their lyre to the new god : it was the year in which 
a Sophocles passed away. A little later in Greek politics 
the people of Thasos offered divine honors to Agesilaos of 
Sparta. The hard-headed and sober-minded king asked 
of the delegates why, if the Thasians could translate mere 
men to divinity, why they did not so extol themselves ? 
Also he refused the setting up of his images (Plutarch, 
" Apophthegmata Laconica" 25 8<?.). 

When Philip had begun to set his foot on the neck of 
Greece after his great victory of Chaironeia, 338 B.C., he 
built a commemorative fane at Olympia, where images of 
members of his dynasty were placed (Paus., 5, 20, 9-10), 
of gold and ivory, like unto the Olympian Zeus of Phei- 
dias. The catastrophe of King Philip was curious. It 
was in the summer of 336 B.C. A splendid assembly 
had gathered at Aigai in the north to attend the nuptials 
of the king's daughter, Kleopatra. Feasts and contests 
were the order of the day. His ambition was now 
clearly facing toward Persia. Golden wreaths were ar- 
riving from many commonwealths. In the festal pro- 
cession were borne images of the twelve Olympian gods, 
and as thirteenth the splendidly adorned statue of King 
Philip himself, who thus appeared as assessor of the 
Olympians. When all were seated in the vast theatre, 


the royal host at last appeared, draped in white, far re- 
moved from his satellites, enjoying this occasion to present 
himself to the loyalty and good-will of the Hellenic 
world. But at this moment one of the king's own Gany- 
medes, a man at arms, hastened up and pierced Philip's 
body with a Keltic sword (Diodorus, 16, 92-94). When 
Alexander came to the Nile in carrying forward his 
father's ambition with still greater genius and energy, he 
posed as a son of Zeus Amnion. " He needed this honor," 
says a modern scholar, " to be rated by the natives as a 
genuine successor to the Pharaohs of old. ..." The chief 
hierophant, in the name of the god of the desert, greeted 
the western conqueror as " Son." The priests also told 
Alexander that the vastness of the young king's achieve- 
ments would (Diodorus, 17, 51) be proof of the Macedo- 
nian's divine descent. And this was the soul that had had 
the instruction of the keenest and clearest mind of the 
classic world, that of Aristotle. 

So in this royal youth there was a puzzling congeries of 
motives and impulses, deep policy, and irresistible enthusi- 

And so at the very end and issue of Greek things have 
we this craving, so incompatible with any sincere pretence 
of humanity, as we have the demi-gods in the initial 
myths and in the nebulous beginnings of Greek records. 

Pure humanity indeed ! Subsequently, drunk with 
sweet fortune, the young king demanded prostration even 
from his own race, from the Macedonians, while Greek 
flattery had been engaged in undermining Alexander's 
equipoise and self-control, literary men were these who 
offered him the incense of their verse, for his eastern gold. 
They told him (Curtius, 8, 5, 8) that, one day, in 
Olympus, Herakles and Dionysos, no less than Pollux and 
Kastor, would yield to the new divinity. So Kallisthenes, 
historian in ordinary to the conqueror, and nephew of 
Aristotle, finally fell a victim, in part, to his own frank 
avowal of human freedom. 

With the deeper and earnest Stoics, Alexander's fame 
fared but ill: "Alexander, who hurled his lance among 


his own guests, who cast one friend before wild beasts, the 
other before himself," says Seneca (" De Ira" 3, 23). " For 
what difference is it, I pray thee, Alexander, whether you 
cast Lysimachus before a lion, or himself mangle him 
with your own teeth? Thine is the mouth, thine that 
savagery " (Seneca, " De Clementia" 1, 25, 1). The same 
thinker says: "Alexander of Macedon, when as victor of 
the East he was lifting his spirit above the level of man, 
the Corinthians congratulated through envoys and pre- 
sented him with their citizenship." When Alexander had 
smiled at this sort of attention, one of the envoys said : 
" We have never given citizenship to any other but to you 
and to Hercules. . . . And that person devoted to glory 
of which he knew neither the nature nor the limit, pur- 
suing the tracks of Hercules and of the Wine God, and 
not even halting there where they had given out, looked 
away from the givers to the partner of his own honor, as 
though he held the realms of the sky which he was en- 
deavoring to embrace with his vain soul, because he was 
put on a level with Hercules. For what had in common 
that crazy youth, whose lucky recklessness was rated as a 

Alexander's successors in the main organized their own 
worship and that of their several dynasties, with priests, 
temples, and court-poets — the latter the true spirit of 
later Hellenism, very learned, very adroit, worshipping 
the hand that fed them, without any civil or political 
attachment, bitterly jealous of one another — but guar- 
dians of culture! The second Ptolemy made his sister 
Arsin6e his wife and queen. The locks of Berenike, 
spouse of the third Ptolemy, were promptly assigned to a 
constellation by the court-astronomer, Konon. Incest 
became the system of this deified dynasty down to Kleo- 
patra, who successfully ensnared the great Caesar himself. 

The venerable commonwealths of central Greece more 
and more became mere pawns in the incessant struggles 
for power which prevailed among Alexander's successors, 
particularly the dynasts of Syria, Egypt, and Macedon. 
Whatever pride the Athenians had in their forbears, they 


had none whatever in themselves, and prostrated them- 
selves before that autocrat who happened to dominate on 
soil or billow, with consummately abject felicity. Thus 
it was in 307-306, when Demetrios, the city-besieger 
(Poliorketes), wrested Athens from the grasp of Macedon. 
The commonwealth of Aristides and Socrates enrolled the 
Syrian king and crown prince as " the Saviour Gods " and 
appointed an annual priest for the new deities (Plutarch, 
" Demetrios," c. 10). And this priest was to give his name 
to the year, as the first archon had been wont to do. The 
place, where Demetrios stepped from his chariot, was con- 
secrated and an altar erected on it. This Athens too, this 
much vaunted Athens, was the place where soon a new and 
nobler school of philosophy was to emerge, the Stoa, which 
was to glorify freedom and spiritual autonomy, the very 
sovereignty of the soul, and a certain contemptus mundi as 
well; but the nobler and noblest confessors were to be 
found, much later, on Italian soil, among the Romans. 
This post-Alexandrian generation too was that of Euhem- 
eros, a Greek of Messana. He pointed out that the gods 
of Greek tradition had indeed once upon a time been in 
existence: they had indeed been kings and mighty men 
of war of the hoary past : these, in course of time, had 
been deified by admiring mankind. Euhemeros indeed is 
the very complement of Greek myth-making, and of the 
essentially low level of Greek popular religion, so-called. 
The scrawl of the mound builders and the rude totems 
of Alaska may be dubbed " art" I believe: and so of Greek 
"religion"; but it's an undeserved honor in both cases: 
while German classicists have over and over perpetrated 
the absurdity of actually speaking of Greek " church " and 
" theology " : some of these mere simply stupid, others 
more positively malignant, some half-unconscious of the 
deistic or pantheistic drift which such brutalizing manipu- 
lation of nobler terms involves. 

We cannot very well conclude this chapter without 
turning once again to the " navel of the world," to Delphi. 


That Walhalla, Hall of Fame, Westminster or St. Paul of 
Greek glory, revealed the peculiar kind of Greek hero- 
worship much more conspicuously, palpably, and signifi- 
cantly than any other thing or any other institution 
within the entire periphery of the Hellenic world. These 
things are set forth, as they were arrayed in the great 
Apollo-temple under Parnassos, as late as 160 A.D., or 
so, in the Tenth Book of Pausanias the traveller and 
antiquarian. A curious revealing this of Greek glory and 
hero-worship. No clear line there between myth, local 
legend, and history. There was a statue of Phayllos of 
Kroton, athlete and later a captain among the defenders 
of national honor in Persian times : of Arkadian Tegea, 
Kallisto (once ravished by Zeus), and the eponyme heros 
Arkas and his offspring, and these gifts did the stout little 
commonwealth send once when they had taken prisoners 
from their irksome neighbors the Spartiats. 

The Spartans themselves commemorated their great 
naval victory over Athens, 405 ; there was a Poseidon, 
and Lysander, their admiral, crowned by Poseidon, and 
some one commander of each allied state sharing in this 
discomfiture of Athens. Athens chose Miltiades, joined 
with Apollo, Athena, and local Attic heroes — tithe really 
of loot of Marathon. As a rule, some victory in some 
border feud or some of the endless contentions concerning 
some little bone or other. These were the actual occa- 
sions for such consecrated gifts. Greek vaunting over 
Greek, in fact. One could read the history of Greece in 
that great gathering of Greek art. And it would have 
differed little from the lessons furnished by their three 
foremost historians : seeking their felicity in cutting short 
the welfare of their fellow-Greeks, trying to impose their 
will on weaker neighbors, unwilling to devise, with fair 
mind, any political equality among their brethren, pain- 
fully incapable, as a whole, of larger construction ; jealous, 
envious, small. 

And so they revealed themselves in the great crisis of the 
Persian invasions, when vanity, feud, jealousy, were quite 
strong enough to inhibit any real, universal, national move- 


ment or unity, when Syracuse balked, because she claimed 
admiralship, when Corcyra held back to see, first, which 
side would win. As for Argos, her hatred of Sparta was 
far greater than her concern for national independence : 
"Thus the Argives say" (Herod., 7, 140) "that they did 
not endure the covetousness of the Spartiats, but chose 
rather to be ruled by the barbarians, than to yield in any- 
thing to the Lacedsemonians. . . ." Nay, the " navel of the 
Earth " itself lost courage in 480; the corporation directing 
things at Delphi was utterly demoralized by the steady 
advance of Xerxes. The political history of Greece is a 
pitiable record. 

Of that Greek Westminster, however, there remains one 
curious item : the famous courtesan Phryne was repre- 
sented there, also ; to use the simple words of Pausanias, 
10, 15, 1 : "Of Phryne Praxiteles — he too a lover — 
wrought a gilded portrait-statue, and the portrait-statue 
is an 'anathema' (a consecrated gift) by Phryne herself." 
At Thespiai the Kyprian as well as Phryne herself, of 
marble, by the same eminent sculptor, could be seen, in 
bold juxtaposition : the model's pride. 

She was a poor girl of Thespiai, but became enormously 
wealthy at Athens from the courtesan's profession. Alex- 
ander of Macedon had destroyed Thebes in the year 335 
B.C. She promised to rebuild the walls, if the Thebans 
would make an inscription with these words : " Razed by 
Alexander, but rebuilt by Phryne the courtesan " (Athe- 
naeus, book 13). At Delphi her own statue stood between 
that of King Philip of Macedon, and although a philoso- 
pher once exclaimed on seeing all this : " A consecrated 
gift of the wantonness of the Greeks! " every thing seemed 
to be in harmony. 

But miserable remains the attitude of many professional 
archaeologists, who, with their mental eyes closed, and 
their bristles up, stubbornly interpret moral excellencies 
and all kinds of " divine highness " (whatever that may 
mean) into Phryne's portrait. " Enslaved as to his soul " 
— such a one is Overbeck, and all other enthusiasts 
who crave divinity without any moral predicates. That 


ecstasy is denied us common mortals : Overbeck and the 
members of his cult of course know best whence they de- 
rive their notions, e.g. " That Praxiteles understood very 
well, to express, for a more delicate perception, the god- 
dess in the woman." (Overbeck, " O-eschiehte der Grie- 
chischen Plastik," 1870, Vol. 2, p. 35.) 

O autonomous and absolute aestheticism, how hast thou 
ever perverted and degraded her who should remain sov- 
ereign over thee, — the human soul, whose destiny is ever 
to pass beyond vernal things of pleasing contours? Phryne 
at Delphi ; but in the Greek cult of naturalness she was 
by no means out of place — Kypris was among the Olym- 
pians — why not her eminent priestess among the foremost 
of the Hellenes ? But let us pass on to a nobler theme. 

Note. — Those who desire wider reading on this topic may con- 
sult : Naegelsbach, " Nachhomerische Theologie," p. 105 ; Joh. Jos. 
J. Dollinger, " Heidenthum und Iudenthum," 1857, p. 90; Stephanus, 
Thesaurus, s.v. Tjpvs. 

F. Deneken, article "Heros" in Roscher, Lexikon ; C. F. Hermann, 
Gottesdienstliche Alterthiimer," 16; Hiller von Gartringen, article 
" Apotheosis," in Wissowa-Pauly. 



The concern of the varied forms of local cults (so 
largely making up the whole of Greek Religion), this con- 
cern was largely with the immediate present, this world, 
this life, some gain: the peeping through the curtain of 
the future. It is the weakest side of the classicist's 
concern. Lifelong devotion tempted many a classicist to 
overstatements like this one by Welcker (" Grriechische 
Gotterlehre" III, 227) : u the peculiar religious system of 
the Hellenes, which, after it had produced its greatest 
effects in regard to Ethics and ^Esthetics. ..." As 
to the latter, yes ; as to any theory of morals or morality 
— where ? when ? how ? I have been trying to find out 
for many years. Still the testimony of the soul among 
the Greeks furnishes some data of a vital concern for things 
not altogether of this earth of ours, and transcending this 
narrow span of life. 

Pythagoras of Samos flourished 539-520 B.C. Our data 
of classic tradition are very unsatisfactory and inadequate. 
He left the famous isle of Hera, Samos, then ruled over 
by the autocrat Polykrates, and went out into the western 
world of the Hellenes, Greater Greece, as they called it 
with some pride. It was a curious body of followers, a 
remarkable kind of pursuits which he built up in Croton. 
The charm of mathematics — there is such a thing for the 
esoteric few — this charm possessed his soul. The human 
mind (when fresh and young and unwearied by a large 
mass of traditional and conventional academic things) is 
constitutionally inclined to give body and substance to 
its own achievements. In that noble striving to compre- 



hend the Universal somehow, or from some point of view, 
Pythagoras builded a system or a philosophy of mathe- 
matics, that is to say, he endowed mathematical notions 
with a curious symbolism and significance ; as though the 
essence of Being which indeed we grasp in numerical com- 
prehension and order were substantially so determined 
and constructed. But these symbolisms of the Limited 
and Unlimited, of Monad, Triad, Tetrad, must not delay 
us here. Or should we attempt now to retrace how the 
Pythagoreans endowed Five with the meaning of definite 
qualification, Six with the symbolism of Animation, Seven 
with that of clearness or brightness, health and reason, 
and so on ? Certainly not. 

We turn to the soul. This nobler part of our being is 
very different from the body. The essential and very 
shallow overestimation of all things of matter and those 
which give joy to this little life of sense and seeming, this 
striving, I say, so characteristic of the Greeks at large, was 
radically antagonized in the Pythagorean system. The 
body is not all the summum bonum of existence, but it is a 
prison, it is a tomb and sepulchre, a penalty imposed ; but 
still the passing from this life was in no wise left to the dis- 
cretion of man, but of sovereigns : divine rulers. The soul 
has a heavenly, an eternal origin, and its identity is not 
destroyed, its continuity not terminated, by its passing 
into new bodies, by its descent even into bodies of much 
lower order. Pythagoras himself said that his first incar- 
nation was as Aithalides, reputed a son of Hermes. His 
second birth was as Euphorbos, who was slain by Mene- 
laos in the Trojan war : meanwhile, however, he had also 
entered into divers plants and animals. The third passing 
into human flesh was as Hermotimos : this was followed 
by a sojourn in the body of a fisherman of Delos, named 
Pyrrhos ; lastly he became Pythagoras. There is much 
in this system that is essentially gloomy: for the Earth, 
they claimed, as a whole, was one of those cosmic bodies, 
which refused to adjust themselves (y. Schwegler) to 
form and order, to be in complete accord with the har- 
mony of the Universe ; " and the life on Earth, therefore, 


is an imperfect condition, into which the soul, which in 
itself is i harmony,' may have passed not through nature, 
but through its own guilt, and which, consequently, it 
must remove from itself again, in order to gain permission 
to return to those purer regions whence it has its origin." 
Conduct of Life is very much loftier a matter than 
academic originality or fitness for the consistent and 
consecutive paragraphs of the scholar's tabulation. The 
great point about that brotherhood was that it made 
incisive postulates upon the lives and living of the mem- 
bers. And while there may be here before us certain 
elements of pantheism resembling Buddha-tenets, still, 
the soul of man essentially is not free, not emancipated, 
but it is subject to divine laws, loyal to tenets binding 
and absolute. "Men must not" (Diog. Laer., VIII, 9) 
" pray for themselves," personally — why not ? " Because 
they know not what is beneficial or truly advantageous 
for themselves." A stray notice this in a late and some- 
what mechanical compiler, but still precious. Worlds 
above the current and coarsely material and selfish 
notions of Greek prayer was this : because in the primacy 
of the soul the ordinary impulse and craving of common 
desire and pleasurable convenience rarely is set upon that 
which is beneficial to the imperishable and transcendent 
part of ourselves, our soul, our spiritual well-being. No 
one but the young or the spiritually shallow will deny 
this. Puzzled, I say, I am as to the deeper attitude of 
that nobler cult : were they Pantheists ? But your 
thoroughgoing Pantheist will make himself the sover- 
eign and manifestation of the Universe : where then is 
there any sovereign authority outside of the subject, 
absolute and obligatory for man ? So, while on the one 
hand we seem to read a belief of a cosmic soul of which 
our souls are but infinitely small particles, comparable to 
the delicate specks of dust made manifest in a dark 
chamber into which a few rays of sunshine are admitted, 
— so, on the other hand, we meet everywhere the urging 
of the soul and its needs, its future, its responsible gov- 
ernment of this physical life of ours. They seem indeed 


to have availed themselves of the current nomenclature of 
traditional mythical beings; thus Hermes was t lie steward 
of the souls: he led them and admitted them from the 
bodies, from earth and sea (Diog. Laer., VIII, 31), and 
that those that were pure were led to the loftiest habita- 
tion, but the non-puritied could neither approach closely to 
the former, nor to one another, but they were bound with 
chains unbreakable by the Erinyans. We regret that 
we do not find any full and satisfactory exposition as to 
what is understood by souls pure and unpurilied. But 
we are not left indeed without some noble traces. Thus 
(82) "the greatest concern in human society was to per- 
iuade the soul to the good rather than to the bad. And men 

happy when a good soul fell to their lot." There 
seems to have been a body of precepts, some of them of 
decidedly ascetic character, some also referring to food, 
and the abstinence from many items of diet involving 
the destruction of organic life. Many rules were there 
also of personal purity and purification coupled with much 
symbolism. Everywhere does there seem to have been 
imposed the law of restraint, of moderation, temperance, 
— perhaps we may go so far as to say — of spiritual domi- 
nation. That these grave and lofty tenets, so alien to 
the Hellenic spirit (a spirit of consummate contentment 
with the transitory outwardness of being), proved fair 
sport to the free lances of Attic comedy goes without 
saying. That they pursued a certain positive form of 
righteous living and genuine piety, and not merely cer- 
tain forms of ritual and purification, may be set down 
quite positively. Porphyry, in his life of Pythagoras (a 
very late production, it is true, of a period when paganism 
grasped convulsively after everything spiritually 
mendable and brought all ingredients of the past into 
uncritical commingling), Porphyry, I say, claims that 
Pythagoras demanded that man should deeply review or 
plan his conduct of life in the morning and evening, after 
waking and before going to sleep. I have already referred 
to the severe and sweeping condemnation of Homer and 

d (Diog. Laer., VIII, 21) — poets, whose works had 


long been received in the practice of the Hellenic world as 
repositories and standards of current religious ideas. A 
genuine respect for the latter on the part of the older 
Pythagoreans was, indeed, impossible. This tradition 
placed those poets in a veritable hell of torture and retri- 
bution. And here we may well incorporate a passage 
from Cicero, " De Natura Deorum" 1, 42 : " for not much 
more absurd are those things, which, widely spread in 
the utterances of the poets, have done harm by their very 
charm of attractiveness, who have brought forward gods 
inflamed with anger and insane with carnal lust, and have 
caused us to see their wars, engagements, battles, wounds, 
besides their feuds, their ruptures, discords, births, deaths, 
complaints, lamentations, their unrestrained lusts in every 
form of self-indulgence, adulteries, bonds, co-habiting with 
human kind, and mortals begotten from immortals." 
These popular poets, however, Homer and Hesiod, main- 
tained a measure of authority not seriously impaired, for 
they were inculcated as the basis of all liberal education. 
The spiritual call of the Pythagorean practice and cult 
had warm and earnest disciples, but it never made any 
impression on the Hellenic spirit at large, a spirit not ill 
repristinated in Schiller's " Gods of Greece " — an ecstasy of 
sesthetical fervor, oddly incongruous as coming from the 
pen of a man going forward to the severity of Kantian 

Much more popular was a certain striving for a con- 
dition after death more favorable and fraught with more 
promise than that afforded by the coarse cult of tradition 
and the figures in Homer and Hesiod. I mean the Mys- 
teries in Greek Religion . Of these, three were particu- 
larly renowned, viz., those of the Kabiri on the island 
of Samothrace, the private ritual of the Orphic mysteries 
of Dionysos, and, lastly, those of Eleusis, in honor of 
Demeter and her daughter Persephone, whom the Greeks 
generally called briefly Kora, the maid. After the 
microscopic elucidation of the ancient tradition by the 
Konigsberg scholar Lobeck ("Aglaophamos sive de Theo- 


logiee Mysticee Graecorum Causis 1829," 2 vols.), it would 
be presumptuous for any one to hope to contribute even 
a shred or tuft to this discussion. But these essays of 
mine are not at all intended to be antiquarian. 

Old indeed were these rites of Eleusis and very dear to 
Attic pride. So in the " Homeric " Hymn to Demeter, 
274, the rites or ceremonial of the Eleusinian anniver- 
sary are presented as Orgia, taught and suggested by 
Demeter herself. " Orgia " properly means " things 
wrought," i.e. religious rites practically enacted, the 
actual ceremonial of a religious form of service. And 
we are told, somewhat farther on in the same Hymnus, 
v. 480 : " Blessed is that one of men of this earth who has 
gazed upon these things. But he who is not initiated in 
the sacred rites, and he who has a share therein, never 
have they a similar allotment, passed away though they 
be, under the dank and mouldy darkness." No heaven 
then, no consummation of the soul's intrinsic being, but 
in the main a guarantee of a condition after death much 
more tolerable for the initiated than for those who had 
not been initiated. For these the current Attic phrase 
was " to lie in the morass" (eV fiopfiopa) icelaOai). All the 
Mystai (the Initiated, or admitted to share in the 
Cult) purged themselves by ablutions on the seacoast 
and the postulates of moral fitness were of a minimal 
measure : their hands must not be stained with murder. 
It is not accidental that we learn little of the actual 
phrase of the Initiated from Greek classical prose writers. 
^Eschylos was charged, it seems, with having profaned 
the mysteries, and a versatile Athenian of a later genera- 
tion, Alkibiades, the exemplar and mirror of the incipient 
generation of Attic decadence, actually did profane them. 
Clement of Alexandria (fl. 200 a.d.) refers to all these 
things, naturally, as an Upholder of Christian revelation, 
with perfect freedom. Some scholars think it probable 
that he himself, before his own conversion, had been 
initiated. But passing over much of the antiquarian 
detail and leaving it to its own herbaria, we ask very 
sincerel} 7 : how did the fates of Demeter seeking her lost 


daughter have any bearing whatever, even in the elastic 
band of tensile and ductile symbolism which constitutes 
so vast a portion of Greek and Roman religion, so-called? 
The celebration was held annually in Boedromion 
(about September), from the 16th to about the 28th. 
There was a vast procession or pilgrimage from the Pot- 
ters' Suburb in North Athens. It is somewhat difficult 
not to think of the medieval pilgrimages to particular 
shrines or sacred places. These escorted Iacchos-Diony- 
sos, the child of Kora, to Eleusis. The tone of it all, par- 
ticularly during the pilgrimage of the distance (some 
eleven to twelve miles), was not over solemn, but hilari- 
ous, and when they crossed the bridge over the Kephissos, 
the jests and jokes (due largely, we may believe, to the 
incidental jostling and crowding) do not seem to have 
been of a more saintly character than those of a Roman 
or Venetian Carnival. But the further symbolism was 
more gloomy. As Demeter in deepest sorrow roamed 
over the face of the earth, with burning torches, without 
eating or drinking : she, the deeply distressed mother, 
seeking in vain her beloved fair daughter, so the pilgrims 
did with much imitative representation and pantomime ; 
while Iacchos really represents humanity. Torn in pieces 
by the Titans, his heart only preserved in Zeus, — for 
Zeus really is the father who has co-habited in serpent's 
form with Kora even before she has been ravished by 
Pluton. But Iacchos is specially favored to live anew : 
in his person and in his legend there is bound up the 
human hope and the human idea of a palingenesis, of new 
birth, new life, of a triumph over death and decay. The 
Greeks at large did not trouble themselves much to dis- 
tinguish him from Semele's son, the vintage-god of Thebes. 
So he comes to be called the " fair god," the god ever 
fresh and vernal, new life, new hope. And as Demeter 
(Earth) and Kora (the ever new life on the Earth) shelter 
and love Iacchos (our human kind), so, it seems, the Initi- 
ated Greeks, the Mystai, hoped to be sheltered in the 
period after death, to be sheltered and loved by the great 
mother and daughter, 


Before the pilgrims left Athens, the Hierophant made 
a solemn proclamation. He, the " demonstrator of sacred 
things," warned all who were not Greeks against min- 
gling in the sacred procession. For this was a cantonal, 
and by extension a national feeling, a Panhellenic rite and 
service. And this limitation and national conceit was the 
rule in the ancient world. Their religion was a deliber- 
ate act or institution like any other: myths involving 
epiphany of some kind, and a revelation of some sort, 
abounded, and still there was lacking any belief in a re- 
ligious truth of world-wide importance and obligation. 
Where, too, do we find any spirit of proselytizing or 
propaganda? The great structure or sacred edifice, 
called also Telesterion or Anaktoreion (i.e. Abode of Initia- 
tions, Abode of the Sovereigns), was very large. It had 
to hold the vast congregation of the Mystai. According 
to Strabo (time of the beginning of the Christian era) it 
was able to hold such a multitude as an open-air theatre 
(amphitheatre) could accommodate : hence, by a fair com- 
putation, not less than twenty thousand people. 

The celebrations were at night. There must have been 
a stage : for a full view of " what was said and done " 
was a very essential part of the experience so highly 
prized by those admitted to be spectators, Epdptai. I 
now cite from one of the best-read of scholars, Preller 
(Pauly, s.v. Eleusinia, p. 107) : "Then, before the initia- 
tory rite itself all horrors, shuddering and trembling, per- 
spiration and shrinking astonishment. From this point 
there bursts forth a wonderful light : pleasant regions 
and meadows receive us, in which voices and dances and 
the splendors of sacred chants and apparitions make 
themselves manifest" (Plutarch). Similarly in another 
passage where the same author says of the disciples of 
philosophy ("2)e Profectibus in Virtute") that at first they 
disport themselves in a disorderly and noisy fashion, "but 
when they have entered in and seen a great light as 
though at the opening of a temple of consecration, they 
assume a different kind of demeanor, become still and mar- 
vel. . . ." Finally Themistios (" Oration," 20, p. 235, f), 


who likewise compares the complete opening of philoso- 
phy with the moment "when the prophet widely opens 
the foregate of the temple and draws the curtain from 
the temple and presents it radiant and illumined with 
divine brilliancy to him who has been admitted to 
initiation. . . ." "It seems that the Ep6ptai (i.e. 
those admitted to the degree of spectators) at Eleusis 
were led in a symbolical fashion through the Tartaros into 
Elysion. ..." Connected with this seems to have 
been a so-called presentation of the mysteries, i.e. of certain 
sacred objects, which partly were symbols of the blessings 
and secrets of the Eleusinian divinities, partly a kind of 
religious relics. These were shown to the Initiated in the 
act of consecration, were touched and kissed by them. 

"... At first the conception of the divinities of the 
lower earth was on the whole one of awe : particularly 
the specific forces of death, Aidoneus (the Lord of the 
Abode where you cannot see, the Prince of Darkness) and 
Persephone (the Slayer-goddess) appearing as absolutely 
terrible, defying reconciliation, the entire realm of death 
is opposed to the luminous upper world as fearful horror 
without consolation and hope. But gradually their image 
acquires milder colors : they do not terrify, but they bless 
also, conceal the dead in their lap as a grain of seed, 
afford a hope full of propitious significance to the crop of 
the departed intrusted to them, when they send up the 
grain of seed to the light in the freshly vivified stalk of 
grain." (An ear of grain figures conspicuously in the 
ritual of the Eleusinian mysteries.) These statements 
then are Preller's. We will now go on to append a number 
of utterances on the bliss and consolation of these rites, 
drawn from ancient literature at large. Pindar we have 
already cited in Chapter 5. Sophocles, in a fragment pre- 
served by Plutarch ("De Audiendis Poetis" Chap. 4) : 
" Thrice blessed are those mortals who having gazed upon 
these mystic rites go to the lower world : for they alone 
are there allowed to have life, the others have nothing but 
evil there." Plutarch, by the by, utterly rejects the 
doctrine implied, for it seems no demand was made upon 


the spiritual side of man, the mere act of sharing in the 
ritual being deemed quite sufficient and adequate. Har- 
lots and thieves could come in and go on being harlots 
and thieves and still console themselves with the blessed 
assurance of a lot infinitely transcending that of the non- 
initiated. The hard-headed cynic Diogenes (fl. 336 B.C.) 
expressed a similar rating : " What is that you say ? " 
said lie. " Is the lot which Pataikion the thief will 
have after death better, because he has been initiated, 
than that of Epaminondas ? " (Plutarch, ib.}. Epami- 
nondas, one of the few truly great men of Greece, 
was also a devotee of Pythagorean doctrines, one of the 
small number of public men of Greece who actually rose 
high above the temptations of ambition and of personal 
aggrandizement, and who neither feared nor nattered that, 
which to most Hellenic statesmen was in the place of gods 
and of their very conscience, his own fellow-citizens of 
Thebes. Plato (" Republic," 2, 363) speaks with unmiti- 
gated censure of the kindred promises of orphic mysteries : 
eternal banquets for the pious (o<tlol), i.e. for those ad- 
mitted — a coarse eternity of carousing for those who had 
satisfied mere externalities of formulary and purification. 
This at least seems to have been the actual current view 
of these things in Plato's time. Aristophanes, in his 
comedy of Euripides and ^Eschylus tried as poets in the 
lower world, when looking around for suitable equipment 
of scenery and plot, introduced a chorus of Mystai (405 
B.C.). See especially "Frogs" v. 324, 340 sqq., 382, 397, 
440, 686. See particularly 454: "for to us alone Sun and 
Light are cheerful, to all of us who have been initiated 
and have lived in pious wise. ..." From the dis- 
tinctive or specific Attic point of view these mysteries 
and all the blessing of agricultural civilization were among 
the chief assets of cantonal pride : let us hear Isocrates in 
the " Panegyricus" 28 : " For when Demeter had come into 
our country, when she roamed after Kora who had been 
carried away by force, and when she had become kindly 
disposed to our own sires on account of the benefactions 
received by her, the which none other but the Initiated 


may hear, and when she had given gifts which actually 
are the greatest, viz., the produce of the soil which have 
been the cause of our not living like the beasts, and the 
Initiation, the sharers in which cherish more pleasing hopes 
both as to the end of life and all eternity. ..." Similar 
is the presentation of the matter in Cicero, who was an 
earnest classicist in his day and for his day : " Athens 
seems to have begotten many exceptional and more 
than human things and to have brought them into human 
life, and particularly nothing better than those mysteries, 
by which we have been trained to civilization and rendered 
refined from rude and uncouth living: and as they are 
called Initiations, so have we in all truth realized that 
they are the initial bases of life: and not only have we 
a theory of living with joyfulness, but even of dying 
with a better hope " (" Be Legibus" 2, 36). 

On the whole there was, as Plutarch and Plato suggest, 
very little indeed of genuine spirituality, nor of a deeper 
reaction upon the soul, in these secret and far-famed rites. 
The circle of life there was ; the symbolism of the endless 
succession of seed and fruit, of germ and growth, there 
was some taking hold of and appropriating of all this ; but 
as the fundamental weakness of Greek Religion, so-called, 
remained unchanged here, I cannot see that there was any 
very material elevation above, nor any radical emancipa- 
tion from, Nature-cult to be observed here. And just as 
we, we of the human kind, cannot dispense with reason 
and spirit, with cause and effect, with time and space — 
so our soul cannot seriously turn with deeper satisfaction 
to forces and recurrent phenomena in this world of sense 
and seeming, which mean, nay, which are — merely the 
coming and going of matter in organic forms, nor can the 
soul be content in subordinating itself to showers and sun- 
shine, in turning to clouds and winds, in recognizing the 
cycle of life and decay: it is among these, but it is not of 
these. After all they worshipped the continuation of 
material and organic life, but they craved not a state im- 


material or spiritual ; they frankly sought consolation in 
the very symbolism or symbol of physiological propaga- 
tion in which man differs not from the lower beasts. 
Diodorus, 4, 6, says : " but some say that the generative 
members being the cause of production of human kind 
and of their enduring for all time, obtained immortal 
honor. . . . And in the mysteries, not only of Diony- 
sos, but pretty nearly in them all, this god obtains a cer- 
tain honor, being introduced with laughter and sport in 
the sacrifices." 

It is not essentially different from "das Eivig Weib- 
liche" of Goethe's Pantheistical dithyramb. Whether 
the individual soul derives much or any consolation from 
the prospect of the continuation of frames like unto its 
own, I know not; I fear indeed that the soul does not. 
Here let us think of the last couch, often so wearisome 
and so woful, and the last hours. The precocious lines 
indeed of young Bryant are supremely futile ; Hamlet's 
soliloquy intones more truthfully the psalm of death as 
rising from our human kind at large. It is this one soul, 
my soul, which concerns me, and Hadrian's last verses 
truly are wrung from the dying agony of man at large. 
What consolation was to him, then, the continuity of his 
kind? A conceit of supreme indifference and insignifi- 
cance indeed. 

All this may well lead us to make some inquiry into 
Greek Piety, into that virtue which in their categories 
and nomenclature figured as Eusebeia, literally, " well 
reverencing" : that is, not merely fidelity in acts of 
prayer and worship, but a reverent soul as well, the atti- 
tude of such devotion and respect. 

To pray, to sacrifice in the proper manner, to the proper 
gods : what, then, was the right manner ? What were 
the proper gods ? After all these are questions answered 
mainly by practical conformity to the particular common- 
wealth, often a very little one, where, however, the observ- 
ances of the past were held with no less tenacity than in 
one of the greater states such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes, 


Argos, or Corinth. With all these traditions and usages, 
the corporation of Delphi remained the court of last appeal 
and was held an ultimate resort in every question of pro- 
cedure, and in every problem of piety. " Do not," says 
Socrates in Xenophon (" Memorabilia " 3, 3, 16), " do not 
be distressed about this : for you see that the god in 
Delphi, whenever any one asks him how he could gratify 
the gods, answers : ' by the Usage of the Commonwealth.' " 
Even the particular citizenship (Naegelsbach, " N. H. 
Theol." p. 217, a book to which I owe much) rested largely 
on having a share in the sacred rites and ancestral tombs. 
And so, at Athens, at the opening of every session of the 
general assembly (Ekklesid) of the citizens, curses were 
uttered against the wicked, and ancestral prayers were 
uttered by the herald. Religious acts were bound up 
with war, with domestic and family life, from birth to 
burial, and the calendar of the commonwealth identified 
as it was with the ever recurring ring of Nature and the 
Seasons, constituted a veritable garland, the flowers of 
which were ever renewed. 

Agreeably to the character of this book, I shall conclude 
this chapter with a number of significant and character- 
istic utterances, presented to my readers with particular 
care, both as to choice and also as to reproduction. Plato 
in his old age wrote as follows (" Laws," 4, 717, a) : " First 
then, we say, bestowing honors (after those due to the 
Olympians and due to the divinities possessing the com- 
monwealth), bestowing, we say, upon the divinities under- 
ground adequate and secondary and subsidiary honors — 
he who does this would most correctly hit the mark of 
piety . . . and after these gods to the daimones also 
would the sensible person offer up the particular ceremo- 
nial of rites, and to the heros after these. ..." And from 
these observances the old philosopher goes on to enumer- 
ate the honors shown to the paternal gods, and, finally, to 
the parents themselves, a scale of duty and obligation in 
which there was indeed no link which could be displaced 
or broken by the citizen or householder. And this iden- 
tity of obligation to gods and parents is met with also in 


a passage in Xenophon, praising JEneas of Troy (" Essay- 
on Hunting," 1, 15); "And ^Eneas having saved his 
paternal and maternal gods" (think of Rachel fleeing from 
her father Laban), "having saved also his father in person, 
carried off the reputation of piety, so that also the foes 
granted to him alone, when they mastered Troy, that he 
should not suffer pillage." 

The same writer, Xenophon, himself an exemplar of 
close observance of ritual tradition, presents Socrates in 
the latter's own catechetic fashion drawing out the con- 
ception or current notion of Eusebeia (" Mem.," 4, 6, 2) : 
" Tell me, Euthydemos, what kind of a thing do you deem 
Eusebeia to be ? " And he said, M A very fine thing, by 
Zeus." " Are you able to say then, what kind of a person 
the Eusebes is ? " " It seems to me it is he who honors 
the gods." "May one honor the gods in any fashion one 
wishes to ? " " No, but there are laws in accordance with 
which one must do this." " He therefore who knows 
these usages (laws) would know in what fashion one 
must honor the gods?" "I think so." "Really then he 
who knows how to honor the gods does not think he 
ought to do it otherwise than in the manner he knows ? " 
" Why no," said he. " Does any one honor the gods in a 
way different from that in which he thinks he must honor 
them?" "I think not," said he. " He then who honors 
them conformably to established usage, honors them as 
he ought to ? " " By all means," said he. " He therefore 
who knows the established usages concerning the gods 
would correctly meet our definition of what the pious man 
is." In the brief enumeration, in that little paper among 
Aristotle's writings (on " Virtues and Vices," p. 1258, c), 
Eusebeia is defined as an element of, or a consequence of 
righteousness, at bottom consistency with civic virtue, so 
that the good citizens will reverence his particular gods 
no less than the next class in the hierarchy of being, viz., 
the daimones, after which come one's native community, 
one's parents, and finally the departed. For the gods 
are topical, i.e. local, says Servius (in the dusk of things 
pagan and things classical), the gods are local, and do not 


pass over to other countries (Servius, "Mn." 7, 47). " Gods 
not inferior," says the suppliant Iolaos (in Euripides, 
" Heraclidae," 347), M have we for allies than have the men 
of Argos ; over them is Hera, spouse of Zeus : Athena over 
ws." Or "did the gods," says Kreon in anger of the 
brother-slain Theban prince Eteokles, " did the gods" {i.e. 
of Thebes) " exceedingly honoring him as a benefactor con- 
ceal him (i.e. kept his corpse covered with dust) who 
came to set on fire their temples' peristyle, who came to 
scatter to the winds their sacred gifts, their lands, their 
laws?" A politico-topographical limitation of piety we 
see. And here I may save from obscurity and oblivion 
a curious fragment of the Attic antiquarian Philochoros 
(fl. 270 a.d.), a curious bit of Attic religious usage 
preserved for us in a scholion on Sophocles, " CEdipus 
Coloneus," v. 1047, i.e. "when a sacred delegation goes to 
Delphi, then the soothsayer sacrifices at Oinoe (near the 
frontier nearest to the Parnassos-country) daily , in the 
Pythian sanctuary, but whenever the holy mission is de- 
spatched to Delos, then the soothsayer makes oblation in 
the Delian sanctuary at Marathon : and there is observa- 
tion of entrails (hieroskopia) on the part of the sacred 
delegation destined for Delphi at Oinoe, and on the part 
of that for Delos in the Delian shrine at Marathon." 
What does all this mean ? I think the following is signi- 
fied : the sacrificial act, coupled with entrail inspection, is 
done and performed as near to the deity to be consulted 
as possible, without, however, leaving the territory of the 
particular commonwealth interested in that ascertainment. 
After all there is a curious circumscription both of reli- 
gious trust as well as of the potency and power of the 
same god, in his two habitations. One point : the sacred 
delegates sacrifice, through their mantic expert, until the 
entrails say: go to Delphi: or: go to Delos. Is it not 
quite fair to think of the Ephesian Artemis here ? " All 
with one voice," St. Luke tells us (Acts 19, 34 $<?.), "All 
with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, 
4 Great is Diana of the EphesiamS " And when the town 
clerk had appeared to the people, he said : " Ye men of 


Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that 
the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great god- 
dess Diana, and of the image, which fell down from Jupi- 
ter ? " The question remains whether the vast majority 
of the Greek people did not after all attach their piety 
to these idols or simulacra, without any elevation of soul 
towards a more spiritual or adequate object of worship. 
For the oldest idola were white stones, and all the art of 
Pheidias and Praxiteles did not really divest these primi- 
tive objects of piety of their importance with the people 
at large. With such data Pausanias abounds : see, for 
instance, book 7, 22, 4 (at Pharai, in Achaia) : " And there 
are standing very close to the statue of the god four-cor- 
nered stones, about thirty in number ; these the Pharians 
worship, dubbing each stone with the name of some god. 
And still farther back in time white stones in the estima- 
tion of all the Greeks had the honors of gods instead of 
statues" (agalmatd) , But in a later essay I shall hope 
to deal with the actual religion and religiosity of Greek 
communities. Let us moderns not be carried away by 
archaeological exaltation in dealing with this grave matter. 

Note. — The great work of Zeller is the best for those who desire 
deeper knowledge of Greek Philosophy, and so of Pythagoras as well. 
This is so because Zeller has quoted and sifted the entire extent of 
the ancient tradition with exhaustive fidelity ; the most precious part 
of his volumes is in the footnotes. For his own person, Zeller was 
trained in the pantheism and in the so-called Philosophy of History 
of the Wurtemberg metaphysician ; and the fiction of the cast-iron 
dialectic progression of human history and human culture maintained 
by the Hegelians vitiates every utterance with which Hegel or, for 
that matter, Zeller, turn to, or pretend to dispose of, the historical 
beginnings of Christianity. Martyrdom and absolute self-denial of 
the contemporary disciples of the Founder of Christianity are impos- 
sible on the conception of a mythical and mystical self ^deception of 
these witnesses. St. Peter turns, and turns with absolute correctness, 
to face the essence of the Greek religion : " For we have not followed 
cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power 
and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his 

On Eleusinian matters see Aristides Rhetor, p. 415 (the great 
building having been destroyed in 182 a.d.). It seems that moulded 


figures and paintings figured there, i.e. in the structure. Even this 
late witness of declining paganism asserts the exclusive bliss of the 
initiated : that they will fare better, that they will not die in darkness 
and morass like the non-initiated. See also Schoemann, Vol. 2, pp. 380 
sqq. ; Dollinger, " Iudentum u. Heidenthum" pp. 156 sqq. 

The work of Lobeck, " Aglaophamos," Vol. I, pp. 1-228, deals ex- 
haustively with every item of the tradition. At the same time 
Lobeck's slurs against Creuzer are now indifferent to us. We note, 
however, that Lobeck treats with scorn the (deistic) notion that here 
something profound or the essentially precious substance of Natural 
Religion was delivered to mankind. Lobeck also shows that there was 
no esoteric and exoteric doctrine. Add C. Fr. Hermann, " Gottes- 
dienstliche Alterthumer," § 55; Naegelsbach, "Nachhomerische Theo- 
logie" p. 396, article " Eleusis," by Kern, in Pauly-Wissowa's "Classical 
Cyclopedia." On Greek Piety see particularly the section in Naegels- 
bach, pp. 191-227. But I cannot omit or forbear saying that the 
extant data are too rare and scattered to justify all the generaliza- 
tions of that distinguished scholar. 



As I move forward in these essays, I am ever guarding 
against two dangers which, like reefs by the pilot, must 
be avoided by the present writer, viz., a mere anthology 
on the one hand, a quasi-dogmatic manual on the other. 
iEschylus of Athens, like his contemporary Pindar, has 
often been drawn upon by compilers who have essayed — 
foolishly essayed — to write a catechism of Greek religion. 
There is, however, here, no Isaiah nor Elijah, no John the 
Baptist nor anything which might remind the student of 
any prophet or preacher of righteousness. Still ^Eschylus 
is really one of the chief figures in our survey. It is often 
inspiriting to see how he endeavors to endow the tradi- 
tional personages of the Homeric Olympus with a gran- 
deur or sovereign worth deducible from moral qualities. 
It is not to his discredit that he fails, as fail must any 
attempt to maintain the tradition of the national Epic and 
to refine it, too. 

At the outset, we pause for a necessary premonition. 
The seven plays now reposing in the famous Codex at 
Florence were by no means the only plays that stern 
and grandiose playwright and stage director produced. 
According to Suidas, he wrote ninety plays, of which, 
however, a goodly number were satyr-dramas : extrava- 
ganzas, to set right the emotions depressed or grieved 
by the gloomy or terrible import of his tragic trilogies. 
Of seventy-nine pieces the titles are known. " Slices," 
or " cuts," from the rich feasts of Homer, /Eschylus called 
his plays, according to a classic tradition : not crumbs, 
then. From Homer he was dependent, and a certain epic 



breadth of magnificent enumeration, a series of splendid 
and often lofty scenes, rather than rapid action, mark 
most of his extant plays. The avoidance of the mean and 
commonplace he carries to a very fault. The great and 
truly soul-stirring events of Marathon and Salamis in 
which he too stood embattled among his countrymen 
lodged deeper in his soul than his dramatic successes, and 
found expression on his tomb in the rich isle of Sicily. 

That brilliant critic of Attic letters, Aristophanes, in his 
" Frogs," in 405, quite adequately set forth what those of 
his countrymen felt ^Eschylus to be for them, who loved 
him for more than externalities. Even these did not deny 
that in his striving for the grand style he is often obscure, 
and that while ever desiring to move on the lofty cothur- 
nus, he often fails to escape being bizarre. The matchless 
pliability of Greek expression is often stretched to the 
utmost. "A Titanic wielder of words," Aristophanes (v. 
820 sqq.^) calls him : " his breathing is like that of a giant " 
— his words, like huge units of masonry or pieces of an edi- 
fice, are "fitted together with bolts." In that intermedi- 
ate state between Oriental despotism and between the fickle 
rule of the mob he saw his own political ideal, and bitterly 
resented the earlier activities of politicians like Pericles 
when they deprived the venerable court of the Areopagos 
of much of its former power and of the privilege of curb- 
ing and restraining the restless demos of Athens. 

^Eschylus, I say, should not be judged by the seven 
plays alone. There is little or nothing of any ultra- 
spiritual appreciation in the critique of Aristophanes. 
Plutarch cites ^Eschylus very often in his moralizing 
essays, but by far the greater number of the citations is 
from plays other than the seven. In these seven, Kypris 
figures little, nor is she endowed with any beneficent 
power ; she is on the verge, it would seem, of a mere 
convenient abstraction or potency of our common nature, 
barely Olympian. And still that absolute bowing and 
submitting themselves of the Greeks to the force of sexual 


passion is met even in this, the stateliest and loftiest of 
Attic poets (" Athemeus," 13, 600, a) ; the spreading of it 
to cover the very giant units of this cosmic order echoes 
the spirit of Greek mythology : " Fair Heaven loves to 
wound the soil: and love's desire doth seize the earth her 
nuptials to attain ; and showers falling from the liquid 
heaven did kiss the earth: and she gives birth, for mor- 
tals, to pasturage for sheep and nurture from Demeter: 
the bloom of trees from moistening espousal is consum- 
mated" — pretty and symbolically apt, this, no doubt. 
But there were entire plays the central theme of which 
was that Eros, which is simply the Greek for lust or con- 
cupiscence: such a one was his "Kallisto," a play of the 
" clefts of Pan," i.e. of Arcadia. Kallisto was a nymph 
or king's daughter there, hunted with Artemis, and vowed 
to remain a virgin like unto that deity. But Zeus be- 
came enamoured of her beauty, forces her (see Apollodorus, 
" Bibliotheca," 3, 8, 2) to his lust, assuming the resem- 
blance as some say of Artemis, and as others, of Apollo. 
But wishing (as usual) to escape the notice of his spouse 
Hera, he transformed her into a she-bear, but Hera per- 
suaded Artemis to shoot Kallisto to death as being a 
wild beast, etc. The guilt, if any, in this tragedy, must 
have lain on Zeus, the misery, as usual, on man or 
womankind. The poets could not really create new 
legends, nor refine those much which had been handed 
down from the hoary past. 

His "Myrmidom" seem to have dealt with Achilles 
and Patroklos. Professor Mahaffy regrets the loss of this 
play particularly. But it seems from Athenaeus not only 
and Plutarch, but from Plato even, that we are to under- 
stand the vilest bond as the central element in that classic 
friendship. So low had these things been brought : the 
loftiest man of letters in that state which had been tried 
as by fire in the Persian invasions, that same JEschylus 
utters the common view of his own Greek world, — the 
ineradicable ulcer, the Venus Canina. As a specific and 
separate personality, ^Eschylus certainly had a very cer- 
tain affinity with themes and images lofty and grandiose : 


the golden gleam indeed — perfect content with the felici- 
ties of the Homeric Olympus has passed away. Little 
man should be humble and never forget his own limita- 
tions — thus briefly may be expressed his religious philos- 
ophy, nay, his personal piety. What he saw and what he 
lived through at Marathon, at Salamis and Platsea — by 
all these things that reverence was graven more deeply in 
his soul. And that testimony is fully set forth in his 
" Persians," a play in which legend and history, religion 
and political sentiments, are curiously fused. 

Politically speaking, it was no very bold conceit for 
the lord of Asia to have desired to add to his vast em- 
pire the little peninsula inhabited by the tribes of Iavan. 
Dareios truly had been a veritable god, and thus rose over 
his own generation — it is the phrase of the chorus of old 
Persian councillors — a god : but who knows what sudden 
catastrophe some divinity may have in store for Persia! 
" AtS (v. 97) for a while, like a fawning dog, will draw a 
mortal on, until she has closed her snare upon him, whence 
there is no escape." " When Xerxes was apprised through 
the cunning private message (of Themistocles) that the 
Greeks would presently escape from the channel of Sala- 
mis, he did not perceive the astute trick of the Grecian 
man, nor the envy of the gods ..." (v. 362). Fate 
was in store for him. It was a hateful daimon who de- 
ceived the minds of the Persians (472). To ask the 
spirit of the departed ruler, the prosperous Dareios, to 
give heed to the offerings and come up from the lower 
world for counsel and consolation — it is that widespread 
custom of asking the dead, the great dead, the ^>a>e9, or 
daimons. We think of Endor,I Samuel 18, 14 : " And he 
said unto her, what form is he of ? And she said, An old 
man cometh up : and he is covered with a mantle. And 
Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with 
his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel 
said to Saul : Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me 
up ? And Saul answered : I am sore distressed : for the 
Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from 
me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor 


by dreams : therefore, I have called thee, that thou mayest 
make known unto me what I shall do." 

In Xerxes too there is that curious interfusion of guilt 
and fate which strikes us in the house of Pelops and in 
the terrible legends of the kings of Thebes. It was bold 
wickedness for the royal son of Dareios to lay on the 
sacred Hellespont a yoke, as though he were a slave : to 
throw into his current forged fetters. " Being mortal, 
he weened that he would subdue all the gods, and Po- 
seidon" (v. 749). The great treasure he inherited un- 
balanced his mind. To this was added the " godless spirit 
(808 sqq.} in which the invaders shunned not to commit 
sacrilege against the images of the gods, and to burn their 
shrines. " Platsea too is prophesied by the risen shade of 
Dareios : Platsea, where the mounds of dead even to the 
third-born generation, though speechless, to their eyes 
shall signify that being mortal one must not hold over- 
weening Spirit. " Zeus is close at hand, an ever present 
chastiser of thoughts that rise too high, severe is his 
account" (827). 

This gloomy and distrustful cowering of mankind with- 
out the faintest idea of love and trust, is also revealed in 
the Prometheus legend. Of course Hesiod long before 
had given it the form and substance which ikschylus 
elaborated in a series of declamations. It is indeed a 
gloomy view that material civilization and the very refine- 
ment of life — for men to have and hold, was a trespassing 
beyond their proper sphere. The gods of iEschylus no 
more than those of Homer are in bliss (/ia*a/rc9), nay, are 
often called the Blessed, not because they are holy, sinless, 
untempted, the source of goodness : but simply because they 
live in pleasure for evermore and because their existence 
is not terminated by death. But man is "for a day," 
ephemeral, the latter word recurring often in ^Eschylus. 

As for Prometheus, of the Titanic order, really a kind 
of uncle to Zeus, he had sided with the new dynasty, but 
he had been, also, the patron of the human kind, and 
" filching the gifts (privilege to belong to the gods) (82) 
bestowed them upon the creatures who are for a day 


only." Plutarch, in his day, said Prometheus (fore- 
thinker) was simply- Computation (Xoyio-fAos): man's ap- 
plication of his reason to the utilities of his physical 
environment: simple even without Plutarch's translucent 
abstraction : but why the furious ill-will of Zeus against 
such a share of happiness in man? Our kind indeed are 
in no wise creatures of Zeus. All the Olympians (120 
sqq.y hate Prometheus "on account of his excessive friend- 
ship for mortals." Nay, Prometheus once upon a time 
had formed men of water and earth : his creatures they 
were, he was their benefactor, he faced the jealousy and 
anger of Zeus for them. The humiliation and torture on 
the cliffs of Caucasus he bore for his creatures, for man- 
kind. Nay, hope itself, the only antidote of death, men 
owed to the same benefactor (250). It is a significant 
enumeration which we may well transfer (442 sqq.)i 
" Listen to the sufferings prevailing among mortals, how 
when they at first were foolish I rendered them intelligent 
and capable of reflection. And I will tell it, not having 
any blame for men, but setting forth the good-will of my 
gifts: who first when seeing saw in vain, and hearing 
could not hear, but comparable to shapes of dreams at 
random and confusedly did mingle all, their lifelong time, 
nor entered homes brick-woven, warm, nor timber work ; 
in caverns sunk in earth they dwelt, like teeming ants in 
sunless nooks of caves. No fixed goal had they of winter 
time nor flowery spring nor summer rich in fruits, but 
lacking thought did everything, until I showed them when 
the stars come up and when they set, a matter hard to 
judge. And numeration, eminent device, I found for 
them, and how to bind the signs of script, a culture-breed- 
ing tool to record all. And first with yokes I joined tre- 
mendous beasts as slaving under straps in order that they 
to mortals should succeed, relieving them of hardest tasks, 
and hitched steeds inured to rein to draw the chariots, 
adornment of luxurious and excessive wealth." 

" Nor aught but I devised the carriages of vessels by 
salt sea buffeted with canvas-pinions fraught. . . . The 
greatest this: if one would fall into disease, there was no 


remedy: to eat, to use as salve or swallowed potion, but 
through lack of healing drugs they pined away until I 
showed them compounds of soothing remedies with which 
they fend themselves 'gainst all array of fell disease." 
To this curiously enough ^Eschylus adds the whole range 
of mantic power and procedure: the interpretation of 
dreams, the signs on journeys, the flight of birds, their 
various modes of life, their enmities and friendships: the 
lore of victims' entrails as to smoothness or color, and thus 
the implied pleasure or displeasure of the gods. 

Also mineral resources did he uncover, copper, iron, 
silver, gold. To us it is a somewhat curious delinea- 
tion of human civilization and progress: particularly the 
weighty place of mantic things. One smiles at Mahaffy's 
efforts to stamp ^Eschylus as a stalwart champion of ad- 
vanced thought. But, seriously speaking, this mantic 
matter, so essential a part of Greek religion so-called, is of 
a piece with that religion in its other aspects: a total of 
ritual things to better or to smooth this terrestrial exist- 
ence. So ^Eschylus presents it, so it was. There is an 
appalling paucity of matters or concerns which involve, 
or appeal to, the deeper, the spiritual concerns of the 
human soul. 

But to return: how little after all does man owe to 
these Olympians: they are mighty, but they are mainly 

As for Zeus: "No one is free but Zeus" ("Prom.," 50). 
He is " the new sovereign of the Blessed ones " (96); " a 
character that none can reach and a heart that none can 
sway with words " has he (184). " Rough is he, and 
holds in his hand all jurisdiction " (186) : " A rough 
monarch, and subject to no one's revision does he hold 
sway" (324). "The mouth of Zeus knows not how to 
utter falsehood, but fulfils each word" (1032). He is 
the one who assigns what is due, who fixes retribution 
("Septem,"485): " Justice is his virgin daughter " (662). 
" Lord of Lords " is he, most Blessed of the Blessed and 
perfecting power most perfect " called, and called upon 
by the forsaken maidens of Argos (" Supplices," 424). 


" Zeus, whoever he may be, if so to be called is pleasing 
to him," prays the chorus in " Agamemnon," 159. The 
catastrophe of the destruction of Troy was wrought by 
the justice of Zeus (526). But Klytaimnestra, too, calls 
upon Zeus to fulfil and accomplish her project of slaying 
her royal husband with the help of her paramour (973). 
The chorus recognizes this universal sway even amid the 
crimes and horrors of the king's family (1485). 

"If the only Power and Justice with the Third, the 
greatest of them all, Zeus, would join with me," Electra 
aspires, in the "Choephori," 244. And more might be 
adduced : the poet, for himself, clearly rises and essays 
to ascend to a conception of a universal, almighty, and 
altogether righteous God, whose Justice is seated on the 
footsteps of his throne, even when we, the beings for a 
day, behold but wrong and misery. One cannot help 
thinking of St. Paul's utterance made in Athens, too, 
recorded by Luke (Acts 17, 27) : " That they should seek 
the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find 

For indeed the minor deities of the Olympian tradition 
are of slight consequence in the pages of ^Eschylus, who, 
for his own person, clearly was vastly more spiritual than 
the religion of his fathers and forefathers. But he could 
not well divest this Sovereign Deity of the low and mean 
elements which stained it in all parts of legends. 

And so Zeus figures in "Prometheus Bound" as the 
weak and ignoble lover of Io, the royal maid of Argos, 
changed to a heifer by the husband of jealous Hera, chief 
Olympian indeed, but slave of lust, and a henpecked hus- 
band. Zeus, I say, first beset the princess with dreams, 
less lyrical indeed than the amorous sonnets of the earlier 
Shakespeare, blunt enough : " for Zeus is warned by the 
shaft of desire that has issued from thee and with thee 
wills to join in Kypris " ("Prom.," 649). Hesiod began, 
as I suggested before, to treat and elaborate with some 
moral regard the Zeus of the Homeric Epics, Pindar was 
annoyed by some of the traditional fables : the Attic 
dramatist stands on a positively higher level than his 


Theban contemporary : but the primacy of Homer re- 
mained undisputed, the Stoics, later on, with a mass of 
physical and moral allegories, attempted both to preserve 
and to refine the Epic tradition. It was in vain. 

A little more of the grandiose Athenian must we ap- 
pend. The objects of Greek worship are — it cannot be 
urged enough — these palpable forces of nature : they are 
not merely divine, they are indeed the very gods. So is 
Earth, Grata : " one shape of many names," says iEschylus 
("Prom.," 210), the abiding abode and support of life — 
Rhea or Demeter or what you will: the thing is beyond 
us : the terminology our own. In the imprecation of 
44 Zeus and Earth " (" Septem," 69) it is really Heaven 
and Earth, forces correlated and supreme, which were 
before we came, and which go on being, when we gasp 
out this fleeting breath. And still Earth has a relation 
to the dead — it is the abode of the Perished — " Earth 
and the Perished " — a phrase twice met in the Persians 
(220 and 523) : you may sacrifice to them both in one 
act : for the dead somehow still have a power over the 
living, to bless or to curse. Here we must append an 
antiquarian note — we spare our readers as a rule: He- 
sychius in his glossary (s.v. Kpeirrovas, " The more 
Powerful ") has this to say : 44 They call the heroes (in 
Greek parlance) so. And it seems some of them are as- 
sociated with ill fate. On this account also those who go 
by the shrines of heroes keep silence, lest they suffer some 
injury" The Gods also are so named. iEschylus in his 
play, " The Women of ^Etna." Add vv. 640, 687, 689; 
44 Eumenides," 2. Indeed Klytaimnestra even after death 
is 44 dishonored amid the other dead, the censure for her 
murder endeth not" (' 4 Eum.," 94 sqq.}. 

Turn we now to Ernest Curtius's 44 God of Light." If 
the spiritual beneficence of that Hellenic figment had been 
actually and historically as great as the fervid extolling 
of that classicist could warrant — I say then greater had 
been the blessings of Greece. Unfortunately, the cun- 
ning devices and the vulpine doubling of the Delphian 
corporation in seasons of storm and stress robbed Loxias, 


the speaking God, of much credit, even in the very times 
when the Pythian priestess mounted the tripod for the 
proper fees. The Greek legend in the Wrath of Achilles 
makes Apollo a narrow and vindictive partisan of the 
Trojan side : not very chivalrous either, in striking 
Patroclus from behind (II., 16, 788). He bore a grudge 
against Diomede and caused him to lose his whip in the 
games (II., 23, 383). And why was the god of light 
condemned by his Olympian father to be a neatherd among 
mortal men for a while ? According to Kallimachos it 
was because the God of Light was enamoured of Ad- 
metos. In the great trilogy of the Oresteia, Kassandra 
even more than Agamemnon is a figure around which 
clustered the awe and the pity of the first spectators. 
Kassandra, splendidly gifted princess of Troy : we quote 
from Apollodorus ("Bibliotheca," 3, 12, 5) : "After this 
one, Hekabe gave birth to these daughters : Kreusa, Lao- 
dike, Polyxene, Kassandra, to whom, desiring to unite 
with her in love, Apollo promised to teach the mantic 
art. But she having acquired this lore, refused to grant 
these favors, whence Apollo took from her mantic art the 
power of persuading others." 

Apollo in the "Eumenides" is a mere counsellor at law 
to the matricide Orestes and cuts a poor figure in the so- 
phistical devices of that role. The massive and grandiose 
jEschylus made poor work of such a task. 

The grave matter of the Third and Fourth Generation 
is brought forward in the trilogy just named as it is in 
the plays concerning G^dipus and the woes of Thebes, dull 
Thebes, the quick witted Athenians were wont to say: but 
the cluster of deep and sombre legends grown on the soil of 
Bceotia far outweighs the slender production of the thin 
and rocky soil of Attica. A mystery after all is the 
curse steadily attending the successive generations of cer- 
tain families. And so at Thebes: "hated of Phoebus the 
entire race of Laios " (" Septem," 691). " Who could de- 
vise cleansing rites, who could wash them? O miseries 


new of the palace fused with ancient ills" ("Septem," 738). 
One generation cursed its own offspring. We must, how- 
ever, be brief. Notice, if you please, both in the royal 
castle of Thebes as well as at Argos the grave and weighty 
matter of an initial sin and first step in wrong-doing. 
Take the Argivian dynasty with their sire : Tantalos, 
Pelops, Atreus-Thyestes, Pleisthenes, Agamemnon, Mene- 
laos, and their cousin Aigisthos. Tantalos (immensely 
rich), a fellow-banqueter with the gods, in his mad inso- 
lence attempts to have them feast on his own son Pelops. 
The latter, miraculously restored to life, emigrates to 
southern Greece, henceforth named after him: his great 
wealth in those primitive times gives him swift preemi- 
nence. He wooes Hippodameia, the much-sought daughter 
of Oinomaos of Elis: to gain the decisive race, Pelops prom- 
ises rewards wicked in themselves to the king's charioteer 
Myrtilos: but instead of keeping his word, the immi- 
grant prince caused the guilty Myrtilos to drown on the 
coast of Eubcea. His sons Atreus and Thyestes mur- 
dered their brother Chrysippos, envied of them because 
of the particular affection shown him by the old king. 
Thyestes seduces his brother Atreus's wife, and is expelled 
by the latter. From abroad he, Thyestes, then sends 
the son of Pleisthenes, whom Thyestes had reared as his 
own child, that Pleisthenes should slay his real father, 
Atreus. But things go so that Atreus kills Pleisthenes, 
his own son, as though he were his nephew. Atreus then, 
to accomplish his revenge, assumes the guise of recon- 
ciliation and recalls his brother Thyestes from exile. But 
Thyestes resumes his intrigue with his brother's wife 
-^Erope. Atreus now slays the sons of Thyestes and sets 
their flesh before their own father: Thyestes hastens into 
a northern exile, cursing all the race of Pelops. 

When barrenness and famine visited the land of Atreus, 
the oracle directed the latter to recall Thyestes from ex- 
ile. But Atreus only found the latter's daughter Pelo- 
pia, then with child through her own father's violent 
crime. Atreus considers Pelopia the daughter of a north- 
ern king and brings her home as his wife, where she 


gives birth to Aigisthos. But why go on with these hor- 
rors, most of which seem composed by Greek poets after 
the consummation of the Homeric Epics ? The legend of 
GEdipus is much better known to the general reader. Note 
here, too, the initial sin, the original wrong. Laios, a 
prince of Thebes, sojourning in the Peloponnesos, in exile, 
gains the hospitality of Pelops which, however, he re- 
quites but ill. He becomes enamoured of Pelops's son 
Chrysippos, whom he pretends to teach the art of driving 
a chariot. Thus he finds an opportunity to carry him 
away by force to Thebes. This was, among the Hellenes, 
the beginning of the national ulcer which never healed. 
Chrysippos slew himself for shame. Pelops uttered a ter- 
rible curse against the robber. Later Laios became King 
of Thebes and married Iocaste. Their son was (Edipus, 
creator and bearer of woe unutterable. 

Before passing from the great and massive figure of 
iEschylus, whom, by the by, Cicero called a Pythagorean, 
we may well pause to ask ourselves as to the moral ele- 
ments in the Attic tragedies at large. In recent times 
sober-minded scholars have wisely resolved to strip off the 
straight jacket of the Aristotelian definition or inductive 
abstraction. I recall distinctly that Adolph Kirchhoff in 
my Berlin days (1872-1874) very positively refused to 
measure all Attic plays by that yard measure. It has 
very properly been pointed out, that the range of emotions 
stirred by tragedy is much wider than Aristotle's pair of 
awe or fear and pity (Wilamowitz): there is, e.g., patriot- 
ism, there is devotion, there is, I may add, humiliation, nay, 
moral mortification, as we are confronted with the weak- 
ness and the temptations of our common nature. Here, 
too, we must unreservedly assent to the strictures of the 
Berlin Hellenist: the subject-matter of the Greek legends 
was the given material of these plays, which the dramatists 
had to employ, which they could not essentially modify. 

My warrant for presenting Herodotus in this same 
chapter, as the second picture in a diptych, is this: This 


genial historian, genial though he be, and entertaining 
though he strive to be continuously, has this in common 
with iEschylus : everywhere he records the great events 
of the Persian wars with a profoundly religious awe: he be- 
lieves in a divine regulation of human events. While he 
delights in bright and sunny things and a certain quiet 
humor is lambent around his cheerful and bubbling narra- 
tive, no writer of classical antiquity is there in win mi 
there occurs so incessantly and with such impressive 
gloom that stern and awful Leitmotiv, viz., of the Envy 
of the Gods, the central theme of the "Prometheus 
Hound" : a theme in the Halicarnassian reciter carried 
into the very marrow of actual life and elevated, so 
to speak, into a veritable Philosophy of History. 

And first, this author was an author whose authorship 
was built largely on his travels and what he could see 
with his own eyes, hear with his own ears. Asia and 
Egypt he traversed: Susa and Babylon he visited, he 
gazed upon the stupendous ruins of Nineveh : he tested 
the thickness of Egyptian and Persian skulls on a battle- 
field of the wonderful kingdom of the Nile, he was initi- 
ated in the mysteries of Osiris, and measured the mighty 
pyramid of Chephren. Nor was he unacquainted with 
Kyrene and with the entire periphery of the Euxine. 1 lis 
second home he made in Magna Graecia, at Thurioi. Few 
Greeks had so wide and so genuine an acquaintance with 
general mankind, few ever were as open and fair as the 
wanderer of Halicarnassus, to value and appreciate human 
culture. And here he was far superior to the narrow 
conceit of Hellenism at large as well as to the cantonal 
and local pride of the Greek communities, tribes, and dia- 

Since this is so, he exhibits to us in a manner most wel- 
come for our general theme many sides of what I may 
call the typical Greek consciousness. For it is well for 
us to examine this matter and it is my duty to help destroy 
that modern figment of the " pure humanity," of the typi- 
cal humanity of the Hellenes, in fact, that production of 
literary fancy and tradition, " Greekdom " itself. Thus 


he notes the belief of the Egyptians that they were the 
first human beings created (2, 2) ; that there were no 
priestesses in Egypt (2, 35) ; that the Egyptians were the 
first to maintain the statement that the soul of man is 
immortal, and that when the body perishes the soul enters 
into another living being, and that when the soul has made 
the rounds of all the beasts of land and sea and air, it enters 
again into a human body at the moment of birth and that 
this circular tour is accomplished in three thousand years. 
It was a presumption, Herodotus adds, that some Greeks 
claimed this doctrine as specifically their own (2, 123). 
He is struck by the fact that the Thracians do not hold 
thunder and lightning in awe, "but discharging their 
arrows upward into the sky threaten the God, believing in 
no other God but their own " (4, 94). The king of the 
Scythians recognizes as master but Zeus, his own ancestor 
(4, 127). The Libyans sacrifice to Sun and Moon only (4, 
188). A certain tribe among the Thracians bewails each 
infant at birth, relating (quite in the manner of Hamlet's 
famous monologue) all the sufferings of human kind, 
while the dead they conceal in the earth amid sport and 
rejoicing, recounting all the evils of which the deceased is 
then freed and now dwells in all bliss (5, 4). Herodotus 
treats many of the religious doctrines of Egypt with re- 
spectful awe (4, 2, 3) ; he evidently respects the reasons 
of the Egyptians for worshipping animals (transmigration 
of souls). He was himself initiated in the mysteries of 
Samothrake (2, 51) and as regarding Hellenic worship and 
mythology our traveller had quite freed himself from the 
notions of Greek originality. He weighed the influence 
of the Pelasgians who were in central Greece before the 
Greeks came down from the north. With so wide a vision, 
and living a little after the zenith of things Greek, his 
view of Hesiod and Homer remains most precious to the 
modern student (2, 53). I have fully brought this matter 
forward in my third chapter. The Greek poets indeed 
were makers in more senses than one. Herodotus has 
written his own sentiments and his own type of soul quite 
freely into his work : when the endless myriads of the 


Orient, under King Xerxes, crossed the Hellespont, that 
monarch iirst called himself happy, but soon tears welled 
up : " as I have computed it came over me that I felt com- 
punction of pity, if of this vast number no one will survive 
to his hundredth year" (7, 46). In a free dramatic way 
Herodotus presents his dread and humility through an uncle 
of King Xerxes, Artabanus : " and he replied, saying : other 
things more woful than these do we suffer in the course 
of our lives. Short as this life is, there is not one human 
being so happy in his essence, neither of these nor of the 
others, to whom the thought will not present itself, often- 
times, not once only, that he would rather be dead than 
live (Hamlet again). For the disasters that befall it and 
the diseases that confound it cause life, even though it be 
short, to seem long. Thus Death, as Life is full of burdens, 
has come to be the choicest refuge for man ; but God, having 
allowed us to taste the sweetness of life, is found to be envious 
in it." It is the voice of the chorus in the orchestra, warn- 
ing the protagonist who passes over the stage on his raised 

Solon and Croesus — the world has long appropriated 
their dialogues about human power and happiness. In 
these legends, Herodotus in a manner ranges himself not 
unworthily as an eighth Sage, fitted to rank and to be hon- 
ored with the canonic Seven Wise Men. Solon is walking 
through the treasure chambers of King Crcesus and with- 
holding from the richest of mortals the verdict of the 
greatest happiness. 

The happiest then was Tellos of Athens (1, 30 sq.*)\ he 
lived to a good old age, while his native commonwealth 
was going along well ; he saw none of his children dying 
and saw them all with children of their own, and per- 
ished in battling for Athens. He was the happiest. Next 
were Kleobis and Biton of Argos. These were crowned 
athletes, and once when their mother, priestess of Hera, 
wanted to ride to the fane and the oxen were not ready 
from the pasture, then the young men themselves drew 
their mother to the sanctuary, a distance of live and forty 
stadia (eight and a half miles). When they had done this 


and had been beheld by the festal assembly — both their 
prowess and their filial devotion — their mother stepped 
before the agalma of Hera (the idol) and prayed that the 
goddess would give her sons that which is best for a 
human being to obtain. The youths thereupon after sac- 
rificing and feasting fell asleep in the sanctuary and awoke 
no more — and thus " the deity pointed out (1, 31) that it 
is better for man to be dead than to live." Threescore 
years and ten, Herodotus goes on moralizing, is the span 
of human life : and every single day in these seventy years 
is subject to accident or disaster. "Man indeed is all 
accident" (1, 32). 

We must wait for the conclusion of each individual life 
before we can praise it, the vicissitudes of the remainder 
lying before us are simply incalculable. But let me pro- 
ceed further to set forth the interfusion of moral and 
religous ideas in this well-informed and deeply reflecting 

The Persians besieged Potidsea on the Thracian coast. 
But the siege corps was cut in twain by the sudden rising 
of the tide (8, 129), — a very extraordinarily great tide, — 
the besieged put out in boats and slew that corps. 

The Persians (who despised Greek polytheism) had 
committed acts of impiety on the temple of the God 
Poseidon and on the idol. Herodotus cordially agrees 
with the allegation of the people of Potidsea that their 
tutelary deity imposed revenge. Cyrus called down from 
the pyre his royal victim Croesus, "reflecting (1, 86) that 
he himself, being a human being, was in the act of giving 
to the fire alive another human being, who had not been 
inferior to himself in happiness, and in addition thereto 
fearing the punishment, and considering that no element 
of human affairs was safe." Schiller has made the Ring 
of Polykrates a household word among Germans by his 
splendid ballad : in the Rousseau period the protagonists 
of culture elevated classics on the one hand and the 
South Sea islanders on the other in their quest of a " pure 
humanity." The Greek autocrat, indeed, had prospered 
most uncommonly among his generation, but his friend 


Amasis of Egypt wrote to him as follows (3, 40) : " Pleas- 
ant indeed is it to learn that a friend and guest friend is 
faring well : but your great bursts of good fortune please 
me not, as I know the deity how jealous it is ; and my de- 
sire on the whole is this, that those for whom I am con- 
cerned may, in some portion of their affairs, be prosperous, 
and in some other portion slip up, and thus live through 
their lives, faring alternately well and ill, rather than be 
prosperous in everything. For I know of no one of whom 
I have heard tell, who in the end did not terminate his 
existence badly, root and all, when he had been (before) 
prosperous in all things. You therefore heed my word, 
and with a view to your series of prosperities do the 
following : think of that which you find to be your most 
precious possession, and the perishing of which will cause 
your soul the greatest grief, and this cast away so that it 
never more arrive among men." 

The ring we know was chosen, cast into the sea, and 
brought back by the fisherman and the cook. 

But this was not yet the end of Polykrates. His lust 
for gold lured him to the mainland of Lydia where he 
became the prey of the cunning satrap Oroites. The 
soothsayers indeed had urged Polykrates not to go. And 
particularly his daughter dreamed, and her vision was 
this : it seemed to her that her father was suspended in 
air and was washed by Zeus and was anointed by the Sun. 
Her warnings, however, were all in vain. The prince of 
Samos steered for the mainland : he then went to Magne- 
sia, where the satrap was. This official put Polykrates to 
death in a manner too shocking to relate and raised his 
corpse upon a cross : . . . and as he was hung up there, 
he fulfilled all the vision of his daughter ; for he was 
washed by Zeus whenever it rained, and he was anointed 
by the Sun himself, causing liquid substance to ooze 
forth. The many good fortunes then of Polykrates had 
this consummation as Amasis the king of Egypt had 
prophesied (3, 125). Herodotus, surveying with a 
glance the span of the Grecian past, says that the 
princes of Syracuse alone excelled the Samian in splen- 


dor, a splendor largely due to the persistent policy which 
Polykrates had pursued : the upbuilding of a great sea 
power. In this he had followed Minos, the fabled king 
of Krete, and he became the precursor of Athens, of 
Rhodes, of Karthage, of Venice, and of the British Isles. 
Elsewhere in the pages of Herodotus we find the follow- 
ing : Pheretime, the mother of Arkesilas, prince of Kyrene, 
indeed took terrible revenge on the people of Barke; 
but hardly had she returned from Libya to Egypt (4, 205), 
" when she died badly : for out of her living body worms 
swarmed in teeming multitudes, since excessively severe 
acts of punishment are an object of jealousy or odium on the 
part of the gods ." But all this and many other data in 
Herodotus are merely, as I have intimated, iterations and 
reverberation of the stern melody of human excess and 
divine retribution and the humiliation of man, exemplified 
most signally and most significantly in Xerxes himself. 
Thus we return to Artabanos, from whose lips comes the 
wisdom of ^Eschylus and of Herodotus : " Thou seest 
(7, 10, 5) how the deity strikes with the thunderbolt 
those beasts that tower above their fellows, but the little 
ones worry him not: and you see also how his missiles 
always smite the largest edifices and trees of such kind. 
For God loves to truncate all those things that rise too 
high. Thus too a large army may be destroyed by a 
small one in some such way : when God in his jealousy 
casts a panic or a thunderbolt, through which they were 
destroyed in a shocking manner. For God does not per- 
mit any one to entertain grand ideas but himself " 

It is but a slight step from this to gloomy fate and 
to the evil end of uncommon individual men : " It was 
necessary" "it was fated" that the Scythian king Skyles 
should perish evilly (4, 79). "It was fated that Mil- 
tiades, once a prince in a colony, and foremost at Mara- 
thon, should come to an evil end" (6, 135). 

It is God himself who causes human folly : thus Cyrus 
asks of the Lydian king (1, 87) : " Croesus, what human 
being induced you to make a campaign against my coun- 
try and become a foe to me instead of a friend ? " "O 


King," said he, "I did this through your good fortune 
and through my own ill fortune. And the cause of this 
was the God of the Greeks (Apollo) rousing me to make 
the expedition." 

And this may well introduce another theme pertinent 
to this essay, viz., the attitude of Herodotus to Greek 
worship in general and to the oracles in particular. In 
his pages we see everywhere reverence for all oracles, of 
Delphi, Alai, Dodona, or written oracles copied and propa- 
gated out of the past, greatly tempting the forger to 
modify or to invent, as Onomakritos was an editor and 
an interpolator of oracles at the court of the prince 
Hippias at Athens (7, 6) ; there were indeed spurious 
oracles in circulation (1, 66, 75 ; 5, 91). On the whole, 
Herodotus is a stanch defender of Delphi. And this is 
the more noteworthy because early in 480 B.C. the Del- 
phian corporation had clearly despaired of the cause of 
Greek freedom. A foreign office of the interests of the 
Hellenic world, the curious self-perpetuating body at 
Delphi was better informed of things transpiring in Asia 
than any single Greek commonwealth. Herodotus credits 
his favorite state of Athens with a stanch patriotism all 
the greater because awe-inspiring responses came from 
the Pythian centre (7, 129), responses which might well 
have moved a community less intrepid to abandon all and 
seek a new home in the west. Vividly the second oracle 
presents the Homeric religion in all essentials (cf. Her., 
2, 53), the current standard of Greek worship in 480; 
Athena has interceded for her own Athens with Zeus, 
but in vain (7, 141) : " Pallas is not puissant to assuage 
the Olympian Zeus, though she entreats him with many 
utterances and cunning design." I say on the whole our 
historian is very loyal to Delphi, although he knew that 
powerful politicians in the past had tampered with the 
oracle, as had Kleomenes of Sparta (6,66; cf. 5, 63; 6,75). 
Herodotus defends the oracle given to Croesus: the fault 
was the Lydian king's, not Apollo's (1, 91) ; cf. the oracle 
given to Siphnos, defended and interpreted by Herodotus 
himself (3, 58) ; the oracle given to Thera (4, 150, 151). 


The evening of life for the Father of History was gloomy- 
enough. The long struggle among Greek common- 
wealths, known to us as the Peloponnesian War, had 
begun. Our historian was an earnest champion of Athens 
and lost no opportunity in his narrative to argue with 
deliberate emphasis as a pleader for Athens, and to urge 
that on her policy and self-sacrifice the very maintenance 
of Greek independence turned, not only in 480, but also 
in 479 as well. 

Now we have derived not a little stirring of nobler 
emotions from the spectacle of Leonidas in the pass of 
Thermopylae: the very emancipation of modern Greece 
from Turkey was powerfully aided in 1827 and before by 
the enthusiastic sympathies of classicism, although the 
modern Greeks are, without any doubt, essentially and 
substantially Slavic. But there is little, apart from 
Leonidas and a few others, that deserves our moral enthu- 
siasm in the pitiable history of the Greek commonwealths. 
The incredible pettiness and narrowness of their actual 
political feeling and aims you cannot palliate nor explain 
away. And this was often curiously bound up with, nay, 
rooted in the traditional local fancies and mythical legends. 
Thus in a quarrel between Athens and Mitylene concern- 
ing Sigeion in the Troad, the Attic contention cited the 
records of the Wrath of Achilles (Her., 5, 94). No 
bitterer arraignment of the general Greek character is 
found anywhere than in Herodotus himself, although he 
puts the utterance into the mouth of a Persian councillor: 
" The Greeks are jealous of prosperity and hate greater 
power" (7, 236). In 431 the jealousy and malice of cantonal 
and topical feeling had made it well-nigh impossible for 
an historian to allot praise or blame in reciting the great 
events of half a century before. Thus, as to Salamis, 
the Athenians gave an evil account of the Corinthian 
commander, while Themistocles accepted a goodly purse 
from Eubceans, a bribe of which he kept the lion's 
share, while giving minor portions to other Greek com- 
manders (8, 5). 

The reply of the Athenians to the Spartans (before 


Platsea) was indeed fervid and lofty. But no doubt 
many of his contemporaries called Herodotus a prejudiced 
partisan of Athens. A severe arraignment too lies in the 
advice of the Boeotians to Mardonius to make his camp 
in their own territory and move no farther to the south : 
and " if you will do what we recommend, you will possess 
yourself of their designs without trouble. Send money to 
the men who are powerful in the several communities; if 
you do so you will rend Greece: thereafter you will easily 
with poor troops subjugate those that do not side with 
you " (9, 2). King Philip did so, later on. 

In 479, before Platsea, when the fate, of Greek indepen- 
dence was still in the balance, the Spartiats at home cele- 
brated their Hyakinthia. What was this celebration ? 
Hyakinthos was a youth of Amyklai in Lacedsemon, of 
surpassing fairness, object too of the love — what the 
Greeks understood that term to mean — of Apollo. Well, 
this too was commemorated at the celebration. Such 
were the Spartiats, flower of the Dorian race. As to the 
crisis of 479, unless we should reject the presentation of 
Herodotus utterly, they contemplated with equanimity 
the possibility of seeing Athens extinguished. 

It is a custom among classicists to say that the G-rceculm 
of Cicero's time, of Lucian's age, was greatly changed 
and had deteriorated from the type of the Persian wars, 
of Perikles, of Agesilaos, and of Epaminondas. I do not 
think so. 

The fervor and cultural enthusiasm of Cicero indeed 
was strong ; he was an uncompromising Philhellene : but 
his valuation of their moral character was low : prevarica- 
tion and duplicity he held were almost a national charac- 
teristic : " the scrupulous regard for evidence in court and 
good faith that race never cherished " (" Pro Flacco," 9). 
" The quarrelling about a phrase has ever been keeping in 
unrest the poor Greeks, men more eager for strife than for 
truth " (" De Oratore," I, 47). Action indeed was denied 
them in his day, erudition and rhetoric were still their 
resources. The Pindaric ideals lasted on : " to have 
o. dned a victory at Olympia among the Greeks is almost 


greater and more glorious than at Rome to have gained a 
triumph" ("Pro Flacco," 13). 

As to the influence of the gymnasia observed by Cicero, 
it was bad then, it was supremely vicious in Plato's time, 
in Pindar's time, probably at all times. Here there was 
no decline : merely a maintenance of a pestilential evil. 

The truth is that the Macedonian hegemony and the 
development of Greek empires in Egypt, Syria, and Per- 
gamos; the rise of that ancient Venice, the naval power 
of Rhodes; the world position of Alexandria; the conti- 
nental eminence of Antioch, the new economic drift in 
trade and traffic — left Athens and iEgina, Naupaktos, 
Corcyra, and Corinth in the stiller eddies of the current 
where foam and driftwood gather. Central Greece be- 
came impoverished and lived on the memories of the past, 
long before Hadrian became the patron of a manifold re- 
naissance, or before Pausanias the traveller observed the 
fallen-in roofs of many an ancient temple, or before Pliny 
wrote that the pasturage for sacrificial cattle had no mar- 
ket value any more. The Greeks of the beginning of the 
Christian era, I say, were not more ignoble than those of 
Aristophanes, or than the miserable democracy that ap- 
plauded Demosthenes and ignored him too, that gave the 
hemlock to Socrates and was led by the nose by cunning 
demagogues at will, whose cultural opportunities made 
them fond of dialectic fencing, and whose immense aggre- 
gation of extraordinary art had no real or palpable enno- 
bling influence upon them. They were the same; they 
were not worse, at least. For Seneca is entirely right 
when he says: "These (inborn qualities) no philosophical 
culture " (" Epistula," 11) " will drive away." Many of the 
talented men of central Greece went to the marts of 
Alexandria, Syracuse, or Antioch, while the old places 
sank into decay. There is a memorable glimpse of that 
process in a letter written to Cicero when the latter 
mourned for his daughter Tullia, a letter addressed to the 
orator by the eminent jurist, Sulpicius Rufus ("Ad Fa- 
miliares," 4, 5) : " Returning from the province of Asia, 
when I was sailing from ^Egina towards Megara, I began 


to look out upon the regions round about. Behind me 
was JEgin-d; before me Megara; on my right, the Pirseus; 
on my left, Corinth: towns which once upon a time were 
so flourishing; now they lie before our eyes prostrate and 
tumbled down. I began to reflect in my own heart: 
well! we poor manikins are hot if some one of us has died or 
been stricken with the sword, whose life must needs be 
briefer, when in one spot the corpses of so many towns 
are lying on the ground!" (written in 45 B.C.). 

Note. — Of ^Eschylus, as of many other classical writers, our 
present and actual judgment would be probably not a little modified 
if we had his entire vast production. We would probably esteem him 
less. The grammatikos y however, of both Alexandrine and Byzantine 
era could not avail himself of many plays, he had to proceed eclecti- 
cally. The poet's fatalism, his divine preordination of Sin and Evil 
was vigorously rejected by Plato (" Republic," 2, 380, a) : " Nor must 
we permit our young to hear that God makes the cause for mortals 
whenever he wills utterly to injure a house " (in the " Niobe "). 

Cicero calls the poet a Pythagorean philosopher, " Tusculan Dis- 
pute" 2,23: "non poeta solum, sed etiam Pythagoreus; sic enim 

iEschylus's personal political sentiments (Persians, 241 soq.). Athens 
glorified for Salamis (Pers., 285,429). His aversion to tne rule of a 
mob (Agam., 883 ; Eumen., 516, 699). Athens called " a fortress of the 
Gods" (Eumen., 919 ; cf. St. Paul in Acts). His Piety (Pers., 454, 497). 
The Persians sacrilegious (Pers. 808). It is well here to append more 
data or references from Apollodoros amply illustrating jealousy, fear, 
pride, revenge, of the Gods. 

Apollodoros of Athens was a pupil of the foremost of the Alexan- 
drine literary scholars and critics, Aristarchos. He wrote in the 
second century before Christ, when classical production was at an 
end. Personally he was a Stoic, and in twenty-four books presented 
his allegorizing view of the origin of Myths. The little "Biblio- 
theca " may be an extract or brief reduction ; it is simply a genealogical 
and chronological manual of data palliating nothing, glorifying noth- 
ing, but leaving that to the absurd and mendacious ecstasy of scholars 
of the Christian era, who are delving for their " pure humanity." 
Even if the little manual has had no actual relation to Apollodoros 
its substantial accuracy no one can deny ; it is absolutely free from 
any animus, and the original work, of which it is a compilation, faith- 
fully recorded the variants of legends and the individual presentations 
as they are found in the chief poets or mythological writers, "as 
Euripides says," " as the Tragedians say," " as he who wrote the 
Nostoi" (i.e. the legends of the return of the various heroes from 


Troy), "as some say," " as Homer says," " as Hesiod says," " as Aku- 
silaos says," " as Pherekydes says," or Telesilla, Eumelos, Philocrates, 
Panyasis. The following data then are recorded in the little manual, 
which any one may verify for himself by consulting the index of any 
of the current editions : Hercher's or Westermann's. Zeus feared 
Hera and so buried Elare underground, who had conceived Tityos 
from him. Apollon, god of light and all other virtues, flayed alive 
Marsyas, whom he had defeated in a contest of music. Hera flung 
Side into Hades because she had vied with her as to beauty of form. 
Aphrodite punished Eos with undying love for Orion, because Eds 
had couched with Ares. Artemis, neglected at Kalydon, caused un- 
utterable woe in the family of Meleagros. Phineus was blinded by 
the gods because he foretold the future to mankind. Poseidon dried 
up Argos, angry at Inachos, because the latter bore witness that the 
land belonged to Hera. The Nereids caused exposure of Andromeda, 
because the maiden's mother had vied with them as to beauty ; Posei- 
don shares in their anger. Zeus blinds Asklepios, because he fears 
that human kind might get too much aid against death and disease. 
Poseidon, angry because he was worsted in his struggle about Athens, 
with Athena, floods Attica. Zeus corrupted Io, who was then priest- 
ess of Hera at Argos, — revenge of Hera. Zeus forced Kallisto in 
disguise, ravished Aigina, quarrels with Poseidon about possession of 
Thetis. Hera persecutes Herakles through life ; causes Dionysos to 
be insane. Demeter (a contribution of the pure pastoral humanity 
of Arcadian fancy) became mother of a horse through Poseidon. 
Teiresias was blinded by the gods, because he told human kind what 
the gods wished to conceal. Poseidon, from anger, caused the beast 
love of Pasiphse. 

This was the hemp of which Attic tragedy was spun, and we must 
not marvel that great talents failed to endow these themes with more 
nobility and dignity than they actually did : the wonderful thing was, 
that they sometimes succeeded. 

We are here reminded of a saying of Samuel Johnson about a 
dancing dog moving on his hind feet ; it would not be fair to criticise 
the performance, it was quite wonderful that he could do it at all. 

Where, indeed, is the slightest vestige of chivalry or of tender and 
self-sacrificing demeanor toward the other sex? Where, indeed, is 
the slightest vestige of romance ? And where all tragic situations are 
determined or predetermined by an inexorable fate and by sins com- 
mitted by others — where, I say, is that real, tragical conflict in the 
breast of man confronted by his own evil will alone, and tempted by 
the daimon within his own breast ? King Arthur, Macbeth, Chriem- 
hild, Roland, the political figures of the English Wars of the Roses, 
they all are, as heroic subjects, infinitely more fitted to afford stuff 
for tragedies than the low and crude themes of Hellenic personifica- 
tion of nature forces, in the garb of an anthropomorphism main- 
tained on a pitiable level. 

Mahaffy has essayed to find chivalrous things in the Homeric 
Epics : nothing can be more pointless and forced. 


And as to the heroic legends of the Greeks, we may well assert, 
against Aristotle, that there are nobler and loftier things in a succes- 
sion of human experiences than felicity and infelicity of outward 
faring: there is possible a greater consummation than that. 

For then only do the higher and highest things enter human life, 
when a transcendent responsibility grasps and holds the soul of man. 

Dante thus is unspeakably lofty because this is in his poem. But 
where there is nothing in any catastrophe but the absolute cessation 
of these our present animal and social functions, then the clock of 
being indeed has lost its pendulum. 

It will serve no particular purpose to cite Grote, or Curtius, or 
Wilamowitz, or this one or that one — but I conclude this part of my 
note with a statement in Aristotle ("i)« Arte Poetica" Chap. 18) : 
" Formerly the poets told the familiar tale of haphazard legends, but 
now the finest tragedies are composed as dealing with a small number 
of (princely) houses, such as Alkmaion, CEdipus, Orestes, Meleagros, 
Thyestes, and Telephos " — a practical elimination of by far the great- 
est portion of myth tradition, we see. Why then deliberate, with 
some eminent modern critics, e. g. Wilamowitz, on that infelicity 
which produced a limited standard or canon of best plays? How 
small is the number of those who really appropriate the extant 
plays 1 

In connection with Herodotus, the reader may profitably consult 
the elaborate monograph by Wecklein : " Ueber die Tradition der 
Perserkriege" Munich Academy, 1876, pp. 239-314. Two American 
scholars, A. V. W. Jackson, of Columbia University, and Tolman,of 
Vanderbilt, have dealt much with the trans- iEgean data furnished 
by this historian. Herodotus certainly is inferior to Thucydides as a 
historian, but he mirrors the life of fairly the entire range of the 
Mediterranean world of 480-430 B.C., with a universality which is quite 
unique. As for the polygraphous Mahaffy, with his "uncompromis- 
ing positivism of Thucydides," etc.. he employs a trick of clapping 
modern categories and the catch phrase of yesterday upon thoughts, 
principles, and themes very remote. What is gained by clothing the 
son of Oloros in a vestment woven by Auguste Comte ? It is a fetch- 
ing trick, and much resorted to by many other writers, especially by 
Mommsen. But it is quite unhistorical. 



Of this famous author, composer of music, and accom- 
plished stage director, endowed, too, with an uncommonly 
handsome person, and Athenian patriot, the Munich 
scholar, W. Christ, says (in his " Hist, of Greek Litera- 
ture") the following: "To the sweet gifts of Aphrodite 
he was in no wise averse, nor does he seem to have kept 
himself free from the perversion of Greek antiquity, the 
love of fair boys." Welcker, Schoell, and others try to 
explain away other stains in the record. This pleading 
and this rubbing out of spots is a familiar process: but 
why not be inexorably exact here too when you boast of 
your critical akribeia? (We like to love and esteem 
that which forms the very staple of our pursuits, I know.) 
He was born a few years before Marathon, and died in 
405 B.C., not long before that Trafalgar of his country's 
sea power and empire (Clinton's date), the battle of 
^Egospotamos; so brief was the blossoming, flowering, 
and maturity of the inter-Greek power of that famous 
commonwealth. Pindar wrote and composed the inci- 
dental music long after the birth of Sophocles, Plato was 
born twenty-four years before his death. A life, indeed, 
long, and of unique comprehension, a life, one may fairly 
call it too, of the Periclean Age. Now even Thorwaldsen 
and Canova have not equalled Pheidias, the greatest figure 
of that age. Let us moderate the mandatory ecstasy pre- 
scribed by the hierophants of culture, the Goethes, the 
Hermann Grimms, and the others. For while we have 
no sonnets of Rafael, no Burchard's diary, no Politian's 
Greek verse, to unveil the real morality of the Periclean 
Age (as these did of the much vaunted era of Lorenzo 
and his son, Leo X), still we have not a little of evidence 



for assuming that there was the slightest extra-aesthetical 
upward movement in that same Periclean Age. Of it 
Plutarch writes with a fervor quite natural in the idealiz- 
ing pursuit of this ancient classicist (Plut., "Pericles," c. 
13) : " As the works were going up, works surpassing in 
material greatness, and inimitable in form and grace, and as 
the craftsmen were vying with one another to surpass the 
workmanship by the artistic beauty, the most marvellous 
thing was the rapidity of execution. For those works, 
each of which they thought would barely reach comple- 
tion in many successions and generations of men, these 
all received their consummation in the zenith of a single 
political administration. . . . For the dexterity and 
speed in production do not endow a work with enduring 
importance nor with the precision requisite for beauty: 
but the time which like a capital fund has been invested 
in advance, in the toil devoted to production, that time 
repays in bestowing strength, in the imperishable endurance 
of that which has been created. Hence even greater is 
the admiration bestowed upon the works of Pericles, inas- 
much as they were produced in a brief period of time and 
still facing the plenitude of time. For in beauty each 
one (of the works) immediately then was classical (an- 
tique), but in the consummate flower of achievement it 
is to this day (say from 440 B.C. to 100 A.D.) fresh and 
newly wrought: so there blooms on these creations a 
certain novelty preserving that which our eyes seize as 
something that time cannot touch, as though the works 
possessed an ever vernal breath and an unaging soul " 
(interfused with their material substance). Something 
of this is still exhaled from the Elgin marbles and other 
notable remnants, although everywhere in the world the 
boast of possession and the unstinted generosity of acquisi- 
tion is not in proportion to the end sought. The refining 
influence of art on men at large remains pitiably small. 
Taste is in the main the very last fruit of culture, but 
a fruit which man}' frosts often prevent from reaching 
maturity. Hence excavation and torsi and sucli additions 
to the present assets are not significant and important — 


nor is there to be found anywhere among men any refine- 
ment of the sense of beauty attained and achieved without 
severe labor. It remains the concern of an Slite, a chosen 
body often much permeated with vanity and culture 

Of this Periclean Age and its perfection in sculpture, 
Ernst Curtius once upon a time wrote these words, a typi- 
cal dithyramb of the archaeologist's ecstasies ( " Hist, of 
Greece," Vol. 2) : " The art of endowing marble with a 
soul, in the school of Pheidias, has been brought to the 
uttermost perfection attainable for man. One still feels 
the severity of drawing peculiar to the older school and 
the incisive articulation, but the hardness and the stiff 
symmetry have been overcome; in graceful abandon the 
figures lie and sit near one another: one feels the breathing 
process which moves the limbs, and realizes in the shapes 
of surpassing fairness which fill the something of the bliss- 
ful life of the Olympian gods." Particularly in the rare 
pauses when Hera was not embittered against her incon- 
tinent and ever faithless spouse. But to return to Sopho- 
cles, who in his own sphere was one of the brightest stars 
in that Periclean firmament. 

From his fragments I transcribe a few pertinent items 
mostly owed to the anthology of Stobseus, from Ajax the 
Lokrian: "Man is but passing breath and shadow only." 
And with exquisitely moulded phrase (Fragm. 146, Nauck) 
he speaks of Life's brief Isthmos, a brief isthmus indeed 
between the two oceans of the eternity of time past and 
future, — a cry of the soul familiar to all who refuse to be 
content with mere matter. " Cutlets from the feast of 
Homer," — from that veritable barbecue, — we remember 
that iEschylean phrase of confession. The phrase is lack- 
ing in the slender tradition concerning Sophocles, but, if 
anything, the Trojan cycle dominated here even more. 

Achilles on Skyros, the Lovers of Achilles, Captive 
Women of Troy, Paris or Alexander, Andromache, the 
Gathering of the Achseans, the Men of Antenor (who 
fled from Troy), Helen, Hermione (daughter of Menelaos), 
Iphigeneia, Laokoon, Nausikaa, and so on. We see how 


time deepened the hold of these legends, in art, in educa- 
tion, in everything. And we shall see that Sophocles does 
not essentially rise above the Homeric level. Nay, does 
he not fall below it, when he composes a play entitled 
" The Lovers of Achilles " ? And Ovid too, who more 
than any ancient versifier has attempted to turn impurity 
into belles-lettres, even he could cite this play in extenua- 
tion of his own writings : and still Sophocles was not so 
morally obtuse as not to feel profoundly the evil as an 
evil — he calls it a disease, an evil (Fragm. 154, Nauck) — 
an evil comparable to children handling a piece of ice in 
winter : they will not hold it, or rather they would not, — 
nor would they drop it. And it seems the fair sons of 
Niobe were a theme similarly dragged into the dust. 

The old problem (the theme of the book of Job) recurs 
here too: "The Beings above should not so deal with 
mortals: those who are pious should have some conspicu- 
ous profit from the gods, and the unrighteous should pay 
the penalty opposed to these, a penalty avenging their 
evil deeds" (Stobceus, 106, 11). To be content with lim- 
ited blessings: "neither married life, my maiden friends, 
nor wealth exceeding measure, would I wish to have at 
home; for these are the paths of envy" (Stob., 38, 26). 
In matters of worship, it seems, there is no desire at any 
point to break away from ancestral usage: the Homeric 
level seems to be everywhere maintained. So we learn, 
incidentally (fr. 411, N.), that the Trojan gods carried 
" their own idols " on their shoulders away from Ilion, " know- 
ing that its capture is transpiring." 

The recognition of man's limitations, qua man: the 
essential element of what the Greeks called sophrosyne: 
it is the very atmosphere of their morality : loose writers 
have striven to take over the curiously delicate sense of 
symmetry possessed by the Greeks and conceive it as in- 
terfused and blended with their morality and religion — 
it is a conceit of remote admiration. For the self- 
abandonment to the lowest appetites, the worship of 
Dionysos, the very sovereignty of Kypris among the 
Olympians, the Satyr, the goat-man, and many of the ex- 


tremely animal joys bound up with the grape and all its 
works — where is your symmetry, where is your Doric 
peristyle, or where the exquisite symbolism of your draped 
Muses? But we must pass from these crumbs of the 
fragments to something more tangible and substantial 
presented by the plays actually preserved. 

The " Ajax " presents a legend whose main features 
were given, and really had become immobile. A hero 
maddened by wounded pride, then recovering his sanity, 
determines not to survive his disgrace and so destroys 
himself. Observe that, exactly as in the Epic, Athena is 
the specific guardian of the adroit and never puzzled 
Odysseus: "'tis her hand that pilots him:" it was she 
who drove him into his misery, it was she who had made 
Ajax believe that she was his ally. That Greek or Attic 
figment is, as in Homer, chiefly astuteness personified, dei- 
fied, if you like : our moral sense revolts at the role which 
she plays in the drama, owl-eyed or otherwise. 

Ajax really had slain but sheep, in the belief that he 
had avenged his wounded pride on the Peloponnesian 
brother chiefs, and still he pretended to withdraw by 
himself to the meadows by the sea, to purify himself by 
ablutions, and guard himself against the heavy wrath of 
the goddess, to gain a reconciliation. But, frankly speak- 
ing, his fault is not that he sinned, but his sin is this that 
he has to bear the antagonism of an Olympian Force, that 
he came into collision, he the champion of physical 
courage, with the goddess of astuteness who had quite 
another pet. The drifting pot of burnt clay collides with 
the granite cliff. True, Ajax once appeared so haughty 
that he defies the gods, so impious as to disdain military 
glory, unless achieved by himself alone. " For bodies that 
exceed their proper measure, troublous hulks, did fall in 
misfortune sent by the gods — so said the seer — of such 
who while begotten of the human kind, then nourish a 
spirit not in harmony with mere man." His father 
Telamon, when Ajax departed from Salamis for the war, 
wished him success in war, " but ever to prevail with God 
his ally." But he replied: "My father, one who has the 


gods with him, even though he be nothing, could gain 
puissance : but even without them do I trust that I will 
snatch this fame" (v.758 sqq.). It is precisely the same 
spirit which is in Herodotus, contemporary and spiritual 
congener of the dramatist. A Theodicee, or justification 
of the ways of gods with men. The bitterness of the 
Athenian against Sparta is everywhere revealed: Ajax 
falls, but the hero of Salamis is, for all that, an Attic 
hero8, and one of the worthies (Paus., 1, 5, 2) after whom 
were named the ten Tribes of Attica. In passing we should 
not forget how it always grated on the moral sense of 
Greece, that for one fair and faithless woman so much woe 
and misery was enacted in the world of Greece (v, 1111). 
Not less than six plays in Greek Comedy dealt with 
Helen and her lovers. 

Bitterness is not to be carried on and maintained beyond 
death : the corpse of the hero is to have honorable burial 
— (theme of " Antigone ") — and the insatiable vindic- 
tiveness of the Peloponnesian kings is humbled and 
defied, these are the laws of the gods (1343). How 
are the mighty fallen ! 

In the matricidal revenge taken by Electra and her 
brother Orestes on their mother Klytaimnestra, we have 
little to observe for our present volume and purpose. 
Revenge and Requital go on : the royal children in a 
way are but puppets in the active fulfilment of the 
curses of the past ; and noteworthy is the art of Sophocles 
here : for even thus he achieves it, that definite and 
thoroughly well-drawn personalities do pass before us. 
But while the sorrows of the Pelopidse have not yet an 
end — the Erinyans are still to harrow the soul of Orestes 
— let us turn to one definite matter to further our quest. 

It is prayer, prayer by all who do or suffer here. 
Klytaimnestra has been troubled by dreams and prays 
to Apollo for solution (644) : " For visions which I did 
behold this night of double dream, these, O Lord Lykeios, 
if they foreshadow good, grant them fulfilment; but if 


inimical, then upon my enemies let them fall, and do 
not, if by stratagems there be who plot to cast me from 
my present wealth, permit it, but that I always thus ex- 
isting knowing naught of harm the palace of the Atrides 
and this sceptre shall maintain, companion of friends with 
whom I now reside, enjoying fair days even at the hands 
of those of my children from whom no ill-will touches 
me or bitter grief. These things, wolf -warder Apollon, 
graciously hear and grant to all of us just as we pray. 
And all the other things, though I be silent, I think it 
right that thou that art divine shouldst fully know." No 
moral justification here, for this invocation. 

Conversely the last heir of Pelops and young avenger 
of his father's shades enters the scene of his coming deed 
with a prayer (v. 65) : " But, O paternal land and local 
gods, receive me faring well in these your streets, and thou 
paternal home : for I do come thy cleanser in justice, 
propelled by the gods." His sister invokes her father, 
on whose tomb she pours the proper libations, and then 
addresses herself to the powers below (110) : " O house 
of Hades and Persephone, O Hermes of the soil below, 
and puissant Curse, ye venerable offsprings of the gods, 
Erinyans, who see the shedding of innocent blood, come 
ye, aid ye, avenge our father's murder." 

When at last Orestes and Pylades have entered the palace 
to work vengeance, the prayer of Elektra pursues them to 
their deed (1376) : " O Lord Apollo, graciously hear the 
twain, and me, with them, who often did present myself 
before, with my hand generously filled from what I had ; 
but now, wolf-warder Apollo, from such (gifts) as I have, 
I ask, I do fall at thy feet, I pray, be a propitious helper 
in these our designs, and show to mankind what kind of 
reward the gods bestow upon impiety." " Hermes (1395) 
leads the youthful pair, concealing in darkness their design 
to the very goal of execution, and tarrieth no more." 

(Edipus, prince of Thebes, is a psychological master- 
piece as gradually he learns the terrible truth, remotely 


indicated by the Seer Teiresiaa : "Thou art the man" — 
thy father's slayer and thy mother's husband — first 
saviour of the land, and ruler, then self-blinded and 
self-curst, an outcast from the company of human kind : 
while unrevealed to his land and to himself he was the 
cause of plague, the very curse, the stain of Thebes. 

After all, the gods in this famous play are the Homeric 
gods. That fateful babe, once exposed on Kithairon — ■ 
who was its sire ? a nymph, perhaps, bore it, some one of 
the long-lived nymphs having couched with Pan who 
treads the mountains ? or art thou an offspring of Loxias, 
who is fond of all the spaces of the pasture land ? or be 
it he who rules over Kyllene, or the god of grapes who 
sojourns on the tops of mountains received thee as a find 
from the nymphs of Helikon, with whom he sports so 
much ? 

To us, I say, the fate of CEdipus is intolerable : quiet 
and happiness : it is all fate and fated. The fearful curse 
which the sovereign prince himself utters earlier in the 
play, it is impressive and makes one fairly shudder : 
u This man (236) I do forbid, whoever he may be, that 
no one in this land, of which I hold the sovereign throne, 
may shelter under roof, nor him accost, nor have him 
share in prayer to the Gods, or sacrifice, nor give him 
water for his hands, but all shall thrust him from their 
homes, because he is a stain for us," etc., the entire land 
is uncleansed (256) until the evil-doer be discovered: a 
curse upon the fields, and barren wombs for wives of 
those who remain aloof from quest for guilty one. And 
when finally the woe unutterable has lowered around the 
head of the prince himself, then indeed neither Danube 
nor the Phasis can wash with purification this roof (1227), 
all that it doth conceal. . . . The wretched prince fared 
as he fared, from babehood to the throne, — why? — be- 
cause he was hated of the gods. But why ? The Greek 
legends had no answer here. For CEdipus had ever 
trembled lest he injure Poly bos of Corinth, his reputed 
father. The misery of the self-blinded wanderer : to take 
his own life, 'twere a quick release : but how, in Hades 


(1372), could he bear to see his sire, his mother too, — 
with whom his consciousness was connected by deeds 
more potent than the noose? The end is simply misery 
unutterable — the chorus feels the fall from fortune's peak 
to this abyss and gives vent to one of those noble strains 
of Sophocles which may be called the commonplaces of 
disconsolate humanity (1186) : " O generations of men, 
how do I rate you like unto nothing, when you have 
lived. For who, what man, bears greater share of 
happiness, than so much only as but to seem, and hav- 
ing seemed, to decline ? " Like a dirge or funeral march 
resounds the incisive recessional of the chorus as it de- 
parts from the orchestra: "Ye who dwell in Thebes 
ancestral, do behold CEdipus here, who did know the 
famous riddles, was a most puissant man, into flood how 
great of awful misfortune has he come! Hence we that 
are mortal should fix our attention on beholding that 
final day and so call no one happy before he has 
traversed the goal of life without having suffered any 
sorrow." Solon and Kroisos again, we see. Sophocles 
himself was not satisfied with a disposition of the legend 
which furnished by no means any moral solution or any 
satisfaction to the human sense of guilt and justice. But 
to this we shall revert in dealing with the last of his plays. 

" Antigone " is of the same Theban cycle of royal le- 
gend — you might here too say: The sorrows of the Lab- 
dakidai have not yet an end. 

The bold and noble soul of the royal maid who 
defies bridal felicity and life itself, rather than leave un- 
buried the corpse of her brother fallen in fratricidal duel, 
victim of a father's curse — rather, I say, than have dogs 
and vultures despoil these remains. Woe and Felicity — 
it is all a matter of grim fate — it depends on the daimon : 
" some god " is pursuing the princely house of Labdakos 
(596), ruining it. 

The stern statute of King Kreon, and the higher law: 
that vengeance and retribution of human institutions 
should not pass beyond death. A gloomy firmament is 
vaulted above human concerns; and the divine power 


and rule is feared, in the main : generally it is fearful 
whenever it reveals itself to pigmy man: it is the Puny 
as over against the Strong, the irresponsibly Mighty. 
Fear, I say, and Dread are the chief elements of this re- 
ligion. And so the chorus voices it (582 sqq.^): "Happy 
they whose span of life knows not the taste of troubles. 
For those whose house is shaken from God, no part of woe 
is spared but it will stealthily find its way to the fulness of 
the generation: as when the flood of briny deep rolls from 
the bottom dark sand, when the gloom of the nether sea 
comes charging on with fiercely whistling blasts from 
Thracian north, and the stricken coasts sorely lashed by 
gales utter groaning roar. So too I behold the ancient 
sorrows of the families now perished from Labdakos fall- 
ing upon sorrows, nor does generation furnish requital to 
generation but some god hurls them to the ground: nor 
has it any deliverance." Whereas Zeus is to be feared — 
why? because he endureth: "As for thy power, O Zeus, 
which of men can restrain in transgression, — that power 
which neither all-aging sleep captures ever, nor the un- 
tiring months of the gods, but ruler thou in unaging time 
thou boldest fast the shimmering gleam of Olympos "(604). 
It is that vault above us and all its works, under which 
and amid which we live our little lives. And Earth is 
the correlative— "the highest of the Gods" (337); "and 
replenish the earth and subdue it" we read in Genesis 1, 
28; but as in the Prometheus tale of Hesiod, so here in 
"Antigone," 335 8qq., all human civilization and conquest 
of the earth is still conceived as a defiance and a bold 
invasion on the part of man; and even though he tame 
and subdue all creatures to his use and profit ever so 
much, though he has devised speech, and his conceits ride 
on the wings of the wind, though he has acquired the 
instinct for civil institutions, and his substantial domicile 
cares naught for hoar-frost or pelting rain showers, though 
in short he be " all-devising " (360) : though resourceless 
he approaches nothing of the future, of Hades only he 
will never devise an escape. (Sophocles wrote this play 
at fifty-five.) 


Antigone herself avows the higher, the unwritten law, 
in words of surpassing dignity and beauty, replying to 
the angry reproof of the Theban prince (450) : (I dared 
to do it) " For it was not Zeus at all who proclaimed this 
to me, nor Justice, she who has her domicile with the 
nether gods, she did not fix statutes such as these 'mong 
human kind, nor did I wean that so strong were thy proc- 
lamations, that mortal as thou art thou couldst outrun 
the unwritten and untottering statutes of the gods. For 
not to-day or yesterday, but from all time these (verities) 
do live, and no one knows since when they did appear." 
The real tragic figure is the king and father himself, so 
haughty and so sure of himself and so utterly prostrate 
and discomfited in the end. It is again the spirit of 
iEschylus and Herodotus which everywhere prevails. 
The overweaning and self-pleasing temperament of Kreon 
is in itself a negation of man's impotence and dependency; 
early in the play the chorus utters the Leitmotiv (127) : 
" For Zeus exceedingly hates the boastings of a great 

Sophocles actually rises in this play above the narrow 
limits of local piety and what we may call the institutional 
religion of the Greek communities. For it is this very thing 
of which Kreon is the stanch defender, it is this very 
thing which must yield to the higher, to the unwritten law. 
" Thou utterest intolerable things (282) in saying that 
the gods have any forethought for this corpse. Would 
they bury him, honoring him preeminently as a benefactor, 
him, who came to set on fire their pillared fanes and con- 
secrated gifts, their land and laws ? " — a very significant 

The " Trachinian "Women " exhibits the destruction of 
a heros, of Hercules. The loneliness of his forsaken spouse, 
Deianira, is touching; of stuff so crude to build a noble 
play, none but a master hand could have achieved it. 
The hand that drew the character of the forsaken Deian- 
ira has deserved well of women everywhere, and for all 
human civilization, the more so as the matron's place was 


mean and obscure in the time of Aspasia. Kypris works 
all the misery with which this play is replete, and as for 
marriage, the purely zoological or political aspect thereof 
is not particularly varied in this play. It is very diffi- 
cult to maintain a heroic view of Hercules, driven 
by mere lust, namely, by his desire for Iole, to destroy 
Oichalia and cause vast misery to the innocent (354). 
The frank view of the Greek is that submission (441 sqq.*) 
to the sexual impulse is the only proper attitude: "Who- 
ever takes his stand to face Eros, as boxer will for hand- 
to-hand encounter, is unwise. For Eros rules even over 
the gods as he willeth, and me too," etc. Kypris rules 
over all, " how she deceived the son of Kronos I say not, 
nor the dweller in night Hades, or Poseidon the shaker of 
the Earth" (500 sqq.). The worst thing in the play is 
this, that Heracles in passing from earth transmits the 
poor girl Iole to his own son Iolaos, to be his wedded 
wife. The youth very properly stands aghast at this sug- 
gestion : he would rather perish, but submits finally to 
the fear of the paternal curse. It is a mere segment of 
the legend and lacks all true consummation and moral 
solution. He who suffered retribution is a saviour of Greek 
mankind, such as they conceived him, but in the main a 
being of brutal self-indulgence in the pauses which inter- 
vened between his various labors, canonic and other. 
The current moral ideas of Sophocles are encountered 
again: "An ancient saying is it of the human kind, that 
you cannot fully learn the lesson of a life of mortal men, 
before one dies, nor whether a man's span of existence be 
wholesome for him, or evil." Always the same. Pros- 
perity and outward fortune being the standard of all — 
so that Herodotus himself, if anything, is a little deeper 
than this surface. 

The central figure in the Philoktetes (Trojan cycle) is 
young Neoptolemos, son of Achilles, who is to gain from 
the forsaken archer the latter's mighty bow, once that of 
Hercules, and bring it himself to the Greek camp before 


Troy. The young hero is swayed by inherited nobility 
and frankness. A foil to this is the cunning and policy 
of the scheming Odysseus. Happiness and suffering some- 
how are bestowed by a fate inscrutable in the main : even 
where fate and gods are brought together in a deliberate 
concatenation of phrase, as in 1466, when the long-suffer- 
ing archer, a curious combination of Job and hermit, takes 
leave of the island in which for ten years he led a preca- 
rious and wretched existence, he utters the closing words : 
" Farewell, O soil of Lemnos circled by the salt sea, and 
send me in good passage blamelessly where great Moira 
conveys me . . . and the all-subduing deity who decreed 
these things, " — Homer again. 

The " CEdipus at Kolonos " in every way, may I say, 
is the requiem of the old master. And still it is not all 
Euthanasia. The royal wanderer, albeit beggar too, once 
prince of Thebes, has come to the spot where the curse 
shall be taken from him and where he shall enter into rest. 
Perhaps there is a little of King Lear here too : I mean 
of the royal father's curse against his own offspring, 
" that she may feel how sharper than a serpent's tooth it 
is to have a thankless child ! " It is very probable that 
Sophocles was nearly ninety or thereabouts when he com- 
posed this play. Kolonos was his native demos. In the 
first place the old men there refuse to yield up the vener- 
able wanderer to Kreon of Thebes. Sophocles himself, 
with that coloring of subdialectical exposition so native 
and intrinsic in Attic speech — Sophocles himself puts 
into the mouth of the blind royal beggar a stout moral 
defence, the Attic poet gives to the Theban legend and 
the blind strokes of its inscrutable Fate an ending, an 
Attic end, may I say (265) : " for not my body was my 
own nor were my deeds ; for my deeds are more of the 
suffering than of the doing kind : . . . And still how am 
I evil in my nature, who, when I suffered, wrought in 
requital ?" In short, Sophocles asserts with simplicity but 
as a moral postulate that sin must be associated with con- 


sciousness and deliberation — that a higher moral law 
(Athens even had an Altar of Pity) must shelter him 
who was more sinned against than sinning. Also, the 
justice of the gods is essential justice in the course of 
time. "You men of Athens honor the gods, therefore 
be convinced that the gods regard the pious man, and 
that they also regard the non-reverential men, and that 
never yet the wicked made good his escape" (381). 

Theseus (the Washington of Attic political veneration) 
appears as clothed in that modesty of sophrosyne: fitted 
with a sympathy derived from much wandering in his own 
life he goes on to say (566) : "For I know I am a man, 
no more, and of to-morrow's day I have no greater share 
than thou." Omitting the bitter political feeling, nay, 
very rancor towards the neighboring commonwealth of 
Thebes, I note the following. Trust not the present state 
of any merely human commonwealth: " Beloved son (607) 
of Aigeus, none but the gods receive this gift of honor 
that they live for evermore : for all the rest, all-powerful 
Time confounds it. There perishes the strength of soil, 
of body too it perishes. ..." 

The old age of our dramatist had fallen on evil times, 
when on the continent Athens was fairly isolated, when 
her sea power too was rapidly crumbling away, and when 
even nearer to himself there were of his own offspring 
those who would have him declared incompetent from 
senile decay. Everything in the play is in harmony with 
this tradition. If the bitterness of hatred for Thebes 
wrought up this aging soul, why should not the senti- 
ment of fatherly affection grossly outraged have crept 
into his lines? CEdipushas just received kindly shelter 
from the old men of Kolonos, from the very king of 
Attica, but he is like adamant in refusing to take the 
curse from his own son : of Mercy there is nothing in his 
breast, nay, he damns him afresh to the very depths of 
Tartarus and calls upon the dire Goddesses of requital 
to hear these awful words. 

The poet here turned with tender affection to his native 
deme : Kolonos was holy ground also, because it was con- 


secrated to those very Goddesses of the heavily burdened 
conscience and inexorable requital, the Erinyans. And 
here the purifications of the unfortunate come in: they 
are an essential part of the play. Attica purifies and fur- 
nishes a departure in peace to the Theban prince, who has 
been cast forth by his own polls, his own community. 
There is a moral and a religious earnestness about these 
rites and this ritual which is significant : everywhere the 
symbolism is easily understood. Jars of water from ever 
flowing spring (not stagnant pool), carried by pious 
hands (469 sq.}, their tops and handles wrapped in freshly 
shorn lamb's wool. From these the water must be poured : 
he who pours must face the early morn. Honey must be 
mingled with the water, then thrice nine olive branches 
placed upon the ground, then the invocation to the Eri- 
nyans that they as Eumenides (changed into benignant 
powers) may receive the suppliant : this prayer to be 
brief, whereupon the sinner is to withdraw without turning 
around. And when the end is near, the sufferer CEdipus 
turns his soul to Hermes, guide of souls, and to Persephone, 
with a farewell blessing to the deme Kolonos and the Attic 
commonwealth. Theseus alone witnessed this removal of 
the redeemed one. The stranger passed away in Eutha- 
nasia, as in a moment, no groans there, no painful disease, 
a marvellous end and blessed. The golden gleam so-called, 
and harmony of the Greek aspect of life, we fail to see here 
in this posthumous work of aged Sophocles, Sophocles so 
often distinguished by the dramatic prize, fair and favored 
by all those things which his community and his profession 
called fortune and felicity. For the Greek soul aspires 
not, in the main, beyond sublunar things : it is a Psalm of 
long Life which the chorus chants, no stout Cato here : 
" not (1225) to have come into being at all, this is the 
triumphant position in the whole range of discourse : and 
the other, namely, when man has appeared, that he should 
go to that bourne, whence he came, as speedily as possible 
— this is easily second. For when youth comes on, bear- 
ing frivolous follies, who can swerve from the course of 
many troubles? Who is not within travail? Murders, 


riots, jealousy, contentions, and envy. And by lot comes 
last old age, invalid, unsociable, unloved, where universal 
troubles are housed with troubles." 

Note. — The great services of Wilamowitz in the field of under- 
standing Attic Tragedy better need no encomium from my pen. They 
stand out the more when one views the futilities of Mahaft'y in trying 
to fit things into the Aristotelian canon, e.g. "the purifying the 
terror of the spectator," — words, mere words. The teeming num- 
ber of superlatives in the literary valuations of Mahaffy, while it 
dazzles youth and ignorance, is endured painfully by those who read 
Greek for themselves. The looseness of Mahaffy 's hurried pen 
strokes may be well exemplified by the following remarkable state- 
ment (Chap. 16 of his "History of Classic Greek Literature "). "It 
was possibly on account of these liberties that the tragic poets avoided 
(sic) as a rule the Iliad and Odyssey. . . ." 

The spiritual kinship of Sophocles with Herodotus hardly needs 
any reassertion or new demonstration. Sophocles sometimes filled in 
quite deliberately, as in the allusion to certain curious usages of the 
Egyptians, " (Edip. at Kolonos," 437. This in turn should induce us 
to treat conservatively the conceit that a new husband may be found, 
but not a new brother, " Antigone," 909 sqq., with which compare the 
wife of Intaphernes, Herod., 3, 118: " O King, another husband I 
might get, if God should will it, and other children, if I should lose 
these. But as my father and mother live no more, another brother I 
could in no wise get." 

As to Sophocles, he clearly wrought with more artistic deliberation 
than iEschylus. One may ask why, after his death and that of 
Euripides, first-class production of tragedy terminated at Athens? 
It was not merely that the old themes had been written into the 
ground. There is no mechanical or " sociological " way to explain 
the arising of a literary genius of the first order. The shallowness of 
the Taine-positivist school in their attempt to explain literary pro- 
duction by ancestry, environment, and so further — this shallowness 
has been for some time masquerading under the modest veil of 
Science, falsely so-called. As a matter of fact, the productive soul 
steadily goes on seeking and appropriating material which it may 
assimilate or use up in expanding and unfolding its innate self, food 
for itself but for itself alone, which to the very brothers and fellows 
of the author may be mere sticks, stone, or stubble. 



Athens, somehow, became the most attractive domicile 
for every talent. Of course I do not refer to the power of 
enriching oneself — a power so viciously and so falsely 
extolled, while I write and where I write. To speak well, 
to prove cogently, to compose a tragedy or comedy, to 
write a chorus for men and boys, to be an architect, 
sculptor, or painter of skill and grace beyond one's fellows 
— all such talents found appreciation, valuation, rewards, 
in the political centre of the insular and riparian domains, 
which the political genius of Themistokles had based on 
that other base of Greek life, the sea. A sea power, 
Athens led the Delian confederation, and while she ex- 
ploited her so-called allies by tribute and certain vexatious 
forms of centralization, she certainly offered them a 
capital of which they could be proud. Though no Greek 
ever, while Greece had a political life, was proud of any 
polls but that in which he was born. 

To Athens, in the time of Perikles, converged whatever 
was endowed with talent: and the glory of having furnished 
matrix for many germs which came from abroad, must not 
be taken from her, particularly when her great political 
rival, Sparta, the perpetual camp on the Eurotas, was 
holding down the old owners of the soil, as her serfs, 
with inexorable and never relaxing rigor, and was besides 
hermetically secluding herself from any contact or in- 
fluence hostile to, or incongruous with, her own cast-iron 
set of institutions. So too a son of Athens, though smit- 
ten by the bitter rod of exile, Thucydides, uttered the 
praise of his state in the famous Epitaphios, or funeral 
address, given to, or actually uttered by, Perikles, son of 
Xanthippos (II, 35 sqq.*). Any one, we are told there, 



was welcome to come to Athens to learn, welcome to see 
and view the many fair things there built or established. 
Clearly the common humanity of the Greek world at large 
was not so friendly to strangers. But we pass on to the 
much cited phrase (Chap. 40) : " We are devoted to the 
beautiful with the expenditure of moderate sums, we pur- 
sue wisdom without softness" — enough: it is the key 
to much of the noblest cultural achievements of Athens. 
Whether sober valuation of history will subscribe to all 
points of that eulogy of Athens, is quite doubtful. For 
it was penned by an exile, to whom the aureole around 
the remote acropolis was doubly radiant as he penned 
these famous lines sojourning among strangers. Besides 
he summed up what he loved, the Athens still, in the 
main, yielding herself to the guidance of the best and 
strongest of her own citizens, and not yet stooping to 
the middle and lower stratum of her democracy for 
heralds and counsellors. And still, even then, precious 
forces of conservatism had been truncated as Aristotle has 
it (" Polit.," 2, 12); the feebler power of the Areopagus 
had been cut short by Ephialtes and Perikles. Besides 
this, a form of people's government was organized there 
in which a vast proportion of the electorate was paid for 
some share (paid some fee or other), some share in the 
government, and the Attic sovereignty was, in a curious 
fashion, carried almost into every household, and felt 
there through some obols or other. We may shrink from 
adopting as our own Aristotle's disgust with a common- 
wealth which makes the Banausos (the handicraftsman 
or mechanic) a citizen: we may not appreciate the disdain 
of the scholar: but we must not forget that slavery de- 
graded those pursuits. At Athens particularly it was 
unsafe to treat any slave rudely in public, because one 
might find oneself in contact with one who belonged to 
the sovereign demos. But such a sovereign was easily 
swayed to vicious or foolish courses, the resolutions 
(psephismatd) of that sovereign people could override or 
cancel existing laws at any time — no constitutional check 
there, no system of balancing forces. " And this " (we 


quote Aristotle, " Polit.," 6, 4) "happens on account of 
the demagogues." Such a composite monarch often acts 
the autocrat and the despot; the resolutions of the Attic 
demos often corresponded to the decrees of these 
latter. One of the keenest and sanest political thinkers 
of antiquity, Poly bios (6, 44), compares the Attic democ- 
racy to a vessel lacking a master, the crew of which heeds 
the pilot and acts together only when the presence of the 
foe or the rising of a tempest compel harmony, but other- 
wise the performances of the crew on that ship of state 
were an exhibit appearing shameful to those who looked 
on from without. 

It was this political society then in which the new learn- 
ing of the so-called Sophists, and the poetical mirroring of 
all these new forces, had a free field and swift germination 
too — the latter in the plays of Euripides. 

The puissant pen of Plato has endowed the term of 
Sophist with an odium which is imperishable. Every 
professor in the academic field of a scholar's or scientist's 
vocation could be fairly dubbed a Sophist in that sense 
which the term had in Greek speech before Plato. We 
are now all agreed that most of them lived by their 
lectures or instruction, and we cannot very well condemn 
that, certainly. 

The Humanists of Italy in the fifteenth century afford 
many curious parallels to that older Greek movement. 
The latter, however, was more genuine and organic — the 
morbid craze for mere reproduction in the Renaissance 
differed greatly, and was essentially inferior to the Greek 
movement which was much more spontaneous and original 
and dealt with and involved incisive steps in the history 
of human culture. The censure then and the delinea- 
tions of Plato, I say, must be accepted not with one but 
many grains of salt : we recognize the " peremptory ne- 
cessity," to borrow from George Grote, " of not accepting 
implicitly the censure of any one, where the party in- 
culpated has left no defence. ..." This is particularly 
important when we look into the convex mirror of Attic 
Comedy of those times : in Aristophanes particularly the 


ingredients of youth and impudence, however seasoned 
with exquisite genius of symbolism and invention, have 
produced a result of caricature which is often absurd and 
outrageous caricature. Whoever takes this precocious youth 
who wrote " Banqueters, " " Babylonians," "Acharnians," 
" Knights and Clouds," 427-423 B.C., at his own valuation, 
commits a gross blunder, entirely pardonable in academic 
youth but inexcusable in mature men. But I must not be 
drawn too far from my specific and proper theme. Few 
people in any given society are academic or analytic in 
temperament or trained power — the movements of the 
great bulk of given contemporaries are strictly gregarious, 
especially in the segment of those who intrinsically glory in 
being conformists with a mode, society so-called. So, par- 
ticularly in the Athens of Perikles and of Euripides, Pro- 
tagoras of Abdera, Gorgias the Sicilian Greek, Prodikos 
of Keos, Hippias of Elis — all non- Athenians, were re- 
ceived by the Attic aristocracy with a bountiful hospi- 
tality and with an admiration entirely devoid of criticism. 
The art of a rhetorical delivery with definite technical 
procedure merely allowed the Greeks to handle their 
wonderfully organized and tensile speech with still more 
consummate force and grace. But logos, their own word, 
a lexical Ianus-face, means both thought and utterance. 
Protagoras held that every theme or subject permitted 
antithetical judgments — dialectic was mightily propelled; 
but the disciples snapped up inferences of Wrong and 
Right, arguing for the convertibility of all merely dialectic 
handling of any given theme, which to many conserva- 
tives seemed to destroy the very verities in which the 
institutions of life and citizenship had their sphere and 
being. His book or series of popular lectures began with 
words of large and simple structure (Diog. Laer., 
9, 51) : " About the gods I am not able to know, either 
that they are, or that they are not : for many are the tilings 
which prevent (me) from knowing : both the obscurity 
(of the problem) and the fact that brief is the life of 
man." To this must be added the other remnant (i6.): 
" The measure of all things is man, of those that are, that 


they are, and of those that are not, that they are not." 
To rush into the view that he denied all truth or the 
possibility of all positive statements would be hasty. 
Some two generations before him the travelling poet 
Simonides, whose art and profession was inextricably 
bound up, like that of Pindar, with the institutional 
religion of the Greeks, this same Simonides, I say, once 
on a western tour, sojourned at the court of Hiero, prince 
of Syracuse. When this ruler had asked him, what and 
what kind of being God was (not the gods), he demanded 
one day (Cicero, " De Natura Deorum" 1, 60) for reflecting. 
When Hiero put the same question to him the next day, 
Simonides asked for two days' time : when the master more 
often kept on doubling the number of days, and Hiero 
marvelling asked why he acted in this fashion, " Because," 
said he, " the more I ponder the matter, the more obscure 
it seems to me." The question for us is this : did the 
new learning (together with the physical speculation of 
Anaxagoras, Herakleites, or Demokritos) have any inci- 
sive and profound influence upon the religious and moral 
ideas of the Greeks, particularly of Athens and Attica ? 

Of Perikles indeed Plutarch says that he owed much 
of his trenchant and moving personality to the broadening 
influence received from Anaxagoras. But the people at large 
do not seem to have been greatly swayed by the new move- 
ment. Protagoras himself thought better to quit Athens 
some time after 422-421 B.C., and his book " On the Gods " 
was burned at Athens by public decree. Zeller says the 
Sophists " lost religion " : what kind of religion, and how 
much? At this point I must raise my voice in earnest 
protest against a certain facile and much abused practice. 
It is this of speaking of a Greek Aufklarung, of the 
defenders of the old "faith" or "creed," even of speaking 
of " Theology " here : the vicious and odious absurdity 
based at bottom on academic rancor, of speaking of a 
"church" in Greek religion, so-called — these practices, 
I say, one and all, are preposterous and absurd. These 
monstrosities of designation are much employed by those 
who in the grave and portentous problems of Christian 


revelation sit and vote with the Left or with the Mountain, 
as they said in Paris in Jacobin times. 

But it is time to turn to the poet, whom many students 
of classic culture call outright the poet of " Greek Enlight- 
enment" (Nestle) or "The Rationalist" (Verrall), borrow- 
ing terms from modern times in a mechanical and shallow 
fashion. Euripides was born of humble Attic people, small 
tradespeople, who lived from hand to mouth. Mnesarchos 
was his father's name : the profoundly gifted child was 
born in the great year of Salamis, 480. As a youth he 
pursued athleticism; on the verge of a definite career he 
seems for a while to have taken up painting as a profession ; 
the ancient biographies say further that he was a u hearer " 
of Anaxagoras, of Prodikos, of Protagoras, and a fellow of 
Socrates. He seems to have been cursed with a faithless 
wife. He was immersed in the new virtuosity of dialectic 
and rhetorical debate in which the new learning of his day 
so largely found its practical purpose : he took up the pro- 
fession of a playwright as a convenient profession, for the 
civic competitions connected with the two anniversary 
celebrations of the Theban god afforded a fair living. In 
our own day perhaps Euripides would have betaken himself 
to magazine writing or to editorial writing or to some other 
form of periodical utterance addressed to his time and to his 
world ; of course he, too, had to dispose of every problem. 
He rarely won the first prize. His mythical heroes and 
heroines, whether suitably bedecked with heroic garb or 
not, were simply mouthpieces of the times of Euripides : 
he also cared little for conventional obscuration of women, 
some of his women lectured on Anaxagorean science with 
a positive fervor worthy of any disciple of that master : 
but the mythological varnish was hopelessly cracked, and 
the tragic buskin was a pretence or mask that deceived 
no one. 

Declamatory passages and commonplaces from his plays 
were the most widely held staple of culture at Athens 
when Alcibiades was a rising politician and when the sea 
power of Attica was staked on the desperate venture of 
the Sicilian expedition, 416-414 B.C. 


No Greek willingly quit the soil of his ancestors to lay 
his gray head amid strangers ; and why Euripides first 
sought residence at Magnesia in Thessaly and ultimately 
at the court of Archelaos of Macedon no one now perceives 
clearly or in detail. The popular tradition had it that 
both the cenotaph near Athens and the tomb in Macedon 
were struck by lightning, as though the Olympians had 
thus marked their displeasure. 

But let us see now, what really did Euripides do to the 
popular and political legends of his countrymen? He 
could not remake them. He could not get a chorus at 
Athens if he would seriously set about to strip Theseus of 
his glory or bring lower the tutelary Pallas Athena than 
the Homeric hexameters held her. 

A recent critic puts the whole problem (I mean the 
problem which concerns the chief quest and theme of my 
book) thus : " It was the conviction only that God must 
be good, which impelled him to enter upon a polemic 
against the faith (sic) of his people." Very good, but put 
away the absurd word faith: noblest word where it belongs, 
but dragged in with monumental incongruity here. What 
dogmatic, what transcendental, what moral ingredient was 
in these tenaciously held legends of numberless valleys, 
towns, mountains, brooks, villages, capes, hills, and rustling 
oaks ? What binding truth ? What truth ? You will 
find it very difficult to carve squares of masonry out of the 
floating fleecy clouds of a fair day in June ; you will find 
it simply impossible to distil the glorious tints of a sunset 
into a refreshing draught of invigorating beverage ; the 
deeply pondering playwright, Euripides, found it desper- 
ately hard to endow the legends of Greece with any spirit- 
ual significance whatsoever. From a dramatist with a wide 
scale of life and characters you can excerpt a wide range 
of utterance and you can substantiate any form of institu- 
tional tradition from the plays of Euripides : also, you can 
draw forth doubt and negation and analytical valuation 
and revaluation on every topic of life and thought — but 
I must sum up my personal impression of Euripides in a 
few simple words. The deep doubt and bitter spirit in 


this latter poet of Greece betoken a profoundly earnest, a 
supremely spiritual soul. Indifference is often veiled by 
mechanical conformity with tradition, and among many 
acolytes are found those who like the sons of Eli are adepts 
in thrusting deep the flesh hook to bring up savory pieces 
in the cauldron of the sacrifice. No : Euripides was pro- 
foundly in earnest and suffered not a little in his profes- 
sional career from his trenchant dissent. 

But the plan of this .book has been this, that the minds 
of the Greeks (as later, of Romans) must make utterance 
to the reader in fairly chosen and fairly significant speci- 
mens of their own literature. 

And the ninety-two plays were turned out very rapidly, 
of course, and they constitute no system of thought or 
conduct. I find that there is given no preordained order 
of sequence here ; we must choose as best we may. Eu- 
ripides was, in his day and for his time, an intensely mod- 
ern man, and modernity was writ large over his plays. 

The Delphi, too, is the Delphi of 440 B.C., filled with 
art works, so that a visitor will spend three days in view- 
ing them (" Androm.," 1086). Ulysses is a cunning popu- 
lar orator who sways the multitude (" Hecuba," 131); this 
is the honor to which he aspires (z'6., 254). Euripides at 
all points projects his present into the legends — whereby 
the disharmony permeating his works became still greater. 

The dialectical and oratorical performances of his heroes 
and heroines could have been spoken in Attic ekklesia or 
Bule (popular assembly or in the Council) without chang- 
ing word or phrase or the particular pitch or coloring of 
the discourse. 

This would enable any one to gather theses quite anti- 
thetical, on almost any given subject, — the very unsettling 
process, the very fermentation of minds then going on is 
brought home to us. These encounters often grate harshly 
on our moral feeling, as when King Admetos demonstrates 
to his father that the latter should have died instead of 
the king's wife, Alkestis — with the father's rejoinder: it 
is grossly unnatural, though good controversial exercise. 
Similarly the wordy encounter between the Trojan exile- 


queen Andromache and the Grecian young queen Hermi- 
one : they hurl demonstrations at each other like young 
collegians at a debating club, say at Bryn Mawr or Welles- 
ley ; later on in the same play Menelaos, a king of men 
in the old epic, figures as a malignant and unscrupulous 
sophist. If Aspasia impressed the Periclean Age as an 
emancipated woman, the Electras, Helenas, Medeas, Mela- 
nippas, on the stage of this ultra-modern playwright, im- 
pressed that age no less so. But to proceed. 

We find, indeed, also, the old common and traditional 
ground of life and conduct. " It is not an ancestral law, 
that fathers should die for their children, it is not Greek " 
(" Alkestis," 682). The sweetness of revenge : " What is 
the wiser, and what is the fairer prize at the hands of the 
Gods among mortals, than to firmly hold the more power- 
ful hand above the peak of your personal foes?" ("Bac- 
chae," 877). The humanity of this man of letters is limited 
by many things — one, his profound hatred for Sparta: 
" O hateful most of men to all mankind, ye residents 
of Sparta, tricky councillors, the lords of lies, devisers 
of trouble, your way the wriggling serpent's way, no 
soundness there ..." ("Androm.," 442). The gym- 
nastic displays of the Spartan girls are not reconcilable 
with the proper virtues of modest womanhood (ib., 595). 
The poet utters the common boast of Attic men, the at- 
mosphere and climate, so exquisitely tempered between the 
extremes, the common mart for all the products of Europe 
and of Asia (Fragm. 971). But we meet also the note 
of the citizen of the world (later on so bravely urged by 
the Stoics) : " every air the eagle can traverse ; and every 
land a fatherland to noble souls" (Fragm. 1034). And: 
" nature is the fatherland for every man's pedigree " 
(Fragm. 1050). Athens is called " Pallas's holy city ..." 
(" Electra," 1319), rich in manifold worship of the gods as 
Sophocles testifies in 405, no less than St. Paul did, much 
later, in the time of the emperor Claudius, I believe. 

A citizen of any Greek commonwealth owed everything 
to his particular land and little particular state : there was 
no law of right living higher than this obligation : so 


Theseus (" Heraklidge," 826) called his fellow-citizens 
" that they must succor the soil that gave them suste- 
nance, that gave them birth. ..." It is a statute of all 
the Grecian world to abstain from deeds unseemly to the 
corpses of the dead : it is the fair observance of such laws 
of Greek civilization which preserves the commonwealths 
of men . . . (" Sup pi ices," 311). Similarly: " Three vir- 
tues are, my child, in which thou must train thyself, to 
honor the gods, and the parents that reared thee, and the 
common laws of Greece ; and doing this thou'lt have the 
wreath of good repute always " (Fragm. 219). 

So too we meet again that Greek holding of a local and 
tutelary god or goddess, which we may reckon among the 
political sentiments powerful in the various commonwealths 
to the very end. The stranger who by force tries to carry 
away suppliants from Attic soil, dishonors the gods of 
Attica (" Heraklid.," 78). Or again : " Gods not inferior 
to the gods of Argos have we for our allies, my lord : for 
these does Hera captain, spouse of Zeus, and us, Athena. 
And I do say that with a view of faring well this too have 
we on our side, to get the better gods : for Pallas never 
will endure defeat" (i6., 347). And so the chorus during 
the battle prays to Athena, whose is the soil and common- 
wealth of which she is "mother and mistress and guardian" 
(z'6., 770). When a man is exiled he is barred from his 
paternal gods (#., 877). If there were no other role, 
then indeed the playwright of the new learning would 
never have excited the ire of the conservatives. But let 
us see farther. The envy of the gods, the limited and 
unstable happiness of man : this too we can abundantly 
verify. When Hercules delivers to King Admetos the 
latter's queen recovered from death, he says : " (There) 
You have her. And may there not arise some envy of 
the gods" ("Alk.," 1135). To Andromache (v. 100): 
"One never should call any mortal happy before you've 
seen the last day of the man deceased, how he has crossed 
entire the realm of light and will arrive below." Or 
again: "Therefore let no evil-doer, if well he runs the 
first part of the course, seem to me to gain victorious ver- 


diet, before he reaches the line of goal and make the run- 
ner's turn where life is ended" ("EL," 958). Similarly 
he says in the " Supplices " (270) : " Nothing exists that 
prospers to the end." " The deity doth overturn again 
all things ..." (331). " Wrestling bouts make up our 
life : some prosper soon, some once again, and other mor- 
tals have so done. The Power above has wanton sport : 
from the unfortunate he receives honors that the former 
may have a stroke of fortune : and the prosperous, dread- 
ing to leave this vital breath, extols high " (the power 
above, 552). The essence of prayer there, which was 
exclusively concerned with worldly welfare, not at all 
with any spiritual concerns. Nothing more vacillating 
than human fortune : " One man was prosperous once, but 
that did God conceal from those who once did shine : nods 
livelihood, nods fortune, unstable as the breath of breezes " 
(Fragm. 152). "For many a day have I been looking 
into mortals' fortunes, how readily they do shift about : for 
who has fallen stands upright, and he who erst did pros- 
per, has a fall " (Fragm. 264). " For all mankind and not 
for us alone, either immediately or in the course of time, 
the power above (daimon) trips up their lives, and no 
one prospers through the end" (275). More grave and 
gloomy still : " I do declare it best of all — what all the 
world repeats — best of all for mortal man not to have 
been born at all " (287) (cf. 900). " Never should one 
reckon likely that a wicked man's prosperity and con- 
temptuous felicity are firmly founded, nor the generation 
of the unrighteous : for Time that knows no sire brings 
on the measurements of justice, and shows the wickedness 
of men to me " (305). " You see the princes waxed pow- 
erful through large causes, how little are the things that 
trip them up, and a single day takes down the one from 
high, and puts aloft the other. A winged thing is wealth : 
for those who had it once, these I behold, prostrate on 
their backs, fallen from their hopes " (424). " Prosperity 
I nowhere rate 'mong mortal men, which God wipes out 
more easily than a painting" (621). 

Life and death are the central theme of the " Alkestis " — 


the commonplaces of helpless humanity everywhere recur 
there: "No thing is there more precious than life" (301). 
" Time will soften thy grief, the one who died is nothing " 
(381). "Thou must perceive that dying is the due for 
all of us" (418). Shorn locks, black garb, were symbols: 
and even horses' manes were sometimes shorn (427). 
" May the earth fall lightly upon thee, lady . . ." (463). 
" The time below I reckon long, and living, little : but 
still 'tis sweet . . ." (692). 

M May graciously the nether Hermes and Hades receive 
thee : and if the good have some advantage there, mayest 
thou share in these and have thy seat with Pluto's bride " 
(743). And so the heroic trencherman Hercules himself 
is made to say : " to die ... it is the due of mortals all, 
nor is there any mortal man who fully knows the morrow, 
whether he will live : for Fortune's lot is all obscure what 
path 'twill take: one cannot teach it, cannot capture it 
by skill of craft. When this you've heard and learned 
from me, enjoy thyself, drink, do rate the life from day 
to day thine own — the rest, of Fortune's sphere." Curi- 
ous son of Zeus, this viveur, and erstwhile heroic saviour 
of mankind. 

And here we may well begin to inquire more closely 
how this earnest soul, Euripides, began to turn his back 
upon the legends of the gods of Greece. Neoptolemos, 
son of Achilles, is slain in the very sanctuary of Apollo 
at Delphi : after completing his report the messenger goes 
on to say ("Androm.," 1161): "such things the Lord 
who gives oracles to the others, the judge for all mankind 
of what is righteous, such things he wrought on Achilles's 
son who paid the penalty, and Apollo made remembrance, 
like a wicked man, of ancient feuds, . . . how then can 
he be wise ? . . ." The gods are concerned for Troy, 
"although it fell through Pallas's eagerness" (#., 1252). 
In the " Helena," Euripides adopts the palinody of Stesi- 
choros, viz., that the real Helena was translated to Egypt 
during the Trojan war, which was fought for a mere 
shadow or image . . . and the chorus passes on to utter 
these words (v. 1137) : " What is God or not-God or the 


intermediate substance, what mortal man will say that he 
having searched has found the farthest limit (a mortal 
man I say), who beholds the affairs of the gods bounding 
hitherward and again thitherward and again (in another 
direction) with contradictory and unhoped for strokes of 
fortune ? " Better no existence after death : " Let these 
things" (says the maiden Makaria, " Heraklidae," 591), 
"be for me precious things in place of children and of 
virgin espousal, if there is anything underground. Still, 
may indeed there be not anything. For if even there we 
mortals that have died shall have cares, I do not know 
whither I shall turn. For dying is believed to be the 
greatest remedy for troubles." 

Hercules really caught the Nemean lion in a trap and 
then claimed to have throttled him by his mighty arms 

— this in a hostile argument in the mouth of a persecutor 
("Hercules Furens," 153). 

So Amphitruo challenges the very Zeus, who had 
occupied his bed, for loyalty and devotion to his own 
offspring (ib., 339). " If the gods had intelligence and 
wisdom, as men do judge, a twofold measure of the bloom 
of youth would bear off, conspicuous seal of their good- 
ness, all those who have a share of the latter : but after 
death again into beams of Sun they would go for a two- 
fold measure of a course of life. But the ill-born would 
have a single span of life, and thereby it were possible to 
recognize the evil and the good among men . . . but now 
no clearly appearing definition is there from the gods for 
the good men and the wicked ones ..." still the general 
Greek idea that piety is concerned chiefly with prosperity 

— physical and worldly blessings the chief or sole end of 
worship and religious concern . . . (z'6., v. 655~). We 
see that Euripides, as a man of letters, if not of personal 
conviction, brings in the Pythagorean notion of a rebirth. 
Further on in this same play Theseus, when he ponders 
on the woes of Hercules as due to the rancor of Hera, 
broadens out into the general observation (1313): "No 
mortal man is free from corruption in his fortunes, no 
God, if indeed the legends of the poets are not false 


(confirmation again of Her., 2, 53): did they not seek 
one another's couch in unions which no law permits ? 
Did they not cast in chains disgraceful their own fathers 
for the sake of autocratic power ? But still Olympus is 
their domicile and they endure the fact that they have 

So the temple-servant Ion, fruit of a secret amour of 
Apollo, is puzzled as to the righteousness of the prophetic 
God. A few fragments may be added for further illus- 
tration of this theme : and chiefly it is the ancient crux 
of questioning souls: successful evil (Fragm. 228) : " Does 
any one really say that there are gods in heaven ? They 
are not, no indeed, unless one foolishly would resort to 
the ancient legend. ... I do declare that autocratic 
power kills very many men, and confiscates their wealth, 
and does transgress its oaths in sacking towns ; and doing 
this has more prosperity than those who live in peaceful 
piety, day by day . . ." (Fragm. 294). " But I would have 
you know, if gods some shameful deed perforin, they are 
not gods." That Euripides was compelled by sheer ne- 
cessity to retract certain lines, uttered before twenty 
thousand Attic hearers — as of the paternity of Hercules 
— is quite credible (y. Fragm. 594). 

But further: " See ye, how 'tis fair among the gods, too, 
to gain lucre: and that God is most admired who holds 
the greatest amount of gold in his temples ..." (792). 

Clearly in his own deep conviction Euripides held the 
higher view of divine goodness and moral nobility, widely 
divergent from the crude figures of the tradition, gigantic 
forces of whim or self-indulgence to be cajoled and feared. 
Hercules is the mouthpiece of the dramatist-philosopher 
(as Clement of Alexandria aptly calls him) when he says 
("Hercul. Fur.," 1345): "I neither hold that the gods 
love couches that Justice would prohibit, and that they 
clap fetters on hands, I neither have ever held a proper 
thing to credit, nor will I ever be persuaded, that one 
God has become the master of another. For God (6 #ed?) 
if indeed he is rightly God, is in need of nothing : these 
are the wretched tales of poets. " Who will not here turn 


to the discourse of St. Paul spoken at Athens (Acts 17, 
25) : " Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though 
he needed anything. ..." And the positive asseveration 
that there is a Deity (Fragm. 905) : " Who seeing these 
things does not perceive God with his intelligence, and 
casts far away the tortuous deception of the scientists 
delving in things above, whose pernicious tongue casts 
forth at random concerning things non-apparent. ..." 
But perhaps divine things are beyond human comprehen- 
sion (Fragm. 925) : " By many shapes of wise conceits the 
gods do trip us up, for in their essence they are stronger 
than we." We must never lose sight of the fact that 
the dialectic and argumentative itch in Euripides was so 
strong that positive and negative theses may be cited on 
the gravest matters : while the essential dissent from the 
legends of the poets was palpable enough and felt strongly 
by his contemporaries. 

But we must, further, make some selection from the 
very numerous passages in which Euripides puts forward 
his moral postulates. The central idea for him is Dike, 
Justice. Orestes says ("EL," 583): "or one must no 
longer believe in Gods, if injustice will outrank jus- 
tice . . ." and ($.,771): "Ye gods, and Justice that 
seest all things, at last hast thou come." Elsewhere 
(102 sqq., "Heraklid.") the gods will not permit sup- 
pliants to be torn from their altars, " for puissant Justice 
will not suffer this. ..." " Comest thou, hateful person ? 
did Justice capture thee in time . . . ?" (ib., 941) " if Jus- 
tice is still pleasing to the Gods" ("Hercul. Fur.," 813). 
" One thing alone I need, to have the gods, all those who 
reverence Justice" ("Suppl.," 594). The moral law is 
no less binding for gods as for men : " For whatever 
mortal man is wicked in his being, him the gods do 
punish. How then 'tis just that you shall write the 
statutes for mortal man, and then yourself be burdened 
with the charge of transgressing the laws?" (" Ion," 440). 
" Of Justice they do say she is a child of Time, and she 
points out all those of us who are not evil" (Fragm. 223). 
"For I see that in time Justice brings all things to light 


for mortals" (Fragm. 550). "When I do see the fall of 
wicked men, then I do say there is a race of powers 
above" (Fragm. 581). "One righteous man outweighs in- 
numerable hosts of those who are not just, for he doth get 
the deity and Justice for his allies" (Fragm. 588). "The 
sphere of Gods is not unjust: but among wicked men 
these things are sore and sick and so have much confu- 
sion" (609). "But whoever of mortals commits some 
evil thing from day to day and thinks he doth escape the 
notice of the gods, he entertains a bad conceit and is 
taken in this same conceit: when Justice happens keeping 
leisure, he (suddenly) does pay the penalty for the evils 
he began" (832). "Dost thou believe the gods are in- 
dulgent, whenever one would by an oath escape from 
death, or the prison or the woes of hostile violence or 
share a mansion with children who slew their own sire? 
either they (the gods) are more unintelligent than mor- 
tal men, or they consider random, likely things as valued 
higher than Justice " (1030). He would deny the right 
of asylum to the wicked (1036). The submission of chil- 
dren to their father is justice" {i.e. a form of righteous- 
ness, 111). 

As to Euripides's view of the creation, it seemed fairly 
established that he was greatly impressed by Anaxagoras. 
At least he sought from that thinker on organic life to ac- 
quire or appropriate some adequate or satisfying concep- 
tion of how life and order came from chaos and out of the 
primitive mixture of all elements of being, through the 
powerful action of Mind, Spirit, or Intelligence (iVWs), 
which brought the homogeneous elements together. The 
poetical narrative of Hesiod should not by us be conceived 
as a little manual of "belief" or "creed" : there was no 
abandonment of such in any attempt to comprehend this 
universe. Neither the commonwealth nor the institutional 
ritual of the same took any definite ground with reference 
to such problems. It is possible that the dramatist-phi- 
losopher sought to enthrone the Active Spirit or Intelli- 
gence of the Ionic thinker as a veritable creator worthy 


of reverent acclamation and worship. " Thee, self-sprung, 
who, in ethereal revolution didst involve the creation of 
all things, about whom is light, about whom dusky night 
with varied tints, and the infinite array of constellations 
perpetually performs its choric movement ..." (596). 
" Great Earth and Ether of Zeus the begetter of men and 
of gods, and she, conceiving the dripping globules of 
moisture gives birth to mortals, gives birth to food and 
tribes of beasts, whence not unjustly she has been deemed 
the Mother of all. And those things which spring from 
earth, to earth they do recede ; but those that budded from 
ethereal sperm, to heaven's firmament again they go and 
nothing dies of what eventuates in being, but separated 
one from the other displays another shape" (836). 
" Beholdest thou on high this boundless ether that also 
does compass about the Earth in fluid embrace? This 
deem thou Zeus, this hold thou God" (935; cf. 938, 975). 
" Happy the man who got the learning of searching en- 
quiry, neither setting out for harm to citizens, nor to un- 
righteous deeds, but fully viewing the unaging order of 
immortal nature, where and how it was builded. Such 
minds are never beset with design of evil deeds" (902). 
The fervor of the poet needs no emphasis from the present 

There are two heroes in the plays of Euripides who are 
distinguished by chastity, Bellerophontes of Corinth, and 
Hippolytos at Troezen, the son of Theseus. Chastity was 
no moral postulate among the Greeks at large, it is to 
them a startling and utterly remarkable phenomenon in 
the sphere of conduct — a prodigium. There is a keen ob- 
servation (in Fragm. 132) that Eros is indeed the autocrat 
of gods and men and that he is malignant in this : he 
emphasizes comeliness but leaves the lovers often in the 
lurch of their own passion. . . . Love " loves to rule the 
worst part of our mind " (139). On the whole there seems 
to be no diminution in the worship of Eros, i.e. the un- 
questioning and unconditional submission to this impulse, 
there seems to be not any advance whatever from the low 
level of Homer — nay a grave deterioration and decadence; 


cf. Fragm. 271. No worshipper is greater or better than his 
gods. It strikes us as uncouth or incongruous that the 
" Hippolytos " presents Kypris and Artemis as two forces, 
equally divine: clearly Unchastity vastly stronger than 
the Goddess of Chastity, they maintaining a curious neu- 
trality towards one another. Clearly it is the current 
conviction of the Greek people which the old nurse of 
queen Phaidra utters (451) : " All those who have the 
writings of the men of old, and who themselves are ever 
conversant with learned lore, they know that once upon 
a time Zeus was enamoured to unite with Semele, that 
once upon a time the radiant Aurora carried off Kephalos 
to dwell among the gods, for sake of love's desire . . . 
if among thy deeds the good outweigh the evil — thou 
art but human — thou wouldst fare right well" (471). 
Did the devotees of the Orphic ritual, an esoteric creed, 
lead a purer life? Was chastity at all a part of their 
religion ? Hippolytos indeed is so classified by the poet's 
determination (952 sqq.~). Hippolytos has a " virgin soul " 
(1007), but his tragic death is half explained by his stub- 
bornness and pride : one cannot, in all fairness, avoid the 
general conclusion that it is folly to resist these appetites; 
and there is simply no highway nor path from this Welt- 
anschauung to that other one, expressed, e.g., in these 
words (I Cor. 9, 25): " And every man that striveth for 
the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they (at the 
Isthmian games, e.g.) do it, to obtain a corruptible crown ; 
but we an incorruptible." Or again : "What ! know ye 
not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which 
is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ? " 
(I Cor. 6, 19). And the hierodules of Corinth were an 
integral part of that "service" of that Kypris who in the 
" Hippolytos " of Euripides triumphs over Artemis. What 
particular purging or refinement of the affections may be 
derived from this particular drama, even Aristotle, nay 
even Professor Wilamowitz would hardly succeed in set- 
ting forth to us ordinary readers. 

The satisfaction of the angry displeasure of the goddess 
of lust (1325) is the consummation furnished by the 


traditional legend, — but whether it was any consumma- 
tion satisfying the nobler soul of the searching author, 
I doubt. And the deeply pondering mind is revealed in 
two passages which must not be absent from this page. 
The one on the essential divergence between the insight 
and the will of man: "For otherwise before on night's 
long couch have I reflected what it is that ruins human 
life. And 'tis not from the essence of their reason, so it 
seems to me, that men fail in conduct. For many have 
clear understanding. For thus I think this must be 
viewed : The good we know and grasp it with our mind, 
but toil not hard for it, some from indolence, some rating 
higher some pleasure than the good." (The words are 
given to Phaidra, "H.," 374.) Another notable utter- 
ance, still more gloomy : here I present Wilamowitz's own 
version (Englished): 

"Truly, when I grasp the faith in divine government, 
then anxious pain departs. But the desire of my faith, 
to find a ruling providence, is wrecked as soon as I con- 
template the deeds and sufferings of human kind" (H. 

Clearly, Euripides was not greatly elated by his con- 
sciousness of Greekdom, nor deeply blessed by the bless- 
ings of a fictitious "humanity" invented by modern 
litterateurs as a drapery of exquisite folds for that wooden 
puppet of academic tradition. 

Euripides incessantly deprecated the overvaluation of 
wealth, — of birth, — but even the current athleticism of 
his fellow-Greeks found no favor in his eyes. "While 
evils numberless in Greece prevail, none is more evil than 
the tribe of athletes, who first do not learn well to live, 
nor could they: for how could one who is a slave to 
mastication and subject to his belly's needs, acquire a 
prosperity greater than his sire's? Nor, on the other 
hand, are they enabled to toil in poverty and keep their 
oar with fortune's plying stroke: for untrained in good 
habits, 'tis cruelly hard for them to shift to desperate 
vicissitudes. Brilliantly conspicuous in their bloom of 


manhood, statues of divine perfection, their common- 
wealth's own, they stride along ; but when bitter old age 
comes to them, like threadbare cloaks that lose the nap 
of woof — 'tis over with them. 

"I also blame the custom of the Greeks, who for the 
sake of such make gathering and hold in honor useless 
pleasure for a dinner's sake. For who, who wrestled 
well, what nimble-footed man, or who that raised the 
discus, or thumped some jaw with skill, did aught avail 
his ancestral commonwealth after he received a wreath? 
Will they give battle to the foe with discus in their 
hands, or, without shields, with push of feet drive enemy 
from their fatherland? None will pursue such foolish 
things when he embattled stands close to the steel array. 
The wise men and the good — these are they who should 
be crowned with leafy wreath and all who lead their 
commonwealth in noble things, men who are self-con- 
trolled and righteous" (Fragm. 284). 

I close this chapter with that Hamlet-note of actual 

"O ye mortals enamoured of existence who yearn to 
behold the oncoming day while carrying burden of num- 
berless woes — so deeply is imbedded the love of life in 
human kind. For what it is to live we know; but, unac- 
quainted as we are with dying, each wight doth fear to 
leave this light of solar rays" (Fragm. 832). 

Note. — The citations from the plays of Euripides have been 
made from the text of Adolph Kirchhqf, (Berlin, 1867-1868) the emi- 
nent academic successor to Boeckh, or Bekker. The fragments were 
cited from Nauck's edition, Leipzig, 1866. A notable recent book is 
that of W. Nestle, " Euripides der Dichter der griechischen A ufkld- 
rung" Stuttgart, 1901. There is a clever review of this book by 
Thadd?eus Zieliuski, in the "Neue Jahrbiicher," 1902. The dialectic 
faculty of Euripides to advance arguments on both sides of every 
problem is well known: hundreds of long passages are merely versi- 
fied essays on the problems of his own time, the more so as all verities 
seemed to become problematical to many men of his place and time. 

An English scholar, Verrall of Cambridge, published, in 1895, a 
series of studies on three of the plays (" Alcestis," " Ion," " Iphigenia 


Taurica ") which he called : " Euripides the Rationalist : a Study in 
the History of Art and Religion " — academic phrases and labels 
largely forced in their application. 

The " religion " so called, with which Euripides had to do : should 
we actually strain terms by using the word at all. The religiosity of 
Euripides impresses me as much more profound than that of Sopho- 
kles, as much more spiritual in cast than that of iEschylus. The 
question is not, whether we have more sympathy with the path of 
Euripides, but, whether he seriously impressed, or helped to disestab- 
lish the ritual, and the institutional anniversaries of the Attic com- 
monwealth. Apart from these, every one knew (Her., 2, 53) that the 
" gods " so called, were largely shapes of deliberate poetical creation, 
largely a reproduction of all sides of man, an apology too for pretty 
nearly every typical sin or moral weakness in man. 

He who can separate the reeling satyr from the serious background 
of Attic life presented to us in the plays of Aristophanes, will not 
fail to feel that the Homeric type is over all : the naive merging 
oneself in nature and looking for no more divine ordinances than 
those afforded by her in her periodic mutations — this is Attic re- 
ligion, if any one wishes to use that word at all. Another modern 
volume on Euripides is : " Euripides and the Spirit of his Dramas," 
by Paul Decharme, translated by James Loeb, 1906, Macmillan : which 
book in the earlier portion deals to some extent with our general 
theme. The conception of Greek religion so called, as viewed by 
Decharme, seems to me to fall far short of a precise and historically 
correct grasp : the book is full of palliation, and of injection of 
modern ideas. In concluding this note, I append grave words never 
yet presented in an English version, — for this book is written in 
the profound conviction that there is a consummation of the most 
precious things concerning man in a certain and definite religion, 
not established or disestablished by academic assent or dissent or by 
any measure or kind of cogitation or speculation. The passage I 
refer to is among the concluding paragraphs of Naegelsbach's " Die 
nachhomerische Theologie des griechischen Volksglaubens bis auf Alex- 
ander" 1857, p. 476: "But this speculation is never transmuted 
into religion, and that indeed not merely because the overwhelm- 
ing multitude of men is incapable of speculation. Every religion 
rather is based on facts, false religion on imaginary ones, true re- 
ligion on actual ones, and such were wanting to speculation. Then 
further on speculation indeed endeavors to give an answer to the 
three main interrogatories which human kind addresses to every re- 
ligion: does God exist, and what is he? how is man relieved of his 
sin ? what takes place with man after death ? but what speculation 
says, remains speculation, has in its favor neither the testimony of 
conscience nor objective facts. On this account speculation never 
did firmly lodge in the hearts of the people, had no puissance to over- 
come the world, but was split up into philosophical schools and 
became a matter of erudition." 



Socrates, the first of these eminent three, is often said 
to have been the first Athenian philosopher. But as a phi- 
losopher he does not primarily concern us here. The bare- 
footed quizzer of his townsmen has a distinguished place 
in academic tradition. But, really, is he important aca- 
demically only ? Do we consider him worthy of concern 
principally because in the series of efforts of human cogi- 
tation his precedent and stimulus was so incisive and so 
far-reaching ? Or would he not deserve our earnest good- 
will even if there had not been any further history of phi- 
losophy ? Should we not, in all spiritual concerns, firmly 
fix our attention on the given personality without any 
valuation of relative weight and scale ? For, unless I mis- 
take not, he urged that men deeply examine themselves, 
that in all action they proceed on the basis of conceptions 
which were clear and consistent and productive of good 
and adequate results : and he was energetically hostile to 
mere conceit and mere opinion. Like Euripides he was 
of somewhat humble birth, his father being a carver in 
marble, his mother a midwife. He was born, probably in 
the spring of 469 B.C. (eleven years after Salamis), when 
Thucydides was a child of two years, Themistokles had 
gone into exile, to Persia, when Anaxagoras, so eminent 
in cosmic speculation, had sojourned at Athens some eleven 
years, and was then thirty-one years of age, Herodotus 
was fifteen, Pindar about forty-nine, iEschylus fifty-six, 
Sophokles, twenty-six, and Euripides, eleven. 

Socrates married quite late, probably, as it seems to me, 
deeply impressed by the enormous losses which his native 
commonwealth had suffered in the ill-fated expedition to 
Sicily, 415-413. His oldest son is called a /jLeipd/ciov (met- 



rakiori) in 399 when the child's father drank the hemlock, 
and the other two were little children : the older then on 
the verge of puberty : a young lad of some fourteen or so. 
His wife Xanthippe clearly was a dowerless maid, probably 
not a very young maid, when she married the philosophical 
carver in marble. In a word, Socrates was a bachelor quite 
likely until he was well past his fiftieth year. He led the 
simplest life as far as food and dress were concerned, and a 
very large part of this simple life was given up to clearing 
up, first for himself, what thinking and what knowledge 
really were. He was never quite satisfied with himself in 
this respect, and it is related that on one occasion he spent a 
whole night, rooted to one spot under the open sky, pursu- 
ing one great train of reflection. It will not do to plaster a 
convenient modern label on this rare man, and then jaun- 
tily toss him aside among the mere mummies of Time, as if 
the act of labelling had furnished us with adequate compre- 
hension or valuation. Absurd to label him a " rationalist " 
and pass on. Absurd to drag in modern words, of " En- 
lightenment," of a " creed of authority," of "Criticism," as 
though familiar modern labels involved closeness of his- 
torical vision and furnished real insight to the student of 
Greek culture. 

Socrates was not made in one day : that deep and pas- 
sionate pursuit of a truth obligatory to himself and oblig- 
atory to all who were willing to strive for the real and 
lasting comprehension of act and action — I say, that ever 
deepening current of his life is uncovered to us when it 
had been running a long time, and of its sources and earlier 
eddies we know nothing. Socrates deeply felt that a real 
insight into material nature and into the mysteries of cos- 
mic unity was denied to man: at all events, the one thing 
needful was that he turn to himself, not in the furtherance 
of comfort and wealth indeed, but that man direct himself 
to his real concerns, i.e. to the question of right thinking 
and the gaining of true knowledge, truly human concerns: 
for, to his soul, there was a way from correct thinking 
straight to correct doing and acting, — a way categorical, 
absolute and mandatory in itself. His profound, though 


noble error, seems to have been this, that whereas appe- 
tite and selfishness pervert or ignore moral vision in 
most men, he fell far short of actual human kind in the 
belief that wrong acting and all sin could or must be 
reduced to faulty judgment : whereas appetites, emotions, 
and the infinite manifestations of selfishness, the sombre 
account in human experience, cannot in any fair way be 
reconciled with so rational a conception of actual and his- 
torical man. 

But we must, in accord with the general aim of this book, 
turn to some decisive data of classic tradition. Indeed, 
to use a familiar utterance of Cicero (" Tuscul. Disput.," 
5, 10), " Socrates was the first to call the pursuit of wisdom 
down from the vaulted firmament and to place it in com- 
monwealths and to open the homes of men to it also, and 
to compel it to make enquiry as to life and conduct and 
good and evil things." 

And it was a great and wonderful thing that this carver 
in marble and this ambulatory disputant emphasized his 
great theme, viz., that the soul is very precious, among a 
people than whom no other ever more highly prized the 
comeliness of the physical person and the beauty of this 
body of ours. 

And it was to such youths, often to those endowed and 
distinguished by comeliness or symmetrical person to 
whom with a certain preference Socrates directed his 
nobler efforts, viz., to rouse them to deep and searching 
reflection about themselves and to put the nobler part of 
themselves, clear understanding and refined will, in the 
saddle. Such youths, too, were Xenophon and Plato, to 
whom we now owe most of what we know of Socrates. 
How deeply his personality sank into their very souls is 
obvious to any reader: also, that this wonderful man 
arrested minds not merely different and diversified, but 
such also as were antithetical and antagonistic ; such, e.g. 
as Antisthenes who was carried away by the wonderful 
simplicity of the material life of the master, and by the 
manner in which his strong and clear soul soared high 
above luxuries and softness of men : whereas Aristippos, 


founder of a school devoted to pleasure, was probably 
fascinated by the equipoise and by the versatility of con- 
duct with which Socrates faced every character of men 
and every situation of circumstance : for his was a serenity 
and imperturbability of soul which induce the Stoics long 
after his death, to canonize and enshrine him among their 
particular saints. 

I have mentioned Xenophon. An anecdote is told (by 
Diogenes Laertius, II, 48) of the first meeting between 
these two. Now young Xenophon, son of Gryllos, of the 
deme of Erchia, was both very fair to see and also very 
modest. And Socrates, they say, when he had met this 
youth in a narrow lane, held out his staff and blocked the 
passage and asked him where the various kinds of eatables 
could be bought. And when the youth answered, the 
other one asked again where honorable and good men 
were turned out ; and when Xenophon was perplexed, the 
friend of wisdom said : " Follow me then, and learn" 

We may with all sincerity subscribe to the general re- 
port of his pupils, that, deep as was in Socrates the con- 
viction of the general unwisdom of his fellow-citizens, it 
did not make him vain. 

The well-informed corporation of Delphi had, at a com- 
paratively early stage in his career, named him as the wisest 
of living Greeks to his fervent disciple Chairephon: a 
compliment which Socrates took as a call to induce his 
own fellow-citizens to be wise : not indeed by cramming 
rule or precept, but by refining their own consciousness 
to the point of absolutely clear and firmly held concepts, 
concepts gained, not indeed for the purpose of vain display 
or dialectic fencing, but as the guide to right living and 
correct conduct. So he became convinced (by abstracting 
from his own quite extraordinary personality, mind you) 
that all virtues were really forms of wisdom. " Between 
(Xen., "Memorabilia," 3, 9, 4,) wisdom and sanity of 
self-control (sophrosyne) he made no distinction, but he 
judged the wise and the temperate man by this, that, rec- 
ognizing what was honorable and good, he availed himself 
thereof in conduct, and, knowing what was base, he was 


on his guard against such things." But we too must not 
be abrupt or impatient, and cite more data to establish 
our vision of Socrates. Much of his own calm, undoubt- 
edly, was based on the trenchant character of his own 
psychological analysis. " Once when some one was getting 
angry because his greeting had not been returned, he said : 
The fact that you would not become angry if you came 
across some one who was worse off than you in his physical 
health, but that you should be vexed because you fell in 
with one whose frame of soul is more boorish — that in- 
deed would be absurd" ("Mem.," 3, 13, 1). We may 
well doubt whether the getting and maintaining of so serene 
and true a vision of the value of what is, and transpires, 
within us, — may well doubt, I say, whether such a desir- 
able frame of soul is attainable to many men as a product 
or consummation of sheer cogitation. I think not. By 
far the greater number of actual men probably must sub- 
scribe to the familiar confession of St. Paul (Romans 7, 
15) : " For that which I do, I allow not : for what I would, 
that do I not ; but what I hate, that do I." The knowledge 
then, which played so great a role in the system and mission 
of Socrates is not the mere appropriating of one or of many 
items of data : the rows of scales of a fish, or the orbit of 
a planet, or the growth of a plant : no, Socrates, pro- 
foundly, I believe, held that such lore has no bearing 
whatever on the human soul, that it is really irrelevant 
and not within the periphery of man's true concerns. 

But let us hear Xenophon further: " For also just as he 
who has learned to play the lyre, even if he be not playing 
his instrument, is still a lyre-player, and he who has learnt 
the art of healing, even if he do not perform the function 
of a physician, still is a physician, thus also this man here 
from this time on will go on being a general, even if no- 
body elects him to the office. But he who has not the 
knowledge, is neither general nor physician, not even if 
he be elected by all mankind " (3, 1, 4). A condemna- 
tion of the ultra-democratic methods pursued in the Attic 
commonwealth. And he further believed that the best 
knowledge should be acquired through a process of rea- 


soning (3, 3, 11). He utterly disapproved, in plain terms, 
the choice of unfit men, without real knowledge or ex- 
perience for many governmental posts: for "one Athenian 
is as good as another," this absurdity was as clamorously 
asserted there as in some modern democracies. 

Little doubt that much of the practical fervor of Socrates 
was really evoked by the slipshod modes of selecting mag- 
istrates and determining fitness by lot or by majorities. 
" And the best and the most god-beloved he said, in the do- 
main of agriculture,were those who performed agricultural 
tasks well, and in the domain of medicine those who did 
medical ones best, and in government, those who transacted 
political things best: and of him who did nothing well he 
said that he was neither useful nor god-beloved " (3, 9, 15). 

He was primarily concerned to exert a moral, rather 
than a technical, influence upon those who sought his as- 
sociation : sanity of self-control, e.g. (sophrosyne) he sought 
to instil in them, rather than oratory or the faculty of dia- 
lectic controversy. 

Little doubt, too, that the living example and the actual 
personality of the man was as potent as his incisive stirring 
up of reflection and his bracing the will of his pupils to ends 
which were felt as mandatory by their understanding. 
Foremost here was his sexual abstinence: it is appalling 
and it is awful that this virtue, dealing altogether with 
fair boys and youths, should have been so striking in 
his time and among his people. The growing refinement 
of Attic culture had here achieved somewhat less than 
nothing, had reformed nothing whatsoever. The gymnasia 
(as Plato broadly suggests in his " Laws ") were the 
sources and the spheres of unspeakable — to us unspeak- 
able — depravity : in the times of Aristophanes and 
Socrates indeed hardly felt by most Athenians as any 
particular sin or fault, when, to corrupt or to be corrupted, 
was simply the times in which we live, a form of moral 
apology which youth is apt to put forward quite seri- 
ously indeed as adequate and sufficient. At the same 
time (and no regard for his great qualities must induce 
us to ignore or to palliate this), there were plain 


intimations that there were indeed ways and means to 
satisfy such appetite : " Just as adulterers enter into 
the traps (like irrational beasts) knowing there is a 
danger for the adulterer both in those things which the 
statute threatens that he must endure, and that he may 
be taken in ambush and when taken be subjected to 
gross indignities: and while matters as great as these, 
both evil and shameful experiences, are established for 
the one who commits adultery and while there are many 
things qualified to free one from sexual appetite, still 
to rush into danger ..." ("Mem.," 2, 1, 5) — really 
not any loftier than the utilitarian warnings of Horace 
in the second Satire of the first book — and he a pro- 
fessed Epicurean and man of the world, as the phrase 
goes. And elsewhere Socrates considers matrimony as 
chiefly a political institution and for the getting of 
children, " for as for those agencies which free one (from 
the sexual appetite) the streets are full of them and 
the oikemata ('houses,' Attic euphemism for brothels) 
are full of them " (" Mem.," 2, 2, 4). It is recorded on 
the other hand that he incurred the bitter ill-will of Kritias 
whom he chided severely for the pursuit of unnatural 
lust, and his defiance of the seductive wickedness of that 
ancient apostle of freedom, Alcibiades, has very often been 
cited (Plato, " Sympozion" 216 sqq.). Socrates, a Silenus 
outwardly, but within all self-control and chastity : he 
despises comeliness, he rates wealth as of no account : his 
exterior seemingly without serious purpose, his inner man 
profoundly in earnest with the greatest concerns. 

At the same time the morality of Socrates in certain 
other directions differed not greatly from that of his own 
time and people. We see here that flaw and stain in the 
humanity of the Hellenes that only choice and exceptional 
souls are expected to rise above appetite and lower im- 
pulse — that not at all are all men called to goodness, but 
according to sex and age and circumstances of life, there 
are implied and conceded laxities of conduct, no general 
law of goodness, obligatory and mandatory for all. And 
so we read in Xenophon of a woman of the courtesan 


class " who gave her company to such as persuaded her " 
("Mem.," 3, 11, 1 sqq.} , a woman whose comeliness was 
the talk of the town. Socrates also and his followers 
went to see her, but there was no Mary of Magdala here. 
There is not the slightest intimation of the admiring 
Xenophon that the eminent moralist saw in her any ob- 
ject of any moral concern whatever. Theodote was her 
name: they found her giving a sitting to a painter, to 
speak precisely, she was standing : for she desired that her 
beauty become as widely known as possible. It was a 
gorgeous and a costly household, in which also the 
woman's mother was present. 

What, then, did Socrates discuss there ? The theory 
of such a hetsera : how she captured and held her friends; 
which was the wisest way, wisest, that is, with a view 
towards material ends and lasting advantages : how to look, 
to converse, to sympathize, how to deal with the insolent 
suitor — in a word how to please, and how to protract 
and maintain the relation. But neither emphasis nor 
exegesis is here further required : Aphrodite was one of 
the Olympian gods, and mere academic speculation rarely 
interfered much with her worship, nor will, I am afraid. 
There were many agalmata or statues of Aphrodite 
even in Athens. 

But let us pass on to Socrates, the religious man. If 
we consider how little call on heart and conscience Greek 
religion made, it was not very difficult, in a historical and 
political manner, to abide by usages ancestral and estab- 
lished. And this Socrates sincerely desired to do. Had 
he been a hypocrite, never would he have been so earnestly 
commended in all his ways by Xenophon. For this dis- 
ciple was one who took no important step without con- 
sulting oracles, then selecting the god who might favor 
a project, a man deeply impressed with dreams and signs, 
but not a man to be held cheaply by any academic person: 
a man was he who in grave and critical emergencies could 
remain intrepid and cool: no academic sneer can seriously 
belittle the very large elements of worth in his public and 
private character; it is a very small performance to call 


him as does Wilamowitz "a major on half-pay": ridicule 
here is merely the twin-sister of sophistry, muses outside 
the canonic Nine, muses, these two, which presume on 
every theme, and dispose of none. Don't you think, " is 
it not altogether palpable to you ('Mem.,' 1, 4, 14) that, 
compared with the other living beings, men have a life 
like the gods, being eminent in their nature both in body 
and soul? " One could often see Socrates sacrificing both 
at home and at the common Altars of Athens (1, 1, 2). 
He advocated in the important transactions of life to 
ascertain whether the gods were adverse or not (2, 6, 8) ; 
specifically: "where we are unable to comprehend in ad- 
vance, what is advantageous to us, in concerns of the 
future, at this point (it seems altogether likely that) they 
co-operate with us, through mantic art telling those who 
make enquiries, what the results will be, and teaching 
them how (these) might best be realized " (" Mem.," 4, 3, 
12) : few passages in Greek letters are more significant than 
this one. " No one ever saw Socrates either doing any- 
thing irreverential or unholy, or saying such" ("Mem.," 
1, 1, 11). For it is virtually impossible for us who live 
now and here, in the United States, to feel to the full how 
civil and religious duties were all but coterminous and 
convertible: the mutilation of almost all the Hermse in 
Athens, in a single night, in the year 415 B.C. not only 
startled but shocked the entire body politic of Athens, as 
though a veritable earthquake had threatened the very 
substructure of the commonwealth: not only was the 
occurrence felt as an evil omen, happening as it did, just 
before the date set for the departure of the fleet for Sicily, 
but it seemed also to be a project of a conspiracy to over- 
throw the extant government, and to bring about the dis- 
solution of the democratic polity of Athens (Thucydides, 
6, 27). 

But to return: it would seem that Socrates in referring 
to the gods abstained quite uniformly, and I am sure not 
without conscious design, from the more than questionable 
and vicious legends — legends which were indeed part 
and parcel of the genealogical pride of many an aristo- 


cratic family: he was, I say, silent on myths, clearly also 
because he strove honestly to demean himself respectfully 
towards the Attic religion. The greatest things in human 
life, he claimed, were beyond human ken and human skill: 
the gods reserved such things for themselves — for the 
results and ultimate consequences of all human enterprise 
really were beyond the determination of man (" Mem.," 1, 
1, 8). Clearly Socrates sought to conceive the "gods" in a 
loftier way than the actual and current way: "for he 
held that gods were concerned for men not in the fashion 
in which the general public hold: for these think that the 
gods know some things, and some they do not know; but 
Socrates held that the gods knew all things, both what 
was said and what was done and what was deliberated in 
silence and were present everywhere and made significa- 
tion to men about all human affairs " (" Mem.," 1, 1, 19). 
" And he prayed to the gods simply to give him the good, 
as the gods best knew what kind of things were good; 
but those who prayed for gold or silver or for the power 
of a prince, he held, prayed for something that differed in 
nowise from throwing dice or from a battle ..." (" Mem.," 
1, 3, 2). 

The argument of design was one of the foremost things 
in his soul — he claimed here the manifest revelation of a 
divine providence ; e.g. in the collaboration of the human 
hands, feet, and eyes (2, 3, 19): "And he who arranges 
and holds together the entire universe, in which all the 
fair things and all the good things are, and whoever 
renders the universe unworn and sound and unaging to 
those who use it, and performs service swifter than a 
thought faultlessly, he is perceived in his performance of 
the greatest things, and (at the same time) while adminis- 
tering these things is invisible to us" ("Mem.," 4, 3, 13). 
Little indeed did that soul owe to books, and in his culture 
clearly those things predominated which were spiritually 
significant. Libraries as yet were rare (4, 2, 8). Socrates 
himself cited Theognis, Hesiod, Epicharmos, Sophokles: 
the ^Esopean fables were to his clear utilitarian vision a 
veritable affinity; even in the last weeks of his life he 


was engaged in versifying iEsop : but of Homer he made 
by far the largest use. And still we may assume with 
great confidence that the gross anthropomorphism of that 
most widely used book of the Greek world was quietly 
ignored by him. Plato, we will see, was more sensitive 
and more radical. Pointing once more, then, to the great 
though noble error of Socrates (viz., that the clear insight 
of the intelligence takes sovereign possession also of will 
and conduct), let us go a little further. For life and 
death are much greater than cogitation, and much of the 
spiritual sincerity and earnestness of this man was so 
revealed. The Stoics, later, never forgot to tell how he 
defied the illegal order of the Thirty Tyrants (404 B.C.) to 
be one of a number who were to arrest Leon, a rich man 
of Salamis. He, however, went away and ignored this 
utterly, because he deemed it unrighteous to obey. And 
as he there withstood the oligarchy, he opposed the enraged 
democracy with no less firmness. It was after the naval 
battle of the Arginusian isles, 406 B.C., when the treacher- 
ous cunning of the Attic enemies of Attic democracy was 
striving to drive the citizens to abrupt and illegal meas- 
ures in condemning the accused generals (Xen., "Hellen- 
ica," 1, 7, 15). On this memorable occasion all the other 
prytane% were intimidated into consent, but Socrates, the 
son of Sophroniskos, withstood the clamor of the sovereign 

As to his death, we cannot here do a foolish thing. 
We cannot recount the catalogues of valuations and re- 
valuations. We must turn, first, to the commonwealth 
that compelled him to drink the statutory hemlock. 
We are then rudely arrested and almost shaken and 
shocked by this observation. Much and incessantly as 
he labored among them, the Athenians, as a whole, really 
understood him not, cared not enough for him to under- 
stand him. It is demonstrable that at least a quarter 
century he dwelt and strove among them, and but a little 
band clustered about him, and loved him to the end and 
forsook him not. At fifty-four, as I write these lines, 


I feel the shallow obtuseness and the stubborn unright- 
eousness of his fellow-citizens much more profoundly 
than I felt at twenty-one the worth and genius of the 
famous victim. 

The weak coddling directed at every eminent name 
in letters has made no exception of Aristophanes. The 
outrageous and deeply mendacious caricature of the 
" Clouds " lies before us — clearly no melioration of the 
play actually given in 423 B.C. Socrates is charged 
with idle curiosity about astronomy, with teaching so- 
phistical perversion of truth for pay, cosmic ideas of 
Anaxagoras are credited to him, he denies the gods of 
Athens, he subverts all moral principle. The cocky 
youth who wrote these plays posed even as a great power 
for good and a reformer : academic youth (and some- 
times academic age) takes him seriously. But if it was 
a mere harlequinade it was also a serious thing for 
Socrates. " Ill-will and traducing " clearly did their 
work thoroughly : it was really impossible for Socrates 
at his trial to call those by name who had so prejudiced 
public opinion again, unless it was Aristophanes (Plato, 
44 Apology," 18, c). This long-established ill-will, rather 
than the indictment of the petty politicians of 399 B.C., 
was the real cause of his condemnation. 

I have said that it was but a little band that followed 
him and knew him. And this little band, in the main, 
consisted of men who were well born, who were aristocratic 
indeed. The people at large had a keen dislike to reflect 
deeply about themselves or to examine their motives and 
design in conduct, a keen dislike, too, to have their self-love 
and their conceit punctured by any one. Most people 
lacked leisure even : it is absurd, therefore, to felicitate 
Athens as a community and endow it with a fictitious cult 
of culture which spread its illumination through all the 
strata of the population. Not only Socrates thought more 
highly of Sparta, the social and political antithesis of Ath- 
ens, but his greatest pupils as well. After the death of 
Socrates, we are told (Diog. Laer., II, 43) there was great 
remorse among the citizens. I do not think so. The 


elaborate book of Xenophon, the glowing dialogue of Plato, 
prove it that traducing and ill-will were still active, and 
that the master's popular image was but a miserable cari- 
cature. As for his daimonion, what was it ? Clearly a 
voice to him of power transcendental and absolute — cate- 
gorical, if you like, more, a good deal more, than mere 
practical tact as to those things which he must avoid. 

Socrates then, in facing death, soberly and gravely, not 
in a rapture of enthusiasm, but, if I may say so, with su- 
preme intelligence and with no transcendental consolation 
or spiritual support, is a grave figure. We can readily 
subscribe to the words of Grote : cool and analytic as the 
English Scholar is, special pleader too, of the demos as the 
most precious constituent of human polity, Grote still 
wrote his admirable chapter 68 with a glow and a lively 
feeling rarely met with in his sober pages. " No man has 
ever been found strong enough to bend his bow; much less, 
sure enough to use it as he did." 

It is significant of that Greek habit excessive and all- 
pervasive — I mean the valuation of comeliness and bodily 
excellence — it is significant, I say, that Socrates compares 
himself and his services with those who had brought great 
honor on the commonwealth by victories at Olympia. 

A more incisive denial of the Greek immersion in the 
bliss of the mere surface, in the felicity of physical nature, 
a more trenchant negation, also, of that satisfaction with 
outward comeliness and with this transitory world of sense 
and seeming, than we meet in the words and work of 
Socrates, it were hard to conceive. 

And still the aristocratic youth who was the most emi- 
nent of the followers of Socrates, Plato, in a certain way, 
emphasized still more this denial. Absent as he had to 
be from pallet and stone-flags on that day when his be- 
loved teacher and guide drank the hemlock, the high- 
born and highspirited man consecrated himself in a 
measure to the honor of that soul. 

But we must be concise here and make an election. 


We must bring forward a few great features in Plato's 
utterance : the Idea of the Good, the Immortality of the 
Soul, his theories as to the Regeneration of human society. 

Early in his intellectual life Plato despaired of satis- 
fying his soul with this material nature of sense and 
seeming. The incessant flux of the physical universe 
in the doctrine of Heraklitus, had made a deep im- 
pression upon him. The phenomena of matter gave him 
no definite basis of intellectual and rational rest. He 
ascended to a world of "Forms" — strictly that is the 
meaning of Eidos and Idea — : a world eternal and before 
all time, of which the actual things of this terrestrial 
life and sense-perception are but copies ; these latter 
perish and pass away, while the other world is eternal 
and imperishable. It is this, which is the true object 
of the quest of the soul of man, and among all possible 
occupations of man, this quest is the highest. Those 
men who give their life and striving to this are the 
foremost men, their life the worthiest and most precious 
of all lives. It was the felicity of the most perfect soul, 
in the period of the preexistence, to dwell there where 
this essential and Eternal being could be viewed and 
enjoyed ("PhaBdrus," 247, c) : "For that being which 
has neither color nor figure, which is impalpable, indeed 
: — this is visible for the mind only, the pilot of the 
soul. ..." In that cosmic, circular movement the 
soul " beholds righteousness itself, it beholds self-control, 
it beholds knowledge, not that which is associated with 
the production of organic things nor one which differs 
in the different individuals on whom we now bestow 
the appellation of beings, but the knowledge which is 
in that which has essential being . . ." (ib., d). 

It is this being which knows neither genesis nor de- 
struction, neither increase nor diminution, which knows 
no relativity of circumstances or time, which cannot be 
comprehended by mere subjective opinion (" Spnposion" 
211, a). The objects of sense-perception are always in a 
stage of becoming, they never are. In this world and in 
this life, there are many individuals with an identity of 


form, but only one genus or Idea. Now the craftsman 
(demiurgos) fashions in accordance with the idea, while 
he does not create the idea itself. " For this same crafts- 
man is not only competent to make all utensils, but also 
all the things which grow from the earth does he make, 
and all animated beings are wrought by him, both the others 
and he himself; and, in addition to these, heaven and 
earth and gods and all the things that are in heaven and 
those in Hades below the earth, all are wrought by him " 
("Republic," 596, c). 

Plato feels and freely admits, that, in extolling Mind 
and Intelligence in their view and vision of the Universe, 
philosophers really magnify themselves and their office : 
and that therein they are in harmony (" Philebos," 28, c). 
And we have ample warrant both here and elsewhere for 
believing that he withheld the name of philosopher from 
those, who like Demokritos, were content with mechanical 
and material causes, and an accidental aggregation of 
atoms which somehow passed into organic and self -repro- 
ducing forms. He goes on (eft., 28, d) : " Shall we, Pro- 
tarchos, say that all things and this so-called Universe have 
for their guardian the force of that which is irrational and 
proceeds at random and as chance had it, or, quite the 
opposite, just as those before us (Anaxagoras ?) said that 
a kind of Mind and Intelligence of wonderful nature 
composed and piloted it?" (soil, the Universe). " Pro- 
tar chos . . . : The statement indeed which you now make 
does not even appear to me to be compatible with reli- 
gious respect (oaiov) ; but to say that Mind arranged them 
all in orderly fashion is postulated also by the sight of 
the Universe and of sun and moon and stars and all the 
circular movement, and not in any other way would I 
ever speak or opine about them. . . ." 

" What we have often said, Infinity is in the Universe 
in abundance, and the Infinite also, in goodly measure, 
and there is associated with them a Cause of no mean 
character, arranging and composing } r ears and seasons 
and months, a cause which most properly might be desig- 
nated as Wisdom and Intelligence" (#., 30, c). 


The hard problem was presented to Plato's soul, to 
understand how omnipotence and goodness could be con- 
ceived as being consistent with the actual sin and evil in 
the world. And as for the essential goodness of God, he 
maintained it with categorical affirmation. The Homeric 
myths of rancor and lust and other foibles of the Olym- 
pians found no mercy before his eyes or abode in his re- 
generated political society ("Republic," 2, 378, c sqq.), 
a matter to which we have adverted in a previous chapter. 
Poets in the new commonwealth then must speak of God 
as essentially good, and as harmful in no respect what- 
ever, as causing no evil, but as causing good only. 

" Not then (379, c) is God, since he is good, the cause 
of all things, as the many say, but of few things is he the 
cause for mankind, and of many not the cause ; for much 
fewer are the goods than the evils ; and of the goods 
none other must be made the cause, but for evils divers 
other things must be sought for as causes, but not God " 
(ib., 379, c). Clinging as he does to his purer and 
nobler idea of a potent and governing divinity, active in 
life and world, but in no wise identical with it, Plato 
cannot fairly be called a Pantheist. And as to the new 
life and reproduction of forms in this Nature which we 
see, he claims that "through the handicraftsmanship of 
God (Beov 8r)fuovpyovvTo<;) they became later when for- 
merly they existed not . . ." (" Sophista," 365, c), and he 
regrets the tenet (So'7/ia) of the many, "that Nature 
begot them from some automatic cause and one which 
caused growth without intelligence," but holds that they 
came from a cause " originating with God, a cause associ- 
ated with reason and divine knowledge." And further 
and even more eloquently does he claim the divine con- 
cern and providence as directed at man — and here he 
ascends to noble heights not attained in the Hellenic 
world before him, I believe. For on the whole, the out- 
ward and material prosperity was sincerely viewed as the 
palpable and unmistakable standard of divine favor — the 
rich, the strong, the comely were admittedly god-beloved. 
But the pupil of that Socrates who drank the hemlock 


could not very well satisfy his soul and mind with this 
doctrine, popular though it was, and deeply lodged in the 
very fibre of Greek conviction. Is it well with the soul, 
the primary part of man ? — this was to Plato the crite- 
rion of life and happiness. Speaking of the righteous and 
the unrighteous man, Plato says in his noblest and most 
comprehensive work, the "Republic" (10, 612, e sq.) : 
" Therefore first you will grant this, that each of them 
does not escape the notice of the gods, as to what kind of 
a man he is? We will grant it, said he. And if they do 
not escape their attention, the one would be god-beloved, 
and the other god-hated, just as we agreed in the begin- 
ning. That is so. Will we not agree, that to the god- 
beloved one, whatever comes from the gods, all happen as 
well as possible, unless some evil necessarily belonged to 
him from some former sin ? By all means. Thus then 
must we assume concerning the righteous man, if he pass 
into poverty or if into diseases or into any other of the 
apparent evils, that, for this one (i.e. the righteous man) 
these tilings will terminate in some good during his life or 
after his death. For not is he ever neglected by the gods 
whoever wishes to become righteous, and in the pursuit of 
virtue, as far as is possible, to assimilate himself to God." 
And this, too, Plato maintained in the work of his old 
age, the " Laws " (899, d), where likewise he refuses to 
honor the popular standard of outward and material pros- 
perity. " But him who holds that there are gods, but that 
they have no concern for human affairs, one must admon- 
ish. My good man, let us say, that you believe that gods 
are, perhaps a certain divine kinship leads you to honor 
that which is of common origin with yourself and to believe 
that it exists ; but the fortunes of evil and unrighteous 
men privately and publicly, these are not in reality happy, 
but vaunted as happy in opinions, strongly but not consis- 
tently do they lead you towards impiety, not rightly 
chanted both in poetry and in all kind of accounts. ..." 
And so, too, Plato entertained a keen repugnance against 
the doctrine of the subjective, the much-cited dictum of 
Protagoras, that man is the measure of all things. " What 


deed then is dear to God and follows in his footsteps ? . . . 
God indeed for us would most be the measure of all things, 
and much more so, than I dare say any particular man, as 
they say. It is necessary therefore that he who is to be- 
come beloved to such a one as much as possible, that he 
even himself must become such a one, and by this rational 
postulate the man of self-control among us is dear to God, 
for he resembles him, and he who has no self-control is 
unlike him, and different and unrighteous ..." ("Laws," 
716, c-d). 

The highest thing in the Platonic world is the Idea of 
the Good. This furnishes truth and gives the faculty of 
understanding to him who understands. It is, indeed, the 
cause of truth in us. 

The sun is indeed not our vision, but still, among our 
senses, sight is most helioform ("Rep.," 508, a) — sun-like : 
withdraw the orb of day and all objects are dark ; so too 
the Idea of the Good is as the sun to soul and mind. But 
life and growth does the sun furnish to our material world : 
likewise Being and Substance come from the Idea of the 
Good. " God, desiring all things to be good, but nothing 
to be bad as far as possible (tcara hvvaiiiv), thus then tak- 
ing in hand all whatsoever that was visible as not main- 
taining rest, but being moved in an unharmonious and 
disorderly fashion, brought it into order out of disorder, 
thinking that the former was altogether better than the 

" And it neither was nor is right for the Best to do aught 
but the fairest. . . . On account of this computation 
then composing Intelligence in Soul, and Soul in Body, he 
kept construing the Universe, having now wrought it 
completely that it might be the fairest and best possible 
work within the capacity of Nature " (" Timseus," 30, a-b). 
" Thus then in accord with plausible reasoning must we 
say that this Universe has become a living being endowed 
with Soul, endowed with intelligence, in truth, on account 
of the forethought of God" (ib., b). 

The motive of creation : " Let us say for what cause the 


composer composed birth and this Universe. He was 
good, and in the good there is bred no envy at any time 
about anything whatever . . ." ("Tim.," 29, d). This 
same book, his " Timaeus," the philosopher closes with a 
survey of orders of animals, a scale and hierarchy of being, 
birds of the air, quadrupeds of soil and earth, and those 
animals still lower which crawl and creep, and still more 
inferior, the fishes, and crustaceans. "And now indeed 
let us say that our discourse of the Universe has a conclu- 
sion : for this Universal order (/cocr/io?) having taken 
mortal and immortal beings and having been completed, 
a visible Being comprehending (containing) the visible 
things, a divinity perceptible by the senses, image of that 
deity which is perceptible by the intelligence, has come to 
be greatest and best, fairest and most perfect, one heaven 
this one, being only-begotten." 

As for evil, or to be more exact, evih. These " cannot 
perish; for they must needs always be the antithesis of 
the good. Nor can they find settlement among the gods; 
but they traverse mortal nature and this space, from ne- 
cessity. Therefore also we ought to try to flee from here 
thitherward as quickly as possible. And flight is an as- 
similation to God as far as possible. And it is right and 
holy that the assimilation be accomplished with intelli- 
gence" (" TheaBtetus," 176, a-b). He abominates the 
shallow moralizing of the practical politician, who actually 
rejoices in the reproach of cunning (ib., 176, d). "From 
their stupidity and from their utter lack of perception, 
they, without being aware of it, are assimilated to ungod- 
liness (practical atheism, rod aOeov), assimilated on ac- 
count of their unrighteous deeds, and also become unlike 
the other (the divine). Thereof they pay the penalty in 
this, that they live the life resembling that to which they 
are assimilated; and if we say that unless they cut loose 
from their particular puissance, even after death that place 
clean of evils will not receive them, and here they will always 
have a resemblance in their conduct consistent with them- 
selves, evil men associating with evil men . . ." (ib., 176, e 
sq.). And the statute of local utility, adopted by some 


particular commonwealth, is but rarely related at all to 
the idea of the Good. For the former in the main deter- 
mined the practical conduct and morality of most Greeks. 
Now all utility-statutes are determined by a regard for 
the future, we anticipate practical advantages. And here 
again we see the poet-philosopher's deep antipathy for the 
subjectivism of the Protagorean dictum, viz., that man is 
the measure of all things (ib. 178, b). As to physical 
perception, this may indeed be so: what impression on 
him is made by white, by light, by heavy objects ; on these 
he may base his own belief of such forms of truth, having 
indeed the criterium within himself, but has he that device 
of determination within himself also as regards the future ? 
Anticipations and judgments there may widely differ, but 
the actual result will only be one and of one kind. 

Even in this brief survey we see continually the tenet 
of the primacy of the soul, and of its supremacy in the 
hierarchy of being due to its essential resemblance as to 
its source and as to its aim, to God : — to whom also led 
the call and path of the soul as to conduct, so that right- 
eousness creates likeness to him, and sin unlikeness to him. 
For the soul is the imperishable within the perishable 
body. To get at Plato's deep conviction here, we must re- 
member that he fully assumed the doctrines of Pythagoras 
and of his followers in Italy and Sicily whom he visited 
and with whose noblest possessions he became closely 
acquainted. We must, then, speak, not so much of an 
immortality of the soul, but rather of an eternity of the 
same both of past and of future. 

In Plato's literary style there is a characteristic blend- 
ing of the simple and of the noble, of the candidly urgent 
and earnest tone, coupled with a certain majesty. And 
this strain in his innermost fibre often finds expression in 
simile, in myth, in allegory — as though intuition on strong 
pinions soared to altitudes beyond the ken of sense and 
seeming, and beyond this little experience of our life and 
our world. 


Thus, too, Plato delineates the source and composition 
of the soul in a famous passage in the "Pha3drus" (245, 
c sqq.y 

The soul — every soul — is immortal, because self-moved, 
self-determined, not receiving life from any source out- 
side of itself; whatever is moved or stirred by another, 
experiences sometime a cessation of movements, or 

Now this, which is life and movement in itself, as an 
immanent property, must be uncreated, from eternity. 
And since non-created, this soul-substance must also be 
incorruptible. This then is the rational theory (X070?) 
of the soul, and the principle of animation. 

As to the form or shape of the soul, Plato goes on to 
compare it to a winged span of steeds and a charioteer. 
It is the latter, then, who symbolizes the dominant element 
in the soul. Of the steeds, one is noble and obedient 
to the reins, the other vicious, balky, and hard to 

In its preexistence, then, the soul is winged, so to speak, 
and, traversing the highest altitudes, — i.e. feeding itself 
with the noblest concerns of its nature, non-material truth, 
Ideas: traverses and dwells within the entire universe: 
but that soul which has shed its plumage sinks downward : 
in short, incarnation in some body follows : it enters into 
a casement of clay. A compound being thus presents 
itself to our gaze, called mortal, though that pertains to 
the body only. 

Why did the soul lose its plumage? The vicious steed 
is at fault interfering with the calm and perfect gaze of 
the charioteer — the soul cannot permanently maintain 
itself in that perfect existence of the contemplation of 
absolute and immutable truth : in short, some form of 
incarnation follows. And this birth itself is determined 
by the amount of ideal vision gained by the particular 
soul in that primal state of being : and Plato at once re- 
veals his own scale of human valuation. The highest in- 
carnation that of the philosopher : then follow in rank and 
order the constitutional king, the man active in public 


life, administrator or banker, next comes the hardy athlete 
and the physician, the fifth rank is held by soothsayer 
and the man active in mysteries of religious initiation, 
then comes the poet or other devotee of reproductive art, 
further on the farmer and craftsman, followed by the 
sophist and popular politician, and lowest and last is the 
tyrant or autocrat that knows no limitations of law. Now 
divine retribution operates in such a way, that in the next 
incarnation the righteous receives a better lot, that is, we 
may understand, a nobler character: the unjust, a worse. 

Favored is the soul of him who loved wisdom with 
sincerity : he, after three thousand years, if thrice in 
succession he chose this life, is blessed with the original 
plumage, i.e. he passes into that divine contemplation 
of the world of Ideas. " But the other souls (249, a «<?.), 
when they have completed the first life, get their judg- 
ment, and having received their verdict some pass into 
the places under earth where justice is executed and 
there they pay the penalty (SU-qv Iktivqvgiv), and the 
others are raised by Justice into a certain locality of 
the heavens and lead a life worthy of that life which 
they lived in human shape." After a thousand years 
new incarnations are allotted — even of animals, or of 
animals ascending to human incarnation. Pythagoras, 

Much later than the " Phsedrus," Plato wrote his " Re- 
public," — which carries man from birth to the Last 
Things, — though here, too, is the grave ring of Eternity 
— no Rest, no final and definite Consummation. A myth 
in form, and still a postulate of the human soul. 

An Armenian, Er by name (" Rep.," 614, b), who was 
among the corpses of a battlefield and on the twelfth 
day even laid on the funeral pyre, recovered life and 

He told of what his soul had seen : two passages be- 
low, two to heaven ; judges marking and sending souls, 
the righteous to the right, upward, the unjust to the left, 

Some came up from the Earth shrivelled and dust-covered, 


others came down from heaven, clean and pure, the ones 
from great suffering and tribulation, the others from inef- 
fable bliss and glory — both periods of time having been 
for a thousand years — a tenfold retribution or reward. 
One particular tyrant was condemned to unending tribu- 
lation (615, d). Such souls Plato conceived as being 
incurable. The Platonic vision of Bliss I cannot present 
in any detail — the movement of spheres and their celes- 
tial harmony. Practically, this heaven is only a tem- 
porary abode, where eventually the souls were to choose 
new lots of life : and this act of choice indeed was the 
great issue and the concern of concerns. For the new 
Lives were taken by each soul from the lap of Lachesis, 
daughter of Necessity. " For responsibility was of him 
who chose. God was without responsibility " (617, e). 

The great and grave thing, then, in this our present 
life on earth, is to gain a faculty of judgment, a true vision 
of the moral bearings, of the final achievements and at- 
tainments of the things sought and prized, of comeliness, 
wealth, poverty, noble birth or mean birth, high office or 
private station, physical brawn or feebleness, not indeed 
in themselves, " but coupled with what kind of attitude of 
soul (fiera 7rota? rivhs yjrvxr)<; efea>?) they be." Let us note, 
then, that not until we come to Socrates, and indeed, in 
the highest degree, not until we come to Plato do we 
recognize a distinctly and expressedly spiritual scale of 
valuation, to which all the current objects of men's 
striving are subjected. We meet it late, but we meet 
it. Such felicity is not indeed a worldly felicity, it is 
not of this world, nor is there any infelicity of things, 
but of the soul alone. 

In the glimpse which we may take at the ideas of social 
regeneration such as Plato cherished and uttered, we will 
be met by some startling and some puzzling things. 

In his ideal state Plato establishes an aristocracy : not 
indeed one in which birth and wealth endow a given 
class with political preeminence. In the human soul 


dominant intelligence, normally, should be sovereign, while 
the Will and that more vicious steed, Concupiscence and 
all other craving for pleasure, are equally subject to reins 
and whip of the charioteer. So Plato would build his 
political society, and construct a system in which Justice 
should rule, nay in which that noble virtue should be the 
very essence of the whole structure. His state indeed is 
Justice writ large. And first and foremost we observe 
that Plato at the outset abandons the effort to place all 
citizens on a level, to value or rate them alike. It is after 
all the magnifying of his personal ideals when he allots to 
the friends of wisdom the specific duty and privilege of 
administration, as though they were, among men and in 
the body politic, the rational element, reason socially in- 
carnate. It is just that they should rule. 

There is a second class who are the " defenders," en- 
dowed with courage above their fellows, and who force 
the execution of all decrees issuing from the ruling class. 
The maintenance of order at home, of the state's integ- 
rity in foreign concerns, police and the military estab- 
lishment — these are their peculiar spheres of service. 
Guardians, Custodians, (</>u\a/ce?) Plato calls the former, 
assistants, these latter ones. And further it is these, who 
are to be the nursery of the first class, their ablest and 
most promising members are to advance and become rulers, 
after fifty. The third class, by far the most numerous, is 
made up of those who merely crave and covet pleasure and 
profit. Their dominant element is the striving after material 
things, they accumulate wealth, pursue some craft or trade. 
Plato with his radical anti-Hellenic depreciation of the 
body and of the surface of all material things, has even 
gone so far as to place the physician in this lowest 
stratum, nor, with his elevation of absolute truth does he 
assign a high rank to reproductive art which is fashioned 
after those things which are perishable, transitory, and have 
no relation to absolute truth. As he reprobates the domi- 
nation of passion in the human soul, he would clearly have 
made short shrift in his commonwealth in dealing not only 
with an Archilochos and an Anacreon, but no less with 


the verse of Alkaios, and Sappho, where the lower and 
more vicious steed sways and turns from its proper course 
the chariot of the soul. There are indeed ethnic limita- 
tions even in this, the most gifted son of Attica's wonder- 
ful soil, there are such limitations, but no Greek soul 
strove more nobly, none has gained a greater claim upon 
the ear of the world, none was so nearly free from the in- 
crustation of practical paganism, none so little warped and 
dwarfed by the vicious elements of Hellenic life and living. 
How vast a portion of modern literature and art bound up 
with giving rein to the more vicious steed of the chariot 
of the soul, and devoted, simply, to the emancipation of 
the flesh, would have been banished from his state ! 
How often do the stencil-plated formularies of culture- 
phrase, to-day, like a whitened sepulchre, enshrine ordure 
and rotting carcasses under the inscription of Art and the 
absolute right of aesthetical postulates ! Man is always 
one in the innermost essence of his being, no matter what 
academic discrimination and psychological map-drawing 
may pretend to have achieved. There is indeed no way 
of yielding equal rein to the two steeds of the soul. 

In one way Plato's ideal State involves the poet-phi- 
losopher's utter rejection and condemnation of the Attic 
democracy. That government had put to death Plato's 
beloved master ; it held in reprobation the thirty tyrants 
and their leader, Plato's aristocratic kinsman Kritias. 
And with burning indignation he scorned the current 
doctrine of the practical politician of his day that the 
demos can do no wrong. Evidently the cultural influ- 
ence enjoyed by that demos, from the bema of the highly 
trained orator, or from the stage of Dionysos, was vapor- 
ous at best, slight and elusive : I am not ecstatic on this 
score : clearly the fellow- Athenians who judged of their 
own demos were not: not Euripides, not Aristophanes, 
not Thucydides, not Socrates, not Plato, not Xenophon, 
not Demosthenes, nor the great critic from abroad, Aris- 
totle. First and foremost, then, the demos (people, plebs) 


is not fit to govern, for the multitude is swayed merely 
by pleasure and pain. Only when subordinate to those 
who know, is it well placed. It is right (" Leges," 690, a) 
that the Noble should rule the Ignoble, the Reflecting the 

It is immaterial to us how much there was in Plato's 
soul of a deeper affinity for Doric and particularly for 
Spartan institutions. 

The main point is that he considers the multitude and 
mass in civil society as gross and beyond the concern or 
range of any genuine uplift. Let them fill their bellies, 
make money and obey the Guardians, i. e. the ruling philo- 
sophical class. Both these and their military and order- 
keeping assistants (iTrt/covpoi) shall live exclusively so as 
to maintain their kind, that is, their superiority of breed, 
character, and ruling intelligence. To this end, and for 
these two small classes alone, Plato shrinks not from an 
abandonment both of the private family, perpetual monog- 
amy, and of private property. But of modern socialism 
there is here no vestige. This class and their executing 
adjuncts are to be the dominating element, the Intelligence 
of the quasi-political person, the State. 

It is odd and puzzling to observe how radically Plato 
conceives Love as merely a political and zoological device: 
he hesitates not to bring in the parallel of fowls and dogs: 
how only the finest individuals are allowed to mate (" Re- 
public," 5, 458, e 8qq.). Plato himself was never married. 

It is a matter exceedingly difficult for us to realize the 
laxity and looseness of precepts of conduct of the Greek 
world. Let us learn one grave matter. Apart from a 
general reprobation of such misdeeds as murder, incest, 
perjury, parricide, Greek worship furnished substantially 
no rules of conduct. The usages of the state bound all 
its members and also furnished concrete Ethics to the 
members of the commonwealth. The question was not 
what was good or evil in itself, but what was permitted 
or prohibited in this particular polis : everything at bot- 
tom is institutional ; at Athens you could marry your 
half-sister, e.g., and a husband acted entirely within his 


rights if he refused to rear a new-born child, although he 
acknowledged it his own, his own, as a pullet or a poorly 
glued chair might be his property to deal with as he 
chose. I fail to see in the entire range of Plato's utter- 
ance any incisive precept or monition of radical reform or 
call to goodness, for the people at large. He, too, was an 
Attic Greek and in his old age (in his " Laws ") there are 
abundant utterances in which, in a way, he is a conform- 
ist with his country's institutions, inclusive of her gods. 
Still he urges that they are gods of a curious limitation, 
viz., created gods. And people must also hold to the 
lower ranges of superhuman beings, viz., the daimones 
and the heros who may injure or bless the citizen. In 
such matters the citizen must follow the law {"Timcem" 
40, e). At bottom, then, all these generations of Greek 
gods are under-gods and creatures of the One, Eternal, 
and Uncreated (26., 41, a). And he who begat the Uni- 
verse speaks to them as follows : " Ye gods of gods, 
whose craftsman I am and father of their achievements, 
which having eventuated through me are indissoluble if I 
will not. That, then, which at one time was bound is all 
soluble, but it is the part of an evil one to wish to dis- 
solve that which was well fitted together and is in fair 
state ; wherefore, also, since you have come to be, im- 
mortal indeed you are not, nor indissoluble at all, still 
you are in no wise to be dissolved nor will you obtain the 
lot of death, since you obtained by lot my volition, to wit, 
a bond greater still and more sovereign than those elements 
with which you were tied together when you were born." 
Prolix and still of monumental and imposing grandeur, 
too, moods bitter or smiling, seriousness or irony — all 
these and many more strains are revealed from the soul 
of Plato in his dialogues, to which we here bid a farewell. 

Aristotle of Stageira (384-322 B.C.) was of a long race 
of physicians. The medical art was a craft pursued 
through many generations from mythical Asklepios and 
Machaon. His father was at one time physician in ordi- 


nary to King Amyntas of Macedon, father of Philip and 
grandfather of Alexander. Envy, academic and other- 
wise, has bedaubed the ancient biographies with vile or 
mean things. But we have his Testament also. 

Among the salient traits of this marvellous mind are, 
perhaps, three which arrest mankind most. These are, 
in my estimation, his universality, his incredible indus- 
try, his profundity coupled with logical procedure : for 
when one has gained a certain sympathy with his assent- 
compelling advance from thesis to thesis, one feels an 
almost sovereign force of pure thought. The very absence 
of all those literary graces which issue from the free play 
of the imagination and the emotions in his great but 
narrower teacher Plato — this sterility, I say, in the a3stheti- 
cal side of literature permits us with a curious entirety of 
devotion to follow the Stagirite in his keen pursuit of 
knowledge. What the microscope, the telescope, and the 
retort have enabled mankind to achieve since, we know 
. . . but the imperishable honor of Aristotle is in no 
wise reduced thereby. When Dante in his initial steps 
through Inferno saw " il Maestro di color che sanno," 
"the Master of those who know" he uttered a winged 
word not to be reduced or belittled by any revaluation 
of mediaeval scholasticism. Make allowance as we may, 
for his faithful pupils and co-workers, Theophrastos, 
Herakleides Ponticus, or Aristoxenos, Dikaiarchos, the 
mere sum of knowledge gathered sifted and arranged is 

The psychological analysis of passions and emotions, 
the reviewing of all political forms furnished by history, the 
scientific basis of grammar, the essentials of the theory of 
human conduct, body and soul, matter and spirit, eternity 
and the mathematical aspects of astronomy, all these are 
found in the body of his writings. Hermann Bonitz spent 
a quarter century from 1845 to 1870, to prepare a Greek 
concordance of the words occurring in Aristotle's writings : 
but even so he had to use the cooperation of other scholars 
for the zoological part. Curious and unique monument 
of faithful and unrewarded industry and deep reading ! 


Theory of Classification and all Logical processes, — the 
time of gestation of the lizard, the essence of Justice, or 
the anatomy of the eel, the physiology of sleep, the con- 
stitutional type and history of one hundred and fifty-eight 
distinct commonwealths, winds and weather, the state- 
records of the production of Attic plays, the conger-eel or 
the analysis of sophistical syllogisms, the rhetorical function 
of metaphor — all these and such universality : but pro- 
found, exact, original, and searching, no compilation, 
nothing at second hand : this is Aristotle. 

When he first came to Athens, his father was dead. 
The eager youth was but seventeen and Plato, then sixty- 
two, was for a while absent in Magna Grsecia. There 
was the brilliant author and thinker, an elderly man 
over against the lad. Clearly for a number of years the 
youth was a Platonist. Aristotle's first stay — his Lehr- 
und Wanderjahre — at Athens was comprehended in the 
period of two decades, 367-347, to Plato's death : a period 
of gradual transition from discipleship to originality and 

Aristotle's beloved friend, Eudemos of Kypros, perished 
before Syracuse, a follower of Dio, probably in the summer 
of 353, when Aristotle was thirty-one. The dialogue com- 
posed by the young philosopher soon afterwards was 
entitled " Eudemos, on the Soul " : clearly still strongly 
in the thraldom of the great Athenian and perhaps, spe- 
cifically there, of Plato's " Pluedo." Aristotle (Fragm. 
36, Rose) spoke of the connection of body and soul, com- 
paring it with the exquisite cruelty sometimes practised by 
Etruscan pirates, who tightly laced together, face to face, 
a living prisoner with a corpse. Coupled with a general 
affirmation of the immortality of the soul, there seem to 
have been many observations of actual phenomena of 
psychical data. As to the graver aspirations of mankind, 
I cite two passages from Fragm. 40 (Rose) : " Therefore 
they cross over (die) most efficiently and most blissfully. 
And in addition to the fact that the dead are blessed and 
happy, we also hold that it is not pious to utter any 
lie about them or a slander as against those who now 


have entered into a better and a stronger estate. And 
these things endure with us as established beliefs 
(yevoiMHTiievcL) so primeval and ancient, that no one alto- 
gether knows either the beginning of the time nor him 
who first established it, but it turns out that they have so 
held during boundless time throughout." 

Further on the answer extorted from Silenus by King 
Midas : " Seed of a laborious daimon and heavy Fortune, 
why do you force mc to say that which it is better for 
you not to comprehend ? For coupled with ignorance of 
one's own evils, Life is most untroubled. But for men 
altogether to be born is not the best of all, nor to get a 
share in the best nature : best then for all men and 
women is not to be born : that, however, which follows 
after this in order, and is first of the other things, capable 
of accomplishment, but second (in rank), is, to die as 
quickly as possible after having been born. ..." Aris- 
totle in this early book also opposed the thesis that the 
soul was merely a harmony of bodily functions. 

In this stage, Aristotle also wrote a dialogue on Prayer, 
in which (Fragm. 46) he said " that God was either Intel- 
ligence or something in the neighborhood ^Intelligence." 

The most notable of these Dialogues seems to have 
been that " On Philosophy," a hortatory discourse imitated 
by Cicero in his " Hortensius." Here, however, he seems 
to have dropped the senile doctrines of his master's last 
years, the Ideal Numbers and the like. 

From two principles (Fragm. 12), Aristotle held there 
the notion of gods had arisen among men : from the things 
that happened in connection with the soul, visions, and 
from prophetic impulses. Men thus inferred that there 
was something, God, a being which in itself resembled 
the soul and which had the greatest capacity of knowl- 
edge of all. Further also they derived the notion of God 
from the things above us: "for having viewed in the 
daytime the sun revolving and at night the well-ordered 
movement of the other stars (rtov aWcov aarepcov) they 
gained the belief {ivoixiaav) that there was some divinity 
who was the cause of such motion and good order." 


A noteworthy fragment also is No. 14 (preserved by 
Cicero, " De N. D." 2, 95) : " If there were (beings) who 
had always dwelt under the earth in good and well- 
lighted abodes which were fitted up with sculptures and 
paintings and were equipped with all those things with 
which those people are abundantly supplied who are 
deemed very rich (beati) and yet had never gone out to 
the surface of the earth, but had been informed by rumor 
and hearsay that there was a certain power and force of 
the gods, and then at some time, after the chasms of 
Earth had been opened and so they had been enabled to 
make their escape from those hidden domiciles, when 
suddenly they had seen the earth and the seas and the 
sky, had become acquainted with the greatness of clouds 
and the force of the winds and had beheld the sun and 
realized both its greatness and its beauty as well as its 
power of production, the fact, that, when its light was 
spread in the whole firmament it produced day, but when 
night had darkened the world, then they clearly mark out 
the heavens studded and adorned with stars, and the 
vicissitudes of the lights of the moon now growing, now 
declining, and the risings and settings of all these ami 
their courses set and immutable in all eternity : when 
they saw these things, forsooth they would both believe 
that there were gods and these so great works were the 
works of divine beings." 

But all these earlier utterances and aspirations were in 
the main reverberations of his master. 

We will now take up the mature and definite elements 
of his own thought and speculation. 

Aristotle was by no means content with the description 
or classification of the phenomena of the actual world. 
An explanation satisfied with mechanical and material 
elucidation was to his mind utterly inadequate. He 
elevates the principle of aim, end, design, as axiomatic 
and primal. Hence his trenchant dissent also from De- 
mokritos of Abdera, the scientist who dispensed with 
cause and design in his view and reconstruction of the 


Universe. " Demokritos, having cast off the task of stat- 
ing the wherefore (to oL eVe/ca), attaches all things which 
Nature uses, to necessity, things which indeed are of that 
kind, but at the same time exist for the sake of something 
and on account of the better in connection with each ob- 
ject. We may therefore freely assume that development 
and result so transpire (i.e. with necessity) but not on 
account of these things (i.e. mechanical causes), but on 
account of the end " (" De Animalium Generatione," 5, 8, p. 
789, b, 2 sqq.}. The fact that experience shows an un- 
varying sequence of certain phenomena, does not satisfy 
Aristotle : Demokritos improperly disdains finding a cause 
for this always of sequence. Being appears to us as a 
steady process moving from the potential (to Bvvdfiei 6V) 
to the form and essence (to evepycLa. 6v). 

Let us advance even more closely to Aristotle's peculiar 
and specific convictions. Matter is eternal. That which 
" moves " (influences) it, is the first mover. That, into 
which it is moved or changed, is the form, the essence or 
substance of being. 

There must be one finest or primary substance which is 
one, and is itself unmoved (" Met.," 12, 6). This must 
be from eternity. " It is impossible that movement should 
either come to be, or be destroyed ; for it was always. 
Not that Time ; for it is not possible that Earlier and 
Later should be if Time were not. And movement, there- 
fore, is thus continuous. . . . Nor will it even if we 
assume eternal substances, as those who do so with the 
Ideas, if there will not inhere in them a principle having 
the power to effect changes." This first Mover is God. 
His pursuit (haywyrf) is comparable to that which we 
human beings have but a little while at a time, but he 
eternally and always, viz., pure insight and contempla- 
tion. It is his Intelligence, nay it is Intelligence Absolute 
which is there at work. " And " (this Intelligence) " pos- 
sesses Life; for the realization of Intelligence is Life" 
(" Met.," 12, 7), " and he (God) is the realization: now his 
own life in itself is the best and the eternal realization. 
And we say that God is an eternal best being, so that God 


possesses life and duration continuous and eternal : for this 
is God. And all those who assume, as do the Pythago- 
reans and Speusippos (nephew, and successor to Plato), 
that the fairest and best is not in beginning, on account 
of the fact that the beginning of the plants and animals 
are indeed causative, but that fairness and perfection are 
in those things only which come from these, they believe 
not correctly. For seed is from other prior perfect beings, 
and the First is not seed, but it is the Perfect ; as one 
might say that man is earlier than the seed, not the one 
begotten from this, but another one, from whom the seed 
came. That there is then some substance eternal and 
unmoved {i.e. not influenced or determined by agencies 
outside of itself) and separated from objects of sense- 
perception, is clear from the statements made. And it has 
also been shown that no measurable quantity (/xeyeflo?) can 
have this Being, but it is non-composite (a/xe/>?}?) and in- 
dissoluble. For it moves during the boundless time, but 
nothing limited has boundless power." He holds further 
(" Met.," 12, 8) that the nature of the stars is some eternal 
substance: (though it is difficult to follow his thought 
here : for the mover who is himself unmoved, and who 
moves that which is moved, and who is eternal and is 
earlier than that which is moved, could not very well be 
more from eternity than that which is moved by him). 
The stars, then, are eternal. All motions celestial are for 
the sake of the stars : the design is immanent in them. 
There is no starred Universe but this one. "And it has 
been handed down from those of old and from the very 
ancient ones, left to posterity in the form of a myth, that 
these (the stars) are gods, and that the Divinity embraces 
All Nature. But the other things have been advanced in 
a way actually mythical for the persuasion of the Many 
and for the enactment of laws and utilitarian ends : for 
they state these as being anthropomorphic and like to some 
of the other animals, and they make other statements 
sequential to these and resembling what has been said." 
"From these (tenets of popular religion) sever the first 
and comprehend it alone, to wit, that they believed the 


first substances were gods, one might hold that it was 
stated divinely, and, as is likely, each system of accom- 
plishment (re;^) and philosophy having oftentimes been 
devised and destroyed again as far as was possible, (it is 
probable that) these tenets of those men like relics have 
been preserved up to the present time " (the conclusion 
of "Met.," 12, 8). 

The astral motions suggest " that there is one who 
marshals them" ( r o SLardao-cov, Fragm. 13). Further, 
God needs no friend : bliss is in himself. His essence 
and perfection is the only object of his cogitation. But 
what ? For he will not be asleep. Inasmuch as the con- 
templative life is the highest — an Axiom for the thinker 
Aristotle — that will be the divine life. 

An academic and cosmic God, but singularly and utterly 
severed from human beings by his essence. There cannot 
be any affection, Aristotle holds, directed toward God or 
gods: for friendship postulates a certain measure of equal- 
ity : " the gods " so utterly exceed men in all good things, 
that there cannot be any friendship between them and 
men ("Eth. Nicom.," 9, 9). The love directed to God 
does not receive (is not capable of receiving) any counter- 
love : '•'•for it would he preposterous if one were to say 
that he loved Zeus" (Magna Moralia, 1208, b, 29); "hence 
we neither strive for love of the god nor of inanimate 
things." It would be ridiculous if one censured God if 
he failed to requite love in proportion ("Eth., Nicom.," 
8, 3). 

God does not propose to do the evil things (" Topica," 
4, 5, 126, a, 35) ; i.e. it is in the power of God to do 
the evil, but it does not conform to his nature. God is 
better than Virtue, stronger than knowledge ("Magn. 
Mor.," 2, 5). As we designate extraordinary badness as 
bestiality, so the counterpart is something God-like, some- 
thing beyond expression, as being beyond man. 

What is the beginning of " motion " in the soul ? " Now 
it is evident that just as God is in the Universe, so the 
Universe is in God. For somehow the divinity within us 
moves everything. And the beginning of reason is not 


reason, but something better. But what is better than 
knowledge unless it is God?" (" Eth. Eudem.," 1248, 
b, 24 sqq.). It would be absurd to define the bliss of M the 
gods " as action, whether in the domain of righteousness, 
or of bravery, or of generosity, or of continence. 

What then remains but contemplation (detop to)? ("Eth. 
Nicom.," 10, 8). It is Aristotle's personal ideal: his con- 
fession of faith : his God absorbed in contemplation, the 
Intelligence of the Universe : therefore the searching and 
thinking philosopher is nearest to God. Plato thought 
in lines and circles not greatly different. The practical 
moral robustness of Socrates is somewhat greater than 

The life and conduct of man is to be determined by 
himself alone. There is no anticipation of a life to come, 
nor any divine law imposing itself upon man. The "Soul" 
(really animation) is omnipresent in the body : as the 
form to the wax so is the specific soul related to the 
specific body. Man is the aim and end of visible nature : 
the body existing for the sake of the soul : Reason is 
imperishable, whereas memory, desire, love are bound up 
with a bodily function. And while the powers of the 
soul are developed one from the other by gradations, 
Reason is untouched and independent of all of these. 

As to conduct Aristotle denies that we need to establish 
any alternative between the pleasurable and between 
rational action — these do not mutually exclude one an- 
other. Pleasure is the crown and result of all normal or 
perfect action. 

In virtue there must be pleasure in goodness. 

There is a curious and painful lack of absolute and 
universal law in Aristotle's ethics. 

Virtue or specifically " Ethical Virtue " (i.e. excellence 
in specific forms of human character) is greatly varied 
according to sex, age, occupation, a man's virtue, a 
woman's virtue. Children and slaves, strictly speaking, 
have no virtue. And here we realize the desperate dif- 
ficulty of all translating, for it is nothing but a tentative 


and very imperfect substitution not merely of words for 
words, but of notions for notions. Now this' very word 
arete' to which we particularly referred in our dis- 
course on Pindar, this very term arete' is not at all 
our " Virtue," but really it is power, perfect attainment, 
excellence. So, with Aristotle, the blackmailer, the thief, 
have their specific areti'. 

But Aristotle assumes a general aperrj of man at large, 
and man without it is " a most wicked and savage being " 
("Polit.," 1, 2). 

Now this positive virtue, or better, excellence of man is 
revealed in many specific forms, all of which have this in 
common that they maintain a certain intermediate point or 
attitude (^ec-or???) between extremes. An enumeration, 
e.g. in "Eth. Eudem.," 2, 3, where first are named the 
two vicious extremes and then their middle-point, the 
correlated specific virtue. 

Irascibility, Stolidity, Gentleness, 

Recklessness, Cowardice, Bravery, 

Shamelessness, Stupor, Respect, 

Dissoluteness, Callousness, Continence, 

Envy, Obscurity, Giving each his due, 

Gain, Loss, Justice, and so forth. 

More and more, even in the narrow limits of this sketch 
it grows clear that the essence of Aristotle's thought is 
analytical, descriptive, driving stakes and drawing maps 
in this actual world of men such as they are. For is it 
not after all merely a supremely clever psychological 
classification, this ethical theory? there is no clarion voice 
equally calling upon all ; one may say that Aristotle has 
not discovered the Conscience as yet. After all, the full 
measure of truth is made dependent upon culture and 
social station. The curse of slavery is revealed even here, 
in the acutest and most universal Mind of the ancient 
world, I mean revealed in his profound contempt for 
manual labor. They who till the soil, who are craftsmen 
and who trade on the market-place, are below his sympathy 


and concern. A great many crafts or mechanical trades 
were actually carried on by slaves under the direction of 
their masters. " The barbarians are more slave-like in 
their types of character by nature than the Greeks " 
(" Polit.," 3, 14). " Non-Greek and slave is the same 
thing by nature" ("Polit.," 1, 2). Even before the 
Stoics, it would seem, nobler voices had been raised among 
the Greeks which called slavery an institution contrary 
to nature. Now Aristotle undertakes to determine this 
problem both by reason and actual experience ("Polit.," 
1, 5). Certain beings from their mother's womb are set 
apart for being ruled. It is a rule pervading animate 
nature. In the best man the soul rules the body, a rule 
essentially masterful. So, too, domesticated animals owe 
their very preservation to human rule. Similar is the 
relation of male and female, the one stronger, the other 
weaker, the one ruling, the other, ruled. Now there are 
certain human beings, whose intrinsic inferiority by a 
parity of reasoning is as manifest as soul to body, as beast 
to man — beings whose sole function and purpose is bodily, 
and these are naturally slaves : in social function and worth 
differing but little from domesticated animals. And it is 
profitable to them and it is right that these should be 

And here, in our concern for Aristotle's humanity and 
for his estimation and valuation of actual mankind as lie 
saw it, let us append his delineation of the character- 
types of the successive ages of man (" Rhetoric," 2, 12 
8^.), particularly youth and old age. 

" The young, as to their character, are given to desires, 
and so endued as to realize whatever they desire. And 
of physical desires they are most inclined to follow the 
sexual ones, and they are without self-control as to these. 
And they easily veer about, and are dainty about their 
desires and maintain their desire with intensity, but 
quickly cease. For their acts of will are keen but not of 
large measure, like the thirst and hunger of those who are 
ailing. And they are emotional and of keen feelings and 
qualified to follow their impulse. And they are subject 


to their feelings, for on account of ambition they cannot 
endure being slighted, but they are aggrieved if they 
believe they are wronged. And ambitious indeed they 
are, but in a higher degree lovers of victory. For youth 
desires preeminence, and victory is a kind of preeminence. 
. . . And they are not malicious, but good-natured, 
because they have not viewed many acts of badness. And 
trustful because they have not yet been often deceived." 
But this must suffice from this chapter. There follows 
(chap. 13) the characterization of the elderly and those who 
have passed the zenith of life. These in all ways form 
the direct counterpart of youth. They have often been 
deceived and they have learned "that the greater part 
of things are poor" and so they "maintain nothing with 
unswerving firmness . . ." "and they surmise, but they 
know nothing." . . . "And they are malicious; for 
malice means to put the worst construction on everything. 
Further are they suspicious of evil on account of their 
distrust, and distrustful on account of their experience. 
. . . And they are mean-spirited because they have 
been humbled by life; for they desire nothing great or 
extraordinary, but merely livelihood. And they are illib- 
eral : for one of the necessary things is substance ; and at 
the same time experience has taught them how difficult it 
is to acquire, and how easy to lose. And cowardly are 
they and fearful of all future things ; for their disposition 
is the counterpart to that of the young; for they are 
chilled and the young are hot. . . . And fond of life 
are they, and especially near the last day. . . ." " And 
they are selfish more than they ought; for this too is a 
kind of smallness of soul. And they live with a view to 
the useful, not to the noble, more than they should : be- 
cause they are selfish. . . . And shameless are they 
more than delicately-minded ; for on account of the fact 
that they are not equally concerned for the noble and the 
useful, they neglect appearances. . . . 

" Therefore, also men of that age appear continent ; 
for the passions have relaxed; and they are slaves to 
lucre. ..." 


" And compassionate old men too are, but not for the 
same cause as the young ; ... for they (the old) believe 
that everything is close at hand for themselves to suffer ; 
and this was an element of compassion. Hence they are 
given to lamentation. ..." The utter nothingness of 
the aesthetical bliss of Greekdom of which the conoscenti 
have raved particularly from Winckelmann and Goethe to 
Shelley and Walter Pater — I say how as nothing was this 
fictitious bliss in illumining that decline of life. 

Exposure of children is entirely a matter of conven- 
ience. And not only this: but ("Polit.," 7, 16) if preg- 
nancy occurs contrary to the fixed number convenient to 
the interest of the given commonwealth, then abortion 
must be performed. 

As to the Venus Canina, the ever growing ulcer of the 
Grecian world. Where he actually does not hesitate to 
ascribe it to Minos as a deliberate and primeval institu- 
tion of Crete — economic at bottom, to limit the popu- 
lation ("Polit.," 2, 10) — he falls unspeakably below the 
lofty and burning condemnation of his master, Plato; 
condemnation, it is true, only penned in that thinker's 
old age, for the discussions in the " Symposion " and in 
the " Phaedrus " are indeed lax enough. One shivers 
at the coolness with which the tutor of Alexander re- 
fers to the death of Philip, and the specific personal 
circumstances ("Polit.," 5, 10) which caused the death 
of Periander. 

Aristotle was generous in his will towards several of 
his slaves. He provided that, wherever his tomb was to 
be made, there also the bones of his wife Pythias were 
to be laid. For his concubine Herpyllis also he pro- 
vided — " because she proved to be devoted to me " 
("Diog. Laer.," 5, 13). Also, his son-in-law Nikanor 
was to dedicate a sacred gift which Aristotle once had 
vowed when Nikanor was in peril, marble figures of 
four cubits to Zeus the Saviour and to Athena the 


Note. — It is clear that, as regards Socrates, Xenophon must 
remain our chief authority. It is clear, too, that there was a quasi- 
spiritual discipleship in the souls of the nobler of the pupils of 
Socrates. Character and Soul are vastly greater than learning: 
Socrates will go on to stir mankind more than the acute and cyclo- 
pedic Aristotle. What Zeller, the erudite, means in the subjoined 
utterance is hard to understand : that Socrates brought about " an 
irremediable breach in the plastic unity of Greek life " — a some- 
what absurd phrase, in which the Hegelianism of the earlier Zeller 
stands revealed. There is a slight resemblance with Franklin too, 
in Socrates, viz., that his vision of culture is limited by utilitarian 
considerations, Xen. "Mem.," 4, 7, 1 sqq. On the unwritten law 
and the immanent morality of the regulations of Nature, 4, 4, 19. 
As to Plato, the footnotes of Zeller contain substantially all the 
available material. Dying Paganism endowed (in the Neo-Platonists) 
the great Athenian with quasi-divine inspiration ; similarly they clung 
to and magnified the Homeric epics. 

What we may call the intuitive and transcendental element in 
Plato's thought is by him often invested in a myth, and Plato 
sometimes combines with the myths moral exhortations which he 
never would have grounded on uncertain fables. Plato had contempt 
for manual labor. 

Plato's voyages to Sicily were partly determined by his profound 
interest in Pythagorean doctrine and history, partly it seems by an 
aspiration that he might find political conditions promising some hope 
of reconstructing human society through some sympathetic autocrat, 

On Prosperity of the Wicked, "Legg.," 849, d. 

We learn that in Plato's day also " the many " held that Nature 
begot men from some automatic and mechanical cause, " Soph.," 265, c. 

His delineation of materialists in "Soph.," 246, a-b, remains sug- 
gestive even for us. On Heaven and Retribution, v. " Gorg.," 523 sqq. 
— death, the judgment : souls stripped of all irrelevant properties, 
ib. Reincarnation as a distinct form of divine retribution, "Phsedo," 
81, e sqq. Like a true Socratic, Plato rates lower the virtue that goes 
with tradition and practical effort than that associated with conscious 
and deliberate reflection, " Phsedo," 82, b. Motives for purity, ib., 82, c. 

Concupiscence in man bound up with bis corporality, ib., 82, e ; cf . 
Hermann Bonitz, " Hermes," 5, 413 sqq. Pindar cited for immortal- 
ity of the soul, " Meno.," 81, b. Sins and death, " Gorg.," 522, e. 

Plato makes the gymnasia responsible for unnatural lust, " Leges," 
636, b. 

Athenian goodness less communal (and institutional) than that of 
other commonwealths — we may say less community-made, ib., 642, 
c. Keep slaves in their place, ib., 778, a. 

Jowett forgets often that Plato wrote and lived in a pagan world. 
As for Aristotle, it is obvious that probably more than a decade elapsed 
before the younger man began slowly to emancipate himself from 


Plato : younger indeed Aristotle was : how overwhelming must have 
been the prestige of the elder man at first: he being forty-five years 
the senior. See on life and letters of Aristotle, also the article by 
Gercke in " Pauly-Wissowa." As to Aristotle, we may say that prob- 
ably never has there been such a combination in one person of the 
man devoted to metaphysics no less than to exact study of mathe- 
matics and science. 

But we must go on to the descent and decline, though Stoicism 
presents many noble elements. 



Our interest in the political history of Greece is due, 
in the main, to that other one, namely, in the culture of 
that gifted nationality. The time of Plato's dusk of life 
and of Aristotle's establishing of knowledge as chief end 
of man, — that epoch, I say, witnessed also the rapid de- 
cline of the freedom, at least of the self-determination, of 
the Hellenic commonwealths. A hostage in Thebes in 
his own youth, Philip, son of Amyntas, fully grasped the 
true measure of the political morality of his southern 
neighbors. The narrow spirit of those commonwealths 
had remained narrow, or become narrower. A scholar 
and stylist pure and simple, attaining to a great age with 
undiminished powers of expression, entirely free from per- 
sonal ambition and the rancor of the practical politician, 
Isocrates of Athens witnessed the entire span of things from 
the death of Pericles to the establishment of Macedonian 
supremacy. In the year 340 the Attic observer completed 
his "Panathenaikos" This political essay mirrors the 
political consciousness of the highly cultivated Athenian, 
it mirrors no less what we may call the political morality 
in that eventide of Greek independence. Sparta had never 
recovered herself after her collapse at Leuktra, 371. The 
squabbles at the political congress preceding the catas- 
trophe of Sparta's leadership are noteworthy in our present 
design. It was at Sparta, too (Xen., " Hellen.," 6, 3), 
where, at a Greek congress, the legends of primal times were 
still as potent as ever : Triptolemos and Demeter, Hercu- 
les, Castor, and Pollux were arguments in political debate, 
Thebes still darkened by the shadows of (Edipus, and the 
fear or hope of Persian money a very vivid matter. And 



so even the old Attic man of letters, Isocrates, after these 
events, directs a bitter passage against Thebes unnamed 
(121 sq.), a record of unspeakable crime which they must 
still, and justly, bear. Even more intense is his aversion 
for the Spartans. Their unfriendliness to culture and 
progressive civilization is scored again and again. Cul- 
ture and the arts : " from which they keep away more 
than the barbarians ; for the latter may seem to have been 
both learners and teachers of many inventions, but the 
former have fallen short of the common culture and phi- 
losophy to such a degree that they do not even learn let- 
ters." . . . Decisive is the fall of the Spartan spirit away 
from the immortal sacrifice at Thermopylae, for now " they 
look towards nothing else than how to obtain the greatest 
amount of the possession of others." But we Athenians 
strove to obtain a good name in Greece at large. — 
Every one is possessed with the spirit of covetousness 
towards his political neighbor (244). Much vaunted in- 
deed is the self-control and the subordination of Spartans, 
but they are and abide as impervious to ideas and moni- 
tion coming from non-Spartan Greece as though such 
voices were uttered beyond the pillars of Hercules. In a 
word, the elements and forces that made for separateness, 
for narrow pride, for exaggeration of the particular and 
specific in Greek politics, greatly outweighed those that 
made for harmony, compromise, or union. We may con- 
fidently assume that the majority of Greek politicians had 
an itching palm and that King Philip's gold bought a 
definite number of these patriots in pretty nearly all the 
Greek city-republics. And it was entirely without con- 
sequence that Demosthenes, the Attic champion of a deca- 
dent electorate, named these commercial men in his splen- 
did speeches. Arnold Schnefer presents the following 
summary ("Demosthenes und seine Zeit" II, 40): "It 
was Philip's system to raise up individual dynasts, whom 
he supported with favor and funds, and if necessary with 
mercenary troops. And whenever a Greek community 
crossed his purposes, Philip knew no mercy : of the towns 
he allowed no stone to remain on the other and the people 


he sold into slavery. So had Potidaea fared, Methone not 
much better: a similar fate was to strike Olynthos and 
the Ghalkidian towns, and the entire people of the Pho- 
cians Philip in cold blood abandoned to the vengeance of 
embittered foes." This matter of the Phocians has some 
concern for us. The Phocians in their distressful condi- 
tion, unable further to hold the field against their Boeo- 
tian neighbors, were induced to plunder the sanctuary of 
Delphi (after 354 B.C.) and turn the gold and silver 
anathemata into a war fund and to other purposes. This 
was the " Sacred War," so called, which afforded Philip 
the welcome opportunity to gain power in central 

Onomarchos, their leader, really desired to save his 
desperate private affairs — hence the looting of Apollo's 
shrine and the desecration of the "Navel of the Earth." 
And the willingness with which Greeks everywhere ac- 
cepted coin from melted sacred gifts, proves a certain 
palpable demoralization of religious sentiment such as it 
was. Even from Athens and Sparta came mercenaries 
who eagerly took this Delphian gold. And some time be- 
fore these events, when the Athenian commander Iphic- 
rates was stationed in the Ionian Sea near Corcyra 
(Diodoros, 16, 57) and Dionysius, ruler of Syracuse, had 
sent gods' figures (agalmata) wrought from gold and 
ivory destined for Olympia and Delphi, Iphicrates hap- 
pened upon these sacred ships and despatched to Athens 
for information as to what he should do. And the demos 
ordered him " not to analyze religious problems, but to in- 
vestigate how to furnish enduring support to the troops." 
Thus the Athenians, who prided themselves on their own 
institutional piety, did, in the taunting phrase of the en- 
raged West Greek autocrat, "commit sacrilege against 
the gods by land and sea." 

As for the Phocian looters, some of the treasures had a 
particularly atrocious destination. For even the gold of 
Kroesus now was melted down, and the wanton and wil- 
ful impulses of the leaders were gratified to the uttermost. 
Onomarchos gave lavishly of the Delphian treasures to 


his boy-favorites : Theopompos, a contemporary his- 
torian, wrote of these unspeakable things with full and 
specific detail ("Athemeus," 605, a). These boys were 
all comely, their age, their beauty, their own names, and 
their fathers' names were blazoned through the Greek 
world. And Athenteus himself, who compiled his 
" Scholars' Banquet" about 200 A.D., devotes one entire 
book to the subject of ( v E/3o>?) Eros. 

It is with humiliation and sadness that we comprehend 
the enormous extension and the cancer-like persistence of 
unnatural lust as a veritable institution among the Greeks. 
And those who came later always could point to a splendid 
gallery of men of genius, the very pride of Greece, so 
named, so known. The friendships of the heroic legends 
were thus explained, and Minos whose righteous life made 
him a judge of the dead, Minos it was whom Ganymede 
served. Rhadamanthys was similarly dragged from his 
high estate by the lyre of the impure Ibykos. Ion of 
Chios in detail presented this vicious trend in Sophokles, 
the same Sophokles who wrote the " Antigone " and 
" CEdipus at Kolonos." Saddest of all is this, that Epami- 
nondas is so remembered and so named. And the Sacred 
Band of Thebes. 

But most wretched of all is the fact that a Welcker, a 
Preller, have not been merely mealy-mouthed about the 

And if the men of light and leading were so seized by 
the national plague, what of the vulgar folk ? Now the 
Solonian laws of Athens forbade such a one to speak be- 
fore the demos. But the peal of Aristophanic guffaws 
over and over screams out to his amused fellow-citizens 
that this vice was the veritable preparation for distin- 
guished success on the bema. 

About 345 B.C. ^Eschines at Athens, in playing his 
game of Philippian politics, sought out an active man of 
affairs and public orator, Timarchos, and endeavored to 
bring about his elimination from public life under the 
Solonian statute. The foe of Demosthenes frankly ad- 
mits that he is not impelled by moral indignation, but by 


the motives of a personal political feud. iEschines' 
phrase is decorous, and he speaks of the former lovers of 
Timarchos with an air of distinguished consideration and 
profound social regret, of a matter fairly venial. We 
will, however, give the unscrupulous ex-actor credit for 
one or two phrases, e.g. as "sinning against their own 
bodies" (22), " outrage against his own body" (116) : on 
the whole, however, we are made to feel that notoriety 
would make such a one an object of ridicule rather than 
of moral indignation or censure. 

And the purchasers or seducers are hardly visited with 
any serious strictures at all. We learn also that the chief 
import of the peculiar term of Greek ethics (sophrosyne) 
is, primarily and essentially, continence, abstinence from 

Even more significant than the details of this case 
against Timarchos are some Attic statutes. It was pro- 
vided by Solon (9), e.g. at what hour the free boy must 
go to his classroom ; then, in company with how many 
boys he must enter and when he must leave. The 
teachers of letters as well as the instructors in bodily 
exercise were forbidden in the same statutes to open their 
classroom or wrestling school before sunrise, and enjoined 
their closing before sunset, " rating solitude and darkness 
with much suspicion " (10). The very " paidagogos," 
or boy's slave-escort, is the object of Solon's concern. 

The chorus-leader who undertook out of his own purse 
as a public service (or leiturgia) the training of a 
boys' chorus, must be not less than forty years old. The 
causes of such statutes need no further exegesis from the 
present writer. 

But we must follow ^Eschines one step further. The 
worship of physical comeliness, the craze of the gymnasia, 
the mandatory ecstasy spent on these things from Winckel- 
mann to Pater, — Walter Pater, — all these things which 
your Philistine will dogmatically assert as culture, very 
high culture indeed, all these things we see in the actual 
life of the Greeks were bound up, inextricably bound up, 
with this blackest cesspool of Hellenic paganism. I will 


transcribe further from ^Eschines (13 sq.) ! "After these 
things, then, ye Athenians, he (Solon) lays down statutes 
about misdeeds which are indeed great, but, I believe, are 
taking place in the city ; for it is from the fact that 
certain things are done which it behooves should not, it is 
from this cause that the men of old established their 
statutes. In specific terms certainly the statute says, if 
father or brother or uncle or guardian or altogether any 
one of those who have authority, hire out any one to sub- 
mit to a meretricious relation, against the boy himself he 
(Solon) does not permit an indictment for meretricious 
relations to lie, but against him who hired out and him 
who paid hire in his own interest. . . . And he has 
made the penalties for both alike, and that it shall not be 
obligatory for the boy when full-grown to support his 
father nor to furnish him residence, he shall not do it 
who has been hired out to sustain meretricious relations, 
nevertheless when (the elder) has died, he shall bury him 
and show him the other customary honors." 

While anxious to pass on and away, we pause for one 
further antiquarian observation. It was a condition and 
not a theory with which Athens was here confronted. 
The state in no wise endeavored to extirpate this evil. 
Nay, it went so far as to farm out, annually, the tax for 
sexual immorality (the iropviKov reXos) to the highest 

In his old age (" Laws," 1, 636, 1), Plato wrote of the 
Athletic Schools of Greece as partly wholesome, partly 
noxious. And the beginning of this perversion he ascribes 
to the institutions of the Doric race, — the associations 
there established, he claims, bred this practice. 

Alexander, that rare genius, began his meteoric career 
nobty ; nobly too in maintaining at first a continence rare 
in that time of Hellenic corruption, but during his Asiatic 
campaigns this virtue was abandoned. I will record for 
him these nobler beginnings only. "When his admiral 
Philoxenos wrote to him, that there was with Philoxenos 
a certain Theodoros of Tarentum who had for sale two 
boys of surpassing comeliness, and inquiring whether he 


should purchase them, in a fit of annoyance, Alexander 
shouted many times at his friends, asking whatever base- 
ness Philoxenos knew of him (Alexander) for squatting 
there and sheltering such opprobrious things. And 
Philoxenos himself Alexander in a letter abused roundly 
and bade him send Theodoros together with his wares to 
perdition" (Plutarch, "Alex.," 22). Maximus Tyrius, a 
Greek essayist and philosopher (fl. ab. 200 A.D.), wrote 
a number of long-winded essays discriminating between 
pure and impure love, particularly among the philosophers, 
for these, from Socrates downward, were the object of 
constant innuendo and imputation on the part of the 
general public or from the sectaries of other schools. 

Xenophon has immortalized Socrates : but he also makes 
him the centre of a banquet where (as with Plato) love 
was the chief theme. But always in the same direction, 
at best an apotheosis of comeliness. And so Kritobulos 
says there ("Symp.," 4, 12): "For now I take more 
pleasure in gazing on Kleinias than upon all beauty in 
the world; and I would be content to be blind for all 
others rather than for him, and him alone ; and I am dis- 
tressed at night, and in my sleep, because I see him not, 
and to the day and the sun I am very grateful because 
they reveal Kleinias to me. And indeed we fair ones 
have a right to be proud of this also, that the strong man 
must acquire his boons by exertion, and the chivalrous 
man by facing danger, and the wise man by discourse : but 
the comely one even when at rest can accomplish any- 
thing. I, at least, although I know that money is a 
pleasing possession, would more gladly give my possessions 
to Kleinias than accept a second estate from another, and 
more gladly would I be a slave than free, if Kleinias were 
willing to rule over me." 

Into this Attic society came Menander, an Athenian 
of the Athenians, with his society plays, standard and 
model of the New Comedy as the Alexandrines reckoned the 
chronicles of Greek letters. Rather more than a generation 


after Xenophon's old age, he began to produce plays under 
the public system of dramatic production. Born in 342 
in the very eventide of Attic autonomy, he began to present 
dramas in the Dionysiac theatre completed by the worthy 
Lykurgos (son of Lykophron). His "Wrath" was his 
first production, given in 321, when both Alexander and 
Demosthenes were dead, and the sympathies of his country- 
men were turned away from political concerns. Menander 
seems to have mirrored the life of his town and time with 
admirable fidelity, nor are there lacking notes of his own 
soul. Most of our insight into his matter and art we owe 
to Terence. But his range, in the one hundred and five 
plays produced in thirty years, must have covered every 
detail of Attic life and sentiment. We are grateful to 
him that he seems to have kept his pen away from the 
cancer. The moralizing extracts of Stobseus, the cyclo- 
pedic interest of Athenieus in the surface of things, 
these and a few other preserving factors are too narrow 
to permit much real grasp of the plots of these perished 
plays. It is clear that the variety of his themes was vast, 
and that the strains of social interests were equally catholic 
and comprehensive : — " The Brothers," " The Fisher- 
men," " The Girl from Messenia," " The Girl from 
Andros," "The Man-woman or the Cretan," "The 
Cousins," " The Distrustful Man," M The Arrephoros 
(carrying certain sacred objects in procession), or The 
Flutegirl," "The Shield," "The Self-mourner," "The 
Feast of Aphrodite," "The Boeotian Woman," "The 
Farmer," "The Ring," "The Craftsman," "The Twin 
Girls," "The Grumpy Man," "The Self-tormentor," 
"The Heiress," "The Eunuch," "The Man from 
Ephesos," "Thais," "The Woman from Thessaly," "The 
Girl Possessed," " The Treasure," " Mr. Lionbold," " The 
Priestess," " The Men from Imbros," " The Groom " (or 
Stableman), " The Basket-bearing Girl " (of sacred pro- 
cession), " The Carian Woman," (professional mourner), 
" The Carthaginian," " The Woman's Headdress," " The 
Lyre-player," "The Woman from Knidos," "The Flat- 
terer," "The Pilots," "Drunkenness," "The Woman- 


hater," "The Ship Owner," "The Legislator," "The 
Woman from Olynthos," " Wrath," " The Babe," " The 
Concubine," " The Woman from Perinthos," and others. 

A mirror of Attic life, I said. Life of the cultured 
classes, in the main. But we harvest little; we glean, in 
this field, merely a few ears, or grains even. 

Everything in the plots and plays seemed to revolve 
around the family. The son and heir yields to his appe- 
tites, and is entangled in some intrigue with a courtesan 
or mistress. His former paidagogos slave is his chief 
counsellor in the ever recurring task of outwitting the 
suspicious father, or in raising money for such amours, or 
in postponing the inevitable day when his father presents 
him with a marriage pact arranged and made for him. 
The essential disruption and demoralization of filial vir- 
tues is the chief and salient feature of these plays. Love 
is chiefly appetite, and romance, if romance there be, is 
perhaps this, that the girl to which the stripling clings 
awhile, is really an Attic girl, shipwrecked once, or ex- 
posed, but saved : when ring or bauble aid in the task of 

When fathers utter their woes or worries, their point 
of judgment rests merely or mainly on profit and loss, 
social or pecuniary disadvantage : the moral judgment is 
drifting on the ocean of life without compass, rudder, or 

Woman, mother or daughter of Attic citizens, appears 
in narrow spheres. The mother, particularly, unless she 
is a great heiress, is presented almost invariably, in a 
humiliating fashion. Menander, it is true, takes a certain 
delight in bringing into final discomfiture easy-going 
moralists, fathers such as Chremes in the " Self-tor- 
mentor," or Mikion in the " Brothers." Be easy with 
your son, be diplomatic, close your eyes at the right time, 
open your purse, remember your own youth. Still fathers 
are entitled to some consideration. 

"Scortari crebro nolunt, nolunt crebro convivarier," 


these things may be done in moderation, but the drafts 
upon the father's purse must not be excessive. 

The same self-complacent philosopher, when he realizes 
how wasteful his son's intrigues are, determines to make 
him the pensioner of the proposed son-in-law, and turns 
furious and desperate. 

This same gentleman's demeanor to his wife is rudeness 
and contempt. The poor lady, in turn, fairly falls at his 
feet, when she confesses that she found it hard to have 
her baby daughter perish by exposure (" Hauton Timor- 
umenos," 626 sqq.'). " You remember that I was pregnant 
and that you laid down the law to me very strongly, that 
if 1 were to give birth to a girl, you did not want it reared? 
Chreme8: I know what you did: you reared it. Sostrata: 
Oh no, no ; but there was here an old Corinthian woman, 
not so bad : to her I gave (the babe) to expose. Chr ernes: 
O Zeus, the idea that you should be so stupid! Sostrata: 
lam undone. What have I done? Chremes: You ask? 
Sostrata: If I have done wrong, my dear Chremes, I did 
it unwittingly. Chremes : Indeed I know that matter 
indeed, for sure, if you were to deny it, that unwittingly 
and without being aware of it, you say and do everything: 
so many misdeeds you exhibit in this matter. For now, 
in the first place, if you had been willing to carry out my 
orders, you should have killed her, not pretend death with 
words, actually, however, to give hope to life. But I pass 
that by: pity, a mother's feeling; I let it go. But how 
well you carried out my will, reflect on that. For aban- 
doned to that old woman by thee was our daughter, down- 
right so, I tell you, as far as you were concerned, that 
either she should become a professional courtesan, or sold 
into slavery openly. I suppose your thought was this : 
4 anything at all is better, if only she live.' . . . Sostrata: 
My dear Chremes, I have done wrong, I confess it, I am 
defeated. Now I make this entreaty: since your spirit, 
my dear husband, is naturally more prone to forgiveness, 
that there be some protection for my folly in your love of 
justice. ..." But enough of this. The gloom and misery 
of the Attic woman's apartment was rarely illumined, and 


then by some religious anniversary or celebration rather — 
for if we were to call Decoration Day or Fourth of July, 
with us, in the United States, religion, it would not be 
very apt, as we feel the import of the word. The Attic 
lady was not given to read Plato or ponder on the match- 
less symmetry of domestic sculpture : the futilities of the 
toilet filled her life, too. The husband of your typical 
heiress was largely concerned with settling tradesmen's or 
shopkeepers' bills : " Now wherever you come, more car- 
riages you may see in (the courts of) mansions than in the 
country when you visit your farmhouse. But this also is 
a fair thing, far more so than when they demand expendi- 
tures. There stands the fuller, purple-dyer, goldsmith, 
linen-draper : the restaurant-keepers, embroiderers, upper- 
tunic makers, bridal-veil makers, dyers in violet, dyers of 
wax yellow, long sleeve-makers, or perfumers, the sitting 
shoemakers, slipper-makers, the sole-makers wait, the 
makers of woman's robes from mallow-fibre, the baggage- 
carriers want their pay, the bosom-band makers wait, the 
makers of half -belts are waiting. At last you may think 
they are despatched. Endless the string of watchmen in 
the pillared courts : the weavers, border-makers, the manu- 
facturers of little jewel-cases. ..." (Plautus, "Aulula- 
ria," 505 sqq.). 

We must not pass on without noting the bald fact that 
the procurer throughout the Greek world on both sides of 
the ^Egean plied his trade in buying, selling, or exchanging 
his wares, even by the cargo, according to local market 
demands, and that he made time-contracts in legal form, 
and further that the governments everywhere enforced 
these contracts, as they did the others. 

I cannot dwell on these things any further. 

The New Comedy, I have said, presents Attic civilization 
old and in a way finished: it has indeed reached a certain 
consummation. Its presentation of decay is more cool and 
deliberate, when we study extracts from Philemon or 
Menander dealing with mockery of philosophy and philos- 
ophers, with the problems of Fate and Tyche (Fortune — 
Accident), Providence, the Social order, worship, the 


value of Life. Through it all runs, like a red thread, the 
Attic love for problems, and the pruritus disputandi, 
the nimble readiness to enter upon any subject whatever 
in a dialectic and discursive way. The fact is, Menander 
is the new Euripides, but there is all over him a calm and 
a withholding of his inner man, quite different from the 
restlessness and querulousness of the older dramatist. 
Otherwise, both pursue that which Matthew Arnold 
(quite absurdly) ascribed to Greekdom at large, " to let 
their intelligence play around everything." Plato had 
attempted to determine the essence of the Good. But 
clearly it was caviary to the Athenian Philistine. " Just 
as Aristotle always used to relate (viz., to his students) 
the experience of those who heard Plato's lecture or Course 
about the Good; for every one approached him assuming 
that he would get something about the conventional human 
goods. But when the discourse appeared as dealing with 
learning, with numbers, and with geometry and astronomy 
and the Finite, that the Good is one, I believe it utterly 
impressed them as odd." 

As to the grief of that community for the execution of 
Socrates, I am sceptical. Was that great character really 
ennobled in Attic concern ? More than fifty years after 
the philosopher had drunk the hemlock administered by 
the Athenians (in 345 B.C.), the politician iEschines re- 
ferred to Socrates as the well-known " Sophist," whom the 
people once made responsible for Kritias ("contr. Ti- 
march," 173). 

" The philosophers inquire, as I have heard, and on this 
they consume away much time — What is Good, and 
not one has yet found what it is. Virtue and Intelligence, 
they say and they name everything rather than What is 
the Good" (Philemon, Fragm. 67). As for the essence 
of the supreme God: " He whom no man deceives in any- 
thing he does, nor in that he will do, nor what he has done 
long ago, nor God nor man, this am I, Air, whom also one 
might name Zeus. And I (a God's achievement this) am 
everywhere, here in Athens, in Patrai, in Sicily, in all the 
towns, in all the domiciles, and in you all: there is no place 


where Air is not; and the omnipresent must needs know 
all things for his being everywhere " (Philemon, Fragm. 
84). A slave, it seems, is the speaker in the following 
passage dealing with universal dependency: "For one man 
is my master, but of these and thee and others number- 
less, 'tis law; of others, autocrats, and these have for their 
master, Fear : slaves are the possession of kings, the Kings, 
of gods, and God, of Necessity " (Fragm. 31): we see the 
fundamental ideas of the Homeric world still prevailing. 
And Homer still is the poet incomparable (Fragm. 93). On 
the problem of that which we would call conscience : " For 
whosoever of himself is not ashamed, himself that conscious 
is (yvveihora) of having perpetrated evil things: how will he 
be ashamed of him that knoweth nought ? " (Fragm. 146). 
Attic soil was thin and poor: we seem to hear the 
tiller's voice as to the niggardliness of Earth: " with diffi- 
culty, barely, as in debt the principal, doth she pay the 
seed, but interest she robs, forever devising some pretext, 
to wit, some drought or killing frost" (Fragm. 86). Still 
more keenly pessimistic is this utterance : " O blessed 
thrice and thrice endowed with wealth the beasts, who of 
these things hold no discourse, nor any of them resorteth to 
convincing proof, nor have they any other evil of this kind 
brought from abroad; but nature such as each brings on, 
this straightway also has for law. But we, mankind, we 
live a life not worth the living (a/3tWoz> fiiov); we are en- 
slaved to opinions, statutes have we found, in thraldom to 
our ancestors and to our offspring. There is no way of 
missing trouble, but ever some pretext we do devise " 
(Fragm. 90). We see there were Rousseaus before 
Rousseau. The essence of moral goodness is freedom: 
we append these lines, which do credit to Philemon's 
judgment: "A righteous man is not he who does no 
wrong: but he who can do wrong, and does not will it; 
nor he who did refrain from taking petty loot, but he who 
takes his stand like steel, not taking large things, who 
could possess and hold control, and know no loss ; nor he 
all these things maintains alone, but he who has a nature 
free from guile, both righteous will be and seem to be " 


(Fragm. 92). Fine lines, I trust my clerical readers will 
admit, if such readers I may have. These may be in- 
terested to learn that Hugo Grotius, in his day deeply 
impressed with their lofty moral tone, claimed for them 
Christian authorship. As for G-od and his essence — God, 
mind you, not gods — we owe the following to Stobams 
too: " Believe in God, and worship him, but do not search; 
for nothing but the searching hath thou for thy pains. 
Whether he be, or be not, do not wish to learn, as being 
do thou worship him and ever being by "(Fragm. 112). 

And now for Menander. We have many reasons for 
believing that this literary leader held a philosophy not 
differing greatly from that of his friend and fellow-pupil 
Epicurus. " For good men Intelligence is god, ye wisest 
of the wise " (Fragm. 14). " Fair reasoning — all things 
are sacred for it : for Intelligence is the god who will 
give utterance" (Fragm. 71). Even more do we feel 
the affinity in the following lines : " Ever do thou drive 
out of life the thing that doth annoy ; our span of life is 
little and a narrow time we live " (Fragm. 401). Be 
master of thy soul : " a human being as thou art never 
demands from gods the painless state, but enduring spirit. 
For if thou wouldest painless be throughout, thou either 
must be God or soon a corpse. Console thyself for thy 
evils through alien evils" (536). But again: "While 
all mankind by nature many evils has, pain is the greatest 
evil" (642). 

Reserve in judging of riches : " A sightless thing is 
wealth, and blind it renders those that fix their gaze 
upon itself" (83). "Of wealth thou talkest, unabiding 
tiling. For if thou knowest that these things will 
remain with thee for all the time, guard it, give 
no share of it to any other, thyself its master ; but if 
not your own, but all you hold as fortune's fief, why 
shouldest thou begrudge, my father, any one of these," 
etc. (130). u I thought the rich, friend Phanias, who 
know not borrowing, they did not groan of nights, nor 
tossed on their couch and uttered cries of woe, but 
slept a sleep of sweetness and of calm, — but beggars 


did these former things. But now I see that you too 
whom they call the rich, are troubled just as we. Is 
there, then, some affinity 'twixt pain and Life ? It dwells 
with life luxurious, abideth with a life of high renown, 
it groweth gray in equal pace with poor man's life" 
(274). "None did enrich himself with speed and hold 
to righteousness ; one gathers for himself and stints ; the 
other lies in ambush for the one who guards it all along, 
and thus with one fell swoop he holds it all." 

Menander never married, and his whole philosophy is 
counter to the troubles of matrimony, to the anxieties of 
paternity. " You'll marry not, if you have sense, and 
leave this life behind ; for I myself have wed ; therefore 
I warn you not to marry. B. Decided is the matter : let 
the die be cast. A. Complete it, then. May you be 
saved now. Into a veritable sea you'll plunge, of troubles, 
not Af ric, not iEgean Sea : where of thirty craft not 
three are saved ; but not a single one who married, has 
ever had complete salvage " ($>). " What sort of thing 
it proved to be, to become the father of children ! pain, 
fear, concern, nor is there any consummation " (408). To 
which we add the bitter sneer : " The mother loves her 
offspring more than father does : she knows her son to 
be her own, and father merely doth suppose " (631). 

The old cry and question : is Life worth living ? is man 
really the crown and apex of this world of being ? this old 
problem of the pessimist seems to have not rarely been 
discussed in that weary and surfeited civilization. Thus 
we read : " If of the gods one should approach and say : 
4 Kraton, when you have died, you will again exist, from 
the beginning ; and you will be whatever you do choose, 
a dog, a sheep, a goat, a man, a horse ; for two times must 
thou live, for this is fate's decree, choose what you will. 
. . . All things rather' — I think I then would promptly 
say, 'make me but human being ; this animal alone is 
wrongly prosperous, and wrongly fares it ill. The finest 
horse has more careful keep than other ; if thou be a good 
dog, more honored art by far than worthless cur. A high- 
bred cock has other feeding, but the low-bred even fears 


the finer one. If a man be good, well-born, of great no- 
bility, it helps him nothing in the present generation, best 
fares the flatterer, blackmailer next,' " etc., etc. (222). A 
similar note: "Him deem I favored most of fortune, who 
speedily departs to whence he came, when he has viewed 
these things of majesty : the common sun, the stars, and 
water, clouds, and fire ; for even if thou livest a hundred 
years, these always will thou see abiding by: and if thy life 
be but a narrow span of years, more stately than these 
thou never wilt behold " (470). 

What of worship, then? "As the house-breaker's 
sacrifice, bearing along couches, jars of wine, not for the 
gods' sake, but their own ; the incense belongs to piety, 
and the sacrificial cake here the god received, cake wholly 
laid upon the fire ; but they lay upon (the fire) the edge 
of thighbone and the gall and bones they cannot eat, for 
the gods, and they themselves always gulp down the rest " 
(131). The essential point of a thoughtful critique of 
popular religion is well presented in the following lines : 
" No god saves one man through the other, woman ! for if 
with cymbals man drags the god to what he wills, then he 
who does this overtops the god. But these are instru- 
ments of livelihood and daring, designed by shameless men, 
Rhode dear, and formed for laughing stock of human life." 
Thus on the Attic stage : perhaps of private or foreign 
sacrifices, but really, the judgments seem to be sweeping 
and universal (" Men.," Fragm. 237). Still bolder the fol- 
lowing ritual on the stage, a very part of the play : " Liba- 
tion! — (you keep behind me and hand me the entrails; 
whither do you glance ? ) Libation ! (slave Sosias bring 
on!) Libation! (very good, pour in). Let us pray to 
all the gods and goddesses of Olympus (take the tongue 
in this, d'ye hear) to give salvation, health, many blessings, 
fruition of now existing blessings to all ; this let us pray 
for" (287). A scene, as we learn from the excerptor 
Athenseus (659, d), occurring at the celebration in honor 
of Aphrodite Pandemos, in Athens. Men were more tied 
down to attendance on ritual after they married, that is, 
their wives would certainly go and there was no other 


escort but the husband: "The gods grind us to powder, 
us mainly who have wed, for always is there need to keep 
some festival. We sacrificed five times a day and seven 
servant maids encircling the timbrels rang again. " Strabo 
the excerptor suggests that it was the expense that was so 
ruinous for the married man ("Men.," 317). Nowhere 
do we gain a closer vision. Another view : " Then, how 
we fare and how we sacrifice, 'tis not alike. When for the 
gods I bring a small sheep (enough for them), purchased 
for ten drachmas ($1.80), flute girls and ointment, harper 
women, and wine from Mende, Thasos, eels, cheese, and 
honey, the total sum amounts to a small talent (I read 
/M/cpov raXa^Toy), 'tis worth our while to get a blessing for 
ten drachmas if also well-omen'd sacrifice has been made 
for gods: but to consume the killing cost of these in add- 
ing to the other — how is not the misery of the sacrifices 
doubled? " (308). Compare also St. Paul, 1 Cor. 8, 4 sqq. 

And now for Providence and Plan of world and life. 
"Do you believe that the gods have so much leisure 
as to assign to each one their daily trouble or blessing ? " 
(176). " Chance I dare say it seems is god, and he doth 
save many of the things which none perceive" (284). 
Again: "Do stop, ye who have sense; for man's intelli- 
gence is no more, nor aught, than Chance, whether this be 
breath divine or be intelligence. This 'tis that pilots every- 
thing and twists and saves, but Providence of mortality 
is smoke and empty talk. Believe me and do not cen- 
sure me: all that we think or say or do, is chance ..." 
(461). "O man, sigh not nor grieve excessively. The 
money, wife and offspring — many children, which chance 
has loaned thee, these it took away " (559). 

" Impossible that there exists a palpable body of chance ; 
but he who did not bear his affairs conforming to nature, 
he dubb'd as Chance what was his own bent of character " 

But a friend of Menander builded and joined together 
a philosophy — a system of thought, which mirrored the 
declining generations of Hellenism and endured long, 


Epicurus. A quietism this system, quite different from 
that of Port Royal, in Pascal's time, but still a philosophy 
of rest, of a search after rest and after a soul unperturbed. 
Epicurus (341-270) was the son of a poor schoolmaster. 
The latter went to Samos to get a land-allotment there. 
The bitter sneer and the professional vanity deeply bound 
up with academic careers has added some dusky splashes 
to the portrait of Epicurus handed down by the Greek 
world. Some later Stoic scholars told of him, that as a 
young lad he went about with his mother to the dwellings 
of the poor and recited formulae of religious purification 
(tcaOapfioL): he who made it his life work to disestablish 
and destroy what power popular religion and traditional 
cults had on the souls of the Hellenic world. After try- 
ing his pinions for didactic flight in several towns of Asia 
Minor, he settled himself at Athens and gathered around 
his person a school of fervid adherents, in 306 B.C. A 
little more than for a generation he was the first head of 
the school named after him. A little park ("garden") 
outside of the walls he purchased for eighty minse. It 
remained in the possession of the school, and was one of 
the spots shown the traveller. Critical and contemptuous 
as was the attitude of the Epicurean schools towards all 
theses non-materialistic or purely dialectical, your genuine 
follower of the Garden learned by heart the master's chief 
tenets. The "chief tenets," or "sovereign precepts "(/cu/amt 
ho%ai), were inculcated and transmitted like a catechism 
of positive revelation. We have reason to believe that 
the school found its best bulwark in ignoring, or in genuine 
ignorance of, other schools. 

Even in his life, he was idolized by his sect : and the 
twentieth Gamelion was a high holiday : every twentieth 
was an Epicurean sabbath. For his people saw in him 
not a great investigator of scientific facts, not a great dia- 
lectic hero, not a brilliant author — he was none of these 

— but a spiritual deliverer and saviour — if I may use the 
noble term to elucidate the warm admiration of his fold 

— a veritable saviour of souls, they claimed, from the 
yoke and thraldom of Fear, Care, and Unrest. 


He borrowed heavily from the tenets of Demokritos of 
Abdera — greatest investigator of actual phenomena before 
Aristotle. Demokritos lived from 460 B.C. to beyond 
373, a man of large mould — never mentioned by Plato, 
whose antipathies for the Abderite's uncompromising ma- 
terialism and mechanism were stirred and wounded to the 
quick. But Aristotle studied him critically. Demokritos 
taught in his "Diakosmos" (Survey of the Universe) 
that all being was resolvable into the two principles of the 
Atoms and Vacuum : both infinite and eternal. There 
is no evolution out of nothing, but matter is eternal. 
The atoms constitute things living or otherwise — through 
contact, and their position and combination account for 
all concrete things. The spherical movement of atoms is 
from eternity. All life so-called is but a transitory com- 
bination of atoms. It is futile to ask after the Why and 
Whither of our world : there is but one object of our con- 
cern, viz., necessity. 

" The men of old, beholding the phenomena of the sky 
(to. iv rot? /jLerecbpoL? TraOrjixaTa), such as thunder, lightning, 
and thunderbolts, and the meeting of celestial bodies, 
eclipses of sun and moon, were filled with fear, believing 
that the gods were the causes of these things " (" Sext. 
Emp. adv. Mathem.," 9, 24). There are innumerable 
worlds made in time and perishable. 

Sweet and Bitter, Hot and Cold, Colors all — these 
things or qualities are merely subjective and by human 
convention. We do not indeed know anything infallibly 
and actually, but are only aware of physical changes or 
dispositions in ourselves. And still he postulated an image 
or perception of things true and genuine : while the image 
furnished by sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch is 
darkish or obscure (a/corty'). 

Water, Air, and Earth are developed one from the other. 
There is a homogeneous material relation between the 
perceiving and the perceived, an affinity of substance. 
Combination and dissolution make birth and death, re- 
arrangement of position of atoms makes that which men 
call change. But enough to point to the fountain from 


which the philosopher of the Garden drew his beakers 
of the beverage of wisdom. 

Your follower of the Garden was not asked to study- 
first geometry and logic, empirical, psychological, or lit- 
erary criticism. Erudition as erudition was tabooed. I 
had almost said shooed from the Garden. 

Consider the aim (reXos). This system did not propose 
to rival with the scholarship and with the science of the 
Lyceum. The claim was that they aimed at the high- 
est thing in this world and in this life : simply Happi- 
ness — as all living beings did — it was both the Unity 
and the Truth of living. A school of Happiness at one 
(in this striving) with the Universe and with all History 
and all experience. Futile is mathematics : it contrib- 
utes nothing towards accomplishing this wisdom of 
Happiness. The learned labors of astronomers are fit 
for slaves, drudgery contributing nothing to Happiness. 
Definitions, Classifications, and Syllogisms are mere lum- 
ber of the schools. 

Even the study of Nature as matter propelled by purely 
mechanical causes — even this were worthless and dis- 
pensable, did it not contribute so decisively to Happiness 
and thus to the Aim of Living. And here we have 
crushed the shell and come upon the kernel of the nut : 
"After all these things (viz., the purely materialistic 
exposition of the phenomena of the sky) we must per- 
fectly comprehend that the most sovereign disturbance 
realized in human souls lies in this, that people opine 
those things (the phenomena of the sky) to be blessed 
(fia/cdpia, Diog. Laer., 10, 81) and that (people) have 
desires and at the same time both doings and motives 
which are set against (this belief) — and in this, that 
men always look forward to something awful of eternal 
duration or suspect it in accordance with the myths, 
dreading also the non-sentient condition which is in- 
herent in being dead (t^i/ avaiaO-qalav ttjv h rw reOvdvau), 
as though it had any bearing on them. ..." 

There are no underlying causes other than those of 
matter : the chief function of philosophy as well as of 


all other processes of research is this : to eliminate, nay, 
to eradicate, those fanciful opinions that "frighten the 
others to the uttermost" (ib., 82). 

This peace of soul, then, Epicurus promises to his sect, a 
boon that mere erudition and all its works cannot accom- 
plish or bestow. It is to this end that " genuine Nature- 
love," that the Atomistic speculation is really directed. 

Phrases like these were ever recurrent in the numerous 
works of this thinker: " The Imperturbability of the soul," 
" Freedom from disturbance and from pain," " Freedom 
from annoyance," " Blessed life," " Imperturbability and 
firm Faith," " to live without disturbance," " genuine 
Imperturbability. " 

As one's comfortable state of being is the principal 
consideration of the wise man, it is clear that the con- 
cerns of others cannot, nay, must not, be brought over- 
much to our attention. 

Pleasure, indeed, and its various categories, at once 
looms up into great prominence. It is not the longest 
but the pleasantest life that we should prize most. 

Of the desires (127), some are natural and others 
empty, and of the natural, some are necessary and some 
are merely natural. Of the necessary ones, some are nec- 
essary towards happiness, others, for the disannoyance 
of physical man, and still others for life itself. It is for 
men to determine what to choose and avoid (aXpeaiM koX 
4>vyr)). But the best part of this book is to consist in the 
presentation of material for the reader's own induction. 
I do not desire to substitute my measure of judgment for 
the reader's own. 

Let us hear the scholarehos of the Garden still further 
on this central theme. u We do everything for the sake 
of this, viz. (128), that we may feel neither pain nor suffer 

Pleasure we recognized (viz., in all human experience) 
(129) as the first good and kindred to us ; . . . " Some- 
times we pass over many pleasures, whenever greater an- 
noyance follows from these. ..." Living, wise conduct, 
we see, is largely an experience in weighing and testing, 


in sifting and selecting, in avoiding and declining. It is 
the system of the Ego. 

The greatest pleasure is afforded, in the enjoyment of 
luxury (130), to those who are least in need of it, and 
"because all that is natural is easily provided, but the 
boon of vain conceit is provided with difficulty. ..." 
" When, then (131), we say that pleasure is the End of 
living (je\o^ we do not mean the pleasures of the disso- 
lute and those pleasures which are based on the act of 
enjoyment, as some hold in their ignorance or their dis- 
agreement with us, or taking it in a bad sense, but the not 
enduring pain in the body nor being disturbed in the soul ; 
for not drinking-bouts nor continuous (132) revelry, nor 
the enjoyment of boys and women, nor of fish and the 
other things which the luxurious table bears, not these 
things beget the pleasant life, but a computation endowed 
with sobriety and one that searches down for the causes 
of every choice and avoidance, and one that drives out 
mere opinions, out of which comes most of the disturb- 
ance that lays hold of souls. ..." 

There is a god or gods in the system. The word 
"atheist" was intolerable to the Greek consciousness. 
The Olympus, indeed, is merely a snow-capped geographi- 
cal point, and the firmament a passing configuration of 
matter. With the periodicity of celestial bodies the god 
of Epicurus is unconcerned: "The divine nature must 
not by any means be brought into connection with these 
things, but it shall be preserved as not subject to service 
and in all its bliss" (97). 

The highest bliss is in possession of God alone : a bliss 
(121) incapable of any increase. " God (123) is a being 
imperishable and blissful, ... do not ascribe to him any- 
thing foreign to his imperishable essence, nor antagonistic 
to his Bliss. Entertain of him every opinion which is 
able to maintain Bliss coupled with Incorruptibility. 

" For gods there are : for manifest is the perception 
thereof. But such as the Many hold them they are not'; 


for they do not guard of them the character in which they 
conceive them, ..." (memorable words on actual Hel- 
lenic religion and worship . . . which we must treasure). 
"And impious or godless (ao-e/^?j?) is not he who does 
away with the gods of the many, but he who attaches to 
the gods the opinings of the many" (123). But gross 
as were the myths of tradition, Epicurus would rather have 
and hold them than the (Stoic) conception of an inexor- 
able Fate of Nature (134). God is utterly unconcerned 
with this work of ours : " The Blessed and the Imperish- 
able neither has any trouble (7rpdjfiaTa) itself, nor does it 
cause them to another . . . it is not determined by Anger 
nor by Favor" (139) . . . 

Civil righteousness and political justice : " The righteous- 
ness of nature is a contract of utility that men shall not 
injure one another or be injured. All beings (150) that 
were not able to execute this treaty (of not injuring or 
being injured) to these the principle of just or unjust has 
no application. . . . Justice was nothing in itself, but 
in the mutual agreements, a contract in given localities, 
not to injure or be injured." 

As to matrimony, the theory of the Garden was in 
harmony with the life and conduct of the master. Love- 
passion the wise man is to eschew (118). Sexual life is 
more apt to be injurious than beneficial. As a rule (119) 
the sage will abstain from marriage and the begetting of 
children: special circumstances only will cause an excep- 
tion. Political life he will avoid: intolerable physical 
suffering he will terminate by his own act. 

Finally, as to death, the end of all and all to the philoso- 
phers of the Garden. "Accustom thyself to the settled 
conviction that Death (124) is nothing to us; since all 
good and evil is in sense-perception: and deprivation of 
sense-perception is death. Hence the right understanding 
of the fact that Death is nothing to us renders the mortal- 
ity of life enjoyable, not in adding interminable time, but 
removing the craving for immortality. For (125) there 
is nothing in the living awful for him who has genuinely 
seized the idea that there is nothing awful in not-living. 


Consequently foolish is he who says that he fears death 
not because it is going to annoy in presence, but because 
it is now troublesome as something of the future tense." 
Clearly somewhat oracular here, our philosopher, in these 
epigrammatic antitheses. 

His own last Will and Testament is recorded by our com- 
piler, Diogenes Laertius, 16 sqq. A kindly spirit towards 
his own is everywhere apparent. The one thing (apart 
from his concern for the preservation of his own name) 
that puzzled me a little was the provision that enagismata 
were to be brought to his father and mother: a consoling 
periodical sacrifice to the shades of his parents. Obvious 
comments are unnecessary for the intelligence of my 

Some three hundred and seventy years after the death 
of this philosopher, Plutarch of Chseronea penned these 
words : " but that visage of death, visage fearful and truc- 
ulent and wrapped in darkness which all secretly dread, 
the state of non-sentience, and of oblivion and ignorance: 
and at the phrases ' He has perished,' and ' He has been 
taken away ' and 'He is no more* they are disturbed and 
are ill at ease when these things are said. ..." (Non 
posse suaviter vivi, c. 26). "The phrase 'that w r hich is 
dissolved is non-sentient and the non-sentient is no con- 
cern of ours,' it does not remove the fear of death, but 
adds, as it were, a demonstration of it, for that is the very 
thing which Nature fears — 

1 But you all may turn into earth and water ' — 

it does fear the dissolution of the soul into that which has 
no intelligence and which has no perception (a dissolu- 
tion), which Epicurus construing as a scattering into 
Emptiness and Atoms even more eradicates the hope of 
incorruptibility, . . ." (ib., c. 27) (er* paWov eKKOTrret, 
rr)v ekiriha rrj<; SufrOapaias'). 

The Stoics present to us the most virile and in some 
respects the most admirable — spiritually admirable — reve- 


lation of the Greek mind : and still they exhibit a body 
of thought and a system of conduct which, as a boreas 
sweeping down among the zephyrs of Capri and Sorrento, 
seems to draw down rudely from its pedestal the very 
incarnation of Hellenic happiness and the sunny content- 
ment with this world of sense and seeming. 

But let us look for some cause and reason for this valu- 
ation. Zeno was a Greek of Kittion in Cyprus, island 
where Greek and Oriental were fused in many ways. We 
will not conjecture vaguely of Phoenician lines or lineaments 
in the physiognomy of the founder of Stoicism: nowhere 
in Greek civilization was Astarte- Aphrodite so slightly 
regarded as in Zeno's system. Futility to pore over the 
meagre data as to his physical person, thin, of dark com- 
plexion, and other accidents. He came to Athens as a 
skipper or trader and finally determined to abide there. 
He heard the wisdom of other schools for many years. 
The emancipation from the world's coveted boons such 
as the Cynics practised with uncomely rudeness — the 
principle of it all, at least, gained his approbation. 
Megarian acuteness of logical analysis had much to do 
also with his making. 

The colonnade, or Stoa, in Athens where he taught has 
given to the world the stern word we all know. Right 
by the bustle and turmoil of the market was this painted 
porch — clearly the Stoics were not a coterie of soft men 
and advanced women like those of the park of Epicurus. 
The very background of the colonnade was adorned with 
paintings, stirring, warlike, legendary, or patriotic: an 
association or environment not antipathetic to the founder 
of the school, who took his turns there with his followers 
— Trojan scenes, Attic legends, but Marathon and Platsea 
as well — the spirit of Theseus and of Athena and Her- 
cules over it all. 

He was a local celebrity at Athens in his lifetime, and 
declined an invitation from Antigonos Gonatas of 
Macedon. Zeno survived Epicurus some eight to ten 
years, dying in 264 or 263, when Rome was beginning to 
grapple with Carthage. One or perhaps two decrees were 


passed by the citizens' general meeting, or ekklesia : the 
Athenians gave him the honors of golden wreath, of statue, 
of burial in their most distinguished Avenue of tombs, 
the Kerameikos. And this was the cause assigned (Diog. 
Laer., 7, 10), " Since Zeno, son of Mnaseas of Kittion, hav- 
ing lived for many years while engaged in the pursuit of 
wisdom, in our city, has throughout been a good man in 
the remaining things and particularly in calling those 
youths who came to be introduced to him, to virtue and 
self-control and gave them an impulse, having set forth 
his own personal life a pattern for all, a life which was in 
agreement with the precepts which he produced in his 
discourses. ..." 

Quite Attic, too, was this provision that one column 
engraved with this decree was to be placed in the Academy, 
the other in the Lyceum — the name of Zeno to be thus 
enrolled directly with the names of Plato and Aristotle: 
the quondam head of a naval and insular empire had be- 
come a peaceful academic town and a Museum of the 
Hellenic past. 

Zeno, if the anecdotes in Diogenes are truthfully or 
exactly transmitted, craved not a large following of dis- 
ciples, nor treated with excess of comity those who came 
to him. 

To a youth who was very talkative, he said (Diog. Laer., 
7, 21): "Thy ears have fused with thy tongue." 

To a comely youth he said : " Nothing is more wretched 
than you fair ones. ..." And here he forsook the 
spirit of the Hellenic world, ascending to a higher plane 
of judgment. Of judgment, but his personal biography 
(ib., 113) is not without stain, for there was no law of 
conduct objective or categorical, but at bottom no man 
had any judge beyond himself, unless the polity and civil 
statute determined. Besides this, there is the salient 
fact that both the followers of specific sects eagerly be- 
spattered the leaders of the other sects with foul matter, 
and that the broad level of Hellenic consciousness, com- 
placent in its view of their cancer, claimed that none 
were better than all, the sages no purer than the rank 


and file ; or, if they seemed to be, that was but a hypo- 
critical pretence. 

As a fact, during his own career in Athens, there grew up 
around him certainly that elusive thougk most real thing, 
a reputation: and in that reputation he appeared to the people 
of Athens as superlatively endowed with the quality of self- 
control (e^Kpdreia)'. his name here became veritably prover- 
bial; his school was held as of those who led the simple life in 
food and drink (ib., 27). The memorial verses of those 
who had had some feeling of his life work and personality, 
laid stress on his sanity of mind and conduct (^aw^poavvr)) : 
thus he attained to Olympus. Or they pointed to his 
sturdy self-sufficiency (airrap/ceta), his contempt for the 
empty boasts of wealth, the essential virility of his philo- 
sophical thought, Fate, Freedom that knows no blanch- 
ing or tremor. Or this, that Virtue is the only asset of 
the Soul, or of commonwealths, too. Still, when Zeno, 
being then very old, broke a finger in an accidental col- 
lision, he departed from life voluntarily. In time suicide 
became an important article in the sum of the Stoic 

The pupil who succeeded Zeno as head and lecturer of 
the stern sect was Kleanthes. The data of his life are 
luminous for our purpose, he was worthy of headship 
because he was a rare virtuoso in the practice of the pre- 
cepts, and this school was more sincere and earnest in the 
practice of its professions. 

To hard wax Zeno compared the ingenium of Kleanthes, 
to a substance resisting impression, but preserving such 
with much endurance. Kleanthes came to Athens from 
Assos in the Troad with four drachmas, his entire worldly 
possessions. Like some of our American students who 
"work their way through college," he worked at night, 
carrying water (Diog. Laer., 7, 168) in the gardens, and, 
later on, the glib Attic tongue made a fair pun on this. 
Antigonos of Macedon — often a sojourner at Athens — 
asked him once why he carried water. And Kleanthes 
answered : "Why, I merely carry water. But why don't 
I ply the spade, too ? Why don't I irrigate and do every- 


thing for the sake of philosophy ? " Even greater, it seems, 
was his moral endurance and his immobility of purpose 
in the face of belittling and abuse. His equipoise under 
uncommon provocation, such as a personal gibe from the 
Attic Stage, arrested the attention and won the admiration 
of the town. His lecture courses he took by using shells 
and the broad shoulderbones of cattle to write on, for he 
lacked the small coin to provide himself with the necessary 
bits of papyrus material. 

Among his writings were three books on Duty. As for 
this word or the concept of the term, it is claimed for Zeno 
(Diog. Laer., 7, 25) that he coined the term (to icaOriicov), 
a matter we will now leave to the registrars of things 
academic. Among his other titles our compiler records 
these: "On Impulse" (or on the vigorous assertion of 
Will) Qrrepl opfMrj^ ; three books on " Duty," on " Free- 
dom," on the " Aim of Life " Qn-epl re\ou?), on the thesis 
that the " Virtue of Man and Woman is the Same " — 
clearly a great step forward beyond Aristotle — on 
" Pleasure," — this no doubt against the School of the 
Garden. At eighty he was stricken with ulceration — 
perhaps with gangrene — of the gums. He refused food 
until he died. 

The vernal clover leaf of this great school had for third 
in its triad the name of Chrysippos of Soloi in Cilicia. He 
laid deeply the basis of erudition and of academic detail 
for this system. He devised the proofs and demonstra- 
tions (Diog. Laer., 7, 179). His literary production was so 
enormous that any finish, or even any concern for style, was 
out of the question. 

A polyhistor, in a way, he browsed on every mead, and 
particularly was an adept in discovering matter in general 
literature, fortifying Stoicism from the Classics of the 
Hellenic world. He died in 207 B.C., at Athens, and his 
ashes were entombed in the Kerameikos. What he and 
others of this sect did for logic and all the range of study 
concerned with human understanding, is not in my prov- 
ince, and may be found in Prantl's learned volume. 

But God and the world, man and conduct, and all the 


Vistas of the Infinite, towards which the human soul 
always seems to be impelled or propelled by a force of 
kinship and eternity — these themes concern us in the 
Philosophy of Freedom. 

Is the world from eternity ? Or is it made, has it 
become ? Is it animate or non-animate ? Is it perishable 
or imperishable ? Is it administered by providence ? 

The passive element in nature (Diog. Laer., 7, 134) is 
matter: uncreated matter, but the active and productive 
element is the Reason in it, God. He does the creative 
acts throughout the whole of the material universe. And 
this principle, divine Reason, is from Eternity. There is 
a process in the mechanism of coming and going accom- 
plished through Heat — it makes organic things and dis- 
solves them at the end. And this primal and eternal 
Being is one, though men name it with various appella- 
tions (ib., 135) : God, or Intelligence, or Fate, or Zeus, and 
many other names. 

The universe they designate also in three ways: " God " 
is identical with this specific and qualified Cosmos which 
we perceive and in which we too have our being — we see 
readily the large pantheistic drift of the System. This 
" God " dissolves the material universe into himself in 
certain periods of time, and again begets it out of him- 
self (137). 

A second appellation of this divine universe is the astral 
system, and a third the combination of these first two. 

Now this Cosmos is administered with Intelligence and 
Providence, and there is a Soul or Animation in the uni- 
verse as it is in human bodies. These are a tiny exemplar 
of the Cosmos which is a living Being, animate, rational, 
and intelligent. Its dominant element is the Ether. But 
at this point, perhaps, we must make a place for the 
famous Hymnos of Kleanthes, preserved by Stobseus 
(" Eel.,'' 1, 2, 12). " Most renowned of immortals, much- 
named one, omnipotent ever, Zeus, leader of nature, pilot 
of Law amid all, hail ! for Thee all mortals are permitted 


to accost. For of thy race are we, alone have we had 
allotted to us some of Thee, alone of mortal beings which 
on earth do live and creeping go. Therefore to thee my 
hymn I'll raise and ever thy puissance sing. Thee obeys 
this Cosmos revolving around the earth wheresoever thou 
leadest and willingly is under thy power. Such thunder- 
bolt Thou holdest in thy invincible hands, thunderbolt 
subservient, two-edged, fiery, ever living. For from its 
blow all parts of nature are numb, by which Thou directest 
the common reason which permeates all and is mingled 
with lights great and small . . . being so great Thou art 
highest King through all. Nor is any deed achieved on 
earth without Thee, O divine power, nor in the ethereal 
divine firmament, nor in the deep, excepting what bad 
men do in their own folly. But Thou knowest how to 
make the crooked straight and to order things disordered, 
and things not friendly (to us) are friendly to Thee. For 
thus hast Thou fitted together into one the good things 
with the evil, so that there is made one rational system 
(\6yov~) of all things enduring forever which fleeing relin- 
quish all those mortals who are evil, the ill-fated ones, 
who, ever yearning for the possession of boons, neither 
behold the common law of God nor hear it, which obeying 
they might have excellent life attended by understanding. 
But they, on the contrary, bound forward without the 
honorable, one for this, one for that goal: some on behalf 
of reputation having a zeal of evil rivalry, and others 
turning to lucre without any seemliness, others to relaxa- 
tion and the pleasing deeds of the flesh . . . some (then) 
are borne at one time towards this, at another time 
towards this, striving throughout to have the reverse of 
these things come to pass. 

" But Zeus, All-giver, gatherer of dark clouds, sovereign 
of thunder, save thou mankind from their grievous lack of 
experience, which, Father, do Thou dispel from their soul, 
and grant that they may happen upon wisdom, relying 
upon which thou governest all things with justice, to the 
end that having been honored (by Thee) we may make 
requital to Thee with honor, singing thy works perpetually, 


as is seemly for one who is mortal, since there is no 
greater privilege either for gods or men, than ever to sing 
the common Law of righteousness." 

From the Stoic god, in due order, we pass to Stoic man 
and to Stoic humanity. Free is man as over against 
any other man, but at the same time his essence and his 
strength and his destiny are that he shall live " in accord- 
ance with nature." Now in my academic youth and 
vernal time, reading much in Cicero's treatises on Greek 
philosophy, I incessantly came upon this axiom of " con- 
sentire naturce " " secundum naturam vivere ",* and that we 
" shall so live as to attain all things which are in ac- 
cordance with nature." But I knew not what nature they 
meant, for that nature of which I had the irrefragable and 
positive test of actual experience was a different power and 
force from this Stoic Nature ; it was irascible, vain, selfish, 
impelled towards concupiscence; it was envious, proud, 
impatient, and one which I often sighed about in the 
privacy of sincere self-communion. What nature, then, 
was that of Zeno ? Clearly something akin to Perfection, to 
an Absolute Law, something endowed with qualities before 
which the purer and nobler aspirations of this soul of ours 
must prostrate themselves, and in conformity with which 
it must seek its highest happiness; something, then, it 
must be, quite different from what we in common parlance 
call " Human Nature." 

Man is the apex of the hierarchy of those beings which 
are constituents, and also works, of this "Nature," this 
Universe, this " God." Now man is made to contemplate 
and to imitate the Universe, man, not at all perfectly 
wrought, but a certain tiny portion of the Perfect. " You 
cannot," said Chrysippos (Plut., " Moralia," Vol. VI, p. 
220, ed. Bernardakis) " find any other (principle or) be- 
ginning of Righteousness than that from Zeus and from 
Common Nature ; for from this source all such must have 
its beginning, if we are to take any ground on Boons 
and Evils." And on the same page says the same 
high authority of the Sect : " For one cannot otherwise 
nor with more intrinsic propriety reach the rational 


explanation (A.0'70?) of the Boons and Evils, nor the 
Virtues, nor Happiness, but from the Common Nature 
and from the administration of the Cosmos." And 
therein men must be content ; — to be good, to eschew 
evil, is the very purpose of this divine and Universal 
Nature, it is here that man may, come what may, believe 
himself in harmony with the Eternal and Imperishable. 
Says Chrysippos : " For otherwise no particular thing 
can come to pass, not even the least one, than in accord- 
ance with the Common Nature and the rational plan 
(\6yos) of the same" (ib., p. 259). 

As to life and happening nothing is isolated; every- 
thing is determined by antecedent necessity : here is 
revealed the living and basic Reason which dominates the 
Universe and should dominate us and in us, if only we 
are wise enough to be in absolute conformity, harmony, and 
loyal subordination — to the Universe, Nature, God. Thus 
normal actuality proceeds with Reason and thus justifies 
itself to our soul as divine, as Fate, as Providence ; in 
common parlance the Hellenes call it the Will of Zeus. 
In the rebirth of living beings and in the continuation of 
organic life this Providence or Fate reveals itself as the 
seed-providing Reason (Xo'70? aTrep/xarLKo^. 

The conception of Design is deeply interwoven in all 
the texture of the Stoic system of thought, and with it 
there goes a certain postulate of gods. 

And now we come from their academic and pantheistic 
god to the popular and traditional gods of Hellenic 

It was the beauty and marvellous order, the Stoics held, 
that roused and kindled in the souls of men the assump- 
tion of God (Plut., "Placita Philos.," 1, 6, 8 sqq.) : 
" For always sun and moon and the remaining constella- 
tions moving in their orbits under the earth " (rrjv irrroyeiov 
<}>opdv) (and back again) rise alike as to tints, and even as to 
measures, both as to identity of spaces and times. There- 
fore those who established the tradition of the worship 
concerned with the gods {top irepl ra>v Oeoiv irapahovrei 
aefiaafiov) did bring it forward for us through three 


forms : first, through the form of Nature ; second, through 
the form of legends ; and third, from that form which has 
derived its evidence from (communal usages) laws. And 
the Nature-form (of worship) is taught by the philosopher, 
and the legendary (or n^thical) by the poets, and the 
statutory is enacted (a-vviararai) by each commonwealth." 
And herein lies a world of significance for this book and 
the author's and his readers' quest. The school assumed 
a conservative, nay a conserving, attitude towards the 
created gods of popular or national worship; some element 
of moral good there might be there, and some check or bar 
on dissolute living or upon the passions : but in concrete 
detail the Stoic scholars resorted to the device of allegory 
and speculative etymology. But the narrower measure of 
these essays and sketches compels us to be content with one 
weighty citation. (Homer and Hesiod they knew had 
come to stay and were more abiding elements in national 
culture than any speculation or dogma of the schools.) 
"Therefore the firmament seemed to them (i.e. to those 
who established the tradition of popular religious usages) 
to exist as Father, and earth, Mother. Of these, the 
former, because it poured out the waters and so had the 
disposition of seeds, while the latter was Mother on ac- 
count of her receiving these seeds and bringing (them) to 
birth ; and beholding the celestial bodies ever running 
and causes enabling us to view, they named Sun and 
Moon gods. A second and third classification of gods 
they instituted, viz., the noxious and the beneficent ele- 
ment : and as the beneficial ones, Zeus, Hera, Hermes, 
Demeter, and the injurious ones, the Poinai, the Erinyans, 
Ares ; appeasing these latter as being difficult to bear and 
fraught with violence. A fourth and fifth class they 
have added through practical concerns and emotions ; of 
emotions, Aphrodite, Pothos (desire); of practical con- 
cerns, Elpis (hope), Dik6 (Justice), Eunomia (good gov- 
ernment). A sixth place is assumed by those moulded 
by the poets. . . . And seventh and after all is that ele- 
ment which has been eminently honored on account of its 
benefactions towards common life, an element of human 


birth, like Hercules, like the Dioscuri (Kastor and Pollux) 
like Dionysos (Bacchus). And they said that they were 
of the form of men (avdpayTroeLSels) because, of all being, 
divinity is the most sovereign, and of living beings (or- 
ganic life, we would now say) man is the comeliest, being 
adorned with virtue in a distinguished manner in con- 
nection with the organization (avaracn^ of Understand- 
ing" (Plut., "Placit. Philos.," 1, 6, 11-15). And thus, 
too, the Stoic lecturers had much to say of Hercules : he 
defeated boar, lion, steer, i.e. the appetites and passions 
of human kind : he destroyed the many-headed hydra, 
that is to say, the endless forms of illicit desire. 

The school earnestly strove to preserve these legends, 
but sought to ennoble them by steeping them in the 
brine of Stoic doctrine. 

But, at last, man himself, man alone, so determined and 
predetermined by the links in the adamantine chain of 
eternal necessity, what should he do ? What is his aim ? 
What is he here for ? 

Self-love and self-preservation are the first ordinance of 
Nature, a law of the Universe : certain things are sought, 
while others are avoided. Later on in each life comes 
the mature use of reason, the finer grasp of what is fair 
and honorable. And here they were not far away from 
the somewhat overestimated categorical Imperative of 
Professor Immanuel Kant — a kind of semper et ubique 
too: an obligation far transcending, in fact, utterly un- 
concerned with, nay defiant of, all motive bound up with 
comfort and convenience. What is the Good ? What is 
good ? What is the Aim ? A happy Life. To be in har- 
mony with the Universe, of which we men are parts. 
We must therefore eschew all things which the upright 
Reason forbids, a law, mind you, which is binding on that 
supreme Divine Force no less than on you and me, on 
Achilles no less than on Thersites, on autocrat no less 
than on slave. You must do that which your reason will 
tell you is the universal law. Your reason knows, and 
particularly is it fitted to guide you when it has acquired 
the true canon of valuation. Let this be briefly outlined. 


Virtue is a practical disposition or faculty (eft?) con- 
sistent with itself and one which must be chosen " for its 
own sake (Diog. Laer., 7, 89), not on account of any fear 
or hope or anything without " — the externals, unrelated 
to the human soul. In such virtue lies the happiness of 

Moral evil there must be, otherwise how could we 
recognize the moral good? (ib., 91). The primary vir- 
tues are : Understanding, Fortitude, Justice, Self-control. 

There is a reaction of the good on him who does it — 
virtue ennobles those who live it. An implied and 
involved result of virtue is joy, a cheery soul, and the 

Of boons (ayaOa) some concern the soul (ib., 95), 
others are external or foreign to it, and still others are 

There are boons which create or make for those other 
ones which are ends in themselves (reXt/ca) : still others 
are ends in themselves, as, e.g., courage, wisdom, freedom, 
joy, cheerfulness, freedom from distress. Virtues alone 
are both means and ends in the determination of happi- 
ness. Everything worthy of the predicate of a good is 
also advantageous, profitable, useful, necessary, worthy of 
choice, righteous. 

The only evils, on the other hand, are moral evils, be- 
cause these only concern the soul and the essential being 
of man, as folly, unrighteousness. Thus the neutral are 
those objects which neither benefit nor injure, i.e. the 
soul : such are, life, health, pleasure, beauty, strength, 
wealth, fame, noble birth, and the like. And neutral 
also are the opposite, as death, disease, pain, ugliness, 
feebleness, poverty, obscurity, low birth — the far-famed 
adiaphora of the school. 

For there was in this school a joy and a defiance, which 
made them love consistency and a certain rigor of logical 
sequence, and a spirit which glorified in paradox. 

As a man of sound bodily health is well in all his parts, 
so the truly virtuous one whose soul is truly whole. The 
concrete virtues are indissolubly connected and bound up 


with one another — there is here nothing partial or ec- 
lectic. Nor is there anything (here they faced sharply 
against the followers of Aristotle) midway between virtue 
and moral evil. There are no degrees : you cannot logi- 
cally speak of something more righteous or unrighteous, 
as a piece of wood is either straight or crooked. 

Let no one rob the school of their coinage of the term 
which we English as duty (/caOrj/cov'). 

It is that " which, when done, has a certain rational 
defence" (i'6., 107). Such acts are " postulates of Rea- 
son" (oaa \6yos alpel 7rote«/), e.g. to honor one's parents, 
brothers, commonwealth, etc. 

After all, Stoic goodness is for an intellectual aristoc- 
racy : the highest category of right action (^tcaTopdwfia) 
none but the Sage can accomplish or do, axiomatic or 
absolute goodness. 

Emotions are a form of evil in the main : the Stoic, 
utterly anti-Hellenic here, pleads the Reason of Nature in 
his rigorous opposition to that soul-weakness and that 
soul-perversion which we call passion, and which sways 
the multitude of the unwise. 

Like his antagonist of the Epicurean School, the Stoic 
aimed at a certain happiness, but his demand that the 
soul-ocean be unruffled by fear, by lust, by desire, nay 
even by ambition, the Stoic's postulate, I say, of a certain 
peace of soul, is infinitely more virile than the other, and 
he alone has taken steps leading towards that difficult 
goal : the conquest of the world. 

Of humility it is true we see nothing either here or 
elsewhere : the spiritual pride of the genuine Stoic is 
gigantic — a self-sufficiency which moves him far away 
from the essence of Christianity — it is in the bliss and 
immortality of God alone that he, God, is above the Stoic 
Sage : this is their boast. 

But in our Roman section we will find the practical 
strength, the incarnation, we may say, of this system, 
which consummates and, in a manner, terminates the nobler 
movement of Greek thought, while it denies the ideals of 
the Hellenic world at almost every point. 


Note. — Praxiteles, the sculptor and lover of the courtesan Phryne, 
was of this period of decadent Greek life, flourishing about 352-336, 
in the age of Philip and Demosthenes. His technical skill indeed 
was marvellous : the limbs of his figures so soft that you seemed to 
see the pulse of life and the quivering muscle. The disciples of 
mandatory ecstasy repeat with dogmatic positiveness the familiar 
phrase of Pliny ("N. H.," 34, 10) : " nil velare Grjecumest." As though 
it were a canon of Art: when even the gesture of Praxiteles' much- 
vaunted Knidian Aphrodite proves a last vain symbolism of the utter- 
ance of Herodotus (1, 8) : " for as she puts off her tunic at the same 
time also does a woman doff her sense of shame." 

As for Aphrodite it was not until down to the time of Praxiteles 
that all drapery was dropped from her figure : and it was felt an act 
of supreme boldness. The simple question will instinctively rise to 
our lips : Why then was not Hera presented as undraped ? Why not 
Artemis? Athena? Why not the Nine Muses? The noted archaeologist 
Heinrich Brunn says of the Knidian Aphrodite : " Here it is . . . the 
merely sensuous appearance, which by itself and alone is to rouse 
pleasurable acceptance. The older idea of an Aphrodite Urania has 
been dropped ; with the drapery also there fell the higher intellectual 
conception " (whatever that may have been) " of the goddess." We 
recall the unveiled contempt in Homer for this Oriental importation. 
The general movement was from chaster conception towards freer : 
so of the painter Polygnotos we are told by Pliny ("N. H.," 58) : " qui 
primus mulieres tralucida veste pinxit " first painted women with 
transparent garment. 

Of Pheidias we are wont to think as a sovereign artist who knew 
how to fuse a certain majesty with canonic truth of sculptural lines. 
The ecstatic, however, should not forget that Pheidias placed the 
figure of a lad Pantarkes near his much-vaunted production of the 
Homeric Zeus — the youth represented as tying his head with a fillet 
(Paus., 5, 11), and they say "that he was a boy-favorite of Pheid- 
ias." This was the " religion " of beauty. Elsewhere Pausanias 
(10, 3, 6) calls him " the beloved " (toi 7r<uSiKa) of Pheidias. 

There is a curious testimony of the soul in the vague and evasive 
phrase coined by the Greeks: the neuter-plural (tol 7rat8iKa) : "the 
boy-concerns " of such or such a one. On the Greek Cancer or the 
Venus Canina, Professor M. H. E. Meier has written a monograph of 
some forty pages quarto, in Ersch and Gruber, and we must acquit him 
of any palliation of this monstrous evil. 

I have already deplored the fact that even the virile JEschylus 
conceived of the friendship of Achilles and Patroklos in this unspeak- 
able mode : also we must here add that the Niobe of Sophocles had 
this matter for its central theme. No, Meier fully and fairly deals 
with " Knabenschandung," as such. Still he, little acquainted with 
the measure of complete harmony subsisting in the Italy of the 
Humanists between wonderful culture and utter moral corruption, I 
say the Scholar of Halle says near the end of his treatise: "Our 


delineation has indeed shown that the vice of sexual violation of boys 
was practised among the Greeks to so deplorable an extent, as must 
be quite incomprehensible on the part of a nation so highly cultured." 
If only culture — sesthetical culture — made in the slightest degree 
for righteousness ! Cf . also Deut. 23, 17 : " There shall be no whore 
of the daughters of Israel, nor a Sodomite of the sons of Israel." 

The citations from Philemon and Menander are made from Meineke's 
edition. As for Epicurus and his school, the entire tenth book of 
Diogenes Laertius is devoted to them. The famous Polyhistor of 
Bonn, H. Usener, has published anew the most important portions 
of these texts, viz., the direct utterances of Epicurus himself. As for 
the so-called letter to Pythokles, I see no cogent reason for doubting 
its authenticity. Further, Usener publishes all attainable fragments 
(so-called) ascribed to Epicurus. The index is particularly valuable : 
" Epicurea" edidit Hermannus Usener, Lipsiae, in aedibusB. G.Teub- 
ner, 1887. 

On all matters of theological speculation among the Greeks, cor- 
sult the learned volume of Krische : " Die theologischen Lehren der 
Griechischen Denker," etc. v. Dr. August Bernhard Krische, Gottingen, 

On Stoics v. esp. Book VII of Diogenes Laertius, and several essays 
by Plutarch, essays rich particularly in direct citations from Chry- 
sippos. (De Stoicorum Repugnantiis : De Communibus Notitiis.) Rit- 
ter et Preller, "Historia Philosophic Greece et Romance ex Fontium 
Locis contexta" Gotha, Perthes, 5th ed., 1875. Zeller's footnotes are 
even more valuable. For the allegories of Greek Religion, see " Cor- 
nuti Theologice Grcecce Compendium" ed. C. Lang, Teubner, 1881. 



The wonderful perfection of Hellenic sculpture and of 
their architecture is so impressive that their religious 
worship, too, has been idealized by many who stand re- 
mote from the real labor of the classicist. We must hold 
fast to the following: in the main the concern of their 
worship was not for spiritual things. As the community 
lived through sun and moon and weather and seasons, it 
besought certain Forces of Nature for their blessing and 
protection. Such acts of worship were largely communal, 
nay political, acts. They commemorated the crises and 
fortunes of the past, they glorified often a legendary de- 
pendence of the particular community on some act of 
founding and beginning — ancestral joy and pride domi- 
nated such anniversaries. These the Greeks called eoprrj 
(Jieort£'), and in the celebration thereof many a little 
valley of Arcadia, or narrow plain, or strip of land along 
some river, felt almost all the sentiment both of nature 
and state-feeling which gave dignity and purpose to their 
whole range of living within those orbits of the sun which 
men call years. In the time of Seneca and St. Paul 
there began to move and stir a new drift, not ignoble in 
aim and design. This was a movement to lay hold of 
noble things in Greek thought, — particularly as worked 
out by Plato and in the Soul-doctrines of Pythagoras, 
— and, at the same time, to maintain the popular 

Plutarch stands as the embodiment of this Renaissance. 

Let us hear some of his utterances on Greek Religion. 

In his essay entitled " That one cannot even live pleasantly 

when following Epicurus," — cap. 20, — he says: "And I 

u 289 


do say . . . , that Atheism is no smaller evil than rude- 
ness and vain conceit, into which we are led by those 
who remove Grace as well as Anger from God. For bet- 
ter were it that there should subsist and be fused with 
the idea of gods a common emotion of reverence and fear, 
rather than fleeing from this we should leave for ourselves 
neither hope nor gratitude towards them nor any trust in 
the blessings we actually possess nor any refuge to the 
Deity for those who are in distress." 

Plutarch's own hopes were for a life after the dissolu- 
tion of this body, a life where the soul is by itself, escaped 
from the trammels of the flesh. Death indeed the begin- 
ning of the truer and the nobler life — whereas now (i6., 
c. 28) we live, as it were, in dreams. "If then sweet from 
every point of view is the recollection of a friend deceased," 
as Epicurus said, " then even now can we perceive of what 
kind of a joy they deprive themselves, believing that they 
receive and pursue spectres and images of deceased com- 
rades, who possess neither intelligence nor perception, but 
there will be associated with themselves again truly both 
their dear father and their dear mother, and perhaps they 
will see a good wife, not expecting it, nor having hope of 
that association and cheer, which those have who hold the 
same views about the soul as Pythagoras and Plato and 

The same thinker, Plutarch, outlines thus the drift and 
attitude of actual, popular, religious feeling (ib., c. 21) : 
" But the disposition of the many and unlettered but not 
altogether bad people toward God has indeed a certain 
shudder and awe blended with the element of reverence 
and honoring : wherefore also it is called superstition 
(heiaL haifiovia) ; but in numberless instances it possesses 
in a larger and greater proportion the element of exceed- 
ing joyousness and good hope, and something that prays 
for, and accepts as being from the gods, all fruition of 
prosperity. And this is clear by the greatest proofs. For 
no form of sojourn causes more enjoyment than that in 
sanctuaries, nor any occasions more than those connected 
with the recurrent festivals, nor other deeds or spectacles 


give greater satisfaction than those which we ourselves 
behold or enact in connection with the gods going through 
ritual acts of pantomime (op f yid%ovT&~) or dancing or at- 
tending sacrifices or initiations." And now follows the 
interpretation of the Platonist : " for not as though associ- 
ating with some tyrants or awful chastisers at that season 
is the soul exceedingly grieved, and humble and cheerless 
as was to be expected : but where most it supposes and 
intelligently holds that God is present, there above all 
other occasions thrusting away from itself griefs and fears 
and worry, (the soul) yields itself to pleasurable emotions 
which are carried as far as intoxication and laughter and 
sport. ..." 

" Rich men and kings always have at their service cer- 
tain feastings and banquets ; but those connected with 
acts of worship and sacrificings, and whenever they seem 
to come into the closest contact through their conscious- 
ness (eirivoCa) with the deity (rod deiov) a state attended 
with the sentiment of honor and reverence, — then they 
have a pleasure and a grace (%«/>«;) which differs much. 
And in this shares no man who has abandoned the convic- 
tion of Providence. For not the abundance of wine nor 
the roasting of meats is that which causes enjoyment at 
the religious anniversaries (coprals}, but also good hope 
and assumption that the god is present with good-will, 
and receives what transpires (to, jcyvofMeva) graciously." 
Thus the nobler soul of Plutarch of Chseronea would 
maintain the rites and ritual of popular religion. 

Now it happened, that some fifty and sixty years later 
another man studied Greek religion as it was maintained 
in the communities, big and little, of old Hellas. And in 
that vigorous current trend of the second century this 
traveller also was wholly absorbed. I mean the concerted 
effort to search out and to repristinate what was fair, or 
old, or classic, in letters, usages, art, religious customs, — 
let us simply call it the Hadrianic renaissance. The trav- 
eller and antiquarian I have in mind was Pausanias. In 
an age when all worked after some classic pattern, he chose, 
not unfittingly, for himself, Herodotus of Halicarnassus. 


The latter's manner, and much more, he gained, as he 
wished to gain, and certainly was praised for gaining. 
And we may safely say that Pausanias in a way and in a 
measure looked out upon human and divine things in the 
spirit of Herodotus. Artificial? Perhaps so, but infi- 
nitely less so than the renaissance of Petrarch, of Bruni 
and Boccaccio and Politian and Poggio and Beccadelli, 
which your Goethe and Wolff bid us all venerate, imitate, 
and consider a consummation. 

But let us permit Pausanias to speak for himself. The 
chief community of Arcadia, once the proud metropolis of 
the same, was then mainly in ruins (8, 33, 1). But, says 
he, " I marvelled not, knowing that the daimonion always 
wills to enact certain things subversive in their nature, 
and that Fortune changes alike all that is strong and all 
that is weak. . . ." And in the celebrities that have seen 
desolation in his time he even includes Delos: "Delos in- 
deed, if you subtract those who arrive from time to time 
from the Athenians to be guards of the sanctuary, as far 
as the Delians are concerned, is desolate of human beings. 
. . ."It was the time when Alexandria and Antioch ut- 
terly excelled. Wretched was the end of Kassander, who 
consistently had rooted out the dynasty of Philip and 
Alexander (9, 7, 2) : " for he was filled with dropsy, and 
from it maggots were bred in him while he was living. ..." 

Philopoimen, the great statesman of the Achaian league, 
paid the penalty for his pride (8, 51, 5). Sulla once 
carried off the sacred-figure (agalmd) of Athena in the 
little hamlet of Alalkomenai in Bceotia: "Him who had 
wrought such deeds of insanity on Hellenic communities 
and gods of the Hellenes, him seized a distemper the most 
joyless of all: for lice broke out all over his body, and his 
former seeming felicity changed into such an end for him ; 
but the sanctuary at Alalkomenai was neglected thencefor- 
ward inasmuch as it had been deprived of the goddess " 
(9, 33, 6). Men must not excessively punish their fellows: 
" envy-producing somehow always on the part of the gods 
are the exceeding measures of punishment" (9, 17, 6). 
Philip, son of Amyntas, restored Minyan Orchomenos: 


but " the influence of the daimonion was bound for them 
ever to depress the scales towards greater weakness " 
(9, 37, 8). On the mass-tomb of the Thebans who fell 
at Chaironeia there is no inscription: because, "as it seems 
to me, because the results from the daimon that followed 
were not in harmony with their brave onslaught " (9, 40, 10) . 

The Phocians listened and accepted the counsel to loot 
the sacred treasures of Delphi, " whether God injured their 
understanding or whether it was in their own native disposi- 
tion to set profit before piety " (10, 2, 3) . — This is the spirit 
of the traveller, and clearly not his own alone. Why, then, 
do men turn to certain gods ? Primarily, because certain 
communities and certain regions claim a specific tutelary 
relation and nestle, so to speak, under the favor of certain 

Springtime and its blossoms: here came the Anthesteria : 
the blessings of the grape and all its works had their re- 
current celebration in spring, also : Theseus, the founder 
of Attic Union, Marathon, the day of Attic glory, had 
their stated anniversaries : the restoration of popular 
government through Thrasybulos was commemorated 
every year. Of the esoteric worship of Demeter and 
Kore, I have written before. In the main, however, this 
life of seasons and weathers, of fruits and flowers, de- 
termined the various forms of public worship. 

Zeus, in all, at Athens ranked lower than his daughter 
Athena. When foul weather brought in the beginning of 
winter, expiatory sacrifices were offered to the god of the 
canopy over fields and farms. " For," says Schoemann, 
" if the heavens were unkind, the god of the heavens cer- 
tainly was so, and because his unkindness might have been 
excited through the fault and sins of men, one must strive 
to appease him through purification and atonement. 
"As the farmer's specific patron, Zeus was worshipped, 
plainly as " Zeus the Farmer," "Zeus Georgos" 

But greater than these and other anniversaries were 
the Panathensea, which Pheidias and his craftsmen have 
so nobly commemorated — Elgin Marbles — : here man- 
datory ecstasy is prescribed. But this is not our concern. 


Athens was, in genuine truth, felt to be the commonwealth 
of Athena herself. The exclusive patriotism, nay partic- 
ularism of the Athenian was fused with sentiments which, 
in a way, we may call religious. Under the ^gis of the 
Incarnation of Understanding your Athenian begrudged 
not to his duller, if brawnier, neighbor 'yond Kithairon, 
the genealogical local legends of Dionysos and the son of 
Alkmene, nor the Ismenian Apollo. 

No, Athens and Attica belonged to, in fact, were, in a 
certain definite and privileged manner, the possession of 
the virgin goddess. And all the art work in the foremost 
sanctuary of the commonwealth bore on the legend of her 
genesis. To recount amid joyous celebration these local 
legends in art, in verse, in hymnos, nay in pantomimic 
reproduction — these things constituted not a small part 
of the worship, so-called, of the Hellenic world. "Sacred 
to Athena is both the rest of the city and all the land (the 
Attic peninsula) likewise — for all those also who have 
an established usage to worship other divinities in the 
country districts (the " Demes "), in not any less degree 
do they hold Athena in honor" (Paus., 1, 26, 6), "and 
the most sacred in common, established many years 
before they were united out of the country districts, is 
the statue of Athena in the present acropolis, but then 
called polis ; and rumor has it that it fell from Heaven," 
as did that of Artemis in Ephesus, Acts 19, 35. 

But this is not an antiquarian book. In all of Pausanias 
I have found few utterances as significant for our common 
purpose as this one, of a sanctuary of Pan at Megalopolis 
(8, 37, 11): "And like unto the most powerful of the 
gods this Pan also shares in the power of bringing the 
desires of men to fulfilment and to practise on the 
wicked such retribution as is meet." A perpetual fire is 
kept burning before this Arcadian deity. 

This utilitarian view at once brings us to the oracles : 
where people ascertained what was profitable to do, and 
what wise to leave undone. Were they all mere anti- 
quarian curiosities in the time of Pausanias? When the 
giants of the dying Roman republic were struggling for 


the control of the Mediterranean world, Pharsalos-time 
48 B.C., Delphi was virtually closed (Lucan, " De Bello 
Oivili "). Men were wont to repair thither in times of 
drought or failure of crops, childlessness, chronic disease, or 
the problems of new enterprise, and large political issues. 

In 150 or so, A.D., when Pausanias recorded things, 
these oracles, in the main, were memories and antiquarian 
matter for local conoseenti. A few, however, seem to 
have survived in a practical way. 

One of these was that of Patrai on western opening of 
the Gulf of Corinth: "An oracle is there free from deceit, 
not indeed for every kind of matter, but in connection 
with the ailing. They attach a mirror to a string of the 
fine ones and then let it down, computing that it shall 
not enter the spring any further but only as much as to 
touch the water with the disk of the mirror. Thereafter, 
having prayed to the Goddess (Demeter) and having 
burned incense, they look into the mirror and the mirror 
shows to them the sick person either living or dead " (7, 
21, 12). 

Still also there survived an oracle of Apollo at Argos 
in the day of Pausanias (2, 21, 1) : "A woman gives out the 
utterances to the public, a woman who keeps from the 
couch of male persons: and when a ewe-lamb is sacrificed 
at night, each month the woman tastes of the blood and 
becomes possessed of the god." 

At Lebadeia, too, it seems the oracle of Trophonios was 
still at the service of those who sought it (9, 39, 5 sqq.}. 
The visitor keeps himself pure and bathes in the river 
Herkyna — warm baths are forbidden — he sacrifices to 
Trophonios and to the sons of Trophonios, also to Apollo 
and to Kronos and Zeus the King, and to Hera, holder of 
reins and to Demeter, surnamed Europe, nurse, once, of 
Trophonios. And at every sacrifice a professional sooth- 
sayer inspects the entrails, and then he prophesies to him 
who descends, whether Trophonios will receive him be- 
nignantly and graciously, and so forth. 

But let us briefly traverse Hellas, guided by the travelling 
and pious antiquarian. 


The chief object in worship was the agalma, or figure of 
the deity worshipped. From the first meaning of the 
word clearly it is an object which causes men to rejoice, 
or a splendid and beatific object ; here it was that thing 
which bestowed on the place of worship its beauty and its 
joyfulness — essentially images, types, forms, representa- 
tions. The temple was conceived ("Pollux") as an abode 
in which the god dwells, sacred, holy, consecrated, not to 
be profaned. Groves and sacred precincts were similarly 
set apart. Often they had the right of asylum. 

It seems the setting up or establishing of the agalma 
was the essential thing. Sometimes it was brought from 
afar, and the worship, may we say, migrated with it. 

Sculptors of these idols the Greeks (" Pollux," 1, 12) 
sometimes called "god-makers," "god-moulders." 

Gods are said ("Pollux," 1, 23 sj.) to be "above the 
heavens, in the heavens, on the earth, in the sea, under 
ground, holding the hearth, holding the city, ancestral, of 
the clan or kin, of the market, of the harvest, of the camp, 
propitious, who turn away evil, who free from trouble, 
who cleanse and purify, who put to flight, saviours, who 
bestow safety, who attend birth, who attend espousal and 
wedlock, who protect the grape." To Zeus alone belongs 
the epithet " bestower of rain " (veuo?), " the descending 
one. . . ." 

And in worship men " wash themselves (ift., 25), they 
purify themselves, they come forward in new garments, 
pray to the gods, raise on high their hands, are said to call 
down the gods, to call up the gods, to ask boons from the 
gods, sacrifice, sing pa3ans, sing hymnos, give initial por- 
tion, burn incense, libate, hang up garlands, myrtle 
branches, bring cakes." Joyous "screaming" is per- 
mitted to women only. And the victims must be " sound, 
straight-limbed, not mutilated, twisted, nor disfigured. 

In all this I said the figure of god and goddess is the 
principal thing. And if I read Pausanias aright, it was 
not always the most perfect productions of Greek art that 
were the most holy or most highly honored by the wor- 


shipper, but these were the older or oldest one, originally 
carved out of wood, scraped and polished, hence the name 
Xoanon (£6avov, feo)). 

In the Academy (says Pausanias) (near Athens) is a 
small temple of Dionysos, into which they carry the 
agalma of Dionysos of Eleutherai (1, 29, 2) every year 
on stated days : perhaps the grape came into Attica from 
Bceotia through that hamlet. 

The Acharnians in Attica call Dionysos dlsolvy (Kissos), 
saying that the plant ivy first appeared there (1, 31, 6). 

Peaks and tops or crests of mountains or mountain 
ranges often had altars under the open sky, to Zeus : on 
Hymettos there was an agalma of the Hymettian Zeus, and 
an altar of Zeus Ombrios, who sheds rain (1, 32, 2). A 
similar altar on Parnes. On the highest points they felt 
nearest to him : high places. 

The people of Oropos on the Sound first established the' 
custom to consider the prophet Amphiaraos a god, and 
later all the Greeks took up this belief (1, 34, 2). 

In Sikyon our traveller found a very old temple of 
Apollo Lykios (of the wolves), quite decayed then. " For 
when once upon a time wolves made visits to their sheep- 
folds so that there was no profit from the latter, the god 
having named a certain spot where lay a dry piece of 
wood, of this piece of wood he gave them oracle that they 
should expose the bark and some meat at the same time 
for the beasts. And them immediately as they had tasted, 
the bark destroyed; and that wood lay in the sanctuary 
of Lykios, but what kind of tree it was, not even the exe- 
getes of the Sikyonians understood " (2, 9, 7). 

A temple of Asklepios was at Sikyon : the local legend 
was that the god of healing, in the shape of a serpent, was 
transported from Epidaurus, on a chariot drawn by a team 
of mules (2, 10, 3). The priestess of Aphrodite there (ib., 
2, 10, 4) must keep herself sexually pure : she is attended 
by a virgin who serves for one year : these two alone are 
permitted to enter in. The worshippers must be content 
with seeing the goddess from the entrance and directing 
their prayers to her from that point, 


In a grove some miles from Sikyon there was a sanctu- 
ary of Demeter and her daughter : the men keep the an- 
niversary festival by themselves, and the women have set 
apart for their worship a separate apartment (2, 11, 3). 

Of venerable Tiryns but the walls were then standing, 
cyclopean walls. On Mount Arachnaios near by, there 
" are altars of Zeus and Hera : when they have need of 
rain, they sacrifice there" (2, 25, 10). Epidauros is the 
chief abode of Asklepios. Within the sacred precincts of 
the grove certain things are forbidden : both childbirth 
and death defile the place, as in Delos. Inscriptions 
abound of men and women who have been healed, the 
diseases also recounted, and the fashion of the cure ac- 
complished (2, 27, 1 8qq.). The serpents there are per- 
fectly tame. 

At Hermione in Argolis there is a temple of Aphrodite 
where maids and widows must sacrifice before the nuptials 
(2, 34, 12). 

From Helos in Lacedsemon, not far from the mouth of 
the Eurotas River, they carry a wooden idol of Demeter's 
daughter annually on stated days to the Eleusinion (3, 20, 

Near Eleusis in Attica they showed the spot where 
Pluton descended to the lower world with the ravished 
maiden (1, 38, 4). 

At Megara they show a stone on which Apollo laid his 
lyre when he assisted Alkathos in building the walls of 
that city (1, 42, 2). The temples often contained a number 
of agalmata of the same divinity, where, as I have said, 
the more or most ancient seem to have been considered and 
honored with more awe than later productions, though 
sculptured or cast by the foremost artists, such as Pheidias, 
Myron, Praxiteles, or Lysippos. 

In Megara Hadrian the emperor had, not long before, 
restored the old brick temple of Apollo in marble : our 
traveller saw three wooden idols (xoana) of Apollo there : 
all were carved of ebony. 

At Corinth there is a subterranean shrine of the marine 


deity Palaimon : whatever Corinthian or stranger here 
swears a false oath, he can in no wise escape the fatal con- 
sequences (2, 2, 1). 

Even when the ancient wooden idols decayed, the ven- 
eration of local religion preserved whatever portion was 
sound, and replaced the other portions with marble or 
other enduring stuff. So at Corinth : "Athena of the 
Bridle " (who assisted Bellerophontes in putting the bit 
on Pegasus) was a wooden agalma, " but her countenance 
and hands and extremities of feet are of white stone " 
(2, 4, 1). 

And this, too, is notable : that no sesthetical enthusiasm 
displaced these ancient objects of worship — nay that even 
cruder and ruder figures of still greater antiquity were in 
no wise removed. In Corinth Pausanias saw an idol of 
Zeus Meilichios (the Gracious) and of " Artemis of the 
Fathers," " made with no art whatever ; for to a pyramid 
is Meilichios likened, and she to a pillar " (2, 9, 6), idols 
long antedating the destruction of the Isthmian emporium 
by the legions of Memmius in 146 B.C. 

The insinuating worship of Sexual Pleasure, as anti- 
quarians abundantly know, came into the Hellenic world 
through Tyrian traders, particularly where the marts and 
the factories of their commercial ventures carried their 
merchantmen. So at Corinth there was an Aphrodite of 
gold and ivory made by Kanachos of Sikyon (fl. 480 B.C.) 
— an Aphrodite carrying the starred heavens (7ro\o?) 
upon her head : in one of her hands she carries a pome- 
granate, in the other a poppy, matters of obvious symbo- 
lism symbolizing fecundity. 

At Phlius, Hebe was particularly worshipped: on their 
castle-hill there was a grove of cypress and in it a " very 
venerable sanctuary of old," in honor of this daughter of 
Hera; Hebe before was called Ganymeda (2, 13, 3). In 
the great Heraion, or sanctuary of Hera, at Argos, there 
were two idols of that sister and spouse of Zeus, both more 
ancient than the colossal figure of gold and ivory wrought 
by Polykleitos : this oldest one once placed as anathema 
at Tiryns, and brought back by the Argives when they 


destroyed that town. This oldest of the three idols 
was of wood of the pear tree. Hadrian dedicated in 
this noted shrine a peacock of gold and precious stones 
(2, 17, 5). 

On the highest point of the citadel of Argos (the 
Larisa) Pausanias observed a shrine of Zeus (Larisyean 
Zeus): the roof had disappeared; the wooden idol of the 
god was no longer standing upon its base. 

At Troezen in Argolis the spot was shown where 
Dionysos brought his mother Semele up from the lower 
world (2, 31, 2). Near Troezen, on the seacoast, the spot 
was shown where once Aithra submitted to the embraces 
of Poseidon, having been lured to a ritual errand by a 
deceptive dream sent by Athena (2, 33, 1). 

This fusing of local pride and legend in the tenacious 
marking of these spots is a veritable feature in the account 
of Pausanias: they showed the precise locality where 
Heracles came back from Hades bearing the Hell-hound, 
where Pluton descended with Demeter's fair daughter, 
where Dionysos went down to bring his mother to 
Olympos, the spring where Hera once a year took a bath 
and became a maiden once more; the spot in Laconica 
where Castor and Pollux were born: where Rhea gave 
birth to Poseidon, where Hera was reared, viz., at Stym- 
phalos in Arcadia ; — where Zeus was nurtured. 

At Thebes were shown very old wooden idols of 
Aphrodite, assigned to the Tyrian founders themselves 
(9, 16, 3). I close this section with some notice of the pan- 
tomimic element in the anniversary celebrations, an element 
which contributed greatly to the perpetuation of the local 
worship of Hellenic communities. At Tanagra annually 
the comeliest youth is chosen, and this one on the anniver- 
sary celebration in honor of Hermes walks about the entire 
circumference of the town walls, having a lamb on his 
shoulders : why ? Because once upon a time Hermes 
turned away a pestilence from Tanagra by carrying a ram 
around the walls (I), 22, 1). 


At Platsea they represent once in six years how the rec- 
onciliation between Zeus and Hera was at one time accom- 
plished. Hera, as often, was estranged on account of his 
ever recurrent amours: Zeus, advised by Kithairon (then 
ruler at Platsea), wrapped a figure and concealed it on a 
cart drawn by oxen, saying that he was bringing home a 
new wife. Hera, informed of it, overtook the team, but 
discovered to her great satisfaction merely a wooden figure. 
Hence the Platseans call their commemorative celebration 
" Daidala." They place meat, driving off all other birds 
but the crow: and upon which tree in a certain oak forest 
the crow alights, from the trunk of this tree they take 
wood to make their "Daidalon." The figure is adorned, 
conveyed to the Asopos River, and set upon a wagon : then 
there is a procession up Kithairon, where sacrifices and 
feasting were made. 

But why go further? Spiritual elements? Hardly. 
And we see that spirit, in which the epics of old were 
sung, prevailed and persevered somehow. The people 
themselves were not touched by the sterner and nobler 
movements of Greek philosophy, particularly as it found 
expression in the soul-theories of Pythagoras and Plato, 
or as the moralizing analysis of Stoic allegory dissolved 
the figures of Olympus into cosmic elements. A small 
elite followed Plutarch. One of the last deities in the 
penumbra of Hellenic worship or religion was Hadrian's 
favorite concubine, Antinoos. This boy, a native of 
Bithynia, perished in the Nile, in 130 A.D. His imperial 
master founded in his honor the town of Antinoupolis : 
had idols bearing his portrait set up throughout the 
Roman Empire, and even called a star by his name: Zeus 
himself could not have done more for Ganymede. All of 
which was entirely germane to and profoundly consistent 
with the spirit and essence of Greek religion, so-called. 
There never was a very great chasm between the Greek 
men and the Greek gods such as the men had made from 
their own image (cf. Paus., 8, 9, 7) mere outriggers in the 
ship of life and living. 


A closer vision now of certain elements of Greek ritual. 
Clearly these acts are everything, as Bacon tersely put it 

— one could hold any notions as to the substance of these 
anthropomorphic forces and legends, provided one shared 
in the ritual. And here, I take it, tradition was much, if 
not everything, determined largely by the particular given 
community. The priest was, then, an expert in ritual, 
chiefly. Even the Stoics in their definition seem to have 
followed closely in the lines of what always and every- 
where had been established in the Greek world (Stob., 
"Eclog.," 2, 122): "And they (the Stoics) say that 
the character of Priest also was held by the Wise Man 
only, and by no worthless man at all" (as ordinarily no 
doubt it often was). "For the priest must be an expert 
in the established usages concerning sacrifices and prayers 
and purifications and installations and all such things, and 
in addition thereto also an expert in other things, on ac- 
count of the need of piety and experience of the service 
(Oepairela*;} of the gods, and to be within the divine na- 
ture" (lit. eVro? elvcu tt)? $uo-ea>? tt}? delas — to hold an 
intrinsic or intimate knowledge of the essence of the given 
god, I take it). 

But we are even more fortunate than in our possession 
of the antiquarian data gathered by the traveller Pausanias 

— a still closer vision is possible for us: we may still read 
the records chiselled by direction of communities, brother- 
hoods, families, officials, — dealing with their own con- 
cerns, bringing before us their point of view, and permitting 
us to employ a real historical consideration. 

I have availed myself of Wilhelm Dittenberger's " Syl- 
loge Inscriptionum Grrcecarum" Vol. 2, Leipzig, Hirzel, 1900. 
And I believe I will serve my readers best by content- 
ing myself with a certain arrangement and orderly pres- 

The usages of rites and ritual offer no new revelation : 
the supreme consideration is that men must conserve, and 
faithfully reproduce and reenact, all sacred forms, and 
ceremonies must be " in accordance with the ways of the 


fathers " (/eara ra irdrpia^ No. 560), " the paternal rites " 
"to the gods, to whom" (to sacrifice) "was ancestral 
usage" (635). Thus sounds the voice of Eleusis in 
Attica, of the isle of Chios, or where Doric Rhodes wor- 
shipped her Sun god ; so they ordained at Kos, at Delphi, 
navel of the world, in the emporium of Attica's Piraeus, 

The worshipper should consider his fitness: at Kos 
proclamation shall be made (No. 616) that the worshipper 
shall " keep himself pure from female and from male for 
a night. ..." Into the sacred enclosure of Alektrona 
(daughter of Helios and of the nymph Rhodos) (No. 560) 
it is unholy that there should enter horse, ass, mule, " nor 
any animal whatever that has a bushy tail, nor shall any 
one bring into the sacred enclosure any of these, nor shall 
he bring in shoes, nor anything pertaining to swine. And 
whenever any one act contrary to the law, he shall cleanse 
the sanctuary and the sacred enclosure, and offer sacrifices 
besides, or he shall be liable for impiety." On the isle of 
Astypalaia: "Into the sanctuary there shall not enter in 
whosoever is not pure nor of perfect body, or it will be in 
his mind" (563). 

Again, at Pergamon (566): "They shall keep them- 
selves pure and they shall enter into the temple of the 
god, both the citizens and all the others, from their own 
wives and from their own husbands the same day, but 
from the wife of another man or husband of another 
woman for two days, having bathed themselves; and like- 
wise also from mourning for the dead and from a woman 
in childbirth for the duration of two days; but from burial 
and the exequies of the dead after they have been sprinkled 
with holy water (jrepLpalvo^ai) and after they have trav- 
ersed the gate where the means-of-purification (a^LdTifjpLa) 
are placed, clean the same day." 

On a slab found near Sunion the following was once 
carved (633) : " And shall bring on no one uncleaned ; 
and he shall be purified from garlic and pork and females; 
and having bathed head-downwards they shall come in the 
same day. And woman not less than seven days after her 


monthly flow, having bathed from her head downward, 
shall enter the same day, and from a corpse after lapse 
of ten days, and from spontaneous abortion forty days. 
And no one shall sacrifice without him who established 
the sanctuary: but if an}^ one does so by force, the sacri- 
fice is not acceptable at the hands of the god." 

In the elaborate statutes (653) for the cult of Demeter 
at Andania in Messenia the following may be noted: the 
men and women tested and approved for participation in 
the mystic rites, even in the procession — these are desig- 
nated as sacred or consecrated (te/aot). They must swear 
in advance that they will conform to the written regu- 
lations. Those initiated in the mysteries shall stand 
unshod and they shall be garbed in white ; the women 
shall not wear robes of transparent texture. Women who 
wished to qualify for participation had to swear to their 
marital fidelity. 

Girls, too, must not wear anything transparent. Golden 
trinkets, face paint, and ribbons for binding up tresses 
were forbidden. The whole festal season is called a 
panegyris — a kind of fair, indeed. Tents must be pitched 
in such a way that they may be freely inspected. No 
couches are permitted in the tents. Silence must prevail 
during ritual acts. Twenty staff-bearers must be obeyed 
by all. The furnishing of the victims to go to the lowest 

In no case do we learn that the prayers had any spirit- 
ual concern: often they were in behalf of the crops (yirep 
Kapirov) or, on behalf of people and senate, for their 
health and well-being (636). 

The victims must be sound, well-grown, without blem- 
ish, or they must even excel by positive fairness or beauty; 
the choice often delegated to a specific commission. 

As to priests and their perquisites: at Pergamos (592) 
the priesthood of Asklepios is decreed, by people and 
senate, to belong to Asklepiades and his descendants for- 
ever : to them also should belong the priesthood of the 
other gods established in the same temple. The priest 
in active service always to wear a wreath. The per- 


quisites (syepa) to be the right thigh and the skins and 
certain other portions. Also he receives immunity from 
all communal burdens or services. 

In an inscription of Asia Minor, if we follow Ditten- 
berger's restoration (594) even a boy may purchase the 
priesthood there discussed. Priest to keep the inner 
temple in order. Income to begin with a month named. 
The purchase price was named. At Kos the treasurers 
(of the community) shall sell the priesthood of the wine- 
god on the sixteenth of a stated moon: "and she who 
purchases shall be healthy and whole, and not younger 
than ten years: and she will be priest for life . . . she 
shall be permitted to appoint a subpriestess, who is of the 
commonwealth. . . ." (598). 

To another town " he who purchases the priesthood of 
Artemis of Perge will present as priestess a woman- 
citizen descended from citizens on both sides for three 
generations both from father and from mother ; and she 
who shall purchase shall be priestess for her own life and 
she shall perforin the sacrifices both private and public, 
and she shall receive of public sacrifices from each victim 
a thigh and what goes regularly with the thigh, and one- 
fourth of the inner parts and the skins ; and of private 
sacrifices she will receive a thigh and what goes regularly 
with the thigh, and one-fourth of the inner parts" (601), 
..." and the priestess shall make supplication every 
first of the month in behalf of the commonwealth, receiv- 
ing a drachma from the commonwealth." These economic 
details are often given with great explicitness. 

The oracles were not much resorted to during the in- 
clement season: "The priest of Amphiaraos (598) shall 
attend the sanctuary when the winter has gone by, until 
the time of ploughing, making no intermission of more 
than three days, and shall remain in the sanctuary not 
less than ten days in each month. ..." At Dodona 
there were leaden tablets passed in by the inquirers: on 
one of these (794) a husband would know " about off- 
spring, whether there will be any child from his wife 
Aigle, with whom he is living at the present time. ..." 


A woman (705) asks to which god she was to sacrifice to 
be freed from her ailment. 

A father would know of Zeus and Diona (797) whether 
he is not the father of the child with which Annyla is now 
pregnant. Another would ascertain whether sheep rais- 
ing will prove a profitable venture (799). 

Three written forms of disposing of certain temple-land 
at Eleusis : these shall be sealed in three jars, and then 
three delegates (789) shall go to Delphi and gain from 
Apollo there a determination as to which of the jars con- 
tain the direction which the commonwealth of Athens 
shall follow, to the end that the commonwealth shall act 
in the premises " in the most pious way as regards the two 
goddesses. ..." 

Worship is, after all, a form of communal utterance and 
a species of membership in a given commonwealth. The 
spirit often is that of jealous pride, nay of a certain ex- 
clusiveness. Thus at Kos there are maintained not only 
the three tribes of pristine Doric ascription, but a new 
list is to be prepared of those who possess the privilege of 
sharing (614) in the sacred rites of Apollo. Only such 
may draw lots for the priesthood. 

To exhibit the local pride of given communities in cer- 
tain forms of worship and certain specific deities, one ex- 
ample must serve for many. At Ephesus, even under 
Roman sway there is no abatement of the ancient feeling 
concerning Artemis (Acts 19, 24-41). "She who is the 
tutelary power of our community" (656), so that even 
the Roman proconsul voices this in an official edict, of the 
time of the Antonines. The Roman proconsul in this 
manifesto determines the days of sacred peace when all 
litigation must slumber. That goddess, then, is " not only 
honored in her own ancestral community (ei> rrj eavrrj? 
irarplh) which she has rendered more famous than all the 
cities through her own divinity, but also among Greeks and 
Barbarians, so that in many places sanctuaries and sacred 
enclosures have been consecrated to her ... on account 
of the palpable acts of epiphany (self-revelation to men) 


which have been enacted by her ..." therefore the en- 
tire moon bearing her name shall be particularly conse- 
crated to her, with games and a fair. 

A word as to the brotherhoods or sodalities devoted to 
specific forms of worship or ritual. But we must not take 
them too seriously, these orgeones (workers of ritual) 
or Oiaa&Tai, sharers or members of a processional band, 
as those of Aphrodite (726), who probably, with not a 
little of mimic acts, reproduced the love of the Cyprian 
and Syrian goddess — Shakespeare's " Venus and Adonis " 
(726). They were clubs, too, with fixed contributions 
and officials. The treasurer of the Dionysiastai repaired 
the temple of the Wine-god. A sacrificial fund (728) 
was endowed by them. They voted priesthood (729): 
they paid for an agalma. Some had a burial fund for 
members, and praised (731) a treasurer for paying it out 
promptly. They constituted units of ritual influence and 
usage, and seem to have done not a little canvassing and 
wire-pulling in landing their man in some sacerdotal office, 
as we would say in the United States. 

At Kos there was made a bequest of property (834) ; 
there was to be maintained annually a mimic enactment 
of the espousals of Herakles — figures and a dramatic 
presentation — the chief celebrant seems to have held the 
role of Hercules : behold the vigorous love for local legend, 
forms of family pride comparable to the Potitii and Pinarii 
of ancient Rome, the Eumolpidai of Eleusis. No bastard 
should ever share in the annual celebration. 

The monthly fee of the Jobacchoi (737) of Athens went 
for wine. Why did they call the meeting-place mattress 
(o-rt/3a?)? Because many reclined in this drinking club 
after the ritual of poculation had progressed somewhat ? 

Members were warned against " entering a strange tent " 
— they were exhorted to abstain from abuse and backbit- 
ing at anniversaries. They were to settle their own liti- 
gation privately, outside of the public courts. Wreatli 
were brought for deceased members. 


They also heroized distinguished deceased members by- 
votes and inseriptional dedication — honored of musing 

And this brings us to the tombs, limits of life and joy 
and, for the Hellenic spirit, of hope. My citations are 
taken from the epigraphic collections of Kumanudes, the 
antiquarian of modern Athens. Greek Catholic Chris- 
tianity and the voices of the Kerameikos : I for one crave 
no palingenesis of these notes of gloom. Futile or eclec- 
tic must be the suspiria of such Renaissance. So, to at- 
tach our material to the concluding item from Ditten- 
berger's collections, we learn that a splendid mausoleum 
was the chief thing for "heroizing" the departed: "I, 
Antonia (No. 2578), also called Socratike, builded for 
my sweetest husband Antiochos this heroon, an end of his 
labours. I hand over to the subterrestrial gods this 
heroon to guard: to Pluton and Demeter and Persephone 
and to the Erinyans and to all the subterrestrial gods. 
But if any one will dismantle this heroon or open it or 
cause any other change whatever, either personally or 
through another, to him the earth shall withhold base for 
his footstep, the sea for his navigation, but he shall be 
uprooted with all his stock — of all evils shall he make 
test, of ague and fever tertiary and quarternary and of 
elephantiasis and whatever evil and pernicious things oc- 
cur in the world, these shall befall him who dares to make 
any change from this heroon." — Of brave Attic men 
who perished before Potidaia (No. 9) the Elegy says that 
"Aither received their souls, their bodies the earth. . . ." 

Often the dead warn the living (131): " Live thou well 
the remnant of time in life, knowing that below, the manse 
of Pluto abounds in wealth, though needing none at all." 
" Having had much sweet sport with comrades of my own 
age, having (1002) sprouted from earth, earth have I 
become again." 

" Never cool the wailing tears (1148) of my parents, 
for they have lost the cheer of their life and the hand 
that was to nurse them in age." 


A note of hope : " Bone and flesh of the charming boy 
has the earth, but (1825) the soul has departed to the 
chamber of the Pious. . . ." "Ye Spinners of Fate, alas ! 
laying on miserable children of mortals the yoke defying 
escape through necessity, what for did ye bring me forth, 
after I had fled forth from the bitter pangs of childbirth 
of her who bore me, — to the light of the Sun yearned 
for ? Now I, leaving unending griefs to those who begot 
me, at twenty I descended to the awful abodes of those 
who have perished." 

Frequently the deceased recorded his own curse against 
those who should injure the place of repose : or if in a 
change of title to the land should remove the bones : 
" Before gods and Heroes, whoever thou art who holdest 
the plot, do thou not at any time shift any of these things, 
and as for the images of these agalmata and honors, who- 
ever should destroy or remove, from him let neither the 
earth bear fruit, nor the sea endure his navigation, and 
wretchedly shall they perish, they and their stock ; but 
whoever would preserve (my remains) in their place, and 
persevere in giving and increasing the customary honors, 
many boons shall be his, both his own and his descend- 
ants' " : a current formula. 

A husband thus records the physical charms of a wife 
— the spirit of Hellenism this : " She who (3388) once 
bore herself proudly with blond tresses upon her head, 
and gleaming with eyes ravishing like those of the Graces 
distinguished with face and cheek like snow, and utter- 
ing delicate speech from sweet mouth with scarlet -lips 
through ivory teeth," — a lover-husband's farewell, mani- 

A child of seven (2987) : " and all those rites which 
are a care to the merciful divinities, he (my father) did 
not omit : for the sacrifices of Eum [enides'] provided a 
crown and so bestowed great fame on me and a garland 
of ivy the processional brethren of Dionysos amid torches 
which they bore, carried to this my tomb. Verily a fair 
object of honor am I, if not false is the saying of men, 
that those children die whom the gods love. ..." 


Note. — The work of Pausanias, more markedly so than that of 
his exemplar, is cyclopedic, but antiquarian, too:' like Gelliufl the 
Roman purist and devotee to archaic lore, Pausanias ignores in the 
main post-classic objects and matters : it seems rash to infer from 
this that he compiled his work from books (as Wilamowitz assumed 
as a young man). 

His description everywhere deals with actualities: the enumera- 
tion of temples with roofs fallen in, is particularly impressive. Gen- 
erally his first concern was as to the Founder. It is impressive also 
to realize how small was the ecstasy of contemporary notice of the 
greatest Greek sculptors — in fact, Greek art was more of an efflores- 
cence of a spirit singularly devoted to comeliness than a perpetual, 
let alone an ennobling or didactic, force bearing on Greek culture. 
The caterpillar dresses not in the silk spun from its own substance. 

The strongest single impression that passes from the work of 
Pausanias to the comprehension of the reader is this, that the actual 
worship of the communities was embellished, but was not essentially 
elevated by the chisel of Skopas and Praxiteles, Pheidias, Myron, or 
Polykleitos. If anything, Pausanias tones down the fine frenzy of 
your possessed archaeologist. The mimic ritual of circumscribed 
worship was, in the main, still practised, in his day. The washing 
or bathing of the idols was a noteworthy ceremony. 

As to mimic reproductions actually gone through with on anniver- 
saries, v. Paus., 8, 53, 1 tqq. 

Isis of Egypt had overrun Greece at that time. The dusk of gods 
is also the Blending and Fusion thereof. 

It may be maintained as a thesis of Greek cultural practices that 
the oldest idol as a rule was the object of the chief acts of devotion : 
how meteorites came to be so honored is not difficult to perceive, e.g. 
at Orchomenos (9, 38, 1). Orchomenos in Bceotia was once great 
and rich : its vanishing and passing reminded Pausanias of the deca- 
dence of Mykenai and Delos (9, 34, 6). It was here where the 
" worship " of the Charites or Graces — personifications of what is 
winsome — was established. Here first sacrifices (9, 35, 1) were 
offered to them. 

The progression from drapery to nudity among the Greeks came 
not out of any " religious " movement as the hierophants of ^Estheti- 
cism sometimes hand down from their various tripods, but through 
the influence of the great artists, such as Praxiteles (as noted), before 
whom even the goddess of sensuality was not entirely nude. 

Dittenberger's Inscription No. 588 contains an account or inven- 
tory of treasures of Delos as made by the passing officials of that 
sanctuary or found by those entering upon office. Many of the gifts 
were from royal persons, the sacred presents being costly rings, golden 
wreaths, bars of melted gold, gold coin, goblets, jewels of all kinds. 
Among the givers were King Demetrios, the women of Delos, a 
Carthaginian, Jomilkas, Antigonos, sovereign of Macedon, admirer of 
Zeno the Stoic, Pnytagoras, a prince of Cyprus, Greeks of the penin- 


sula in the Black Sea, peninsula now called the Crimea, Queen Stra- 
tonike of Syria, the people of Kos, men from Rhodes, an Apulian 
Greek, Perseus, last King of Macedon before his accession, King 
Attalos of Pergamon, a man from Chios, a giver resident of Philadel- 
phia, a citizen of Syracuse, Demetrios, son of Philip III of Macedon, 
Roman officials and provincial governors, among them T. Quinctius 
Flamininus, Scipio Asiaticus, King Eumenes of Pergamon, also the 
victor over Hannibal, Publius Cornelius Scipio, a devotee to Greek 
culture; a man from Cumae in Italy, a visitor from Cyrene, King 
Ptolemy, founder of the dynasty (180). 

A temple of Serapis and of Isis flourished on the island. 

The term KarciSwAov applied to Athens by St. Paul, Acts 17, 16, is 
overwhelmingly significant to the reader who comes from the perusal 
of the first book of Pausanias. The revised version of 1881 " as he 
beheld the city full of idols " is both lexically and materially more 
exact than the King James version, "the city wholly given to 
idolatry " : " teeming with, bristling with, covered with figures for 
worship," one might render it. Pausanias concerns the theologian 
much more, as it seems to me at least, than the archaeologist. The 
enumeration of agalmata is one of the chief tasks of this traveller of 
the Hadrianic Renaissance. 

The very essence, however, of that drift and striving lies in this 
utterance of Pausanias with which I will bring this note as well as 
the Hellenic Section of my book to termination (1, 5, 14) : " and in 
my time the emperor Hadrian who has gone furthest in the honor 
which he showed to divinity. 

" And all the sanctuaries of the gods which he partly builded from 
the beginning, and partly also adorned with sacred gifts and outfit- 
tings ... it is all recorded in writing by him in the common 
sanctuary of the gods." 

Futile cult of agalmata, one may say. But futile also is it, when in 
our own generation men have essayed to yoke up the creed of St. Paul 
with the Simian creed. Futile, I say, to go to the modern disciples of 
Demokritos and meekly beg of them some minimal franchise for 

A god to whom I cannot pray, 

Pray, what is he to me? 

Mont Blanc is he, or star afar, 

Pentelic marble, Tigris clay, 

Or isle in southern sea. 



There was a time when every educated European 
owed his education, in great part, to the Roman people, 
that is to say, to a long and thorough study of some 
writers that have come forward among the Romans. 
Time and the Experience of Mankind have, in this 
later generation, made up, by neglect and by indulgence 
in shallow commonplace, for that excess of devotion. 
True, essayists like Montaigne and Bacon often breathe 
a literary spirit but little removed from Seneca and 
Cicero who nurtured these strong ones. Even in the 
generation now passing from the stage, a kind of cos- 
mopolitan fame has fallen to Theodor Mommsen. Who- 
ever did in sweet youth listen to the keen intelligence 
uttering itself to academic " hearers " in his Berlin audi- 
torium will never forget him. But that other Holstein 
scholar, Niebuhr, was the greater man, for he helped to 
emancipate Prussia from Napoleon, Napoleon indeed, in 
whom the first Roman imperator might almost seem to 
have had a reincarnation. The nephew Louis deliber- 
ately sought to wrap himself in the toga of the second 
Roman emperor, a new Augustus and saviour of social 
order, and Friedrich Ritschl in his day lent his great name 
to the furtherance of this ambition. vanitatum vanitm 
— Chiselhurst and Zululand. So men strive to seat them- 
selves in niches made by the valuation of many anterior 

But what of Roman spirit and character ? First of all, 
the very names furnish a significant exhibit of the 
trenchant and utter difference between the Latins and 



the Greek nationality. For does not Nomenclature in 
a manner quite unique reveal the very ideals, spirit, and 
dearest convictions of those bestowing and bearing names? 
Thus the Greeks extolled strength and military prowess: 
Agamemnon means Abide-fast, and Hektor is the stayer 
in the struggle : Alexandros — what irony in the seducer 
of Helena — means Warder-off-of-men. Agias, Agesilaos, 
Hegias, Hegesias, and Hegesandros are names of Leader, 
Leader of people, Leader of men. Comeliness and Beauty 
are the kernel in these names : Kallias, Fairly ; Kalli- 
genes, Fair-born ; Kallibios, Fair life ; Kallianax, Fair 
lord ; Kalliaraos, Fair plough ; while Phaidros and 
Phaidrias speak of beaming beauty. The nationality 
that deifies Herakles and established contests at untold 
anniversaries extolled strength. Thus we have Alkippos, 
Strong steed ; Alkibios and Alkibiades, Strong life ; 
Alkidamas, Swaying with power; Alkimedon, Strong 
counsellor ; while Alkman and Alkmene mean Strength 

Boldness appears in Thrasyllos, Thrasykles, and Thra- 
syleon, Lion bold ; Anakreon is Upper-ruler ; and Strength 
or Power predominate in Eurysthenes, Krates, Sokrates, 
Polykrates, Timokrates. 

Great is Fame and the acquisition thereof : a worthy 
ideal reposes in Lysikles, famous dissolver (of quarrels), 
a veritable Make-peace and Irenseus indeed amid the 
seething foam of civic contentiousness. Eratokles, Fame- 
beloved ; Klearchos, Famed ruler ; Eukles, Well-famed ; 
Pherekydes, Bearer of Renown ; Eteokles, True-fame ; 
Kleophon, Fame-voiced ; Polykles, Much-fame ; Aristokles, 
Best-fame ; and many others, belong here. 

Of Battle and Bravery in arms are these : Euthymachos, 
Straight-fighting ; Pisistratos, Persuader of host ; Straton, 
Hostley ; Lysimachos, Dissolver of battle ; Nikoma- 
chos, Victorious-fighter ; Menon and Memnon, the Stayer ; 
similar is Menandros ; while these deal with victory : 
Nikias, Nikandros, Nikobulos. 

Social rank is conveyed in all names dealing with the 
steed — think of the Pheidian youths mounted in the 


Panathenaic parade : Hipparchos, Hippasos, Hippias, 
Hippo-botos, Horse-herd ; Hippodamas, Horse-tamer ; 
Hippothoos, Horse-swift ; to which add Lysippos, Phai- 
nippos, Show-horse, Xanthippos, Archippos, Menippos, 
Thrasippos, Archippos, Philippos. 

Law and Justice are honored in Euthydikos, Straight- 
right ; Euthykritos, Straight-judged ; Theniistokles, Jus- 
tice-famed ; Dikaiarchos, Righteous-ruler. 

A posy of women's names may here be culled : Agno 
and Hagna, The chaste one ; Kallikome, Fair-tressed ; 
Kallisto, Fairest ; Kallaithyia, Fair-gleaming ; Hedyline, 
Sweeting ; Melite and Melissa, Honey and Honey-bee ; 
Makaria, Blessed ; Anako, Highdame ; Phaidra, Beaming. 
With love and loveliness these names are bound up : 
Eranno, Erasilla, Erasmia (Huldah) ; Erato and Charito, 
Grace ; Eratonassa, Love-dame ; Chairylla, Joy ; Rhode, 

Moralizing these are : Phainarete, Show- virtue ; Xen- 
arete, Virtue to guests ; Demarete, Virtue to people ; 
Sophia, Wisdom ; Eunomia, Good laws ; Pheidylla, Fru- 
galine. We do not know very many women's names, of 
course. But the Olympians whom the Greeks had made 
for themselves were much cited and resorted to in Hellenic 

Timotheos, Honor-god ; Theognes, God-sprung ; Theo- 
doros, Theodotos, and Theodosios, God-gift and God-given; 
Theophanes, God-revealed ; Thukydides, Son of God- 
fame ; Theokles. Follows the chorus of concrete figures 
and forces : of Zeus are these : Diodoros (Zeus-given), 
Diodotos, Zenon, Zenodotos, Diokles ; of his spouse : Her- 
odoros, Herodotos, Heraios, Herakleitos, Heragoras ; of 
Apollo and Artemis : Apollonios, Apollodoros, Apollo- 
krates, Apollothemis : Artemisios, Artemidoros. Of Ath- 
ena : Athenion, Athenaios, Athenodoros, Athenagoras ; the 
god of craft and expedients : Hermaios, Hermesianax 
(Lord Hermes), Mimnermos, Hermesikrates, Hermesistra- 
tos. The Syrian and Paphian Force : Aphroditos, — name 
clearly rare because too contiguous to impurity. 

The healing deified heros of Epidauros : Asklepiades, 


Asklepiodoros ; Sun and Moon : Heliodoros, Heliokles, 
Heliokrates : Meniphilos, Menodoros, Menophilos, and 

But now the Roman names : Lepidus, Bright, neat ; 
Paullus, Little ; Magnus, Longus ; Crassus, Fat ; Scaurus, 
With projecting ankle-bones ; of light complexion are 
Albus, Albinus, Albinius, Albidius, and Albucius ; Aulus, 
Little grandfather ; Junius, Of youthful vigor ; Balbus, 
Balbinus, Balbutius, Stammerer ; Caelius, perhaps Blue- 
eyed ; Ciesius, Bluish-grey eyed ; Kaeso, Csesonius, Cse- 
sernius, Csesennius ; Aquilus, Aquilius, Black-eyed, tint 
like that of Eagle's pinions. Similar is the meaning of 

Csecilius, Ceecina, Blind — perhaps of one who after 
birth gained his eyesight very slowly. 

Catus (Sabine for acute, keen, clever), Cato, Catulus, 
Catullus, Catilina. Celer, Swift ; Capito, With large 
skull at birth ; Labeo, with large lips ; Cincinnatus, 
Curly-haired; also Crispus, Crispinus. Claudius, Limp- 
ing, Clodius. Curtius, Shortly, like Paullus. Blond hair 
was the adornment of the first babe called Flavus : as a 
flower appeared to his happy mother the little boy 
named Florus. Flaccus is Limp — whether of hair or 
ear. Galba is Light yellow — perhaps our straw-blond : 
Glabrio was named the Rough-skinned child : Julius is 
associated by etymologists with Junius and Juno : the 
pride of Trojan ancestry had other explanation. 

Licinus and Licinius (bent upward) perhaps meant a 
little snub-nosed ; cf. the Simon and Simylos of Greeks. 
Even more downright homely and realistic is Mucius, 
Slimy ; Lentulus, Slowish, needs no explanation. Nasica 
and Naso are concerned with the nose ; while Marcus, 
Male-child, became one of the commonest forenames of the 
Roman people : its variants and congeners are Marcius, 
Marcellus, Marcellinus. 

Rutilus, Rutilius, Rufus, Rufinus, have to do with red 
hair : Peetus is he of the sweetly-glancing eye, the " cun- 
ning " babe of our Philistine. Lucius clearly a matter of 
good omen — and befalling one-half of little boys — they 


called originally one born in daylight, a good omen, 
obviously, while Manias (Manlius, Manilius) is the child 
born early in the morn. Varus, Varius, have to do with 
feet, step, or gait, abnormality there. 

From pursuits, industry, husbandry, may be these: 
Fabius, a farmer cultivating beans : probably excelling 
among his neighbors therein. Porcius, as in Iowa, Swine- 
raiser. Cassius, perhaps some ancestral peasant good in 
snaring stag or doe in winter-time. The forefather of all 
Csepios raised that prolific though somewhat too urgent 
vegetable, the onion ; perhaps, too, it meant some infant 
whose head was onion-shaped. Cicero may refer to a 
certain pea : or was it a child with somewhat pod-like 
protuberance of nostrils ? Cicereius certainly means the 
husbandman and farmer distinguished for his peas. 

A few names seem to point to ritual and worship : 

Ancus, Bent, bowing, servant of gods, priest ; Antistius, 
Priest ; Aurelii (Auselii : a Sabine family), Servants of 
golden sun, priests of sun ? Camillus, Acoylite, little 
priest ; Asinius raised donkeys, Caninius, dogs. 

Censorinus, Flaminius, Flamininus, refer to honors of 
office, and are clearly later than the others. 

In a word : was there ever a tribe, race, or clan so en- 
tirely devoted to the actual, real, present, and concrete 
as these Romans were, by the incisive and overwhelming 
testimony of their nomenclature ? Need I enlarge or ex- 
pand any further this cloud of witnesses ? Was not here, 
in the very cradle and mother's and father's direction of 
mind and concern, — was not here foreshadowed and de- 
termined a race supremely indifferent to mere glamour or 
fancy — but not less indifferent to the broader and higher 
concerns and aspirations of our common humanity ? 

Whatever was strong or made for strength : the useful 
and that which definitely and certainly led to a useful 
end, this people cherished, maintained, and improved. 


To understand how on the great Tuscan stream a new- 
commonwealth was planned and builded is, honestly 
speaking, beyond the ken and vision of our present 
powers or beyond the broken fragments of actual tradi- 
tion. The last and the strongest of Latin communities, 
first and last to place itself by Tiber, only artery of 
greater commerce, stepping far beyond the narrow op- 
portunities of barter, it strove, first, for the hegemony 
over Latium, then it successfully disputed the control of 
the peninsula with the stout Samnites, and last, with ever 
increasing deliberateness, this wonderful state established 
its sceptre over the Mediterranean world. 

More conspicuous and dazzling are the data of battle- 
fields, and great crises are often marked thereby : parting 
of the ways. But more elusive is for our remoteness the 
comprehension of the warp and woof out of which is made 
the fabric of family, of that order and orderliness in home 
and state which could endure such bufferings of outward 
vicissitudes and survive such domestic trials. 

Was the sketch of Polybios too favorable ? The Swiss 
have not a great state, but they have produced eminent 
statesmen and publicists : Holland has brought forth not 
only Oranges and Ruyters, but a Hugo Grotius as well. 
So the little Achaian league, last efflorescence of Hellenic 
political life, could boast a Philopoimen, Aratos, Polybios. 
What wide training, noble traditions, the richest culture, 
devotion to Stoic creed, an outlook on a contemporary or 
slightly preceding history full of momentous movement — 
what all these could do for a gifted and serious mind they 
had done for Polybios. To these advantages was added 
a profound veracity : " As in the case of a living being, 
when the organs of sight are removed, the whole organ- 
ism becomes useless, so, when truth is taken away from 
historiography, the remainder of it becomes a useless dis- 
course " (1, 14). It is not within the limits of this work 
to transcribe from the Achaian statesman's sixth book 
with what balance and harmony monarchy, aristocracy, 
and democracy were blended and their several forms of 
efficiency were incarnate, so to speak, in the Roman polity. 


Righteousness writ large : was really this the essence of 
that constitution ? The Romans, however, advanced their 
government not from philosophical foundations, nor from 
sociological abstractions. Experience, actual tests, elimi- 
nation of the inefficient : these things are found with the 
Romans, no less than a reverence, an awe of ancestral 
bonds, and the authority of tradition : curious felicity for 
a durable polity and commonwealth. "The Romans 
(says Polyb., VI, 11) have made the same aim in the set- 
tlement of their government (as Lycurgus), but not 
through theoretical reasoning, but choosing the better in 
each case from the understanding presented in momentous 
political experiences, — thus they arrived at the same end 
and aim as Lycurgus, — the fairest structure of a polity 
found in our time." 

How colleague checks or controls colleague, how the 
initiative of consuls is checked by that august executive 
committee for current affairs, the Senate: how the rights 
of the poor are intrusted to a specific body of magistrates: 
how the census is a powerful stimulus to every Roman to 
improve his possessions: how, with all the venerable privilege 
of Senatorial class, there is no bar to talent and frugality: 
how the Censors again and again struck with the powerful 
thunderbolt of their nota, Senators whose lives bore on 
their surfaces scandal or vice: how even the lowest rung 
in the ladder of honors — there was no other reward, long, 
in public service — the military tribuneship, was be- 
stowed upon merit alone : all these things are permanent 
objects of the concern of historians and moralists, — and 
of classicists even. 

Now, in any effort to grasp the character and spirit of 
this commonwealth, it soon becomes manifest that the most 
characteristic trend and tendency deals with authority 
and with property. Further, that the unparalleled career 
of conquest of the Roman commonwealth must not be 
viewed as a world-mission of order and statutes imposed 
on quarrelling barbarians by the military benefactors who 
came from the Tiber — but that it was exploitation on a 
gigantic scale. 


And, first, as to property. Much of the morality of the 
Romans, very many of their soundest as well of her most 
peculiar, nay oddest, traits, were certainly bound up with 
her conception of property. Sparta claimed children, 
specifically sons, for the state. In Rome they are in a 
unique sense the property of the father. In him ancestry, 
power, authority, law, everything, is blended. I know of 
no ancient or modern civilization that has coined so many 
terms of life and rights from that word: Pater, Patronus, 
Patrocinium, Patricius, Patrimonium, Pater familias, Pa- 
tronatus, Patrocinari. We must, of course, not forget that 
the Romans conceived patriot, potestas as the greatest social 
blessing and as the very corner stone of civil order, and so 
ultimately also of the fabric of the state. 

A constitution of Constantine the Great of date 323 
(Codex C, 8, 46, 10) specifically states that once upon a 
time (olirn) the power over life and death was permitted 
to fathers. And Gaius (famous jurist of the Law School 
of Berytos, fl. ab. 160 a.d.) says (1, 55): "Likewise (i.e. 
just as in the case of slaves) in our power are our children 
whom we have begotten in legal wedlock. This principle 
of law is peculiar to Roman citizens: for as a general thing 
there are no human beings who have such power over 
their sons as we have." 

Even when the son has grown to vote, to serve his 
years in the military establishment, nay even after he has, 
with the consent of his father, married and begotten 
children of his own, this stern bond of dependency, author- 
ity, and civil obligation remained unbroken. 

And this was a ius moribus receptum, a matter of 
ancestral tradition. As a rule, the oldest living ascendant 
maintains unimpared civil control over his living descend- 
ants excepting girls (who through marriage have passed 
into other power) or such male descendants who have been 
emancipated or given to another father by adoption. The 
whole trend of their civilization was, to settle and deter- 
mine the rights of property. The precision and good 
sense with which wills, legacies, trusts, guardianship, and 
pupillage, the rights of posthumous children, degrees of 


kinship inhibiting marriage, adoption, the savings of sons 
and slaves, and every relation of civil life, were settled and 
determined, has challenged the admiration of mankind. 
I have space here for but a few matters of characteristic 
detail. You may lend money to a ward who is under a 
guardian: the ward (Justinian, "Instit.," 1, 21) needs not 
the authority of his tutor to accomplish an act beneficial to 
himself: he can stipulate effectively to receive something: 
but he cannot legally impair his prospects of property by 
acts of buying, selling, hiring, letting, brokerage or de- 
posit. Nor can the pupillus enter upon an inheritance 
without authority of tutor: for the lad cannot know 
whether the encumbrances of the estate are not more 
ruinous than is the amount represented by the free assets. 

Guardianship, i.e. the care for the transmission of prop- 
erty, was elaborated by the Romans into a public, general, 
civic obligation, comparable to jury-service in America. 
The government appoints a tutor in default of testamen- 
tary provision, and this guardian must give ample security, 
in order that negligence or loss may be prevented (Justin., 
"Inst.," 1, 24). This, however, not in all classes of 
guardians. Still the financial liability of every kind of 
guardian to his ward was well established. Even the 
magistrates who had neglected this matter in their ap- 
pointments were made liable to the impaired estate, and 
this liability descended even to their heirs. 

Infamia was the penalty visited upon the faithless 
guardian or curator: a matter determined even in the 
Twelve Tables (of 451 sq. B.C.). An action against a 
faithless guardian is a public action : a matter of public 
policy: any one may bring it, even though he is not 
personally concerned: even a mother, nurse, grandmother, 
or sister may sue : for they have the motive of pietas. The 
Roman Law carefully distinguished between negligence 
{culpa) and felonious purpose (dolus). A guardian found 
guilty of the latter was punished with civil infamy. And 
this brings us to the matter of civil and commercial 
morality as maintained among the Roman people. In the 
first place we make record of the fact that they had 


Infamia as a penalty: awful penalty, where there was no 
sweet domicile, no tolerable existence beyond the confines 
of the native commonwealth. Delicate was the sense of re- 
gard for personal honor and reputation: the mere naming 
of a distinguished man in a public way was generally 
attended by the apologetic phrase quern honoris causa 
nomino. The reckless impudence of Attic democracy 
was a strange thing to the gravitas of the Roman character. 
The poet Nsevius tried to be a Roman Aristophanes, 
Eupolis, or Kratinos, but rued for it in prison. 

But to return to infamia, infamis, famosus. A curious 
observation may here be made in connection with this 
matter. An insolvent master may (Justin., 1, 6) give free- 
dom to a slave by will so as to constitute him his heir and 
place him under legal obligation to satisfy the creditors of 
his late master. This slave became a "heres necessarius." 
If the slave found himself unable to satisfy the creditors 
with the assets of his new estate — then his assets were 
sold: he was bankrupt, but the name of the deceased was 
spared. Call it a legal fiction if you will: it is clear that 
not only civil- opprobrium was associated with insolvency; 
that a good commercial name was most precious in their 

There was, however, a specific Praetorian Edict dealing 
with Infamia. I find that the character and design of 
this book obliges me to cite it in full (" Digest," 3, 2, 1). 

" With Infamy is branded (notatur*) who has been dis- 
gracefully dismissed from the army by the commander or 
by him who had the power of determining about that 
matter; he who appears upon a stage as a professional 
actor or for the sake of giving a public recitation (for 
money, I take it) ; who was a brothelkeeper ; who in a 
public trial has been judged to have done something for 
the sake of calumny or betrayal of the interests of an- 
other Qprozvaricatio) ; who has been condemned on his 
own score or made a contract involving theft, robbery 
attended with violence, tort, felonious design and fraud ; 
who has been found guilty as business-partner, on his 
personal responsibility in connection with Guardianship, 


Mandate, Deposit, there being no judgment to the con- 
trary ; who has placed a woman who was (civilly) in his 
power, after his son-in-law was dead, when he knew that 
the latter was dead, within that period of time during 
which it is customary to mourn for a husband — in matri- 
mony, or who marries such a woman knowingly, not by 
the order of him in whose power (civilly) he is ; and also 
the person who has permitted the marriage of the woman 
described above ; or who, in his own name, not by the 
order of him in whose power he is or in the name of that 
man or woman whom he had in power, has established 
two betrothals or two espousals at one and the same 
time." It is in these very forms and formalities of law 
and procedure in which the character and spirit of the 
Roman is revealed, whereas his flights into letters and 
literature are, in the main, exotic and inadequate repro- 
ductions of Greek ; hence Roman prose is by far the more 
valuable half of her literary remains. 

But to proceed: a great and praiseworthy trait of the 
Roman people — for a long time — was this, that their 
unwritten law was so strong as to preserve what was 
sound, and to inhibit mere innovation for the sake of in- 
novation. This was due in great measure to the fact 
that the plebs for a long time was led by the conservative 
classes. It was due, furthermore, to the fact, that prop- 
erty for a long time had a decisive influence in Roman 
affairs as over mere or sheer numbers. Rome was a gov- 
ernment in which family, descent, race, wide experience 
and the tradition thereof, together with property and a 
clear valuation of field and forest as over against the re- 
sourcelessness of urban masses, are well expressed. In 
the Classes of the Servian timocracy wealth determines — 
we may say, predetermines — magistrates, administra- 
tion, policies, and politics. Burdens, service, functions, 
and privileges were balanced with considerable fairness. 
Property opened the way into the equestrian class whose 
ablest men were a veritable nursery of the Senate. The 
Census was indeed a peculiar and incisive act in which 
every citizen is recorded ; separately minors and property- 


holding women. The man who escaped or defrauded the 
census was punished with great severity. In the older 
time the guilty one was whipped, and, after his property 
had been confiscated, was sold into slavery. After 168 B.C., 
when direct taxation substantially ceased, all these things 
were greatly mitigated. 

The census involved wife and children also, with names 
and ages. " Hast thou a wife ? " was the prescribed ques- 
tion. And then followed this one : " For the sake of 
raising a family ? " (liberorum qurcemdorum cause, Gellius, 
4, 20). Thus we may say the commonwealth, as in a 
mirror, surveyed itself in short periods. 

History has fairly associated severity and sternness 
with this characteristic institution of the Roman people : 
the life and conduct of each one, bound up with the mo- 
rality of family life and obedience to the commonwealth, is 
curiously connected with census and censorship. 

This brings us to another pertinent matter in this rapid 
survey : the economic aspect of civic virtue. We can but 
glance at the sumptuary Laws of Rome, and kindred acts 
of the government. In the year 275 B.C. the censor 
Fabricus expelled from the Senate the ex-consul P. Cor- 
nelius Rufinus because the latter owned ten pounds of 
silver-plate. The Lex Metella of 220 B.C. dealt with 
fullers: probably limiting dyes and incidental luxury 
(cf. Plin., "N. H.," 35, 197). During the heat and 
stress of the Hannibalian war, in 215 B.C., but one year 
after Cannse, was given the Lex Oppia: that no woman 
should possess more than half an ounce of gold : that she 
should not dress in a many-colored garment : that she 
should not ride in a carriage and pair within a mile of 
Rome or smaller towns, unless for the sake of public re- 
ligious rites (Liv., 24, 1). A few years before, in 218, 
was enacted the Lex Claudia (Liv., 21, 63), viz. that no 
Senator or son of Senator should possess a seagoing vessel 
holding more than three hundred amphorce. This, says 
Livy, was considered sufficient for conveying produce 
from the open country : all money-making was considered 
unbecoming to Senators, 


The common people, we are told, were enthusiastic for 
this law, while the affected aristocracy was disgruntled. 

The Lex Cincia (de donis et muneribus) of the year 204 
B.C. provided that no one should receive gift or fee for 
pleading a case. As in England until now political rep- 
resentation has been without compensation, so in Rome 
for a long time the advocate's and pleader's avocation was 
carried on for such direct rewards as affection and politi- 
cal promotion could hold out — essentially an aristocratic 
profession, as were all things concerning law and legisla- 
tion in the better times. So Cato and Cicero arose and 
became mighty in their generation. 

Conduct of life and the proper use of time — these 
things again were inextricably bound together. Elegant 
leisure, pursuit of taste, patronage of art and letters, — 
all these things came late and became conspicuous features 
of Roman aristocracy only when these nobles had largely 
lost their essential qualities. Iron rusts not but when 
unused ; the intrinsic soundness and tough fibre of Roman 
character craved action and labor: the practice of many 
generations made little discrimination between sloth and 
the life of contemplation and study — the consummation 
of Greek civilization and the goal for the trend of her 
choicest souls. 

Endless are the points of contact between the lives of 
the Elder Cato and Benjamin Franklin : knowedge indeed, 
but always with the proviso that it be useful knowledge : 
whereby they meant addition to one's assets. Unless 
your Senator utterly departed to one of his many villas 
and the cult of Ceres and Pomona, life at home was stren- 
uous. To begin a banquet de die — i.e. with some clip- 
ping from the hours devoted to work or business — was 
almost a crime to the sense of the olden time. " At 
Rome " (says Horace, " Epistles," 2, 1, 103) " it was long 
a mode of living beloved and established by time, early 
at morn, the mansion unlocked, to be up, to give legal 
decisions to the client, to lay out cautious investments on 
sound security, to listen to your elders, to tell the younger 
one through what means assets might grow, and expensive 
sexual appetite might be curbed." 


Thus Frugi became an honorable proper noun, and non- 
productive pursuits were abhorrent to a commonwealth 
where craving and getting, where husbandry, principal and 
interest were universal concerns, and where Nepos (grand- 
son) connoted also a squanderer and a spendthrift. Even 
Sulla, a man largely emancipated from the older and better 
Rome, in his day attempted to limit the luxury of banquets 
and check the aspirations of Roman gourmands. 

There was no stone theatre at Rome before Pompey's 
time. Sternness is contiguous to cruelty. I have time 
but for a few words concerning military penalties. 

Neglect in reviewing pickets or in keeping post near 
camp was punished immediately (Polyb., VI, 37) by 
beating with cudgels and throwing stones, until the 
culprit dropped and expired in camp, among his com- 
rades. But if he actually survived this and escaped 
beyond the stockade, even then there was no hope or sal- 
vation. They had lost their native commonwealth and 
must wander on the face of the earth. 

The same terrible penalty was dealt out to him who 
committed a theft in camp : also to him who bore false 
witness there; or if any one be detected in sexual abuse 
of a boy. All these features were both of splendid dis- 
cipline and reveal in a measure that toughness which 
subjected the Mediterranean world. 

On a forlorn post (our Greek observer says, ib., 37), 
even if many times their own number assault them, they 
flee not nor abandon their hopeless position, fearing their 
own penalty : " Some might in the melee cast away shield 
or sword or some other one of their arms, as though bereft 
of reason, and fling themselves among the foe, either 
hoping to recover what they threw away, or, if subject to 
the vicissitudes of war, hoping to escape the manifest dis- 
grace and the insolence awaiting them at the hands of their 
own people." 

As for slaves, the very etymology of servus is somewhat 
obscure. Victory makes property, and preeminently does 
it give title to the person of the vanquished. So classical 
antiquity held. This was conceived as under the Law of 


Nations (Jus Gentium*). Property obligations could even 
convert the free debtor into what was in effect a slave. 
Here we are able to cite from the very essence of the 
Roman spirit, viz. from the XII Tables (Tabula 3) : " After 
a debt has been confessed and trial has been had on the 
issues, a period of thirty days shall be granted by law. 
Thereafter the creditor shall have the right to make arrest 
of the person of his debtor. He shall bring him into 
court. If the debtor do not execute the judgment (i.e. 
pay), or some one for him give satisfaction in court, the 
creditor shall bind the debtor with sinews (thongs) or with 
fetters of fifteen pounds or more. The prisoner may 
furnish his own food. Otherwise the creditor shall give 
him a pound of wheat each day, or more." As Gellius, 
(20, 1, 46) explains the further procedure, a period of 
imprisonment followed, which lasted sixty days. During 
this time for three consecutive market days (Nundinal, 
8-16, 24) the debtor was produced before the pnetor 
and the amount of the judgment was proclaimed. There- 
after their life was forfeited or they were sold across the 
Tiber into slavery. That is to say among the Etruscans, 
who spoke not Latin and had a reputation for cruelty. 
Such and similar were the laws of debt which caused the 
famous "Secession" of the plebs in 494. But the severe 
law just quoted was nearly half a century later. 

To speak briefly : if property triumphed over humanity 
where the parties were members of the same commonwealth, 
the only sphere of life and living where some form of 
humanity might be expected, what then shall we expect 
of the Roman conception of slavery? What humanity, 
pity or regard? It will not do to dispose of this matter 
as Joachim Marquardt does, with a sweeping and general 
pointing to the " repulsive phase of Roman slavery which 
is the same in all slave states." In the first place it was 
not the same. As far I know Greece had no slave-wars. 

Plautus knew the actual public of his Rome (215-183 
B.C. or so) probably better than Ennius or even Cato. 
How rods of tough elm, wielded in turn by a large number 
of those intrusted with the flogging, worn out on the back 


of the slave who was suspended from a frame with bared 
back while undergoing this torture — I say, repartee 
dealing with such scenes was clearly an unfailing means 
to amuse the plebs of Rome (v. Plautus, " Asinaria," 565 
sqq.). The flagrum or flagellum was a kind of knout of 
knotted cords or wire, with metal points or "scorpions." 
Hot metal plates were used. Mill and quarry were ex- 
treme resorts. The fugitivus slave, a common type of 
life, was branded, or an iron ring was firmly clamped about 
his throat ; often he furnished a few minutes' sport in the 
arena, to contend with ferocious beasts. 

Then there was the cross and the patibulum. The 
latter — I use the words of Marquardt (" Privatleben 
der Romer" 1886, p. 186) — was a " block of wood for the 
throat, consisting of two parts : it was opened, fastened 
about the throat of the culprit and in this form appeared 
as a beam to which the two hands of the condemned man 
could be tied or nailed. By crux they meant a pale (or 
wooden upright) only, which was already erected at the 
place of execution (palus or stipes) ; attached to this, too, 
a person could be flogged and crucified, but the common 
form of crucifixion was that one in which the culprit, 
suspended in the patibulum, was drawn up this pale, so 
that the patibulum, when firmly fastened, formed the cross- 
piece of the cross. A difference in the penalty was in 
this alone, that the delinquent sometimes was simply sus- 
pended in the patibulum ; as a rule, however, he was nailed 
with the hands to the patibulum, with the feet to the 
stipes." Oruciare and cruciatus are the ordinary terms of 
the Latin language to designate torture and torment. 

In the year 132 B.C. the first of the greater slave-wars 
of Rome was concluded; Tauromenion (Taormina) in 
Sicily was taken by the consul Rupilius — by betrayal, 
Diodoros says — likewise Henna, their stoutest refuge, 
where more than twenty thousand slaves (Orosius) were 
put to death. 

Again, in the same province, then chief granary for the 
needs of Rome, a slave-war raged for nearly four years, 
down to 99 B.C. 


In 73 B.C. began the war of gladiators, which has im- 
mortalized the name of Spartacus — the gladiators were 
slaves too, and were trained by contracting owners to 
furnish forth amusement : so many pairs at so much the 
pair. The Roman populace scanned the bills for famous 
names as the names of operatic and histrionic people are 
scanned on programmes by the modern devotees of art. 

There are modern aberrations, too, however, such as 
the pernicious and shallow glorification of spectacular 
athleticism in a mysterious connection with institutions of 
learning. We must deal gently with the Romans. 

Seventy-four gladiators escaped from a u school " 
(ludus) of their profession, training table and all, at 
Capua. That was the spark in the hay-rick. Stout 
men, once free, from Gaul and Thrace, were the leaders, 
Vesuvius' then smiling slopes their base of operations. 
Two consular armies were discomfited by them. One pro- 
consul fell in battle. Who will explicitly point out all 
the tremendous volume of meaning which lies in the 
simple fact that in a short time Spartacus commanded 
seventy thousand men ! How precarious was life and sub- 
sistence with such an economic basis ! 

Finally the resources and plan of Crassus were suc- 
cessful. Sixty thousand slaves fell as men, but six thou- 
sand were captured. Six thousand crosses from Capua 
northward soon after bore carrion for vultures. 

Leaving this theme we must say a word as to the freed- 
man, the reverse of the shield. Here the spirit of Rome 
was, in a measure, generous and liberal. The former mas- 
ter was called patronus, a variant indeed of father. There 
were many forms of manumission (Justin., " Inst.," 1, 12). 
Wills rarely neglected such generous acts : acts declared 
invalid only when they involved an impairment of the 
rights of creditors. Tombs often were established to hold 
the ashes of the owner's freedmen and freedwomen as well 
as his own kin. 

The freedman took the name of his patron, and if his 
record had been without a serious flaw, was also made a 
Roman citizen. His former master held certain testamen- 


tary rights to a portion of the freedman's estate. Such 
rights could be specifically willed by the patron. 

Thousands and tens of thousands of Roman citizens 
thus derived their descent from slaves, and in time stat- 
utes were enacted (e.g. LexFufia Caninia, Justin., " Inst.," 
1, 7) limiting manumission by will. 

Even in 129 B.C., when the internal troubles of Rome 
were assuming a critical character, the average mob of 
the Forum was not of Latin, nay not even of Italian 
ancestry ; it was then when Scipio iEmilianus, first 
Roman of his time by every token of eminence, uttered 
the proud rejoinder to the seething and enraged populace 
(" Velleius," 2, 4) : " How can I be alarmed by your shout- 
ing, to whom Italy is merely a stepmother ! " 

In the early years of Nero (Tacit., "Annals," 13, 26) 
there was a strong movement to make more severe the 
penalties which a patronus might inflict upon a faithless 
or ungrateful libertus. The injured patronus could, in- 
deed, relegate the offending freedman a hundred miles 
away from Rome : but the coast of Campania was a para- 
dise : was there not a weapon that could not be treated 
with disdain? It was proposed to enact a Senatus Con- 
sultum to punish a transgressing freedman with renewal 
of slavery. But upon closer inquiry they were astounded 
to find that the majority of the equestrian class, nay even 
of the august Senate, had such an humble pedigree. (Con- 
sider also Lucan's lamentations, 7, 404 sqq.~) 

The deference to family, to authority, is written on 
every page of Roman history: the drift of that history 
exhibits the fact that the battles of Rome were won, her 
administrations determined, her children begotten and 
her blood shed, for the interests of a small number of 
great families. The very history of the Republic is a 
texture of such proud records, a history not a little viti- 
ated by the pomp and pride of the great houses. 

Every client and freedman shared in the satisfaction 
whenever a new censura consulatus or triumph was added to 
the records of the particular gens, and the interest which 
they could make in elections and electioneering was 


tremendous. The Patrician Gens Claudia in the course of 
time could record twenty-eight consulships, five dictator- 
ships, seven censorships, seven triumphs, two ovations. 

The Domitii boasted of seven consulates, two triumphs, 
and two dictatorships : and similar were the records of the 
Sulpicii, Cornelii, Aurelii, Calpurnii, Csecilii, Metelli, 
^Ernilii, Fabii, Fulvii, Furii, Licinii, Manlii, Marcii, 
Papirii, Postumii, Quinctii, Sempronii, Servilii, Sulpicii, 
Valerii. Pedigrees, Ancestral Busts, Inscriptions: these 
were the dearest possession of them all. That they main- 
tained for an uncommon span of history strong fibre 
of sound qualities cannot be denied; that they, on the 
other hand, conducted administration and the enlargement 
of the empire chiefly for the advancement of their own 
class and privileges alone, is an incontestable fact of 
ancient annals. 

This pride of race in which so great a part of Roman 
character stands revealed, was particularly exhibited at 
the end of their careers, at the funeral. The keen eye 
of Polybius has seized upon this feature with his wonted 
felicity of valuation (Polyb., 6, 53). Everything, says 
the Sage of Megalopolis, the Roman aristocrat endured 
to reap the fame associated with excellence. And this 
the exequies must show to his fellow-citizens. The pro- 
cession in stately and solemn parade moved to the rostra. 
There is the embalmed corpse presented to the gaze of the 
myriads, corpse sometimes reclining, generally placed 
upright. A son or other kinsman mounts the rostra. He 
then delivers the laudatio funebris, beginning with the 
dimmest antiquity of the family, going on to a recital of 
the eminent qualities and achievements of the deceased. 
Thus the plebs became in a way a body of cousins, and 
warm admirers of its own grandees. The portrait bust is 
promptly added to the collection of that gens. These 
portraits were not idealized, but they rigidly reproduced 
every peculiarity of physiognomy. The family "Im- 
agines" were kept in little sanctuary-like screens (wuSiW) 
and carried on solemn occasions by dumb figures whose 
stature fairly was the same as the person represented. 


These dumb-figure men were further garbed and adorned 
in the character or station of the deceased, as consul or 
praetor : these with the purple-margined toga ; or if a 
censor, purple: but if a triumphator, then with gold-textiled 
garb. Chariots and lictors are not wanting, everything 
recalling the precise honors of the past. And when they 
arrive at the rostra, all seat themselves on ivory chairs. 

Could anything more kindle ambition in the breast of 
youth? The very history and greatness of Rome seemed 
to be there incarnate : civic immortality indeed. 

The praise of each one was recalled by the funeral 
speaker and there they were themselves with all the 
emblems of civic eminence, and here, if anywhere, we be- 
hold the consummate flower of the Roman spirit, their 
dearest ideals of existence. 

Before I conclude this chapter, I must turn to a matter 
not to be set aside or treated lightly : the political morality 
of Roman administration and Roman conquest. 

Ludwig Lange has particularly elaborated how the 
parental and filial principle seems to be deeply marked in 
many of their institutions. The Senators always were, 
officially, the fathers of the people. On the other hand, 
we may say that no bill of rights was ever granted to the 
common people and though the evils of an oligarchy were 
palliated, they were very real. 

The right of appeal (provocation enacted and reenacted, 
the demand for statutes drawn in writing and permitting 
the common people to know the extent of the penalties 
that could be imposed upon them (451-49), the tardy 
granting of the right of intermarriage, the throwing open 
of the curulian offices to the plebeians, the admission of 
tribunician legislation to a force binding on all alike 
(287 B.C.), — each and every one of these concessions was 
wrested from the privileged class only by great persistence 
and by stubborn determination. Colonies indeed were 
placed in all parts of Italy among the political dependents 
of Rome, generally dubbed " allies by a transparent 


euphemism. Rome here provided at the cost of the con- 
quered for her surplus population and placed a large 
number of Roman citadels from the Po down to the Ionic 
Sea and the blue waters of Sicily. But many colonists 
seem to have been content with remaining at Rome and 
leasing their land to the old inhabitants. 

Betterment for some : expropriation for the others. 
Particularly when the personal ascendency of Marius, and 
after him of Sulla and Pompey and Caesar, compelled 
them by the political necessity of self-preservation to re- 
ward the veterans who had made them — then indeed 
forms of law were shamefully abused by military colonies, 
so-called: Apulia and Po country, and particularly Etruria, 
suffered deep distress in such settlements. 

The treatment which Rome gave its Latin " allies " is 
significant : these men, bone and blood of Rome's strength 
and defensive resources, in 340 B.C. demanded real political 
equality : they were subdued in a desperate series of cam- 
paigns. Some were indeed reconciled to their lot by slight 
concessions: Rome was ever a believer in the fictions of res- 
onant formularies: some Latin communities were given 
the " citizenship without the suffrage." In order that the 
votes of the numerous folk in the capital who had no glebe 
or cattle should never preponderate, these were all enrolled 
in four city tribes: four out of thirty-five, harmless num- 
bers, but distinctly inferior to the farming folk we may 
admit (304 B.C.). All men of higher rank were enrolled 
in the thirty-one rustic tribes so-called. The very resi- 
dence in Rome was once forbidden the citizens of Latin 
allied towns in 177: it was the principle of exclusiveness 
contesting with that of ethnical identity and political 
equity; the Senators even in 126 B.C. (Lex Junia de 
Peregrinis) found no way of keeping these kindred out of 
political community but by physical expulsion. 

But worse than this stubborn exclusiveness was the 
selfishness with which the aristocracy acquired, if not the 
title, at least the use and benefit of holdings in the public 
land. It must be admitted that the common people were 
too poor even to convey their family to — and to begin 


husbandry in — lands often very far from the seat of gov- 
ernment. What of it, if the title did remain in the state ? 

It was hard and insufferable that the very legionaries who 
had carried the sovereignty and empire of Rome from the 
confines of Cilicia to the tides of the Atlantic, should, when 
they finally came home, find hardly anything in the lap of 
the future which made life worth living at all. Dioscuri 
(Plutarch's phrase) — these rare brothers, Tiberius and 
Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, who called Cornelia mother 
and the brilliant Scipio the elder, victor at Zama, their 
maternal grandfather — are the two brothers, even now 
political figures exceedingly difficult to fix in fair valua- 
tion, their wreaths of honor refusing to lie quite still in 
the herbaria of time. At the forefront of the best culture 
of the peninsula were these brothers, moved, I believe, by 
motives of rare purity: Gaius the younger, more radical and 
the politician who knew the exact seam in the masonry of 
ancient privilege and abuse where he might set his chisel 
and swing his mallet. Tiberius the gentler and the ideal- 
ist: when he saw once (travelling through northern Italy 
to serve in Spain) how bare was Etruria of homesteads, 
how rarely but a solitary shepherd slave tended flocks where 
farms had been, he shuddered and was grieved. 

Both brothers fell victims to privilege: traitors they 
were called to their own class: revolutionaries, striving 
for autocratic power — men who would subvert order and 
property: so, I say, were they branded by the ones : 
benefactors, martyrs, patriots they were called by the 
others: their name became the battle-cry of parties, and 
Julius Csesar and Augustus were their later heirs. 

Do we marvel that the Wars of the Oligarchy or of the 
aspirants for supreme powers were waged by mercenaries 
thenceforward ? 

As to foreign conquest and the gathering together of 
the provinces that fringed the Mediterranean, it was a 
question, at first, of disputing the first place in the 
western world with Carthage. 

Even Cicero, enlightened beyond his generation and 


ever seeking for logical and moral substructure of action — 
even Cicero uses these momentous words: " There is no 
commonwealth so foolish as not to prefer to hold sway 
unrighteously rather than be enslaved justly to another " 
("Z)e Repub.," 3, 28). 

Hammer or anvil: this indeed was but too often the 
only alternative of political life and living. The Roman 
antiquarians were fond of expatiating on the venerable 
institution of the Fetialis : the herald who in set terms 
and solemn appeal demanded satisfaction first from the 
offending neighboring community : day of small things 
and border feuds, cattle driven off, vineyards destroyed: 
from these Origines it was a vast stride to the scene which 
I will now briefly place before the reader, following the 
story preserved in Valerius Maximus (6, 4, 3). The 
Romans had sent Popilius Laenas to King Antiochos 
Epiphanes, requesting that this monarch should abandon 
his projected invasion (168 B.C.) of Egypt. The envoy 
of the Senate handed to the king a copy of the Senatus 
Consultum making this demand. Antiochos read it and 
remarked that he would hold a conference with his friends. 
Popilius, indignant that he should have advanced any 
delay, marked off with his staff the ground upon which he 
was standing, and said : " Before you step from this circle, 
give me a reply which I may report to the Senate." The 
king promptly submitted. 

The Initiative of the Senate was often very fair-looking, 
but the lust for power and money was generally soon un- 

Most ignoble were the diplomatic tricks by which Rome 
designed to hamstring her ancient rival, Carthage, before 
dealing her the deadly thrust. It was the final triumph 
of old Cato's policy: no sentimental or humanitarian 
scruples here: Carthage had been a loyal and submissive 
subject for nearly two generations. But her capitalistic 
strength, ever replenished by her wonderful genius for, 
and her vast experience in, mercantile pursuits, — this dis- 
turbed the politicians of Rome who were like Cato. 

The story of Numantia, the Annals of the Numidian 


war, are a record of Roman disgrace. The aristocracy 
had discovered that the Mediterranean world had become 
their quarry : covetousness was ever unsatiable by what it 
fed on: where power, where lust, where gold were as- 
sociated in a clover-leaf of human felicity — why should 
the oligarchy of Rome stop short ? where should they stop ? 
what could make them stop? 

The younger Gracchus returned from Sardinia, where 
he had been quaestor, in 124 B.C. Many nuggets of pure 
gold are concealed among the dry leaves of the fuzzy and 
pedantic Gellius: here is one (15, 12), actual utterance 
on the forum by Gaius Gracchus: "I demeaned myself in 
the province in such a manner as I deemed to be to your 
interest, not as I held it to be advantageous to my own 
striving for advancement. No kitchen for gratifying my 
palate was near me: nor were there standing boys of 
comely features. ... So I bore myself in the province, 
that no one could truthfully say that I had received an 
As or more than an As, in presents: or that any one went 
to any expense on my account. Two years I was in the 
province : if any courtesan entered my house, or if any 
one's slave-boy was tempted on my account, deem me the 
lowest and most worthless of mankind. When I kept 
myself so chaste from their slaves, from that fact you will 
be able to estimate how you must think I lived in the 
company of your own sons. . . . Therefore, ye Romans, 
when I set out for Rome, the belts which I carried out (to 
Sardinia) full of silver, these I brought back from the 
province empty. Others have brought back jars of wine, 
which they took out full, brought them home, I say, filled 
with silver." 

" Investors and Promoters " — these are terms of some- 
what wearisome familiarity when I am writing and where 
I am writing. Heart of the world some might call Rome 
as she sat on her seven hills — all arteries took her blood, 
all veins brought it back to that central point: or 
why not stomach rather? all provinces send their products 
and profits. Cinnabar and silver from Spain, wheat, 
lentils, papyrus from Alexandria, byssus from India, silk 


from China, the gold of Ophir and costly spices from 
Arabia Felix, lions and elephants from Africa, panthers 
from Syria, to amuse, feed, dress, entertain the sovereign 

Principal and Interest: the publicani undertook the 
taxes of vast provinces by the stroke or bond of a single 
contract. Soon vast portions of the civilized world 
labored in the sweat of their brow to pay money to the 
Roman bankers and publicans. 

Fervid the admiration of Greek culture which in the 
time of Marius's beginning ascendency was a veritable 
badge of the Roman aristocracy (Sallust, "Jugurthine 
War"): the military genius, humble peasants' son from 
Arpinum, boasted before the voters that he — the people's 
own — could not talk Greek, as the plebs could not. 
Smyrna and Rhodes, Lesbos and Ephesus: these became 
veritable objects of pilgrimage and study. 

And still was that province of older Pergamos — the 
Romans called it Asia — cruelly ground down under 
the Roman tax-gatherers and bankers. The Greeks in the 
western part of Asia Minor were willing, on a single day, 
at one preconcerted signal, in the year 88 B.C. to put to 
death without mercy whatever spoke Latin among them, 
men and women, children, slaves, all; the lowest estimate 
put the victims at 80,000 souls. In describing these 
things, Mommsen speaks much of " Hellenism " — an aca- 
demic fiction in the main: the Athenians had utterly 
abased themselves before Demetrios the city-besieger, 
centuries ago : did the possession of the tongue of Hera- 
kleitos and Herodotos endow the wretched provincials with 
any civic virtue — or for that matter, with any virtue in 
particular? They acclaimed the conquering king of 
Pontus as the earth-subduing Bakchos, incarnate once 
more, and obeyed him in all things. Clearly the Pontic 
barbarian was an evil smaller in their eyes than the 
Roman publican. Nay, they called him God, Father, 
Preserver of Asia. The Rhodians alone, hard-headed 
politicians of old, veritable Venetians in their sagacity, 
defied the Pontic tyrant. 


When Sulla definitely restored the authority of Rome 
among these eastern Greeks, he placed upon the miserable 
provincials indemnities so crushing (20,000 talents) that 
interest and compound interest ultimately raised the very 
principal to a sum more than tenfold the original amount. 

But we must proceed: statutes were enacted by the 
Romans themselves which recognized the evil of oppres- 
sion as very real and as calling for remedies: even dur- 
ing the time when Polybius composed his felicitation of 
Roman polity, in 149 B.C. and after, there was passed the 
Lex Oalpurnia de Repetundis : i.e. concerning restitution 
of extorted (moneys) : it was, in purpose and aim, really 
meant to protect the political dependents of the common- 

But the execution of such measures of punishing the 
privileged class for its exploitation of the provinces was 
also generally in the hands of the same class: these ever 
identified themselves with the commonwealth and were 
not sincere in anything which could seriously impair their 
wealth and vast profits. 

We have no time here to even cite Cicero's "Verrines." 

The gentle Vergil, some forty-five years later, penned 
phrases which fairly exhibit Roman spirit and character, 
certainly Roman pride: 

" Romanos, rerum dominos gentemque togatam " 

of that famous yielding to the Greeks the primacy of cul- 
ture and originality in arts and letters (Aen., 6, 847 sqq.}\ 
but as for Rome: 

" Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento 
(Hse tibi erunt artes) pacisque imponere morem, 
Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos." 

Debellare superbos — very fine phrase, but quite un- 
historical: haughty in the estimation of the Roman 
was every one who did not submit without war, and loved 
his own freedom, his own nationality, his patrimony in- 
deed. Scholars have sought academic peace of soul by 
eulogizing a cosmic mission of Rome: she carried the 


Holy Grail, if I may say so, of Greek culture for the un- 
born nations of the Occident. 

How much was actually transmitted ? Was the best 
transmitted ? In our time thousands are spent to unearth 
some rows of seats in an amphitheatre where a pantomime, 
perhaps, or coarser entertainment furnished diversion to a 
community itself morally, politically, culturally defunct. 
We felicitate ourselves on futile remnants of archaeology, 
we gaze at the arches of the Aqua Claudia, or we overvalue 
every little piece of mere shell, now inanimate, while the 
very spirit and soul, the best letters and the foremost per- 
sonalities of the past, are mouldering in libraries. The 
parings of finger nails and the heels of shoes we gloat over 
in yielding to a veritable childlike faculty of interest: the 
blazing eye, the deep furrow of the pondering mind, the 
grave lesson of truth-loving historiography — these we let 
severely alone. 

Note. — Niebuhr's vision of things differs profoundly from that of 
Mommsen. The latter's " Staatsrecht " is probably the most author- 
itative presentation in our day. Still it cannot be denied that 
the Berlin antiquarian had an itch to construct completeness often- 
times when the data were but few and fragmentary. As for Madvig, 
the work of his old age ("Verfassung u. Verwaltung des Romischen 
Staates" 1881-1882) seems in part to have been called forth by the 
somewhat dogmatic acceptation attained by Mommsen's books. He 
has no sympathy for deductions from subjective legal speculations or 
for the creation of quasi-Roman principles, which are really the re- 
sult of academic reflection. 

The Twelve Tables, Gaius, Justinian's little manual and partic- 
ularly the larger extracts in the Digest reveal the Roman spirit and 
character — if anything in their literary remains does. The artifi- 
ciality of Latin verse — its destination for a small elite, its dependence 
for theme and matter on the Greeks — all these things are familiar 
enough. Unfortunately in our day the growing desuetude of Greek 
pursuits brings it about that this exotic character of Roman letters 
is not as strongly felt by the exclusive Latinist as it is by Greek 
scholars. James Russell Lowell in his essay on Swinburne has spoken 
of these things with true judgment and with felicitous phrase. "Die 
rbmische Litteratur steht neben der griechischen wie die deutsche 
Orangerie neben dem Sicilischen Orangenwald ; man kann an beiden 
sich erfreuen, aber sie neben einander auch nur zu denken geht 
nicht an." These words are Mommsen's ("Rom. Hist.," Book III, 


Chap. 14). More exact I believe to limit this valuation by applying 
it to Latin verse. 

Livy's delineation of older Rome is swayed largely by conscious 
idealization. Dionysius suffers from Hellenic vanity: the Romans 
must be Greeks. The cloud of grammatikoi who came to Rome in 
every way pursued similar aims. Euandros the Arcadian on the 
Palatine : Latin a variant of this JEolic subdialect : it is a wearisome 
and persistent fiction. 

The exempla of Valerius Maximus in their way are a mirror of 
Roman consciousness. Of Varro I shall have something to say in my 
note on Chapter XV. 

The data of the republican history of Rome are preserved and 
arranged in the most convenient way in : " Romische Zeittafeln von 
Rom's Griindung bis auf Augustus Tod," von Dr. Ernst Wilhelm 
Fischer, Altona, 1846. There is a detritus and an erosion of time and 
newer production : this book, like unto those of Henry Fynes Clinton, 
defies time and the vacillation of academic standards ; slight to such 
works are 

" Annorum series fugaque temporum." 



Rite and ritual, vow and votive, augury and inaugurate, 
to divine and divination, pontifical, prodigy and prodigious, 
sacred and profane, propitious, consecration, saint, omen, 
sacerdotal, temple, fauna, expiate, superstition, and religion, 
and other words of English speech are veritable offspring 
and nestlings of Roman institutions, given to mankind by 
the religion, so-called, of the Roman commonwealth. 

Few themes are there in the domain of ancient lore in 
which arid antiquarianism can disport itself as here. 
After Preller and Wissowa, it is somewhat futile to hold 
forth on Mars Campester, Mars Ficanus, Mars Loucetius, 
Mars Pacifer, Mars Ultor, Mars Victor ; somewhat su- 
perfluous to expatiate on Juno Cselestis, Juno Caprotina, 
Juno Curitis, Juno Fluonia, Juno Lacinia, Juno Moneta, 
on the Capitoline Hill, or Juno elsewhere ; somewhat less 
than labelling another frame of dry leaves in the herbaria 
of Time. Were there eighty-four epithets of Jupiter or 
more? Perhaps more. Probably Varro could, if he 
cared, have made a larger catalogue, and Nigidius Figulus, 
Verrius Flaccus, eminent Roman antiquarians of Cicero's 
and of Augustus's time, might possibly have almost 
equalled the former's achievement. 

It will be quite clear, presumably, that Roman "religion " 
and " religions " had almost no real relation to soul and 
spirit, and as for postulating a kind of conduct, would 
have been almost as nothing. 

On the other hand, the fancy of the Latin ploughmen 
and shepherds rose not much above soil and field and the 



practical concerns of life and livelihood : strictly speaking, 
there are no legends of gods and men comparable to the 
fathomless fountain of Hellenic fancy and local lore. If 
Pausanias had extended his antiquarian tour into Italy, 
his record would have been too meagre for publication. 
" Roman mythology " is a misnomer hallowed by academic 
tradition, but a faulty and somewhat empty phrase. Picus 
and Faunus, Ilia, Juturna, Camilla : the list is soon com- 
pleted : a few dry peas rattling around in a large dry 
bladder. And so a Dionysios of Halicarnassus, author 
and professor, tells us that he sailed for Italy (in 30 B.C.), 
and that he spent twenty-two years ("Antiq. Rom.," 
1, 7) in learning Latin and gathering materials for his 
history of Rome to be carried from the beginnings down 
to the First War with Carthage (264 B.C.). Clearly he 
was determined to cover the ground left unoccupied by 
Poly bios a little more than a century before. In that 
critical span of time the polity of the Tiber-city had passed 
through a slow agony in which dissolution of republican 
government ran its course : still to the historical view 
and to the vision of the past, Rome appeared then as a 
state greatly transcending Assyrian and Persian world 
power or the dynasties erected on the fabric of Alexander's 
conquests. Dionysios rejects the hypothesis of supreme 
luck savagely advanced by unwilling Greek subjects : he 
rather claims for Rome intrinsic factors of greatness, 
namely, preeminence (1, 5) in religious reverence, justice, 
self-control. We might fairly bring in here the Roman 
terms of Religio, Jus, Gf-ravitas. Similar views are put 
forward farther on (2, 12) ; also he notes the positive 
absence of myths and legends, which are essentially blas- 
phemous or accusatory, legends "wicked, unprofitable, 
unseemly," viz. such as filled the dawn of all Hellenic 
records; no lamentation of Demeter as acted by Greek 
women, no all-night celebrations by both sexes, no sacred 
rites, but "everything that was said or done about the 
gods was done cautiously " (euXaySoi?) ; their litanies and 
their ritual clearly were dignified and becoming, even 
"though manners were now corrupted." 


Vergil's iEneid became national immediately upon 
its appearance, 19-18 B.C., and still that industrious and 
slowly composing author, profoundly conscious of his 
composite and erudite task, a veritable bee and ransack- 
ing all nooks and corners of Italian tradition, still, in the 
ulterior parts of his Iliad section (9-12, scenes of carnage, 
and heroes brought together from the entire peninsula) 
he has first exhausted the Greek legends dealing with 
Italy and finally resorts to robbing rivers, brooks, foun- 
tains, tribes, lakes, of their names, to endow his vague 
and vapory figures with a little life and movement. 

Very early was the worship of Faunus, who blesses 
calving and foaling, under whose good-will flocks grow 
fast, a force which the farmer must propitiate. The 
Augustan poets, of course, assimilated him deliberately to 
the Arcadian Pan, but we may be quite sure that the hus- 
bandmen of old and simple Rome knew nothing of the 
"lover of fleeing nymphs." The needs and concerns of 
farming and farming folk at once lead us to the elder 
Cato's book on Agriculture. As soon as the owner comes 
out to his farm, he " will greet the Lar Familiaris or house- 
hold god. The steward (yilicus) will see that the holidays 
(/erics') be kept on the farm (Chap. 5). He shall not 
sacrifice, except the Compitalia, at the cross-roads, where 
neighbors' lands met (ift.). 

" The vow (yoturri) in behalf of the oxen, that they be 
well, you must make in this wise. To Mars, and to Sil- 
vanus in the forest, by day you must make a vow, one 
vow for each head of cattle. Of wheaten flour, three 
pounds ; of lard, four pounds and a half, and of clear meat 
(j>ulpd) ; of wine three gills, this you may put together in 
one dish, and the wine likewise you may put into one dish. 
This sacrifice either slave or free may perform. When 
the sacrifice shall have been made, you must consume it 
immediately in the same place. A woman shall not be 
present at the sacrifice, nor shall she see in what manner 
it is performed. This vow you may vow annually if you 
wish" (Cato, "R. R.," 83). 

The prayer to Jupiter Dapalis is prescribed by the old 


Roman (Chap. 132) : " Jupiter of the Feast, because there 
ought to be offered to thee in my house and household a 
chalice of wine for feast, on account of this thing thou 
shalt be extolled (made) in the offering of this sacrifice." 
He shall wash his hands, thereupon shall take the wine : 
** Jupiter of the Feast, thou shalt be extolled by the offer- 
ing of that feast there, thou shalt be extolled by the wine 
of libation." " To Vesta you shall give if you will. The 
feast for Jupiter shall be an as of money's worth, and an 
urna of wine. To Jupiter you shall reverently consecrate 
by his own touch. Afterwards, when you have performed 
the feast, you must sow millet, garlic, lentils." 

"To establish a sacred grove in the Roman manner 
(Romano more) you must proceed thus. Slay a pig as 
expiatory sacrifice (piaculo) and thus you must formulate 
(concipito) the words : if thou art a god, if thou art a 
goddess, to whom this is set apart, as it is right (jus) to 
make expiatory sacrifice to thee with a pig for the purpose 
of restraining that sacredness and for the sake of these 
things, whether I shall do so or whether any one by my 
orders, to the end that this be done correctly, for the sake 
of that thing, in sacrificing this expiatory pig I pray good 
prayers, that thou be willing and inclined to me, my house, 
my slaves, my children : for the sake of these things be 
thou extolled in the sacrificing of this pig as an expiation." 
If you shall desire to dig, sacrifice a second sacrifice of 
expiation : add further this : " for the sake of doing work " 
(Chap. 139). 

The purification of a field was done thus (Chap. 141) : 
victims, a swine, a sheep, a steer, were first led around the 
confines of the piece of land in question: the formula of 
prayer is furnished again by the author: " With the good- 
will of the gods and what may turn out well, I commit to 
thee, O Manius, that thou makest it thy concern to purify 
with that offering of swine — sheep — steer — my farm, 
my field, my soil, in accordance with the part thereof that 
thou biddest them to be driven around or holdest that they 
should be carried around." "Accost thou by way of be- 
ginning Janus and Jupiter with wine and then speak 


thus: Father Mars, thee I pray and beg, that thou be 
willing and inclined to me, my house and our body of 
slaves, for the sake of which thing I have ordered that 
swine — sheep — steer, be driven around my field, soil 
and farm, that thou fend off and turn away distempers, 
seen and unseen, privation and desolation, failure of crops 
and foul weather wouldst keep off, ward off and turn 
away; and that thou permit products, grain, vineyards 
and shrubbery to grow large and turn out well, that thou 
keep shepherds and flocks safe and grant good salvation 
and health to me, my house and our body of slaves ; for 
these things' sake, for the sake of purifying my farm, soil 
and field and of making purification, as I have said, be 
thou extolled by the offering up of this suckling swine 
— sheep — steer: Father Mars, for the sake of the same 
matter, be thou extolled with these suckling swine — 
sheep — steer," etc. (151). 

" The steward's wife shall not sacrifice nor give an 
order to any one to sacrifice in her behalf without the 
order of master or mistress." (Clearly forces are set in 
motion by sacrifice.) " On the Kalends, Ides, Nones, when 
there shall be a holiday (festus dies) she shall put a 
garland upon the hearth, and during the same days she 
shall worship the household god (lar familiaris) as the 
house affords." 

Two things stand out in these forms of ritual and wor- 
ship: the advantage sought for the welfare of the wor- 
shipper and that quaint explicitness and quasi-contractual 
fulness and comprehensiveness of these verba concepta. 

The ceremonial amid which the " Brothers of the 
ploughed fields" (Plin., " N. H.," 18, 6) sacrificed to 
Mars in spring, this rite was for the entire commonwealth, 
to make the power chiefly instrumental, benevolent and 
propitious for the expected crops of the state. In time 
the old Saturnian formulae became unintelligible to all 
but Roman antiquarians. 

But the Mo8 maiorum was here as always the determin- 
ing and dominant consideration. Mars had heard and 
understood these words of old : unwise and irreligious to 


change them. Maintenance of ceremonial and ritual thus 
became the central thing in the consciousness and concern 
of the Roman worshipper. 

But this seems a proper point to go forward to inquire 
about the terms religio and religiones. Putting aside, in 
this place, the divergences of etymological opinions, and 
despairing of having the admirable Thesaurus of the five 
universities reach this word before my death, I must be 
content with a few simple definitions. Nettleship (con- 
tributions to Latin Lexicography, 1889) has devoted three 
pages, 570-573, to the matter. Clearly, it is something 
that binds and restrains us from doing that which we prob- 
ably would do, or would like to do, without this binding 
or restraining something. 

Thus the Flamen Dialis is prohibited from riding on a 
horse: it is a religio to him, but not to every one. It is 
often thus a scruple that bars or checks. Thus one can- 
not remove trophies once dedicated. 

There are, per contra, binding obligations which compel 
one to do or observe something, removing that something 
from the sphere of whim, or argument, proof, demonstra- 
tion, nay defence: it is absolute and axiomatic. Hence, 
Cicero often speaks of divina religio; there is a phrase of 
religio deorum immortalium, and religiones are religious 
acts, rites, ritual. Almost every occurrence of this elusive 
word may be pinned down (apart from the attitude of 
scrupulous concern in the human conscience) to some out- 
ward act, observance, rite, ceremonial. 

But to move again from the abstract to the concrete: 
let us take up a few articles in Festus (Verrius Flaccus, 
fl. 10 B.C.). " Profanum is that which is not held by 
the religion of a sanctuary (fanurri), i.e. where one is 
not under that restraint. Meligiosus is not only he who 
rates highly the sacred character of the gods, but also is 
dutiful (^officiosus) towards men. Now religious days are 
those on which it is held a sin (nefas') to be active unless 
it be in the sphere of necessity; as are the thirty-six days 
which are called black (atri). . . and those on which the 
'mundus' is open," This was a central pit in Italian 


communities, a kind of reverse of the firmament above us. 
It was sacred to the Di Manes, i.e. to the spirits of the 
departed and to the deities of the lower world, Orcus, 
Ceres, Tellus (Preller, 2, 67). Pit closed by a stone 
called the lapis manalis. Tellus holds the dead, likewise 
she send up the crops, on those three days (Aug. 24, Oct. 
5, Nov. 8). It was held that the spirits could freely pass 
up and down: and consequently these days were religiosi. 
Says Varro (Macrob., "Sat.," 1, 16, 18): 

44 When the mundus is open, the gate, as it were, is ajar 
of the gloomy divinities and of the beings in the lower 
world. Therefore, it is religiosum (i.e. prohibited, op- 
posed to the will of gods) not only to join battle but also 
to hold a levy for the sake of war, and for the soldier to 
begin a march, to put to sea, to take a wife into your home 
for the purpose of getting children." 

The tomb also where burial has actually been made, 
is a locus religiosus (Gaius, " Inst.," 2,6). When the mor- 
tal remains are transferred, then the spot ceases to be 

But let us cite a few more data from Verrius Flaccus 
(generally cited by the name of the abstract-maker, 
Festus). Religioni est, i.e. it is a matter of prohibitive 
scruple to certain people to go out (from Rome) by the 
porta Carmentalis; and to have the Senate held in the 
temple of Janus which is outside of the same, because by 
that gate went out the three hundred and six Fabii and 
were subsequently all slain on the river Cremera, whereas 
in the temple of Janus the decree of the Senate had been 
adopted that they should march." 

Conformity, then, to a specific sphere of ancestral tra- 
dition (mos maiorurn) is the essence of Roman religion, it 
is indeed a species of civic obedience, a postulate of politi- 
cal loyalty, and it is, of a truth, as inclusive of observance 
as is any form of patriotism. 

But to proceed, what is rite and ritual? Ritus, says 
Festus, is " an established manner in performing sacri- 
fices." And what were these ? The most eminent and 
the most conspicuous were those in honor of Jupiter 


Optimus Maximus. In these the very core and essence of 
Roman sentiment was revealed. 

Festus's Ordo Sacerdotum gives to us the official hier- 
archy: "Greatest seems the Rex {i.e. the 'King' of 
sacrificial functions, successor to the old political 4 Kings ' 
in this particular limitation); then the Flamen Dialis 
(priest for life of Jupiter) ; after this one the Martialis, 
in fourth place the Quirinalis, in fifth the Pontifex 
Maximus." Their rank and precedence, e.g. at official 
dinners, was carefully maintained. 

In the great Roman and Latin cyclopaedia of the 
Augustan age, by Verrius Flaccus, the work of elabo- 
rate detail, written in the generation after Varro (Letter 
A had four books, e.g.; P had five), the vast original now 
preserved in the poor abstract of the absurd Festus — in 
this work, I say, I counted some hundred and seventy- 
five articles on rite, ritual, priests, prayer, ceremony, 
holidays, etc. In this large body, however, I found that 
three distinct topics or matters stood forth above the 
rest : Jupiter and his regular priest (Flamen Dialis), 
Sacrifices, Auspices, — these three. 

I believe I shall be faithful both to my historical task 
and to the interests of my readers if I shall largely devote 
myself to these three. 

1. Observe that the priest of Jupiter is not called 
Jovialis but Dialis, Light : the bright firmament above 
us, under which men live, exist, struggle, prosper or fail : 
Dium sometimes is a quasi-impersonal neuter form — 
light merges in dies, day: still sub Jove frigido is the 
firmament, even at night. Dium fulgur they called light- 
ning of the daytime, which they believed to be of Jupiter, 
as the lightning of night the property of " Summanus" 
the power on high. Flamen (flag-men) is strictly the 
" kindler " of the sacrifice. A place struck by lightning 
was at once deemed to become religiosus, because the god 
seemed to have dedicated it (dicasse) to himself. Liba- 
tions of new wine were made, not to Bacchus, but to 
Jupiter. Libation is made to the god of Light and Life, 
before man tastes of it (v. Oalpar) . The Flamen Dialis 


was not permitted to touch ivy nor to utter the name of 
it, because ivy overcomes everything to which it clings. 
But not even a solid, complete ring was that functionary 
permitted to wear, or have about or on his person any 
knot, for he represents the supreme ruler (y. Ederam). 
Deus clearly is a mere variant and so phonetically later 
or younger than Dius. The Lord of Light is the divine 
being, primary and principal, who has given his name to 
be a generic designation of all gods. I will leave infer- 
ences to my reader. For Jupiter is Diu piter. 

But to return to his priest. He may not touch a bean 
nor name it, because that vegetable is believed to have a 
bearing on the dead. For on the Lemur alia (a kind of All 
Souls, May 9, 11, 13, when temples were closed, and wed- 
dings were forbidden (Ovid, kk Fasti," 5, 485 sqq.)), beans 
were thrown to the spooks (larvae) and the bean further 
was sacrificed on the Parentalia, February 21, to the 
"gods of the ancestors," di Parentum ; furthermore, the 
letter L, for Luetics, Grief, seemed to appear in its blossom 
(v. Fabam). 

Flaminius camillus was called the boy, freeborn, whose 
father and mother were still living, who served the priest 
of Jupiter at sacrifices. Similarly was attended the wife 
of the priest, the Flaminica Dialis, by a young girl whose 
father and mother were still living. This insistence on 
life calls for no exegesis or epexegesis, I believe. Fune- 
bres tibia, the flutes played at exequies, the Flamen I). 
is not permitted to hear. 

In the temple of Jupiter Feretriu% they kept the sceptre 
or staff by which they swore, and the flintstone (lapis 
silex) which they used in the ceremonial of concluding 
treaties (v. Feretrim). 

In a fire-colored garb was draped every bride for the 
sake of the good omen, because the Flaminica continually 
wore it, i.e. the wife of the flamen, who was not permitted 
to make a divorce (v. Flammed). The flamen also has a 
lictor to attend him. Fire could not be carried from the 
house of the flamen except for the sake of sacrifice. In 
the entire ritual the aim was to preserve every detail as 


it ever had been. Thus the flamines performed sacrifice 
garbed with the use of bronze clasps or fibulae because the 
use of that metal was the oldest known. The games in 
honor of Jupiter were called The Great Games (magni 
ludi) because they deemed him first of gods. Whenever 
the Flamen Dialis walked abroad, there strode before him 
heralds (Prceciamitatores), calling upon all men to abstain 
from labor, because the flamen must not see any one ac- 
tually working. It was religiosum for the priest to see it. 
Further, he must not see the levies ready to march out to 

The chief manifestation, the most palpable revelation 
of the Lord of Light, was in the celestial phenomenon of 
lightning and of the thunderbolt. Q. Fabius, one of that 
noble clan, who was called Uburnus from the ivory-like 
fairness of his skin, when a boy was struck by lightning, 
recovering, but keeping on his person a mark from that 
experience. He was called pullus Jovis, the " chick " of 

And here we observe that curious dependency on their 
Etruscan neighbors and subjects. From these indeed the 
Romans wholly adopted the Goddess of Intelligence, 
Minerva (Me-nerfa, Menrfa, in Tuscan), not from their 
Greek neighbors of Cumse, or Capua, or Puteoli. 

Authority and precedent — these the Romans observed 
with anxious care. They believed in the lore of the 
Etruscans, their disciplina, a fixed and definite theory. 
These claimed to know how to interpret the will of God 
as revealed through these phenomena of the sky, no less 
than that other mode of ascertainment, the viewing of the 
inner organs (exta) of victims. When we ask on what 
the Romans based their confidence and trust, we may say 
it was experience, or quasi-experience of results, so-called. 
These were connected with Procligia, Ostenta, portenta, 
monstra. This is no place even for a sketch of the Etrus- 
can discipline, contained in their books of lightning, books 
of thunder, and books setting forth the significance of 
victims' livers, lungs, hearts, or what not. 

There were sixteen sections into which the Tuscan 


expert divided the heavens and the circular prospect of the 
observer. A thunderbolt which strikes any locality con- 
nected with government and sovereignty was called fulmen 
regale : it portended civil war, destruction of government. 
But we will, perhaps, be served best by a few citations from 
Verrius Flaccus. " Renovativum fulgur, Renewed gleam - 
of-lightning, it is called when in consequence of some 
gleam-of-lightning a • function ' has begun to result, if 
a similar gleam-of-lightning (fulgur} has occurred, which 
carries the same meaning. There was a statue of an actor 
who, once upon a time, was struck by lightning and buried 
on Janiculum. His bones, later on, in consequence of 
prodigia and the replies of oracles, by a decree of the 
senate were removed within the city and buried in the 
sanctuary of Vulcan, which is above the comitium " (v. 
Statua) . 

When grave crises approached, when disastrous things 
had actually overwhelmed the state, then vows were made, 
vows which even in their form and verba concepta remind 
us of a public contract or quasi-contract. These acts, as 
all acts of that religion, are exclusively concerned with the 
question — what will happen ? Will we fare well or ill, 
or, at least, no worse ? Will we prosper ? The state 
binds itself to do something, if the Deity grants the de- 
sired matter (Wissowa, pp. 20 ay.). 

" Here," so Livy makes Romulus say (1, 12), " I vow a 
temple to thee, Stayer (of battle), Jupiter, which shall be 
a reminder to later- generations, that through thy very 
present help the city was saved." In the terrible year 
217 B.C., after the catastrophe of Lake Trasumenus, in 
accordance with an official report requested from the 
collegium of the pontifices, to wit: "If the state of the 
Roman people (and) of the Quirites shall stand at the ex- 
piration of the period of five years ensuing, as I wish it 
and he (Jupiter) shall have kept it safely in these present 
wars, the Roman people of the Quirites shall give and be- 
stow a gift: (these present wars) which war the Roman 
people has with the Carthaginian, and which wars are with 
the Gauls who are this side of the Alps : what spring shall 


produce from the flocks of swine, sheep, goats, and what 
shall be (otherwise) profane, shall be sacrificed to Jupiter, 
the obligation to begin to run from the day which senate 
and people shall order," etc. 

The vowing of games to reconcile an angry or indifferent 
deity ? No sackcloth or ashes here. No, the gods were 
to be appeased by being entertained and amused (Censori- 
nus, Chap. 12). 

The assumption or presumption of the substantial 
identity of the gods' concerns and sympathies with those of 
men puzzles us much more in the case of the grave and 
well-poised Romans than of the volatile nation reared and 
nurtured on Homer. At Circensian games, then, in Rome, 
the very idols (simulacra) of pertinent gods were driven 
into the assemblage: the car was called tensa. But as 
the gods were given of grain, cattle, wine, of their gifts, 
why should not the commonwealth ask their tutelary 
deities to share in the pleasures of the commonwealth? 
This chariot was of silver and ivory. It was a gorgeous 
parade : young men mounted and on foot, athletes, 
dancers, chief entertainers, (ludii) musicians. Says 
Cicero (" Be Haruspicum Responso," 23), " Or, if a player 
(ludius) has halted, or a flute-player has made a sudden 
pause, or that boy whose father and mother must be liv- 
ing has not held the divine car, if he let go the leather 
reins, or if the sedilis has blundered by a single word or 
sacrificial-cup, then the games have not been performed 
correctly (rite) and these mistakes are atoned for and the 
minds of the immortal gods are appeased by repetition." 

2. We pass on to sacrifices and (as closely bound up 
therewith) to prayers and invocations. Sacrum, according 
to Roman antiquarians (e.g. ^Elius Gallus), is something 
set apart, and declared the property of, or exclusively 
meant for, the gods. No private person, however, can, 
strictly speaking, thus set apart, or consecrate : such re- 
quire the official regulation or approval through formal 
action on the part of the Pontifices. Sacrificium clearly is 
an act by which something is removed from common use 
and set apart for the gods. 


In the time of Augustus substantially all ritual terms 
connected with sacrifice were unintelligible to the layman, 
non-recurrent elsewhere in actual life and often puzzling 
as to their etymology to the most learned men of Rome. 

Feretum (Festus) they called a kind of cake which was 
borne quite frequently to sacrifices, and not without the 
strues, another kind of cake. Glomus they called a little 
piece of cake at sacrifices, of the shape of a boat, fried in 
oil. Trenela, a kind of vessel. Immolare was to sprinkle 
the victim with mola, i.e. ground grain and salt, and 
then to sacrifice it. The wife of the rex sacriftculus, the 
" queen " so called, while sacrificing, wore on her head 
a bent slight rod of the pomegranate tree. Generally the 
head of the officiating person was covered, except in honor 
of Saturn, when the offering priest was said " to make 
light." The term greatest victim was bestowed upon 
sheep not from its physical eminence among victims, but 
from its more peaceful disposition (y. Maximam hostiam). 
In the large temple tables held the place of, or could serve 
as, altars. The ^Edilis had three victims placed for his 
inspection, and chose the best (y. Optatam hostiam). 

Secespita they called a knife of iron, longish, with a 
handle of solid round ivory, gold and silver being used 
for binding and fastening, with bronze nails of Cyprian 
bronze, used in sacrificing by the female acolytes of the 
Flaminica and by the pontifices. 

But this may suffice : everything was rigidly prescribed, 
and innovation here was considered as an essential im- 
possibility : and why ? Because, as a man cannot undo 
his descent from specific ancestors, so, too, the mos mai- 
orum was a veritable part of the civil and political con- 
sciousness bound up inextricably with the religious and 
ceremonial institutions. 

This rigor and rigidity of course extended to prayer 
and invocation: everything was in formularies, "concepta 
verba," "indigitamenta." Often these were chanted (v. 
Festus, Indigitamenta). These formula were preserved 
under the care of the standing commissioners for all 
these things, the pontifices. I cite here from the admi- 


rable treatise of Wissowa ("Religion und Kultus der 
Romer" p. 333) : " For prayer, according to the view 
of the Romans, is not so much an independent act of 
piety, as rather the oral declaration which of necessity 
must go with every religious act and offering, a declara- 
tion which renders the religious legal transaction on the 
part of the mortal perfect, and, if uttered in the cor- 
rect form, compels the divinity (called upon) to take an 
active interest in the matter. And the first point es- 
sential is, that one must accost the divinity with the 
right name, and the lists of these formularies of invoca- 
tion form an important element of the pontifical archives; 
on account of the compelling force contained in a prayer 
turning to the god with the correct address, the com- 
monwealth had to shroud these formulas of invocation 
in the deepest mystery, lest they be put to use by the foe 
to the detriment of the Roman state." 

The acts of worship, provided they be performed with 
rigid conformity, will operate : the mental or moral state, 
nay the very conscience of the worshipper, is hardly con- 
cerned at all. It was a form of magic. 

And so, while the physical and political welfare of the 
commonwealth is closely bound up with the good-will, let 
us say with the good humor, of these celestial mechanisms, 
there could not be any religion beyond the narrow limits 
of the commonwealth, none for the members thereof. 

Gods are the veritable productions of a given com- 
monwealth, a propaganda or missionary fervor is quite 

The state could, however, induce the tutelary divinities 
of another state (with which Rome was struggling maybe 
at the time) to leave their ancient domicile and accept 
residence among the Roman people. 

This was evocatio, calling out. The inducement offered 
was an even more generous cult in the new abode. Macro- 
bius cites the exact formula (" Saturnalia," 3, 9, 7) : " If 
it is a god or a goddess in whose guardianship the people 
and commonwealth of Carthage is, and thou particularly, 
thou who hast accepted the guardianship of this city and 


people, I pray and worship and seek from you grace that 
you would abandon the people and commonwealth of Car- 
thage, leave the sacred places and temples and their city 
and go away from these, and inspire this people and com- 
monwealth with fear, dread, confusion, and having gone 
forth to Rome come to me and mine, and that our own 
sacred places, temples and city may be more acceptable to 
you and more approved and that you may be placed over 
me and the Roman people and my soldiers, that we may 
know and realize. If you shall do so, I vow that I will 
make temples and games for you." It was an act of 
political strategy. 

The gradual assimilation to — the partial adoption of — 
form and matter of Greek worship, the Grcecus ritus, was 
not in any way a spiritual progression. As the old Latins 
were entirely guiltless of mythological fancies resembling 
those of the Greeks, so even they had for a long time no 
visible palpable images and idols (Simulacra), Varro said, 
not within the first one hundred and sixty years ab urbe 
condita; it was the son of the Corinthian exile, the fifth 
King of Rome, who came from Etruria, the elder Tarquin, 
who made this innovation at Rome. 

Later, indeed, the Romans with great facility deified ab- 
stractions : or is it not perhaps the essence of a cult that 
was never burdened with genealogical legends of definite 
spots, rivers, brooks, oaks, valleys, as was the so-called 
religion of the Greeks? Of these abstractions, Fortuna 
was perhaps most eminent. In time there were added 
Hope (Spes), Concordia, Pudicitia (for keeping matrimony 
pure), Pietas (for correct relation of parents and children). 
The persistent experience of malaria led to the cult of 
Febris ; storms of 259 B.C. suggested the worship of Tem- 
pestates. The unknown divinity which caused Hannibal's 
retiring from Rome received afanum and was worshipped 
as Tutanus Rediculus. (Fides, Terminus.) 

3. A word as to Auspices and Augural matters. Above 
is the Lord of Light, who, somehow, specifically shelters 
and befriends the Roman commonwealth. Divine per- 
mission or assent is ascertained through certain magistrates 


to whom this " Bird-viewing " (Avis- spic ere) is intrusted. 
Official power is officially associated with that privilege of 
looking upward. As the founders of the state constituted 
the older aristocracy, they long maintained this form of 
privilege. Greatest (Gellius, 13, 15, 4) were the auspices 
of consuls, praetors, censors. These, in turn, are not of a 
parity. A quaestor may request the auspices of a higher 
magistrate. No public act was undertaken without this 
inquiry, even a matter of routine character like the sum- 
moning of the senate, appointment of magistrates, march- 
ing forth to a campaign. The very name of templum 
means first "a square space or region marked out in the 
sky or on the earth by the Augures, in which to look 
for signs " (Nettleship). First there must be silence. 
In Cicero's time the whole Augural discipline was in a 
decline : even the old believers seem to have placed more 
reliance on the visceral lore of the Tuscan experts. Fac- 
ing south, the left hand was the sphere of favorable signs. 

Even the most enlightened Romans, e.g. Cicero, whose 
personal culture was steeped deep in Greek reflection and 
analytical habits — even he takes a profoundly conserva- 
tive view of the vast body of ancestral usages which one 
may call the Roman Religion. 

The very continuation of the commonwealth was bound 
up in the mental habits of the people with the strict main- 
tenance of ancestral observance. The remnants of Cicero's 
" De Legibus " are, if I may say so, beautifully suggestive 
and illuminating in this matter. 

The household must endure : how can one neglect the 
usages that placate the tutelary powers of the household ? 
And the state is but an enlarged household. See Cic, 
" Be Legibus" 2, 19 : " To the gods they shall approach 
chastely, they shall employ reverence, they shall put away 
wealth. He who does otherwise, the god himself will be 
the avenger. Privately, no one shall have gods neither 
new nor bought from abroad unless adopted by the state 
(publice adscitos). . . . The rites of the family and of 
the fathers they shall keep." 

" The gods and those who have ever been held heavenly, 


they shall worship, and those whom their services to men 
have placed in heaven, Hercules, Bacchus, ^Esculapius, 
Castor, Pollux, Quirinus ; but those things on account of 
which ascent into heaven is granted to a human being, 
viz. Mens, Virtus, Pietas, Fides, and for their praises 
there shall be shrines, and not any for Vices. ..." 
" The Vestal Virgins in the city shall guard the fire of 
the public hearth forever." Traversing, with much dig- 
nity and with a quaint archaic manner of speech, the 
whole domain of Roman observance, Cicero concludes 
with these words : " The rights of the gods of the de- 
parted spirits shall be inviolate. Those who have been 
handed over to the realm of destruction, they shall hold 
as divine ; the expenditure bestowed upon them and the 
matter of mourning they shall reduce." 

The violation of the Bona Dea through the rake Clodius 
and the subsequent purchase of the Jury with the active 
good- will of the interested and injured husband, the ponti- 
fex himself, — all this shook Cicero profoundly : not so 
much, however, was it his moral sense, as his political 
consciousness which was grieved and outraged. 

It is the outward faring and the strength of the state, 
its flourishing condition, its victories, triumphs, and 
tributes imposed upon provinces : these exhibit to the 
classical consciousness the soundness and, if I may say so, 
the solidity of their cult and religion. 

A few years after Pompey (on a Sabbath) had taken 
possession of Jerusalem, Cicero (in 58 B.C.) delivered his 
oration " Pro Flacco." Cicero praises his distinguished 
friend Pompey for treating the temple with consideration. 
Of the Jews themselves, the orator speaks with unveiled 
contempt. Of their religion he has clearly no direct 
knowledge ; for their fate as a people, no concern ; for 
their temple, no respect. He goes on to conclude that 
particular subject with sentiments and with ideas which 
go to the heart of the matter : " Each commonwealth " 
("Pro Flacco" 69) u has its own religion, we have our 
own. Although Jerusalem is standing, and although the 
Jews have been subdued, nevertheless, the religion of 


those rites had absolutely nothing in common with the 
brightness of this empire of ours, with the impressive 
weight of our name, with the institutions of our ancestors. 
At the present moment the more so, because that race 
showed by its military performances what it thought of 
our empire, and how dear it was to the immortal gods, it 
taught through the fact that it was defeated ; that it has 
its tribute let out to publicans, that it is enslaved." 

In the circumvolution of years and centuries, the time 
came when the sovereignty of the Tiber folk began to 
totter. Neither the fervor of the Neoplatonists had been 
able to check the decline of the old religion, so-called, nor 
had the fire and sword of Diocletian rooted out the 
Christian faith. In 325 there met the Council of Nice. 
In 330 Constantinople was dedicated, the other Rome. 
In the following year Constantine himself celebrated the 
thirtieth anniversary of his accession by dedicating a 
church in Jerusalem. In 337 that emperor died near 
Nicomedia. In 338 Athanasius returned from exile. 

In 342 Constantius IV and Constans III exempted 
from destruction certain temples within the walls, with 
which the celebration of certain games and other anni- 
versaries was connected. 

In November, 355, Julian became associate emperor, or 
"Caesar." Only a single slave at that time shared the 
knowledge of his secret devotion to paganism. In 360, on 
Epiphany Sunday, this emperor still attended Christian 
service. Near the close of 361, after the death of Con- 
stantius, he threw off the mask. Visceral lore of the 
Etruscans, auspices, and Neoplatonism were curiously 
interfused in his aspirations. In December, 361, the 
Apostate entered Constantinople. In 362 he worshipped 
the Phrygian Great Mother at Pessinus. 

One of his coins has the legend : " Felicium temporum 
Reparatio " (restoration of happy times). 

In the winter, 362-363, he devoted himself at Antioch 
to polemics against Christianity. As the pagan Libanius 


puts it : " attacking the books which make the man from 
Palestine both God and the Son of God, in an extensive 
combat and by the vigor of his proofs proving their alle- 
gations (ra \ey6fieva) ridicule and futility and he dis- 
played finer philosophy therein than the old man of Tyre " 
(Porphyrio). In the summer of 363, campaigning against 
the Parthians, Julian perished. 

Thus on the Euphrates, while north and northeast of 
Italy, Alemanni and Visigoths began to break down the 
defence of those frontiers, Saxons made irruptions : 
Burgundians were besought to aid the empire. The 
Quadi ravaged Illyricum. On the lower Danube, in 374, 
the Sarmatians were repulsed by Theodosius. The next 
spring Valentinian hastened into Carinthia from Treves 
on the Moselle, to defend Illyricum. He died in this 
year. Soon after, the Goths, pressed by the Huns, cross 
the Danube and defeat a Roman army. 

A tribe of Alemanni cross the Rhine. The Goths are 
repulsed from Constantinople. In 379 the vigorous 
Theodosius is made fellow-emperor or Augustus by 
Gratian, who had summoned the former from Spain. 

This, too, is the time of the last renaissance of Roman 
paganism. Rome had come to be a venerable memory: 
the struggle for the empire was carried on at the out- 
posts : Milan and Ravenna, Treves and Cologne, Anti- 
och and Constantinople, were of greater moment in the 
movement of affairs and in the defence of the power once 
gained by pagan legions. 

In 381 was called by Theodosius the Council of Con- 
stantinople, Damasus being then bishop of Rome, to deal 
with the heresy of Macedonius. 

Strong were the imperial decrees against heretics and 
for the Nicene creed. 

This was the period when in old Rome — fed mainly 
on memories and inspired by the superb monuments of Ro- 
man sovereignty and power, a little band, whom we may 
call The Old Believers, sought in such ways as were open 


to them to reassert or defend the ancient rites. No one 
threatened their lives or property. They clung to the 
old ceremonial, Vergil their Bible. Macrobius, Sym- 
machus, Servius, have left us very impressive literary 
remains of the movement. Libraries were ransacked for 
the books which set forth the olden times and the ancient 
rites. Varro's antiquities had a last period of flourishing 
authority. In 384 a.d., Symmachus himself, their most 
brilliant champion, held the conspicuous office of prcefectus 
urbis. And it seems wise at this point to transcribe cer- 
tain claims and requests of the Old Believers as they are 
revealed in an official report of Symmachus : it is true, 
advancement was impossible if one were conspicuous at 
the ancient altars. But let us hear the Old Believer 
himself (" Relatio" III, pp. 280 sqq., ed. Seeck) : he 
petitions Theodosius for the retention in the senate- 
hall of the altar of Victory. He claims to defend the 
established usages of the ancestors, the laws and fates of 
Rome. Did not Theodosius himself owe much to Vic- 
tory ? It would be a bad omen to remove the altar. 
There the oath of loyalty should be taken. Would not 
the mind shrink from perjury at such a spot ? 

Constantius is cited. But he did not cut short the an- 
nual appropriations for the support of the Vestal Virgins. 
He followed the senate through all the roads of the 
Eternal City and beheld the shrines with unruffled coun- 
tenance, he read the names of the god inscribed in the 
fastigia of temples, he inquired about the origins of 
temples, and while himself a follower of other religious 
convictions, he preserved these to the empire. For each 
one has his own custom, his own rite : the mind of God 
has allotted various cults meant to be guardians of various 
cities. There is added the element of advantage which 
particularly attaches men to God. Symmachus personifies 
and cites the venerable Roma herself, her power, her long 
life, her sovereignty in the world : all are made dependent 
on the ancestral rites. Rites and usages : as to the 
deeper and the underlying causes of the Universe, this 
Old Believer professes himself ignorant : " We gaze at the 


same stars, we have the firmament in common, the same 
universe holds us in its embrace : what difference does it 
make, through what form of wisdom each seeks the truth ? 
By a single path one cannot reach so great a mystery." 

He goes on to make a plea for the recognition (even 
without any appropriation) of the Vestal Virgins. The 
fiscus has taken their lands. Wills are denied validity. 
The old Roman religion has been dealt a hard blow by the 
Roman law. 

The stout bishop of Milan, Ambrosius, protested against 
this recrudescence, and we do not believe that Theodosius 
the Great gave practical heed to these last petitions of the 
Old Believers. The ossified externalities of a ritual en- 
tirely unconcerned with Sin and Soul or Immortal Life — 
these indeed were as] vague and vapory shadows on the 
soil of that Italy on which St. Ambrose wrote verses that 
call upon all men and to all time : 

JEterne rerum conditor — or 
Veni Redemptor gentium 

Note. — Among the most available books for these matters are : 
Cicero, " De Divinatione." Verrius Flaccus, " De Verborum Signif.- 
catu," time of Augustus. Ovid's " Fasti " unfortunately go but from 
January to June. The year is as a revolving ring : annus means ring. 
The same revolving unit of seasons has incorporated an accumulated 
multitude of observances of nature, society, historical events which 
kept mirroring the experience of Roma. But even for the most ex- 
pert antiquarians like Varro (116-132 B.C.) the majority of observ- 
ances were teeming with problems. This multiplicity of explanations 
in Ovid points to Verrius Flaccus, who in turn must have drawn 
from Varro more heavily than the slender abstracts now extant 
allow us to surmise. As for Varro's theories, they are not implied in 
the tradition, are not, in my opinion, drawn from it, were no part of 
it; they are, it seems to me, Varro's own. The classifications and the 
allegorizing interpretations point to the Stoics. Probably Varro was 
a Stoic. 

Gellius has an interest not only in old words but in old institu- 
tions as well. Him exploited Macrobius, one of the Old Believers in 
the time of Theodosius. The vast masses of Varronian data im- 
bedded in the Servian scholia are not there by accident. Symma- 
chus — Servius — Macrobius — there is in this clover-leaf of the dusk 


of the gods a rare identity of religious concern as well as antiquarian 
interest. Varro with them was as precious a record, comparable to the 
Book of the Law rediscovered in the reign of Josiah, Kings 22, 10 sqq. 

The Saturnalia of Macrobius show how in this dusk of the gods 
the Old Believers drafted into their service a vast range of classical 
culture — in which Greek figures almost as fully as Latin. 

Upon a second traversing of the entire range of the Servian matters, 
I am less inclined to follow Nettleship than at first. Neoplatonism 
in that generation of the Old Believers was not a loose cloak of eru- 
dition, it was indeed rather a creed, nay a faith. 

Wissowa began these studies with an analysis of the matter out 
of which Macrobius is compounded. The antiquarian purpose of 
Vergil's national epic must not be overlooked. See his letter to 
Augustus (Macrob., "Sat.," 1, 24, 1). Wissowa's and Preller's foot- 
notes abundantly furnish all the material necessary for closer vision. 

The transparency of the Roman deified abstractions is simple — 
but the deliberate act of creating an institution on the part of the 
commonwealth has nothing in common with the postulate of uni- 
versal and eternal truth. In the entire domain which in appropriat- 
ing a familiar phrase we may call the dusk of the gods, it is my 
privilege in this place to call attention to Professor Gildersleeve's 
" Lucian," " Apollonius of Tyana," and " The Emperor Julian," re- 
published in his Essays and Studies, 1890. To these must be added 
his introduction to his edition of Justin Martyr. In the critique of 
young Persius's second Satire, Roman religiosity is measured by the 
Stoic consciousness, if not the Stoic precept, imbibed by the pupil and 
the disciple of Annaeus Cornutus. 

Karl Ottfried Miiller's " Etrusker " must not be omitted here. 
His mortal remains are bedded in the deme Kolonos. He was the 
greatest of Boeckh's pupils. 

Dr. Ernst Riess of New York, a pupil of Usener, has devoted much 
research to classic superstitions as distinct from religious usages. 



Marcus Tullius Cicero of Arpinum (106-43 b.c.) 
in many ways is the best known of the sons of Latium. 
Most maligned, also. For after he and his graceful essays, 
his altogether worthy humanity had for many centuries 
educated the youth of Europe, a reaction must needs come. 
You tire of any schoolmaster. 

And still, if academic and scholastic experience should 
utterly come to lose sight of this wonderful man, the 
larger contemplation of ancient things could not dispense 
with the last line or iota of his literary production. He 
is a veritable mirror of Roman consciousness. That is, of 
the Roman consciousness of the declining republic, curi- 
ously permeated with Greek culture; a consciousness 
comparable to the twin chestnuts in a single burr: politi- 
cally he was proud and haughty to the point of contempt- 
uous disdain: culturally, more than a Philhellene: Hu- 
manist before the Humanists indeed: and so deeply 
impregnated with Greek that the innermost notes struck 
on the many chords of his mobile and sensitive soul found 
vent in phrase or verse that rang again from Homer, or 
Euripides, or other Greek source. The Romans were 
bi-lingual in the fullest range of possession: when Greek 
scholars came to Rome they taught Greek in Greek and 
in no other way, precisely as they did in the East. Thus 
Tyrannio the elder, pupil of Dionysios Thrax, although 
he came to Italy as a prisoner of war, at Rome became 
wealthy and left a library of more than thirty thousand 
scrolls (Suidas). 

As a boy Cicero was a " Wunderkind." Penetration 
and understanding made him renowned among his fellow- 



pupils : fathers heard so much of it from their sons that 
they visited the classes to hear him recite. Even when 
walking home, his young admirers made him the centre of 
all — a veritable great man among the very boys (Plut., 

His soul was of the positive order, ever turning to 
excellence and nobility, enthralled and subjecting itself 
with a certain ecstasy to the greatness of the past, partic- 
ularly in utterance and thought — he had the faculty, as 
of absorption, so of swift and forceful production. Even 
as a boy and youth his own genius for oratory led him to 
choose with unerring precision for models the most emi- 
nent orators, such as Crassus, Antonius, Cotta, Sulpicius: 
and his was the rare admixture of delicate perception 
which determined the secret of each one's peculiar forensic 
power by the agreement of friend and foe ; his judgments 
on his rivals or other orators are permeated by technical 
exactness and a large and free spirit with which he rec- 
ognized and sketched every element of strength, e.g. in 
Hortensius Hortalus. And so he became that virtuoso 
who drew tears or caused the ripple of smiles to run over 
the surface of the souls of his hearers, at will. Not less 
concerned in the uttermost detail of the technique of his 
art than Aristotle, Theophrastus, or Hermagoras, he alone 
among the Romans was chosen by Plutarch to furnish a 
parallel to Demosthenes. And he never rested on his 
laurels, but ever became more powerful and accom- 
plished. You may gaze at a violin once used by a Paganini 
or Spohr or Joachim, but the soul and feeling that drew 
the bow are departed. As for Cicero himself, his own 
wonderful delivery and all the powers and graces bound 
up therewith, these swayed his audiences, as Plutarch 
says (c. 5). At the same time he made it his life's aim 
to reunite the two streams which, since Plato wrote his 
" Phaedrus," and even more since the days of old Isocrates 
and young Aristotle, had flowed apart, — philosophy and 
oratory. Fortunate for us modern ones, that he was not 
addicted to one school. For while the loftier morality of 
Stoicism arrested his admiring soul from boyhood on to 


the end, the dialectic free fencing and avoidance of dog- 
matism as maintained by the New Academy impressed him 
as admirable drill for his pleader's profession. 

Amid all the Greek technique of rhetoric his innermost 
soul loved to lay hold of general truths and underlying 
verities. In the elaboration of these he felt himself a 
philosopher indeed. 

I am not here to trace once more the chronicles of his 
achievements and his successes, but most earnestly en- 
deavor to reveal his spiritual side. And for this aim and 
interest his life lies before us cloven — cloven in twain, 
indeed, by his exile. Is there, at all, any spiritual side 
to the brilliant pleader and debater, before the exile? 

The public life of the sovereign commonwealth of the 
seven hills — this in itself was full of incentives that 
beckoned the brilliant young Arpinate onward to climb 
from rung to rung in the offices — the "cursus honorum." 
The mere prosperity of life, the faring well in it, could 
not satisfy his keen and craving soul. For the School of 
Epicurus which he understood with consummate academic 
precision, he had no liking, nay he confronted it with 
bristling antipathy to the end. 

Where the loveliness of Capri and Misenum recalled the 
Greek legends of the Sirens, on that gulf of paradise, he 
too had villas: his Pompeianum, his Puteolanum (Cu- 
manum) ; not far from far-famed Circeii was his Forniia- 
num; Antium was well furnished with books, and the 
news of the near-by capital could be sifted there even more 
satisfactorily than on the Forum; at Tusculum he felt a 
kind of spiritual vicinage to the elder Cato; but his letters 
to Atticus reveal him a chambered nautilus living not in 
iridescent pearl shell of self-praise, but in transparent 
crystal, — these letters, I say, reveal a spirit utterly 
elevated above the silly luxury of his time, his concerns 
those of culture and ambition, in the main. The noble 
memorials of Athens are very dear to him: his library 
must be adorned with Hermathence. He is ever on the 
outlook for enlarging his collection of books whether 
through legacies from friends or through direct purchase. 


Even when he is planning to enter the lists for the consu- 
late (65-64), his brother Quintus calls him a " homo 
Platonicus ": a man imbued with that dialectic spirit of 
carefully turning over any intellectual concern. 

Intellectual power, professional excellence, unflagging 
industry, had carried him into the senate chamber : thus 
his virtus, his manifold excellence, had overcome his 
"newness" (novitas). And the consciousness that his 
talents, his persevering pursuit of eminence, had carried 
him so far, did not contribute any element of humility or 
even of wise moderation. 

Glory it is which consoles man for the brevity of life: 
viz. in the sense of anticipating the judgment of pos- 
terity: glory, through which, though gone, we are pres- 
ent, though dead, we are living (Milo, 97). Glory is 
the praise of rightful achievements, of all rewards be- 
stowed on excellence, the largest reward is glory: Pindar 
again. Philosophers seek glory in the very books in 
which they discourse on the contempt of glory: an ele- 
mental power for the souls of humanity's elite. 

As the outlook of the soul is really bounded by the 
limits of the commonwealth, so all boons of striving and 
prizing are comprehended therein. "Divine and Immor- 
tal," favorite combination of his, is often appended to 
that deity, glory, or to the laudation of one living. 

Hercules on the pyre of G£ta, Regulus returning to 
Carthage, Rutilius condemned though guiltless, and dis- 
daining to return to Rome when he could — these are in- 
carnations of that excellence which glory follows as a 
shadow follows the illumined substance of a thing. 

At this shrine worshipped the brilliant man from 

" For the rungs in the ladder of high office are equally 
open to the highest and to the lowest : but those leading 
to glory differ. Who of us would dare to call himself 
the peer of M. Curius, of C. Fabricius, of C. Duilius? 
Who, of A. Atilius Calatinus? Who, of C. and P. 
Scipio ? Who, of Af ricanus, Marcellus, Maximus ? Still 
we have attained the same eminence in the succession of 


state-offices as they did. For in the domain of Excellence 
(virtus') there are many ways of making ascent, so that 
he overtops most in Glory who in Excellence is most con- 
spicuous : the consummation of the offices bestowed by the 
people is the consulship, which magistracy about eight 
hundred more or less have attained : of these, if you will 
make careful inquiry, you will find that hardly the tenth 
partis worthy of glory" ("Plane," 60). 

Now Cicero, when he was a candidate for this high 
office soon after the completion of his forty-second year, 
was in a peculiar body of circumstance, as regards his 
candidacy. A great economic crisis, if not a social revo- 
lution, was, if not imminent, then at least entirely possi- 
ble. The great captain, Pompey, was far away in the 
East. The wealthy classes dreaded the electoral success 
of a corrupt and desperate aristocrat such as Catiline was ; 
Cicero's detractors and belittlers have exerted their in- 
genuity to cheapen his services in this crisis. But at the 
seat of government, by those who then lived, the crisis 
was conceived as a grave one indeed. Sallust (who wrote 
when his soul had turned in disgust from the profligacy 
of his earlier life) paints the social and moral situation as 
well-nigh desperate, — a breaking of an ulcer which had 
been fed by the widespread putrescence of society ; sexual 
debauchery, extravagance, crazy gluttony ; a fiendish re- 
finement of every device of luxury ; character and ideals 
widely moribund. 

The struggle put upon Cicero in 63 B.C. truly was not 
merely a political or economic one. When at last he had 
forced Catiline, without any resorting to arms or ex- 
traordinary devices, to drop the mask and to adopt overt 
acts of preparing war against the government, the consul 
was justly jubilant. And when, in the end Catiline's 
chief confederates were under arrest, while no drop of 
blood had been shed in the capital, his sanguine soul was 
indeed elated. 

Roman annals Jind Roman records — none knew them 
better than Cicero. The triumphal car, potentates walk- 
ing humbly before it, the via sacra resounding with the 


acclamations of the mistress of the world, this was the 
felicity of being, the acme of existence. But his glory, 
he felt it, was greater. It was no slight matter for him- 
self and all his future that, as presiding and controlling 
magistrate, on December 5, 63, he championed the most 
radical mode of disposing of the conspirators as of public 
enemies who had placed themselves beyond the pale of 
the law. 

In his consciousness and to the end of his life, Decem- 
ber 5, of the consulate of Cicero and Antony was the 
bright star which never set and which no conflict with 
the orbits of any other star could obscure or render pale 
in the political firmament. This text of glory was set to 
an anthem which he was never weary of repeating with 
endless variations. In this alluring worship where the 
incense to his ego was inextricably mingled with lofty 
strains of genuine patriotism and sound principles of civic 
morality — I say, in this temple and ritual he was never 
weary of being the chief celebrant. The motion of Cato 
prevailed, says Sallust (" Bellum Catil." 53), but the 
political and moral burden lay on the shoulders of the 
consul Cicero. The investors and capitalists had often 
employed his eminent forensic abilities, but on that day 
he felt himself not merely as the champion of law and 
property, but as the veritable saviour of society, the in- 
carnation of order, worthy of being named not merely 
with the greatest captains who won provinces for the im- 
perial city, but with the founder of Rome himself. The 
soul that craved honor so intensely was at first over- 
whelmed, though your ambitious man, like your miser, 
knows not what satiety is. Crassus himself, the richest 
man in Rome, albeit a very crooked politician, paid his 
respects to the pleader from Arpinum. Catullus, the 
primate of senators in a fully attended senate, called 
Cicero Parens Patrice; the temples were opened for 
special thanksgiving. When the great captain returned 
from his eastern campaigns, he embraced Cicero publicly 
and declared he owed it to Cicero that he could see Rome 
once more. 


It is not my task or is it worth while once more to un- 
ravel* the political game through which Cicero was driven 
into exile in the spring of 58. By Clodius, debauchery 
incarnate and corruption triumphant, was this accom- 
plished. The Triumvirs allowed it to come to pass. 
Cicero had declined a legatio with Caesar in Gaul, likewise 
had he refused a place as one of the twenty commissioners 
under Caesar's agrarian law. 

For hero-worshippers — the author is none — poor Cic- 
ero's letters from his exile in Thessalonica are truly sad 
reading. His friend the great Captain, to whose Afri- 
canus he would play Lselius on the political stage — Koine 
to be doubly buttressed by military genius and by philos- 
ophy and conservative eloquence — Pompey, I say, had 
played him false. His family ties rudely rent asunder, 
his mansion on the Palatine demolished, his private for- 
tune well-nigh ruined, the bitterest thought was this, that 
Rome had curtly cast adrift her very saviour — his agony 
was no common one. His glory he had, but clearly it 
had not saved him. His sense of vicarious sacrifice he 
had ; but his heart was embittered at the cold selfishness 
of the aristocracy he had once saved and who now were 
unconcerned at his sufferings, if only they could keep 
mullet in their fish-ponds on their estates. The iron had 
entered his soul. 

Cicero came back Cicero : but a saner, a graver soul. 
His great gifts, indeed, he felt could never more have free 
play in the senate chamber, or on the Forum. A bitter 
tone is blended with his social and civic pride in his ora- 
tions. The senate rebuilt his mansion and in a measure 
rehabilitated his private fortune. But Cicero, as far as 
he dared, gave vent, too, to his hatred for those whom he 
chiefly charged with his misery, e.g. the consul Piso (of 
58 B.C.), Caesar's own father-in-law. Even in 54 B.C., 
after Caesar had crossed the Rhine and full three years 
after his own return from exile, Cicero both uttered and 
published his M Pisoniana " ; he called him " dog of 


Clodius," " man of clay," " a foul freak of nature," " a new 
Epicurus led forth from the sty." 

But when Caesar crossed the Rubicon, there came to the 
mobile soul of Cicero even a more overwhelming misery. 
Personal loyalty and a very high sense of chivalry induced 
him to follow the declining star of Pompey, in whose 
judgment and tact he had no confidence any more. Am- 
nestied by his literary friend Caesar, he now determined 
to devote his declining days to wisdom and the spreading 
of Greek philosophy among his countrymen. 

When Cato refused to submit to the autocrat, Cato's 
admiring friend Cicero published that eulogy which nettled 
Caesar to make reply by his "Anticatones." 

Cicero's philosophical books: again I say, the world 
owes him thanks that he has Latinized so large a body of 
Greek thought : Theory of understanding, Ethics, Politi- 
cal Philosophy, Speculation of the Greek world as to the 
Divine, theory of Mantic art : responses to the young 
Atticists in Roman oratory — no bran and clayey porridge 
of brutal pleasure-pursuits for him (as in Catullus), no 
futilities even of archaeological or aesthetical palavering 

The noblest revelations of his soul were recorded toward 
the end. When his darling daughter was taken away in 
45 B.C., he talked to his friend Atticus about a shrine or 
fane to her memory. Caesar, Brutus, Sulpicius, and other 
foremost men wrote to him, to console him. But his pen 
was his chief consolation, — the ritual of the state religion 
was bare and cold, a product of Rome as we have seen : 
Cicero descended into his own soul and by reproducing 
the best available in Greek philosophical production, he 
soothed himself. His introductory appeal and defence of 
philosophy, his " Hortensius," more than four centuries 
afterwards, powerfully affected a youth destined to be no 
common man, young Augustine, in his nineteenth year. 
Says St. Augustine, " Confessions," 3, 4 : " In the estab- 
lished succession of studies I had come to a certain book of 
a certain Cicero. That book contains his own exhortation 
to the pursuit of wisdom and is called l Hortensius.' That 


book indeed changed ray aspirations. Cheapened for me 
suddenly was all hope of vanities, and I craved the im- 
mortality of wisdom with an incredible fervor of my heart. 
For not towards the sharpening of my tongue did I apply 
that book, nor had it urged upon my acceptance mere 
phrase, but that which was the object of its utterance. 
And I at that time was being delighted in that appeal by 
this alone, that I did esteem not this school or that school, 
but Wisdom itself, whatever it was, and sought it and 
pursued it and held it and bravely clasped it to my heart 
. . . to do this was I roused by that discourse and kindled 
and was set on fire." 

This prolific period of production was broken — to him 
broken as by a sudden gleam of lightning, when the auto- 
crat perished at the foot of Pompey's statue. 

But Cicero's sanguine hopes for the old order were 
rudely shattered by the acts of the consul Antony, who 
would enter into the inheritance of the powerful man that 
made him. 

Cicero's aversion for Mark Antony was deeper than the 
gloom of the political circumstances; it was the same 
aversion which he had nurtured for Catiline and all his 
works, for the debauchee Clodius, for all who treated con- 
victions and ideals cheaply. 

He dared not return to the senate chamber, but flitted 
from villa to villa, his political glance ever directed to the 
Seven Hills, while his moral and intellectual being was ab- 
sorbed in production: mainly in philosophical writing. His 
" Second Philippic " would he write, staking life or death 
upon the result. At the same time did he Latinize Panai- 
tios the Stoic's work on "Duties." 

It is a delightful pursuit to trace his own personal con- 
tributions here — his life clearly spent, his hope of the old 
order flown — his family circle destroyed: it was a rare 
soul that could occupy itself thus, at such a time. And 
the Stoic conception of Duty was categorical — that action 
of which a demonstration can be made compelling assent 
from all rational beings, within the spheres of the Four 
Great Canonic Virtues, viz. Justice or Righteousness, 


Fortitude, Love of Truth, or Wisdom, Self-control (Tem- 
perance, Continence). 

How sternly did then collide this definition of Justice 
with the avid ambition recently destroyed but having its 
palingenesis in Antony. " This was made manifest but a 
short while ago by the recklessness of C. Caesar, who over- 
turned all divine and human laws for the sake of that 
leadership which he had moulded for himself by a perver- 
sion of supposition" ("Off.," 1, 26). 

Time had sifted many things for him — mere prosperity 
— the riding on the crest of the political billow, all these 
things had come to be (to the deeper musings of his soul) 
as vain and nugatory : the allurements of ambition, the 
unrighteousness so often bound up with it, had sunk deeply 
into his soul. 

He is fully aware, at the same time, that the mere 
philosopher pursuing the contemplative life, is largely 
beyond crisis, peril, nay beyond temptation even: Right- 
eousness in action (" Off.," 1, 73) is greater than mere 
correctness of moral judgment projected at the moving 
world of men from the peaceful study. 

It remains for us in this sketch to inquire as to Cicero's 
concern in death and the fate of the soul. 

At fifty-three, under the Triumvirs, Cicero wrote his 
" Theory of Politics," his De Republican treading in the 
footsteps of Plato ; this, too, in a vision or dream given to 
his political ideal, Scipio iEmilianus. Soul of the past 
reveals itself to the latter : to wit, the elder Africanus. 
The heaven there depicted is an abode of great statesmen : 
essentially a heaven of the Roman commonwealth : these 
worthies there live in bliss forevermore. Paulus, too, lives 
there, the conqueror of Macedon : their blissful souls have 
escaped from the shackles of the body as though from a 
dungeon. Cicero follows the guidance of Plato in many 
details : no cutting short of life : patience ! Celestial 
substance drawn from stars, food of immortality ; milky 
way : the spheres and orbits and their harmony not per- 
ceived here below. Human glory, mere terrestrial renown, 
is limited by narrow boundaries. Likewise it lasts not 


long. And even if it did, cosmic catastrophes destroy all 
annals. Let the soul of true ambition look beyond these 
things to the ideal of Virtue itself. The soul is made of 
immortal stuff — and so our Arpinatian spins out the 
substance of Phsedo and Platonic Republic. A vision or 
flight guided by the Attic philosopher. 

Later, when Pompey was dead and the countenance of 
the political world had become a very desolation to our 
friend, after the bloody field of Munda, he wrought his 
Tusculan Disputations. In it there is much of Death. Is 
Death an evil? Not if we will be gods or in the company 
of gods (1, 76). Men at large hold Death an evil, and in 
the prospect thereof they are wretched. But what is 
Death? Cicero rejects the extinction-theory of Epicurus 

— he is not much attracted by the greater ductility and 
extension of soul-substance held by Stoics. He scans 
monism, Aristotelian theory of elemental Reason, atomism 
of Democritus. He confesses to a certain anticipation of 

— historical immortality, rejects Acherontian fictions, but 
argues with great earnestness against the utter-extinction 
theories of ancient materialists. 

The relation of body and soul is a problem full of pro- 
found perplexity. He clearly is most in sympathy with 
Plato's thought, and with Pythagoras. Homer's anthropo- 
morphism of divinity he utterly rejects. 

The grand system of cosmic order seems to (§ 70) point 
to a mighty accomplishing Intelligence. The Soul seems 
to him to be in its essence non-material and non-com- 

It is not then the religious consciousness which is con- 
cerned with death for him, but rather the civic and political: 
so he wrote, not long before the catastrophe of Caesar's death 
("Tuscul.," 1, 109): "But assuredly death then is con- 
fronted with a spirit of greatest equipoise when the sunset 
of life can console itself with its own praises. No one 
has lived too briefly who has discharged the full-wrought 
task of full-wrought excellence. Many tilings (in my own 
career) pointed to death as a seasonable consummation. 
For nothing could there be superadded; heaped up was the 


measure in which reposed the duties of Life ; the remnant 
were campaigns with Fortune. Therefore, if sheer dia- 
lectic process will fail to enable us to make nothing of 
death, still let my actual career help to it that I may seem 
to have lived enough and beyond that. For although con- 
sciousness shall pass away, still the dead, although they 
have no consciousness, do not lack their own and their 
specific boons, viz. praise and glory. For although it 
have not in itself any cause for seeking it, still it follows 
excellence (virtus) like its shadow." 

Before closing this sketch let us glance at the conclusion 
of his " Essay on Old Age," Summer 44. It is wonderful, 
this exquisite defence of Old Age : as a matter of fact, 
such work helped him to endure living: as a matter of 
psychological experience, he realized the increasing bitter- 
ness of Old Age ("Attic," 14, 21, 1). Into the mouth 
of Old Cato Cicero puts these words : 

" But (82) somehow my soul rousing itself to its full 
stature was wont always to look forward to posterity, as 
though, when it had departed from life, then only it was 
to live indeed." He looks forward to that ultraterrestrial 
union or reunion with the great souls of Roman annals. 
" I am not inclined to bewail life, which many men and 
scholars too have done, nor do I regret having lived, since 
I have lived in such a way as to believe I have not been 
born in vain, and from life I depart as from an abode where I 
have been merely a guest, not as from a home ; for nature 
has given us merely an inn for tarrying awhile, not for 
making our domicile therein" (84). 

Not far from Antium is Astura by the Sea. Thence in 
December, 43, the orator sailed for the South, fleeing from 
Antony. But he landed at Circeii and thence passed to 
his villa near Caieta, his Formianum. There he spent the 
last night of his life. In the morning they carried him in 
a litter towards the sea. A Greek freedman of brother 
Quintus, they say, betrayed his course to the murderers, who 
craved the gold of Antony. When Cicero heard the 


hurrying footsteps of the pursuing Herennius, Cicero bade 
his slaves set down the litter. He himself, as was his 
wont in reflection, propping his chin with his left hand, 
firmly fixing his glance on his murderers, awaited the fatal 
stroke, his tousled gray locks unkempt, his countenance 
furrowed and shrivelled from these ultimate cares. 

It is easy and convenient to dispose of great movements 
in human history by the employment of universal and 
sweeping judgments, as when the housemaid sweeps all 
crumbs from the tablecloth with a few simple movements 
of the whisk-brush. Thus the unconcern of the Romans 
for truth — your wretched Pontius Pilate as the true type 
of it all: the chevalier Bunsen has written a few vigorous 
and impressive periods to this effect: Ritschl has cited 
them to save a little of Cicero's prestige from Mommsen's 
pen. But there was in the generation of Cicero a greater 
one than he. For not these things which are notable to 
the academic person's concern, comprehend greatness ex- 
clusively: Socrates wrote nothing for us: of the younger 
Cato we have hardly a line directly: but we have the most 
precious thing transmitted by history, a great character. 
Mommsen's epigrams impressed me in my youth. They do 
so no more. To the gaping multitude, indeed, abusive 
judgments appear more true, accordingly as they are 
brought forward with a certain epigrammatic cleverness. 
To a very great number of people Mommsen has long been 
a kind of hierophant of historical valuation and revaluation. 
Odd, too, these glorifications of incipient monarchy from 
a man who was an ardent Liberal in 1848, and who, later 
on, as a scholar in politics has not been very impressive to 
the real statesmen of his generation. 

But to return to the greater subject of Cato of Utica. 
In him was a temperament, even when he was a child of four, 
the opposite of all that was pliable, his decision of doing 
or enduring not to be swayed or determined by pleasure 
or pain, by profit or loss. As a little boy of four he was re- 
siding with his uncle Livius Drusus, who sought to stay 


the disruption of the political fabric by trenchant com- 
promises. Then the Italian allies were impatiently de- 
manding political equality with Rome. One of the Italian 
leaders was Pompsedius Silo. This man was at the mansion 
of Livius Drusus, making interest for his policies, a guest. 
He requested the little lad, in a playful manner, to inter- 
cede with little Cato's uncle. But the child would not 
give utterance. Finally the Italian guest grasped the 
little one and held him out of a window — it was an upper 
chamber where the company was — and threatened the boy 
with a rough voice. But the child remained firm and un- 
shaken. About ten years further on the boy of fourteen 
years (81 B.C.) was notable among the striplings of the 
aristocracy — his remarkable determination and simplicity 
of character giving him leadership in the competitions of 
noblemen's sons. The dictator Sulla often invited him to 
his palace. It was in that terrible time of 82-81 B.C., 
when Sulla was dictator for settling the government. Men 
were led away to execution continually. Others were 
tortured. Gold was paid out for the heads of those who 
had been proscribed by the autocrat. Many heads, too, 
were borne away. People sighed. But the lad Cato 
spoke impulsively to his Greek paidagogos (boy-escort) 
Sarpedon: "Why do you not give me a sword that I 
despatch him and free our country from slavery ? " His 
half-brother Servilius Caepio he loved with passionate 
fervor, and as he grew older held him as a very witness of 
his days and of his nights. Early he studied the Ethics 
of the Stoa under Antipater of Tyre, and his life was, for 
those times, a very simple life. He comprehended slowly, 
but held with wonderful tenacity. 

His earliest appearance in public discourse was in de- 
fence of a certain column in the Porcian colonnade, public 
gift of his great ancestor the Censor. There was nothing 
sophomoric in that discourse. The trend of his thought 
or argument was brusque, but there was something win- 
ning and leading his hearers, says Plutarch. We may 
fairly assume that it was a tremendous earnestness coupled 
with overwhelming evidence of absolute and unqualified 


sincerity. Right and righteousness were his goal : he 
strove for action deeply thought out and approved to his 
conscience, action categorical and buttressed by motives 
unimpeachable before the forum of universal reason. Thus 
as one of the commissioners for the treasury (quaestor) bis 
way of doing everything was entirely his own. First he 
studied with unflagging industry all statutes bearing on 
the administration of the treasury. He made himself in- 
dependent of the treasury clerks and their traditions of 
favor or indulgence or red tape. He opposed even the 
censor Catullus in hewing close to the line. Justice was 
done and order was created in all obligations, claims, or 
arrears. He utterly refused to allow personal considera- 
tions to prevail anywhere. And still he lived in a society 
sapped through luxury, permeated with corruption : its 
political life in a trend of movement alluring to consum- 
mate powers if coupled with unscrupulous ambition and 
playing with hollow shells of traditional forms. Spotless 
of personal purity, he was to see the prevailing corruption 
of morals in those nearest to him by blood or marriage. 
His power in public life, with all these things, rose steadily. 
There is a prestige in consistent righteousness amid the 
dust and heat of action, far transcending the consistency 
of academic formularies or the postulates of the pen. 

When, on December 5, in the year 63 before Christ, 
the senate was determining the fate of the Catilinarian con- 
spirators, the timid and nervous Cicero presiding, the real 
champions on that occasion were Caesar and Cato. Cato 
tribune elect, but thirty-two years old. Caesar, a consum- 
mate corruptionist and successful politician, adroit in dis- 
covering the exact spot in a man's moral structure, in his 
temperament, or in his vices where he could use him, a 
man on the verge of personal bankruptcy in playing the 
game of politics, a kindly broker in removing feuds of 
rivals, always willing to be generous rather than threaten, 
a man who had learned lessons from Sulla's career, an 
Epicurean in life and theory, a man who ever subordinated 
moral law to political ambition, a man too refined in his 
faculties and culture to be content with a Catilinarian 


career for himself, a man whose friends were made rich 
through their loyalty, a man who has been endowed by his 
flatterers with superhuman excellencies, but a man who 
perished in the end because he was drunk with sweet for- 
tune, and because his judgment had become numbed and 
warped in focussing itself on the venalities of his world and 
underestimating the tough fabric of Roman tradition. 
Cicero knew his finer and his more generous side much 
better than we do — Cicero, as a judge and critic of noble 
things anywhere, is without a peer in his generation — Cic- 
ero, I say, has left us a memorable survey of Caesar's career, 
a delineation which he wrote in the autumn of 44 B.C., 
after Caesar's death. Then, too, the coarser fabric of 
Antony was a foil for Caesar's noble elements. Of Caesar, 
then, Cicero wrote thus (second Philippic, 116) : " That 
man possessed genius, the faculty of reasoning, memory, 
literary culture, care, reflection, he could take pains : his 
achievements in war, though disastrous to the common- 
wealth, were nevertheless great ; for many years had he 
planned for autocratic power, with great toil, with many 
dangers had he accomplished what he had been making 
the burden of his thoughts: with bounties, and shows, 
with monumental structures, with donatives of food, had 
he charmed the ignorant multitude : his own adherents he 
had attached to himself by rewards, his opponents by the 
guise of clemency. Why make many words about it? 
He had foisted upon a republic partly through fear, partly 
through patience on the people's part, the habit of servi- 
tude." On the fateful morning of the Ides of March the 
dictator's faithful wife had consulted the haruspices to 
prevent her husband's going forth to public business: Cleo- 
patra, however, was in Rome also. She was the mother of 
Caesar's son Caesario. But to return to the memorable 
scene in the senate, December 5, 63. Caesar was then the 
visible and actual head of the popular or democratic party in 
the state, the successor of his father-in-law Cornelius Cinna. 
In this grave crisis the consul Cicero had firmly refused to 
recognize any informer or information aimed against Caesar. 
Policy and personal penetration united in the latter to 


make him stand out against summary execution of the self- 
confessed culprits. In the choice of action emotional preju- 
dice or passion was generally absent from his soul. His 
stand was really a constitutional regard for precedent. 
For him, too (Sallust, " Catiline," 51), death was termina- 
tion of all things — beyond it there was no place for either 
joy or concern. Caesar had read the lessons of history — 
Roman and Greek too, his clear and powerful mind had 
pondered : he could reason forward, also. 

The speech of the young Stoic in reply is, if anything, 
still more authentic in the tradition, for the consul Cicero 
with great wisdom had it taken down on the spot by a 
number of scribes who were trained in the new skill of 
shorthand notation of parliamentary utterance. 

Cato warned those senators who had prized their luxury 
above all, whose prime concerns of life were villas, man- 
sions in town, sculpture, painting — the existence of the 
commonwealth itself was at stake. Cato pointed to his 
record in that august assembly : he had consistently 
attacked covetousness and luxury there: many personal 
enemies had he thus made for himself. He had been con- 
sistently rigorous in his own conduct : he was not willing 
to be more lax in dealing with his fellow-men. The 
decadence of living and conduct had debased the very 
speech of Rome, when it was called liberal to corrupt 
others with property not one's own, when boldness in 
entering upon evil courses was dubbed fortitude. There 
was a pity towards criminals which was really cruelty 
towards life and property of better citizens. 

To the standard and judgment of the young Stoic 
statesman both public and private morality were objects 
of sweeping censure — no prophet of Israel could have 
more earnestly inveighed against the sins of his people. 
When Sallust (in the spirit and manner of his great 
model Thucydides) outlined the character of these two 
uncommon men, both had passed away. The pondering 
and searching historian himself had passed through a 
checkered career. As a rising politician serving the cause 
of disorder, expelled from the senate for the profligacy 


of his private life, he had been rehabilitated by Caesar : 
first proconsul of Numidia, he had retired from public 
life a man of immense wealth : he owed all to Caesar. 

Sallust draws the characters of Caesar and Cato — a 
tempting subject for any historian. Again we see what 
virtus still is: the "aperf" of Homer and Pindar: the 
uncommon excellence, something essentially dynamic 
rather than ethical. But now for the difference (for 
our purpose a parallel of their gifts and endowments is 
hardly a matter of primary concern). 

" Caesar was held great through acts of kindness and 
through his lavish and open purse, Cato through his spot- 
less life. The one became renowned by clemency and a 
soft heart, to the other one his dignity had given distinc- 
tion. Caesar gained fame by giving, assisting, forgiving ; 
Cato, by absolutely refraining from the practice of bribery. 
The one was a refuge for men in trouble, the other was 
destruction to evil-doers. It was the affability of the 
one, and the unswerving consistency of the other, that 
was praised. Finally Caesar had made it his determina- 
tion to toil, to be ever on the alert, while devoted to his 
friends' affairs to neglect his own, to refuse no service 
worthy of a gift ; he eagerly desired for himself a great 
sphere of power, an army, a war of novel features, where 
his excellence (virtus) might shine. But Cato's earnest 
pursuit was directed at self-control, at seemliness, but 
chiefly at rugged sternness. Not by means of wealth 
did he vie with the man of wealth, nor by means of par- 
tisanship with the partisan, but with the vigorous man 
he struggled in excellence, with the continent man in 
purity, with the man of integrity in incorruptibility, he 
would rather be than seem good : thus, the less he pur- 
sued renown, the more it followed him." Adversaries 
as these champions of different ideals were on that De- 
cember day in Cicero's waning consulate, so they remained 
bitter foes: each perhaps the object of the other's keenest 
antipathy. A little more than sixteen years remained for 
Cato, for Caesar a few months more than eighteen years. 

In Cato there subsisted a veritable consciousness of the 


old constitution, and he stood on the bulwarks of the de- 
cadent republic : Caesar intrepid in the pursuit of his own 
ambition, and beyond a certain kindliness and impressive 
geniality of manner, keen in his choice of the best mech- 
anism whether in men or things, to accomplish the object 
which he happened to be pursuing. Success and avail- 
ability: these were for him the only criteria in the prob- 
lems of conduct. 

When we feel with Cato, even in a small measure, how, 
to his unerring glance, the road was being blazed, from 
month to month, and from year to year, that led straight 
to an imperial throne, to purple and diadem, there must 
have been in his lonely soul a veritable agony and a 
trampling upon all his dearest possessions. His was the 
sad role of Cassandra. When Caesar gained his Gallic 
imperium, Cato told Pompey that now Pompey was 
placing Caesar on his own neck, unwittingly indeed, but 
when he was to feel the load and the sensation of being 
overpowered, he would find himself in a position where 
he could not set down the load nor endure to bear it. 
Caesar won his short-lived throne in his own way . . . 
foolish the historian who would credulously accept Casur's 
own account of his own acts, of his own motives. As for 
the " world-spirit " called in by certain Caesar- worshippers 
like Mommsen to sanctify the conquests of that great 
captain, that world-spirit unfortunately, like flea or locust, 
hopped soon away and lighted on the brawny chest of 
Antony, on the languorous eyelashes of Cleopatra. . . . 
What a pity! Odd dialectic of world-movement. It was 
in the Libyan harbor-town of Utica where the onrolling 
tide of Caesar's power determined the unflinching Stoic 
to be faithful to his doctrine of freedom and make an end 
of life when there was an end of freedom. Deep convic- 
tion and the very anchor of his being were at one in his 
resolve to make an end. That last night, unto midnight, 
he read, not in Zeno, Kleanthes, or Chrysippus, the found- 
ers of his own sect — but he chose that classic of the im- 
mortality of the soul, Plato's "Phaedo." There he read 
of spheres infinitely more perfect than our troubled and 


troublous planet : celestial spheres surpassingly fair and 
satisfying the soul. 

He read, that last night, of a judgment of departed 
spirits, of retribution, and cleansing tribulation. And 
he also read these words : " But on this account must be 
of good cheer (" Phsedo," 114 d) in his concern for his 
own soul, the man, who in life gave short shrift to the 
pleasures of the body and its adornments as being alien 
to him . . . but, having adorned his soul not with foreign 
adornment but with its own, continence and righteousness 
and fortitude and freedom and truth, thus awaits the pas- 
sage into the realm of Hades, as resolved on making the 
passage when fate calls." 

Note. — Since Mommsen's and Drumann's books, one may, in very 
truth, cite with reference to the current estimation of Cicero the 
words of Schiller in his Wallenstein : 

" Von der Parteien Hass und Gunst verwirrt, 
Schwankt sein Charakterbild in der Geschichte." 

There could be adduced a formidable bibliography on both sides. 
Autobiographical material has been gathered from Cicero himself 
and coordinated and arranged with much skill and industry by W. 
H. D. Suringar : " M. Tullii Ciceronis Commentarii Rerum Suarum 
sive De Vita Sua." Leyden, 1854. The letters to Atticus can be 
abused, they should not be, by any one who would make Cicero odious 
or belittle him. Here must be cited by far the most elaborate and 
adequate edition (of Cicero's entire body of letters) known to classical 
erudition. It is : " The Correspondence of M. Tullius Cicero arranged 
according to its chronological order," etc., etc., by Robert Yelverton 
Tyrrell, six volumes, 2d ed., 1885 sqq. Entirely admirable are the 
essays introducing the chief periods : u On the character of Cicero as 
a Public Man, Cicero in his private life, Cicero and the Triumvirate, 
Cicero's Provincial government," etc., etc. I may perhaps cite my 
own introduction to Cicero's "Second Philippic," 1901, New York. 
Merguet's splendid Concordance to Cicero's Philosophical Writings 
is worthy of great praise. 

As for Cato the Younger, Plutarch's Biography largely is a Greek 
transcript made from Cicero's monograph penned soon after the death 
of the Stoic statesman. Caesar composed a petty and ignoble reply 
aided by members of his inner circle, such as Hirtius. Fortunately 
for Caesar's fame this rejoinder has perished : what shreds have been 
preserved by Plutarch exhibit a spirit of malignant hatred and un- 
critical anecdote-mongering. 

The " Onomasticon " of Orelli's edition of Cicero must not be 
omitted here. 



T. Lucretius Carus was born very nearly in the same 
year as Cato the Younger. He died about 53 or 54 B.C. 
Few are the fragments of tradition concerning his life and 
work (in Jerome, in Cicero's letters) : the latter clearly 
never was revised much, from the first draft or last. 

To expect a kind of spiritual fervor in a work largely 
devoted to a materialistic and a mechanical conception of 
the Universe, this indeed would seem absurd. Still with 
the ruthless denial of aught beyond force and matter, we 
meet furthermore a condemnation and a denial of almost 
all the things which the natural man prizes or holds dear. 
Death and the fear of death, the obsession of the soul with 
aims vain in themselves : Epicurus with the cowl of 
Thomas a Kempis. 

For the fear of death and the concern for the fate of the 
soul was a very real and a very widespread sentiment : 
with all the confinement of rite and ritual to the affairs of 
this life and this world, with all the non-transcendental 
character of fairly all bodies of sentiment : religious, civic, 
philosophical — why the restlessness as to the hereafter? 

Furthermore, the common identification of gods, and 
gods ruling, with these phenomena of the sky above us, 
thunder and lightning, sunshine and rain, dew and hoar- 
frost : this, too, our emancipator and apostle of freedom 
would pluck from the human breast (Book 6). "This 
it is to fully look into the nature of lightning (6, 379), 
and to see by what force it accomplishes each thing, not 
to unroll, in vain, Etruscan formularies and to search into 
the suggestions of the hidden mind of the gods. . . /' 
His aim is to loosen the shackles of "religion": and to 



administer the doleful lore of hopeless Epicureanism to 
his reader, as bitter medicines are given to children : when 
the edge of the cup is smeared with honey. The dignity 
and force indeed of the hexameter of Lucretius assures his 
name a foremost position in classic letters. 

But what are the chief dogmas by which the soul is to 
be emancipated ? In this world of ours there is no design 
elevating man : this material universe, of which we are a 
transitory part, was not wrought by aim or plan : the atoms 
supplied by an infinity of matter, under spur of mechanical 
impulse from eternity, have, by their various combinations, 
associations, positions, been making and unmaking this 
world, and ourselves. Innumerable were the combina- 
tions, until finally a creative and organic synthesis even- 
tuated accidentally. There are other forms of concourse 
of atoms, infinite, but beyond our ken (2, 1048 sqq.}. Our 
eyes were not formed to the end that we might see there- 
with (4, 822 sqq. ) : that we might set goodly stride for- 
ward, not for this end was man endowed with thighs and 
calves : no part of our physical being was moulded for an 
end : but that which is produced, begets use. Here was 
the sharpest point of conflict and contradiction with the 
nobler Stoic school : no, this universe is not divine, it is 
not reason incarnate, nor has man the primacy. Not for 
him was this abode prepared : not for such design must 
we praise the providence of the gods (5, 156 sqq.}. Ab- 
surd : for where would be the perfect bliss of the gods if 
they troubled themselves about poor tiny ephemeral and 
mortal man? What motives can there be for them, 
eternal and blessed, in any sacrifices of our own that would 
move them to do anything for our sake ? They were in 
bliss from eternity : why should they at some later point 
of time desire to change their former life ? (y. 169). 

The calm geniality of the Attic garden of the founder 
is not cast over this unique didactic poem. The gloomy 
poet essays no theodicy in contemplating our world: no 
best of all possible worlds, this. It is too faulty: 

" tanta stat praedita culpa " (5, 199) . 


A very large part of the earth's surface is mountainous 
and untillable ; there are cliffs and marshes ; there is the 
vast expanse of the barren sea; there are the zones of 
excessive heat, the spheres of killing frost. And as for 
the domain which nurtures man, there is the incessant 
struggle with thistles; stout arms must ply the hoe, with 
many a sigh ; deep must the ploughshare cut into the soil : 
there is drought, too ; there are freshets and frosts and hur- 
ricanes ; there are pests and vermin and wild beasts ; there 
are plagues and epidemics ; there is premature death — 
best of worlds? The very infant, like a seafaring man 
cast ashore by cruel waves, bare does he lie upon the ground 
without the faculty of speech, needing every aid to live, 
when first through the mother's pangs nature has shed the 
babe, and with mournful wailing does it fill the chamber, 
as is meet for him for whom life has so many troubles 
in store. 

As for the soul (Book 3), it is mainly the conscious and 
dominant spot of vitality or animation. The soul is ma- 
terial and it is mortal, precisely as is the body : for it too 
is corporeal, though its stuff is of exquisite delicacy and 
fineness. The doctrine of the soul (3, 30 sqq.*) is set forth 
by the poet to the end that all fear of a lower world may 
be driven out utterly, which fear keeps in unrest the life 
of man, casting over all the black pall of the fear of death 
and leaves not any pleasure clear and pure. Men often 
say they know that the substance of the soul is the same 
as that of blood, or of wind ; so they say, or this too, that 
often diseases are more to be feared or a life of civil oppro- 
brium, than the black realms of death. But still they 
cling to life with stubborn perseverance. Exiled they 
live, out of their own country, stained with base charges, 
visited with every kind of sorrow, they live after all, and 
withersoever they come, they make sacrifices to deceased 
ancestors (parentant, 3, 51) and slay black victims and to 
the divine spirits of the departed they send offerings and 
much more keenly in distressful situations do they turn 
their minds towards religion. This, then, to Lucretius's 
mind, is one cause of profound unhappiness. But he goes 


on to another. Covetousness and political ambition are 
also great evils (3, 59 sqq.). These induce their devotees 
to transgress legal right, and sometimes as allies in crimes 
and assistants therein to work night and day that they may 
rise to supreme power: "these wounds of life in great 
part are fed by the fear of death." Humble civil status 
and poverty seem to them intolerable evils : clearly 
Lucretius profoundly condemns, in his way, craving and 
getting, and the pride of life. Sulla, Marius, Catiline, had 
sunk deeply into the soul of this spiritual materialist. 
Envy, too, he goes on, embitters and poisons the human 
heart. Often the very fear of death has so preyed upon 
the consciousness of men that, in despair, they have taken 
their own life. 

And what is this spiritual solace and salve of souls ? 
At bottom it is something negative : it is a form of res- 
ignation. We must conform to a conception simply 
mechanical, and exclusively materialistic; then — then 
indeed, Lucretius infers, will we find peace. Clearly he 
indeed had passed through this emancipation, he had 
freed his soul, in a way : he had removed it and his life 
from the current drift and striving. It is this psycholog- 
ical process of actual experience, which endows with a 
certain subjective truth and substance his fervid lauda- 
tions of his teacher Epicurus. " Sweet it is, when on the 
great sea gales trouble the wide surface, from the land to 
gaze upon the distress of another : not because it is a 
gratifying pleasure that any one should be harassed, but 
because it is sweet clearly to perceive the evils from which 
thou thyself art free. Sweet also to gaze upon the great 
contest of war marshalled on the plains without any risk 
of your own. But nothing is more charming than to hold 
well fortified the lofty and serene eyries of the Wise, 
whence thou mayest gaze down upon others and every- 
where see men straying, and roaming at will seek the way 
of life : to vie with each other in genius, to struggle in 
the domain of noble birth, night and day to strive with 
eminent effort to rise to supreme power and gain control 
of affairs. O how wretched the minds of men, how blind 


their hearts ! In what darkness of life and in what perils 
is spent this little span of life whatever it may be! Not 
to see, that Nature fairly shouts at us no other truth but 
this, that he who is free from that pain which is removed 
from the body, that he in mind shall enjoy pleasurable 
consciousness removed from care and fear." 

In his scorn for the boons striven for by the successful 
men — externalities indeed, valued as futilities by the delib- 
erate valuation of the illumined soul — in this scorn, I 
say, this particular Epicurean may challenge comparison 
with the Stoics themselves. Futile are luxury and costly 
appointments of life. 

The strongest of physical passions is replete with imper- 
fections and grievously disturbs the peace of the soul. 
Care and concern are the only sure fruits thereof. It is 
like a thirsty man in his slumbers, when there is no water. 
To which must be added the damage to purse and fame. 
Babylonian rugs, Sicyonian slaves, emeralds, betoken the 
folly of your lover (4, 1121 sqq.): patrimonies are turned 
into fashionable millinery. The slave of this one passion 
wastes his all for it. The satire which Lucretius pours 
out on all this, and on the very perversion of judgment 
and good sense on the part of the infatuated lover, is very 
bitter. Apples of Sodom that leave but the palate cloyed 
with ashes. 

With all the apparatus of Democritean and Epicurean 
atomism and materialism, the burden of the poem is gloomy, 
for it is death ; doubly gloomy, for it is the death of the 
soul, the soul a mere property and phenomenon of physical 
functions. With the academic side of all this we are not 
concerned : let us pursue the moral side. Clearly we 
have here not the call " to eat and drink and be merry, for 
to-morrow we are no more. " The absence, the very positive 
and unmistakable absence of this gospel of the garden of 
Epicurus, is certainly very noteworthy, very remarkable. 
Lucretius holds with great earnestness, that, after the 
mortality of the soul has been fully demonstrated to any 
mind, that mind should properly feel no concern or anxiety 
(3, 830) as to death henceforth. When we shall not be, 


we will be as we were when we were not yet — nothing. 
This is the consolation of the soul. There cannot be a 
future pain when the subject of that pain will be extinct 
(3, 863). "He is as though he had never been born, 
when undying death takes away mortal life" (869). 
There will be no spiritual personality standing by the pal- 
let on which lies the casement of clay, its former domicile. 
What matters the short remaining history of that clay ? 
Whether mangled by beasts or birds, or burned on the 
pyre or preserved in honey : it is all one. And here the 
fervid preacher of extinction goes on to a famous passage, 
veritable Elegy : " Presently (3, 894) the cheery home will 
not receive thee, nor good wife nor sweet children run to 
meet thee to snatch kisses, nor touch thy heart with a 
charm unuttered. Nor wilt thou be able to be a man of 
vigorous achievements," they say: "all the bounties of 
life one hostile day has taken from you." But this they 
do not add : " Nor does there henceforth dwell in thee 
any yearning for these things. If they were to see this 
well in their mind and follow it with their utterances, 
they would free themselves from great anguish and fear 
of the soul." In that bliss of extinction we shall be 
strangers to want, to pain, to fear, to yearning. Our 
atoms (924) have passed out of sensation. Death indeed 
will then be to us somewhat less than nothing. This is 
the lesson taught by the lore of the Universe : " Why, O 
foolish wight, be wailest and weepest thou for death? . . . 
Why dost thou not retire like a guest sated with life, 
and with calm spirit take thy unruffled rest? But if all 
things that you once enjoyed have been poured out and 
perished, and life offers you now but the impact of harsh 
sensation, why do you seek to add more of it . . . ?" 
Organic life must needs replenish itself out of death : it 
is a cosmic necessity. " Mere tenants are we all to Life, 
and hold it not in fee " : 

" Vitaque mancipio nulli datur, omnibus usu" (3, 971). 

The inferno of Greek myths is here : is in this terrestrial 
and transitory life. The agonized fear felt by Tantalus: 


it is the fear of the gods, the dread of fortune. There is 
no Tityos overspreading many fathoms with his reclining 
frame, writhing in agony while his inner organs are ever 
consumed by vultures and ever grow anew : nay, our pas- 
sions and morbid emotions in this world, and here — they 
do gnaw at our vitals and rob us of peace. 

Yes, that inner calm and equipoise : that indeed is the 
boon of boons — not restless change of abode, as when 
your rich Roman feverishly drives into the country to his 
villa, as though hurrying to a fire (3, 1063) : hardly ar- 
rived he yawns or sinks into deep sleep or again hurriedly 
returns to town. Thus each one endeavors to escape from 
his very self. In vain. Clearly there is here no glorifica- 
tion of things — as if things could satisfy the soul. 

A word as to his view on the origin of actual religion — 
how close a transcript from Epicurus, we cannot deter- 
mine. Nor does it much matter, for the fervor of the 
disciple is no less earnest though it kindled its torch from 
the scrolls of Epicurus. 

In vain will fathers weary the gods to be blessed with 
offspring — in vain they weary the oracles, to fortify their 
gray hairs with sons (4, 1236). Now what was it that 
filled cities with altars (5, 1161 sqq.*)? What made men 
establish anniversary rites? What is the source of that 
awe so deep-seated in men, which awe rears new shrines of 
the gods in all the earth? Purely out of the excited 
imagination. Particularly in dreams gigantic and glorious 
visions appeared: these seemed to move and speak. Their 
form was majestic, their grace inexpressible. These 
apparitions mankind began to endow with imperishable 
existence, and this because these blessed forms seemed to 
know nothing of the fear of death. These, in the dreams 
of men, seemed to accomplish great things and still do so 
without any toil whatever. Furthermore they observed 
the system of the celestial order and the recurrent seasons 
of the year. The causes thereof they could not under- 
stand. And so, as an asylum for their ignorance, they 


burdened everything on the gods and assumed that by their 
nod all things were governed. " In heaven (5, 1183) they 
placed the abodes of the gods and their eyries, because 
through the firmament night and moon seem to revolve, 
moon and day and night and the august constellations of 
night, and the night-flitting torches of night (meteors), 
. . . clouds, sun, rainshowers, snow, winds, thunderbolt, 
hail, and rapid rumblings and great mutterings of threats." 

Unspeakable the amount of woe and trouble that man- 
kind has brought upon itself from these fancies ! What 
fancied devotion this of appearing often with veiled head 
(Roman fashion) and face about toward the idol — the 
stone — (after praying) and to visit all the altars, or to 
prostrate oneself and to spread out the hands before the 
shrines of the gods, to sprinkle (5, 1201) the altars with 
much blood of fourfooted beasts, or to make an endless chain 
of vows — rather than to gaze upon all the phenomena 
of the sky with a calm and peaceful soul. 

It is this fear, engendered by the sight of the mighty 
workings in the sky, that has driven nations and individuals 
to fear for themselves retribution for wicked word or 
wicked deed. 

The sense of littleness and elemental helplessness in our 
confronting the mighty, though inanimate, unconscious, 
blind forces of the Universe — this, Lucretius held, bred 
on earth the feeling and the habits of religion. 

The only consolation of our mysterious hermit and re- 
cluse was the emancipation of the soul through the con- 
viction that it was merely a transitory bubble. Was it a 
consolation for the confessor of the Epicurean sect ? As 
for Lucretius, there is a tradition that he perished by his 
own hand, having become insane through love philtre: 
the obsession of love, in one whose pen dripped vitriol upon 
that weakness; madness in one who everywhere preached 
the gospel of the calm soul and the unruffled mind; suicide, 
when the author had indeed defied death and the fear of 
death so incessantly. It is all very weird and gloomy. 
What of the thin crust of pagan creature-bliss and the 
gleam of Olympian sunshine ? 


But I have merely wished, here as everywhere in this 
work, neither to belittle nor to magnify, but to accomplish 
this alone : discover and record the spiritual elements in 
classic civilization. 

As for Horace, the Freedman's son from Apulia, and 
comrade and bosom-friend of the Tuscan Maecenas (who 
knew how to live but not how to die), it would at first 
blush seem preposterous, to meet his name in these essays. 
And still: the verse of Horace reveals the claims and 
strivings, the theories and the precepts of your ver- 
satile Epicurean in a much more universal fashion 
than does the didactic poem of the gloomy and fervid 
propagandist, Lucretius. Young people have confessed 
that when they read "Hamlet" for the first time, they 
were arrested by the puzzling number of famous common- 
places of the world's wit and wisdom which Britannia's 
foremost poet had cribbed, they naively thought. As for 
Horace, the refined world of deliberate literary composition 
has culled from him more current commonplace than from 
any other Latin writer. An infant when Cicero, Cato, and 
the old order were beginning to retreat before the dynasts, 
young Horace was in his seventeenth year when Pompey 
rode from Pharsalos to the Sea. When Brutus and Cassius 
were organizing the East against Caesar's heirs, the young 
Apulian was imbibing Greek philosophy at the quiet Uni- 
versity town of Athens. A staff-officer of Brutus, he lived 
through the rout after Philippi, 42 B.C., and with amnesty 
gained somehow, he secured a place in the guild of treasury 
clerks at Rome. 

He was no Cato. His graceful pen won him his Sabine 
farm from Maecenas, gained him several bounties of 
financial endowment from Augustus. How closely he 
copied the rhythm and metre of the Greek lyricists — to 
us it is an exotic performance, no matter how frequently 
he emphasized that particular achievement. If there were 
in him no concerns for us but those of grammaticus and 
rhetor, I would waste my reader's attention. But there 


are graver and more durable matters for us, and for this 
book. He is no Pindar, no Burns, nor a Wordsworth, least 
of all a Milton. A Greekling when there was no other 
fashion, he was really saturated with Greek verse and 
literary art, and with many sides of Greek philosophy. 
Not only was his ear attuned to Sappho, Alkaios, Anakreon 
and Alkman, Archilochos and Hipponax, but Menander 
and Socratic dialogues furnished flavor and spirit to his 
social cau8erie. Familiar with the head of his own sect, 
he still was very unlike Lucretius: unwilling to subscribe 
to the formulas of any single master, more desirous, like 
Aristippos of Cyrene, to subordinate life to himself rather 
than reverse the process. 

Considering that to his philosophy there is no concern but 
with life and the art of living (right living, mind you, as he 
claims it), it is curious that death and the concern of dying 
is rarely absent from his consciousness and from his verse. 
" Mors ultima linea rerumst." And so the gloomy mask of 
Pluto intrudes itself into a lyric of vernal joys (" Odes," 
1, 4) : Winter flown, ships are launched, sheep leave their 
winter-folds, the ploughman quits the fireside — ointments 
for locks and myrtle and fresh blossom, and let the hus- 
bandman propitiate Faunus — for calving time is near. 
"Pale Death with foot impartial thumps the hovels of 
the poor and castellated mansions of the great. My 
blessed Sestius, Life's total — ah, how short — forbids us 
entering upon hope remote. Presently the smothering 
pall of night will be upon thee, and Pluto's beggarly abode; 
when thither thou hast gone thou wilt not cast the dice 
for primacy at cups, nor marvel at the tender beauty 
of Lycidas. "... " Thou must not seek, — 'tis sin to 
know — what end to me what end to thee the gods have 
given, Leuconoe, nor essay thou Chaldsean horoscope. Far 
better 'tis to suffer all that is in Future's lap : whether more 
winters Jupiter has allotted thee, or, this for last one, which 
at this moment on projecting reefs exhausts the fury of the 
Tuscan main. Be wise, strain wines, and, as our span is 
short, snip off the hope for things remote" ("Odes," 1, 11). 

Thus death dominates life, its monition attending all 


enjoyment. Horace is chiefly concerned with his own state 
of being. Others — here his humanity is baldly negative 
— are of no particular concern to him, excepting in so far 
as they enhance his pleasurable state of being, or in this, 
that their conduct impresses the lessons of wisdom. 
Chiefly, however, do they do this through acts of folly. 
Their valuation and overvaluation points the wrong 
road. They are wrapt in money-making — they give 
themselves up to amatory passions, they hitch their souls 
to the car of political ambition, whereas the wise man will 
place his happiness in that enjoyment which follows the 
" golden mean " (aurea mediocritas) between extremes, 
which follows the aim of the unruffled soul. Thus Pride, 
Covetousness, Concupiscence, are condemned, not indeed, 
from any religious motive, not even from a civic one — 
but mainly from this, that they interfere with that equi- 
poise which is indissolubly bound up with the refined 
pleasure of the best state of being. This peace of being 
is essentially different from the passionate laudation of 
extinction ever recurrent in Lucretius. This peace, this 
calm, is really the universal quest of mankind (" Odes," 
2, 16) : in all the unrest of life on the sea, of war on 
land, this is the goal of all. But neither treas- 
ures nor purple can purchase it. Care — that gloomy 
and persistent fiend — no consular honors avail against 
it. The panelled ceilings of palaces — cares flit about 
them. Travel as you may : flee from yourself, if you can. 
Be thou content : though no scene without the gloomy 
skyline, no glimpse of the sea of life but the barren and 
rocky coast is included which terminates the voyage : 
" Perceivest thou (" Odes," 1, 9) how Mount Soracte 
stands white with its pall of snow, nor now the toiling 
forests bear up under their load, and rivers are halted 
by the biting frost. Dispel the frosty air, pile freely 
thou the billets on the hearth, and draw the four-year 
vintage from the Sabine jar. Leave to the gods the rest: 
as soon as they have levelled winds that on the seething 
main do battle to the death — then neither cypresses nor 
hoary mountain ashes are as much as stirred. What will 


to-morrow be, avoid to ask it, and whatever days Chance 
shall give, book them with profit. ..." It is not sub- 
mission, it is not resignation : no, the soul must not be 
troubled nor disconcerted ; it is wise self -adjustment. It 
is a system of withdrawal, this Epicurean wisdom of living, 
from aught that jars, from aught that contributes nothing 
to the desirable frame of soul. " A friend of the Muses, 
gloom and fears will I deliver to the saucy winds to carry 
them to Cretan sea, exquisitely unconcerned as to who is 
dreaded as sovran of the icy north, what frightens Tiridates 
(in the East) . . ." (" Odes," 1, 26). 

A deep spiritual truth teaches (" Odes," 2, 2) : Do not 
vainly fancy that boundless wealth will satisfy the soul : 
contentment and resigning of the power of great potentates 
marks the sovereign of himself. There is something in 
covetousness comparable to the watery decay of our blood 
in dropsy. " Care follows growing gold, and hunger for 
still more. Justly have I ever shivered at the thought of 
raising high my head observed of many." . . . "the more 
things each man will deny himself, from the gods will he 
bear away more : bare I make for the camp of those who 
covet nothing, a deserter I keenly desire to leave the fac- 
tion of the rich, more splendid master of possession dis- 
dained, than if I were said to store in my granaries all that 
the strenuous Apulian ploughs, resourceless amid great 
wealth" ("Odes," 3, 16, 16). A very positive and solid 
contentment Horace owed to his munificent friend — his 
quiet abode on the salubrious Digentia brook amid the 
Sabine mountains, a realized ideal of life — : from those 
solitudes and in the environment of nature's wholesome 
bounty he looked out upon the so-called great world as an 
obsession from which he had escaped : 

" Tief die Welt verworren schallt — " 

When the inner voice or an outward occurrence stirred 
his pen, then only would he write and then, too, with in- 
finite care. His literary ideals were high — his sense of 
his own success was keen : the categorical anticipation of 
future and enduring renown is uttered by him with a posi- 


tiveness rare even in classical antiquity : " Not wholly 
shall I die : a great part of myself shall escape the god- 
dess whom serve they who lay out the dead." . . . 
He is assured of the Delphic laurel (" Odes," 3, 30). 
Spaniard and Gaul will make themselves familiar with his 
works — no empty dirges at his pyre, no lamentations ill- 
befitting ("Odes," 21, 29). Greek athlete, Roman tri- 
umphator, he envies them not. The cascades of the 
Anio, too, and the groves of Tibur may now record 
their Classic ("Odes," 4, 3). At forty-eight he was 
invited by Augustus to write the secular ode, to be 
chanted by the chosen youth of Roman aristocracy, in 
the most stately and conspicuous manner imaginable 
(17 B.C.). Even a few years before this time he proudly 
separates himself from the current mode of spreading 
one's literary renown : he disdains public readings, he 
scorns the practical good-will of the professional teachers 
of Latin literature ("Epist.," 1, 19, 40). And still all 
this did not console him for the bitter thought of death. 
In the glorification of the futilities of the flesh he was 
no good reproduction of Anacreon. One reason for that 
persistent gloom in his verse, this absinthe in all the cup 
of life, was the fact, that, before thirty-eight, Horace 
was a confirmed valetudinarian. Even in 31 B.C., when 
he was not yet thirty-four, when the operations leading 
to Actium were in hand, he was not strong (firmus 
parum, " Epodes," 1,16). Dyspepsia, with all its at- 
tendant infirmities even at twenty-eight, seems to have 
been his complaint (1 Sat. 5, 7 ; and esp. v. 49). In 
that fear of disease (cegrotare timenti, 1 Epist. 7, 4) he 
declines even the persistent invitations of Maecenas him- 
self. He may have been, at that time, about forty-two. 
Gone were the robust lung, the black locks that narrowed 
the forehead, the faculty of melodious elocution, the very 
faculty of hearty laughing, the romance of Greek liber- 
tines, such as it was (v. 26 sqq.^). His winters were 
spent, first at Baise, on that gulf of paradise, where he 
would crouch in sunny nooks and read (" Epist.," 1, 7, 
13) : later he seems to have gone still farther south, to 


Salernum, or Velia, and to have observed the regimen 
of cool baths recommended by the famous court-physician 
Antonius Musa ("Epist.," 1, 15). 

But to return : when his literary reputation was made, 
he seems to have turned away from versification after 
Greek models with a certain gusto — conduct of life, the 
problems of ethics were thenceforward the preference of 
his pen. The Epicurean with his famous precept of " Live 
so that you are not aware that your life has been lived " 
(XdOe /Steoo-a?) was as one who would stop his very ears 
against the ticking of Time — curious wisdom that we should 
steadily ignore the frailty and the transitoriness of our be- 
ing — there being no other. Still the deeper impulse of the 
soul steadily got the better of the wisdom of the schools. 
At the same time he incessantly censured the Roman itch 
for craving and getting : the moralizing of some of his Epis- 
tles needs slight adjustment to fit a pulpit ("Epist.," 1, 6). 
Maintain the equipoise of thy soul : the astral phenomena 
may be contemplated with unruffled calm : why not much 
more so terrestrial things ? the wealth of Sheba and of 
Ind, the shows and applause of public games, the satisfac- 
tion of political preferment — what are they ? Not true 
boons, if they involve fear, fear that you may lose them, 
fear that the wheel of fortune may turn. The soul is filled 
with unrest. The futility of distant things, the reaction of 
failure in creating the sense of discomfiture : these are evils. 
Folly to be a collector or to yearn incessantly over plate 
and rare objects of ancient art, to admire purple and pre- 
cious stones, to be thrilled (as an orator) when thousands 
of eyes and ears hang upon your lips, folly to work early 
and late, a slave to the feeling of annoyance that another 
should be richer than you. Time ripens all : likewise it 
buries all. You have been a familiar figure in Agrippa's 
colonnade or on the Appian Way. Still you must go 
where Numa went before and good King Ancus. 

The unruffled soul : ataraxia, imperturbable calm : it 
is the Summum bonum of the two great schools : you could 
not be concerned in one without being at least interested 
in the other. But before I turn to the Stoics and to 


Horace's concern in these noble antagonists, I must say a 
few things of our poet's and essayist's treatment of love. 

Throughout this book I have brought forward this mat- 
ter but sparingly, and this little chiefly from a sense of 
consistency and material integrity. There is substantially 
nothing in the Roman lyricist that suggests any advance- 
ment above the coarse sensuality of the Greeks. 

It was a decaying civilization which would dignify Hor- 
ace's erotic verse with even a slight concern or with positive 
admiration. Later literary men have coined concupiscence 
into belles lettres — with more consummate purpose: Hor- 
ace was not very intense. The pathos of animality has 
some fervor in Tibullus and Propertius, the cooler lord of 
the Sabine manor is in a certain way lord of himself even 
here. His Pyrrha, Lydia, Leuconoe, the unnamed beauty 
of " Odes," 1, 16 (Gratidia ?), Tyndaris, Glycera, Lalage, 
Chloe, the girl from Thrace, Lycoris, Pholoe, Myrtale, 
Damalis, golden-haired Phyllis, Barine, Lyce, Neobule, 
Neaira, Chloris, Phryne : a cloud of names : Greek names, 
names of libertines, types in the main, words whose mel- 
lifluous cadence and well-defined quantity rendered them 
particularly convenient for metrical incorporation. Per- 
sonally, I believe that Horace simply tried to be faithful 
to his function as working after his Greek models : and 
the comely boys Ligurinus, Cyrus, Gyges, — one of whom 
among young women could not be discerned from such : 
he treads after Sappho, Anacreon, Alkaios, but we shiver. 
Likewise he pleased, incidentally, his munificent friend 
Maecenas. What manner of man was this one ? Seneca 
delineates him thus: Msecenas was the paragon of soft 
self-indulgence, restless and troubled about amours, at the 
same time ofteu in tears from the rebuffs of his wife, the 
lady Terentia ; trying to gain slumber by the sweet music 
of his distant orchestra — or lulled by cascades or wine — 
and still sleepless with numberless cares, tossing on pillows 
of down. A man utterly unrobust — who, in dressing-gown 
and slippers (as we would say), actually gave out the 
military parole of the day even when acting as the repre- 
sentative of Augustus. A voluptuary whose verse dallied 


with curly locks and coral lips — a womanish character, less 
virile than the very eunuchs that attended upon him: his 
style of verse and phrase a symbol of his self-indulgent 
and flaccid moral character, a man of splendid natural en- 
dowment, but his vigor enervated by the great material 
prosperity of his career, veritably emasculated, says Sen- 
eca. Once indeed he wrote: 

" Nor care I for my tomb. Nature buries the forsaken." 

(" Sen. Ep.," 92, 35), but his prevailing humor was fear of 
death ("Ep.," 114). Not all Epicureans were voluptu- 
aries, but that school was the universal refuge of all who 
sought academic palliation for self-indulgence and lived 
slaves of their senses. I consider it likely that it was 
largely Maecenas whom Horace gratified, in the earlier part 
of his literary career, by his sallies and his satire directed 
against Stoicism : particularly the rigid paradoxes of its 
moral theses. Thus, that paradox that all forms of moral 
misdoing were alike or equally reprehensible — how easy 
for a Horace to draw the laughter of Msecenas by clever 
reduetio ad absurdum ! Or the other, that that mysterious 
Ideal, the Stoic " Sage " (whom all praised, but no one 
ever discovered in the flesh) was the incarnation of virtue 
and power, faculty, taste and all ; or this, that all wrong- 
doing was at bottom some form of intellectual, mental 
disease: ambition, greed, luxury, superstition, all were 
diseases of the mind. As life, however, as it will, cheap- 
ened the joys of animality, and as the tomb drew nearer, 
it would seem that the philosopher of the Sabine manor 
became more of an eclectic : the positive and tonic side of 
Stoicism seems to have appeared to him worthy of serious 
regard. He read freely in Chrysippus and Crantor. 
Freedom impressed him as a greater boon, even when 
coupled with poverty. The defiance of a tyrant, even to 
the point of suicide, appears in " Epist.," 1, 16, 75 sq. 

There is also a strain in Horatian letters which we may 
call the Augustan element. Augustus employed the great 


diplomatic talent and administrative ability of Maecenas, 
and rewarded him munificently. But the interest which 
that emperor felt for our poet sprang from motives very 
different from those which moved the Tuscan minister of 
state. The splendid verses denouncing civil war and the 
spirit thereof, " Epodes," 16, are placed very early by the 
best students of Horatian chronology, say in 41 B.C., 
the very year after Philippi. The sweetness of peace, the 
blessings of a settled government, the splendid and patri- 
otic services of Caesar's heir — these were themes utterly 
acceptable to a statesman who understood the value of 
public opinion more profoundly than the towering Julius. 

This literary service in the interest of the Augustan re- 
forms is particularly conspicuous in the first six odes of 
the third book. The crazy overrefinement of material 
luxury a great evil : vicious ideals these ; we must restore 
the toughness and perseverance of ancient Rome. The 
family must be reestablished, the sacred character of 
matrimony, it must be brought back. The data of that 
survey of the achievements of the emperor, Augustus's own 
survey, are familiar to the world through the Monumentum 
Ancyranum. Here I can dwell but for a moment on the 
efforts for social regeneration essayed by Augustus : there 
were new statutes "de adulteriis et pudicitia " . . . "tie 
maritandis ordinibus" (Suet., "Augustus," 34). The 
disruption of the marriage tie, the wantonness of the 
aristocracy, the ease of divorce, the childlessness of the old 
families, these were indeed cancerous ulcers on the body 

Horace has written some very fine verses in the support 
of this statutory regeneration (Cato of Utica might have 
been the author), but I for my part cannot take them very 
seriously. Neither Vergil nor Horace, nor Propertius nor 
Tibullus were married : Ovid was, but what a mirror of 
corruption was a great part of his verse, and the young 
poet was all the rage, — where the moral law is not, the 
dog will eat its own vomit, even admire it in letters. 

Horace was but a poor prophet of righteousness here. 
He occasionally avows his sensuality with a frankness and 


unconcern that is startling to the non-pagan reader. Adul- 
tery is very unwise and really quite unprofitable. His 
judgment is largely cynical — " nature " excuses all, but why 
not be content with the simplest and cheapest satisfaction ? 
Other men's wives? No. Don't you see how fear and 
dread must needs alternate with desire: you may be 
caught and fearfully flogged, your fortune, your reputation 
irreparably ruined : it does not pay. This, the utilitarian 
aspect, is the burden of Horatian monition. And why 
not ? To him, as to all consistent Epicureans, there is no 
eternal or absolute law of right conduct: all laws of 
society (there are no others) were begotten out of utility: 
bestiality dominated primitive man (1 Sat. 3, 98 sqq.}: 
they fought for their acorns and for their lairs with nails 
and fists, later on with cudgels, afterwards with more effi- 
cient arms, gradually they evolved the faculty of speech. 

It was the sense of practical advantage that dictated or 
suggested definite treaties of peace, the establishment of 
commonwealths, the punishment of stealing, of robbery, 
of adultery. Concupiscence bred death and misery before 
Paris carried Helen to Troy — they fought to the death 
for their lust as steers in the herd. Horace was not long 
from Athens when he thus versified the ethics of the 

The growing solitude of life, the habit of introspection 
seems to have led him, as I suggested above, towards the 
more spiritual elements of his own sect, and made him, 
in his maturity, more of an eclectic at least in his valuation 
of the nobler school. To sum up : 

The moral autonomy of man, in his determining his life 
for himself, yielding to social convention purely from 
practical and civic considerations — there is no appeal from 
this settlement of one's own life. As to cosmic things — 
man is a frail accident under the iron heel of chance or 
necessity. Wise is he who purges his heart from socially 
forbidden appetites, from covetousness, from miserly self- 
denial as well. Passions are the acids that vitiate the 
vessel of the soul. Duty is a Stoic figment. To strive 
for such a state of being which will best enhance or per- 


petuate our calm and the unruffled surface of soul : such 
is the goal, such the privilege of the wise man. Provi- 
dence and Religion are servile fictions. Death ends all : 
" Mors ultima linea rerumst." 

It is after all the great consummation. As in a cameo 
Ancient Art often presents to us, with exquisite felicity 
and truth, some beautiful human object, or figure of human 
concern, so the philosopher of the Sabine manor-farm has 
often revealed his constant or ever recurrent sentiment 
or humor in a few lines of that puzzling felicity (noted 
by Quintilian), words of limpid clearness and significant 
directness that stamp him the world-classic he is. Such 
verses are those of Ode 2, 3, in which a very great portion 
of Horace stands revealed, lines with which he must bid 
us farewell: "A mind of equipoise remember thou to keep 
when things are stern: not otherwise in smiling days, mind 
kept from reckless jubilation, my Dellius destined to die: 
whether gloomy wilt thou live in every stroke of circum- 
stance, or, on sequestered greensward in holidays reclining 
thou'lt enjoy thyself with Falernian of some rarer year. 
What for do towering pine and poplar silvery-white love 
to intertwine their branches and jointly furnish hospitable 
shade? What for struggles the fleet brook with slanting 
current to quiver down its course? Hither bid them bring 
the wines and ointments fragrant, and all too short-lived 
flowers of lovely rose, while fortune suffers us to do it, and 
life's season, and the black threads of the sisters three. 
Thou wilt depart from woodlands purchased together and 
mansion and from the villa which the tawny Tiber laves, 
— thou wilt depart, and riches reared on high your heir 
will take possession of, whether rich and sprung from 
Argos's ancient king — it matters not — or poor, and from 
the humblest class, thou lingerest under the vaulted sky, 
victim of unpitying Orcus. We all are forced to the same 
goal : the lot of all is whirled in the urn, sooner or later 
destined to come out, and for eternal exile put us on 
Charon's skiff." 


Note. — The great services of Lachmann and of Munro devoted 
to the text of Lucretius need no attestation from my pen. Lately, 
among ourselves, Professor Merrill of California has been very indus- 
trious in this field. As to the problem of Cicero's "editing" of 
Lucretius, the present writer has sifted (American Philological Asso- 
ciation, 1897) the tradition with earnest circumspection. I believe the 
current zoological philosophers have enshrined Lucretius as a fore- 
runner of their guild — better say Democritus, gentlemen. Inasmuch 
as Lucretius has written a didactic work (howbeit gleaming with 
streaks of genius) I will append here some references which may 
prove useful to some of my readers : Emancipation of the Soul : 6, 
379; 1, 921-950; and the introductions of the various books, espe- 
cially from the second one forward. 

This world not indestructible, 6, 565; it is young, 5, 324 ; spontane- 
ous generation, 2, 900 sqq. ; no design, no teleology, 2, 1048 ; no divine 
control, 2, 1090 ; 6, 58 ; temperaments, 3, 302. The physics of Im- 
agination, 4, 777. Mortality of Soul, 3, 572; 622. Anti-platonic 
discourse, 3, 688 ; 776. Death, 3, 546 ; 828 ; 929, 965 ; 5, 130. No 
Eternity, 5, 351. Actual religion, 4, 1233; 5, 75 ; 1161. 

The biography of Horace by Lucian Miiller impresses me as inade- 
quate. Sellar (" Roman Poets," etc.) has contributed the best valua- 
tion of Horace, I believe, found in British letters. I prefer it to that 
of Ribbeck. But valuations are not as useful as data for the reader's 
own valuation : Personal Ideals of Horace, Carm. (Odes) 1, 1, 29. Ep. 
(Epistles) 1, 19, 26, 31. Ethics : se servare, Ep. 1, 2, 33. recte vivere, 
Ep. 1, 2. 41 ; 6, 29. cor purum vitio, Sat. 2, 3, 213. sincerum vas., Ep. 
1, 2, 54. mala ambitio, S. 2, 6, 18 ; 74 ; Ep. 1, 1. moralizing on the 
Homeric stories, 1, Ep. 2. the vir bonus, 1, 6, 40. critique of the trend 
of Roman character: Ep. 1, 1, 65; 6, 31; 47; 17, 33. Contentment: 
Carm. 1,7; 1,9; 1,26; 2,2; 2,10; 2,11; 2, 18 ; — 3, 1, 16 ; Ep. 1, 2, 
47; 12, 4; 14, 43; 2, 1, 180. Limitation: Carm. 1, 9, 13; 1, 11; C. 
2, 11 ; C. 3, 4, 65 ; C. 4, 7, 7 ; Epode 1, 32 ; Sat. 1, 1, 50 ; 3, 1, sqq.; 
Ep. 2, 2, 200. Resemblance to Lucretius: Ep. 1, 11, 11 ; 12, 19, 2, 2, 
175. 1 Sat. 5, 101. Covetousness an evil: Carm. 2, 2 ; 3, 16, 16; 
24. C. 4, 9, 45. Sat. 1, 1, 61; Ep. 1, 2, 37 sqq.; 18, 98; 2, 2, 175. 
Calmness of soul (drapa&a): C. II, 16 ; III, 1, 37 ; 29, 32 ; v. 41 ; C. IV, 
9, 35. Ep. 1, 4, 12 ; 1, 6, 1 sqq., 1, 6, 65 (Mimnermos censured) ; — Ep. 
1, 10, 30 ; Ep. 1, 11 ; 16, 65 ; 18, 102 : 112. No " Religion " : Carm. 3. 
29, 56. Sat. 2, 3, 199 ; Sat. 1, 9, 70; Ep. 1, 16,60. Ars Poetica: 392. 
No Providence : Carm. 1, 34 ; C. 2, 13. Futility of Erudition : C. 1, 28 ; 
Ep. 1, 12, 15. " Virtus " : C. 3, 1, 16 ; Ep. 1, 6, 30 ; 17, 41 ; 18, 100. 

The influence of Pindar in his delineation of virtus and gloria, in 
Book 4, is quite palpable. 

As to my view of his erotic verse I have not much to add : it is 
clear that Leiiconoe (in 1, 11, 2. Carm.) furnishes the desired choriam- 
bus, that Neobule (in C. 3, 12) furnishes the desired metrical unit, the 
Ionicus a minore. " Ex ungue leonem." It was no slight task to gratify 
two patrons whose concerns were as unlike as those of Augustus and 
those of Maecenas. 




The sovereign Tiber city first subdued the entire pe- 
riphery of the Mediterranean world. Later, the provinces 
in many ways reinvigorated their effete mistress. In this 
respect Spain was particularly conspicuous. Corduba 
thus replenished Rome : the elder Seneca, his three sons, 
Novatus, Lucius, Mela, his grandson Lucan, all bore that 
double relation : viz., of provincial origin and of Roman 
fame. Better call them Spanish Romans rather than 
Roman Spaniards. 

Of these three generations, the middle one will always 
be most prominent, and of the three gifted brothers, 
Lucius Annseus Seneca is almost universally familiar to 
the general consciousness of our own civilization; the 
smallest cyclopedia includes his name. At first blush, he 
would seem a brilliant man, dazzling two generations, re- 
puted a universal genius, his life and the consummate 
worldliness of an extraordinary career in violent contrast 
with the ideals and the morality of his prose works. He 
was fond of pungent and prickly qualities in his style — 
he had a horror of flatness and commonplace utterance, a 
morbid aversion to the dispassionate and equable manner. 
No greater contrast in the entire range of recorded Roman 
prose-utterance than between Varro on the one hand, and 
Seneca on the other. 

I am inclined to make his birth antedate by a few years 
that of the Founder of the Christian religion. Seneca, 
himself the son of a wonderful father, could recall the 
habits of Asinius Pollio (d. 5 A.D.). He thus saw the 
last part of the reign of Augustus : lived through that of 



Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius — : helped direct the earlier 
administration of his pupil Nero, and died a consistent 
Stoic in the Pisonian conspiracy, 6b a.d. In his father's 
power was the entire range of the rhetorical schools of 
Rome — the father's virtuosity in the reproduction of the 
different virtuosi must always stand as an astounding feat 
of that immersion of self in the personality of others which 
far exceeds mere mnemotechnique. As a child he was in 
Egypt : a husband of his mother's sister for a time ruled 
that rich province. Egyptian investments figured in the 
wealth of his declining years. He describes the cataracts 
of the Nile. What, at Rome, grammaticus or rhetor could 
do for him was probably soon outdone by his exceptional 
endowment for literary production, be it in prose or 

Among his philosophical teachers in Rome, he mentions 
Attalus, Sotion, Fabianus. In the classroom of the first 
named young Seneca was the first to appear, the last to 
leave. Even on walks the youth attended the professor, 
who met such eagerness half-way (" Epist.," 108, 3). 
The teacher's favorite sayings sank deep into his soul and 
furnished him quotation. Attalus was a Stoic and was 
wont to say : " I would rather have Fortune use me as its 
soldier than as its darling " (" Ep.," 67, 15). We may say 
that the moral influence of this teacher on the young 
genius was greater than the academic, — perhaps these 
two, however, should never be dissevered. This Greek 
scholar, I say, was a Stoic, not merely one of erudition, 
but such a one to whom that school furnished both skele- 
ton and sinews and muscle of life and living : professor 
and confessor both of a creed which to the young pupil 
seemed to elevate the austere and honored man above the 
common humanity about him. We see in Seneca's remi- 
niscent lines what your consistent Stoic really was : he 
was — he claimed to be — a king (" Ep.," 108, 13). He 
shared not in the current valuations of men : his goal and 
aim differed from that of the others — : wealth, pleasures, 
notoriety, his soul was emancipated from these. And 
he actually attacked the world in which he lived — he 


exposed the hollowness of the prevailing pleasure-cult, he 
lauded poverty, he praised chastity, he commended tem- 
perance — he furnished standards which really antago- 
nized those current. Clearly he was, in a way, a spiritual 
power. A certain asceticism of simpler living endured 
in Seneca from these earlier influences : he persistently 
avoided the fashionable ointments, the warm baths — he 
was to his old age addicted to the regimen of cold baths, 
he was a " psychroluta " — he discarded delicacies such as 
oysters and mushrooms. His other Greek teacher of 
philosophy, Sotion, filled him with admiration for certain 
things in the Pythagorean creed. The youth actually, 
for a while, became a vegetarian — : that respect for the 
universal kinship of life (" Ep.," 108, 19), the migration of 
it into lower forms, these things impressed young Seneca 
greatly. He persevered in the new diet a full year, and 
was well pleased with his experience. This was under 
Tiberius. His father, a Roman of the old stamp, with 
ideals of the old republic, "hated philosophy." Besides, 
under Tiberius, at one time foreign cults were put under 
a ban of state : some of these eschewed animal food. 
Thus a father's interference as well as worldly prudence 
weaned the young enthusiast from these Pythagorean 
habits. His Roman teacher of philosophy, Fabianus, had 
gone forward from the academic teaching of language and 
literature to Stoicism. He was not one of those "lecture 
room academic philosophers " (ex his cathedrariis philoso- 
phis, " De Brevitate vita?," 10, 1), but of the genuine and 
old-fashioned ones. He was wont to say that against 
passions the fight must be conducted by onslaught, not 
by mere refinement of cogitation : not by pin-pricks, but 
by a general charge on the double-quick must the battle 
front of wickedness be turned into flight. At an early 
age the young genius reflected on suicide : he suffered 
severely from catarrh, consumption seemed to be impend- 
ing. The thought of his old father's gray hairs restrained 
him then from self-destruction (" Ep.," 78, 2). The 
brilliancy, certainly the technical perfection of his verse, 
gave him what we may call an imperial reputation. As 


an old man, in surveying his career, he often seems to 
have ignored this part of his achievements. He com- 
manded (as his tragedies show) the entire range of lyric 
versification — still the lyrics' essential theme, the debase- 
ment of erotic passion, he seems to have consistently 
eschewed. He grasped all addition to his cultural equip- 
ment with a certain intensity, in which deep feeling was 
curiously blended with keen comprehension. As an old 
man he says of the lyric writers: "illi ex professo lascivi- 
unt " — wantonness is their stated theme. His Stoic sub- 
stratum of incipient maturity was not shallow. Soon 
also he was preeminent among the pleaders at the Roman 
bar, and subsequently through this door entered the 
senate. Under Caligula (37-41 a.d.) Seneca was con- 
sidered the paragon of letters, the foremost orator, also, of 
Rome. The rapid sequence of Seneca's points and thrusts 
was the mode : the imperial pervert Caligula uttered a 
clever judgment (preserved by Sueton., " Calig.," 53) : 
viz., Seneca was "sand without the binding lime." The 
young emperor (son of the literary Germanicus) was con- 
sumed with malignant jealousy of Seneca : the latter 
would have been destroyed had not Caligula learned from 
a concubine that the senator was far gone with consump- 
tion ; thus the imperial critic withdrew his concern (Dio 
Cassius, 59, 19). 

From the accession of Claudius, 41 to 49 A.D., our phi- 
losopher-courtier lived in exile, in Corsica. The empress 
Messalina was bitterly jealous of the beauty and influence 
which the princess Julia had with her imperial uncle, the 
erudite imbecile Claudius. The charge of forbidden re- 
lations with the brilliant man of letters was directed at 
Julia and believed by the uxorious Claudius. 

These were bitter years for Seneca. Was fame and 
reputation, was the loss of these fortuitous externals of life 
really so slight a concern for the soul of the Stoic ? 
"Awful Corsica," he wrote then (" Epigrammata super 
Exilio"), " when summer's heat is established; more cruel, 
when the savage dogstar appears. Spare thou the ban- 
ished ones, that is, spare now the buried ones : may thy 


soil be light for the ashes of the living." He consoles 
himself by recalling the paragraph of his sect that the 
universe itself one day will perish. " A law it is, not a 
penalty, to perish : this universe one day will be no more." 
His reminiscent glance is directed at his birthplace, Cor- 
duba. He calls on her to dishevel her locks and weep and 
to send funeral gifts for the ashes of her greatest son. To 
the Spaniards Seneca was the renowned poet (vates). To 
his own consciousness the exile is now as one departed 
from life, again he is a new Prometheus pinned to the 
rock — (injigar scopuld). But the suffering Stoic must 
be defiant and proud, not humble and submissive. As an 
old man (" Naturales Qucestiones prcefatio" 4, 14*^.) he 
penned this haughty survey of his earlier career: " I de- 
voted myself to liberal studies. Although poverty sug- 
gested a different course and my native powers were lead- 
ing me to a sphere of life where zeal receives an immedi- 
ate reward, I turned aside to non-productive verse and I 
went into the wholesome pursuit of philosophy. I showed 
that excellence (virtus') may lodge in every breast, and 
struggling with mighty effort (eluctatus) out of the nar- 
row confines of my birth, measuring myself not by the lot 
of fortune, but by the aspirations of my own soul, I ac- 
quired a station equal to the greatest " (par maximis steti). 
It seems that both when he faced the hatred of Caligula 
as well as when he became a victim of Messalina and 
Narcissus, he could have bettered his lot or utterly es- 
caped from trouble, if he could have prevailed upon him- 
self to become disloyal to certain friends (Julia?). "I 
permitted no womanish tears to flow, I did not as a sup- 
pliant wring the hands of any one." Unfortunately, this 
is not exact, I am afraid it is not even true. For we 
have the composition addressed from out of his exile to 
the freedman Polybius, one of the favorites of Claudius. 
There are noble passages in it — the larger view of the 
universe, of human history, struggles in him to reduce or 
eliminate the sense of his own suffering: still the flatteries 
aimed indirectly at Claudius himself are penned with the 
consummate skill of the courtier, are projected with the 


clever and tactful calculation of a man of the world — 
everything to terminate this exile. 

In 49 a.d. Seneca was recalled to Rome. How he 
served the ambition of Agrippina, who married her father's 
brother Claudius, how he became the educator and adviser 
of young Nero, how he rejoiced in the death of the hated 
imperial fool — whether he was privy to the poisoned 
mushroom or not — how he composed state papers for his 
imperial pupil after an accession deeply stained with 
criminal intrigue, how he manoeuvred against the reck- 
less ambition of the dowager, how he knew of the matri- 
cidal project, and how again his pen was used to palliate 
and defend that crime of crimes — the data are set forth 
with merciless precision by Tacitus, by Suetonius, by Dio. 
It is all a very sad story. Nero would gratify his appe- 
tites, he would — shallow fool he was — parade as a great 
singer, a great virtuoso of musical skill, a great charioteer 
— the impossible, the shocking, the atrocious, it allured 
his ill-balanced soul: lust, vanity, frivolity, the wanton 
gratification of every whim; in short, the evil in him was 
reared to giant proportions by the power of the principate. 
The proud Stoic and exemplar of noblest culture, Seneca, 
had to yield his place of counsel and influence to the vul- 
gar Tigellinus, a favorite of the imperial showman who 
quickened all the evil and folly that fermented in Nero's 
soul. About this time, in 62 a.d., as an old man, Seneca 
began the composition of those moral or academic essays, 
slightly adjusted to the epistolary form, the epistulce 
morales compositions which reveal the range of this ex- 
traordinary man, which contain his best thoughts. 

But before we make some study of the latter, we must 
turn to the problem of Seneca's great wealth. In a cer- 
tain defence, put into the mouth of a senator who hated 
Seneca bitterly, the charge is made that Seneca had ac- 
cumulated ter milies sestertium, i.e. three hundred million 
sesterces. Reduced to our present standard, this would 
have been about thirteen million two hundred thousand 
dollars, in our money. This charge is cited by Tacitus 
(Annals, 13, 42) among the events of the year 58. He 


was charged (ift.) with cunning devices of having wills 
made by childless people in his favor. Entire provinces 
paid him usurious interest. Dio indeed relates for the 
year 61 a.d. (b. 62, 2) that the troubles in Britain were 
partly due to the fact that Seneca, without previous notice, 
called in a tremendous fund which he had loaned out in 
that province. This was the time of the famous rising of 
Queen Budicca. To be sane and reserve one's judgment 
seems doubly necessary here. " Guilty intrigues with 
Agrippina " (" Dio," 61, 10) : it was the world's way of 
interpreting his earlier influence. 

It is further utterly absurd to make Seneca responsible 
for the monstrosities of his pupil's career — still flatteries 
of Claudius's freedmen must stand. "While censuring 
the rich" (Dio proceeds) " he acquired an estate of 75,000,- 
000 (i.e. drachmas, = $13,500,000 in our money) and 
while accusing the luxuries of the others, he possessed five 
hundred small tables of citrus wood with ivory feet." Of 
more outrageous charges I will be silent. I do not believe 
them. The dazzling fortune of the Spanish professor's 
son would have raised up against him a host of envy and 
malice had he been an Epicurean: the stern preaching of 
Stoic sermons doubled and trebled the venom of his critics. 
The preface to "Nat. Qucest." c. 4, was certainly writ- 
ten some years after 58 (when his wealth, as I showed, 
was attacked in a session of the senate). His reference 
to money is proud and defiant: "Add now a spirit invin- 
cible by gifts and, amid so great a struggle of greed, a 
hand never hollowed under bribery. Add now the fru- 
gality of my style of living: towards the younger, hu- 
manity, towards the elder, respect. ..." 

But we must take up the chief concern of this chapter. 
Surely Seneca was in himself a microcosm of the nobler ele- 
ments of the humanity of the Roman world in the Clau- 
dian emperors' time. It is wonderful, too, how closely, on 
the whole, he avoided the very grazing or slightest touch- 
ing on political or governmental matters. The inner 


Seneca, and the outward — which is it ? But really, was 
not the inner Seneca turned outward in these brilliant 
essays ? 

To him his philosophy is not a mere decoration or 
academic gown : " Philosophy is not in words but in 
things. Nor is it applied to this end, that the day may 
be spent with a certain feeling of entertainment, that 
leisure be deprived of tedium : it moulds and works the 
mind, sketches a plan for life, directs actions, points out 
what is to be done, what left undone ; it sits at the helm 
and steers the course through the dangers of floating ob- 
jects " (" Ep.," 16, 3). "It is doing, which philosophy 
teaches us, and this it demands that every one should 
live by its law, that life be not in disharmony with 
speech" ("Ep.," 20, 2). Philosophers, indeed, are ex- 
posed to the current charge that they are hypocritical, 
that they produce phrases, not works. The parasite's 
greed, lusting after women, gluttony : with these things 
are they upbraided ("Ep.," 29, 5). Seneca is hostile to 
mere erudition : the dialectical micrology of the Older 
Stoa he often belittles ("Ep.," 82, 8 ; 83, 9 ; 85 ; 87, 12). 
Ill do those philosophers deserve of mankind, who have 
learned philosophy as though it were a professional at- 
tainment which may be sold, who live differently from 
the rules which they lay down for living. . . . All they 
say, all they boastfully utter while their crowded lecture- 
room listens, is the production of others : Plato said that 
before, Zeno did, Chrysippus and Posidonius did: how 
can they prove that that vast parade is their own ? I will 
tell you : let them do what they say . . . (" Ep.," 108, 
36 sqq. ; 109, 17). Sciolism is unprofitable: "subtlety 
is ground out in superfluous things : those things make 
not good men, but learned men " (" Ep.," 106, 11). The 
actual practice is all wrong : " for the school, not for life 
do we learn" ("Ep.," 106, 12). 

But let us go on to that which is the directing, the 
tonic, element in this body of wisdom. To me, if I may 
make a personal avowal, few elements of classic tradition 
are as interesting as these revelations of attitude ; some- 


times merely the paragraph of academic tradition, but 
more frequently a personal fervor and an intensity com- 
parable to an utterance of faith. 

And first we will hear Seneca on the Universe. 

" It is superfluous at the moment (" De Providential 1, 
2) to point out that not without some guardian so great 
a work stands, and that this assemblage of constellations 
and their various separate orbits are not of fortuitous im- 
pulse, and that those things which chance propels are 
often thrown into disorder and quickly collide, that this 
non-colliding velocity goes forward by the orders of 
eternal law. ..." "It is a noble consolation to be 
whirled away with the Universe ("cum uni verso rapi"). 
Whatever it may be, that has bidden us so to live, so to die, 
by the same necessity does it bind even the gods " (i'6., 5, 
8). (He means by "gods" the regular and recurrent 
phenomena of nature and physical life : " gods " is a 
phrase of accommodation to popular speech). " Foolish 
and ignorant of truth they charge against them ("the 
gods ") the rudeness of the sea, the excessive freshets, 
the stubbornness of winter. . . . For not we are the 
cause for the world (mundo), of its bringing back winter 
and summer : those things have their own laws, by which 
divine things are kept in action. We conceive too high 
a regard for ourselves, if we seem to ourselves to be 
worthy that for our sakes so great things be set in mo- 
tion " (" De Ira," 2, 27, 2). This physical Universe is to 
be destroyed some day : " Nothing will stand in the place 
in which it now stands; old age will level and carry away 
everything. And not with men only (and how tiny a por- 
tion of that chance power is humanity ?) but with places, 
but with countries, but with parts of the world will it 
make its sport. So many mountains will it smother, and 
elsewhere force upward new rocks. Oceans will it suck in, 
rivers it will turn from their courses, and having snapped 
asunder the intercourse of nations, it will dissolve the 
society and assemblage of human kind " Q'Ad Marciam" 
26,6). "This Universe some day will scatter and will 
sink it into ancient intermingling of elements and pri- 


meval night " (" Ad Polybium" 1, 2) . " That sequence has 
been given the Universe, that it appears that a concern 
for us has been rated not among the last things " ("De 
Benejiciis" 6, 23, 4). The old Stoics believed in periodic 
resolving of the organic universe through heat — this is 
found frequently in Seneca. Still he holds there may- 
come also a cosmic dissolution through water, a new del- 
uge : "whether it be done through the force of ocean 
and in the end the deep rise upon us, or whether incessant 
showers and the stuff of winter, moved by summer cast 
down a measureless body of waters from the burst clouds, 
or," etc. — much of this seems to have been drawn from 

But leaving alone these cosmic and scientific specula- 
tions, there is met with in Seneca — over and over again 
— a different aspect of the Universe, which concerns and 
interests us much more. We now come upon those tenets 
which I believe are the very bone and sinew of that nobler 
school, tenets where Stoicism is most widely removed from 
the hopeless materialism of Epicurean belief. And I will 
firmly abstain from two things: from summing up for the 
reader what has not been properly presented to him, and 
from putting on Seneca a few modern labels before we 
have fairly comprehended his thought : both are faults to 
which the academic person greatly inclines. 

In the first place: "Nature" in Seneca is vastly more 
than the aggregation of matter both organic and inorganic, 
its properties, its life and dissolution, its varied phenomena. 
Frequently does our author endow the universe with pur- 
pose, aim, design. " Nature thought us, before she made 
us, nor are we so slight a work that we could have slipped 
merely from her hands of craftsmanship. See how far 
bodies are permitted to roam, which she has not restrained 
by mere geographical limitations, but has sent into every 
part of herself. See how great is the daring of spirits, 
how they alone either know the gods or seek after them 
and attend divine things with an intellect directed upon 
lofty things: you will know that man is not a work made 
in a hurry and without reflection. Among her greatest 


achievements Nature has nothing of which she boasts 
more or assuredly to whom she more addresses her boasts " 
— a profound and noble sentiment. — (" Be Benef." 6, 23, 
6-7). " Whosoever was he that moulded the universe 
(formator universi), whether he is that god powerful over 
all, or immaterial reason, workman of the huge works, or 
a divine spirit permeating (diffusus) all things, greatest 
and smallest with equal force, or Fate and the immutable 
sequence of mutually connected causes." . . . We see 
him pause for terms and language ("Ad Helviarn Matrem" 
8, 3). Elsewhere he utters the same thought with slight 
variation: " For what else is Nature but God and the 
divine reason injected into the whole world and its parts? 
. . . Him likewise if you will identify with Fate, you 
will utter no falsehood, for inasmuch as fate is nothing 
else but the entwined chain of causes (series implexa causa- 
rum) he (Me) is the first cause of all, from which the rest 
are dependent" (" Be Bene/.," 4, 7, 1-2). "Therefore 
thy efforts are futile, thou most ungrateful of mortals, 
who deniest, that you owe to God, but to Nature: be- 
cause neither is God without Nature, nor God without 
Nature, but both are the same, it differs in function. If 
you were to say, that you owed to Annieus or to Lucius, 
what you had received from Seneca, you would not change 
the creditor but the name . . . thus now call it Nature, 
Fate, Fortune — all are names of the same god who uses 
his own power in different ways. And justice, moral-good- 
ness, prudence, bravery, frugality, are boons of a single soul: 
whichever of these has been pleasing to you, the soul is 
pleasing " (ib., 8, 2-3). "Not even did they believe, that 
Jupiter, such as we worship on the Capitol and in the other 
temples, the pilot and guardian of the universe, the soul 
and spirit of the world, the lord and creator of this work, 
whom every name befits. Do you wish to call him Fate: 
you will not err. It is he, from whom all things depend, the 
cause of causes (causa causarum). Do you wish to call 
him Providence: you will rightly call him so. For it is he, 
through whose counsel provision is made for this world, so 
that it passes through its motion without collision and 


unfolds its own actions. Do you wish to call him Nature: 
you will not sin. It is he from whom all things are born 
(nata sunt), by whose breath we live. Do you wish to call 
him the world (mundwni) : you will not be deceived " 
(" Nat. Qucest." 2, 45, 1-2). We could call him a deist, 
a pantheist: nothing would be gained by these labels. 
Now it seems, Seneca also wrote a " Dialogue on Supersti- 
tion," now lost, a book amply authenticated for us, not 
only by Tertullian and St. Augustine, but also by Diomedes 
Grammaticus (Keil, Vol. 1, p. 379, 1, 19). Particularly is 
it the great bishop of Hippo who studied this treatise — 
saying also that the philosopher displayed in his writings 
a freedom ("De Civitate Dei," 6, 10) which was absent 
from his life. The keen mind of St. Augustine readily 
discriminated between three forms of theology found in 
the classical world: mythological, civil, natural, the latter 
being the religion of the philosophers. Now, whereas 
Varro spared not the mythological form, he abstained 
from censuring that of the commonwealth. Seneca seems 
to have attacked the latter with great freedom. He spoke 
in that essay of the dreams of T. Tatius or Romulus or 
Tullus Hostilius, their inventions : Cloacina, Pious and 
Tiberinus, Pavor and Pallor. Absurd divinities. Seneca 
sharply reprimanded self-torture (as practised in the wor- 
ship of the Phrygian goddess, I suppose he means). 

But in the same essay Seneca spoke with contempt of 
actual Roman worship : " I went to the Capitol : I will 
blush for the folly practised in broad daylight. One sup- 
plies the god with appellations, another reports the 
hours to Jupiter; one is beadle, another anointer, who, 
with a meaningless movement of his arm, imitates an 
anointing one. There are those who make up the hair 
for Juno and Minerva — (standing far from the temple, 
not merely from the effigy, they move their fingers in the 
fashion of those engaged in hair-dressing) — there are those 
that hold the mirror: there are those that summon the gods 
to their own bail-bonds, there are those that hold up briefs to 
them and expound their law-case to them. A learned chief- 
pantomime, an old man already, of mere skin and bones, 


daily was going through his dumb-show on the Capitol, 
as though the gods gazed upon him with pleasure, whom 
human beings had ceased to." ..." Certain females sit 
on the Capitol who think they are the object of Jupiter's 
amatory desires: not even by regard for Juno — so wrath- 
ful, if you would believe the poets — are they repelled." 
Still Seneca was a conformist on stated occasions ... it 
was to him a civil obligation of Rome. 

But to return to Seneca's Nature, God, World, Universe, 
Providence, or Fate. You cannot pray to it : it is not 
swayed by prayer. But you can be in harmony with it, 
live conformably to it, follow it. For you may think little 
of your utter littleness in the realm of matter and in the 
mighty movements and periodic recurrences of phenomena 
in the physical world : — still the question as to your 
spiritual and moral conformity is great, it is the prime 
concern of your life. That Nature and Universe wills 
our goodness. God speaks thus to men : " To you 
have I given definite boons, destined to abide, better 
and greater, the more one will turn them over and over 
and examine them from all sides. I have permitted you 
to despise fearful things, to treat the appetites with dis- 
dain. You do not gleam outwardly, your boons are 
turned inward. Thus the Universe despised outward 
things, blessed in gazing upon itself " ("De Provid." 
6, 5). This noble ideal then of a Nature or Universal 
Design to which man must submit — is the ancient 
doctrine of Zeno and Kleanthes. Curiously that Nature 
— or God — earnestly desires that we be emancipated 
from the very bonds and burthens of matter which human 
kind has generally called " Nature." Man is the only 
creature which can conceive of that Universal order — : is 
it not shallow to forego the conclusion that this faculty of 
appreciation in man is the design and aim of the Universe, 
is in fact its veritable complement? Seneca (like his old 
sect) makes much of man's physical equipment, his up- 
right position, his endowment to comprehend heaven and 
earth with the sweep of his eyes, while his head turns 
easily on his neck. The Universe discharges its vast opera- 


tions without reward or fee {sine prcemio) : these things 
are eminently wholesome to us: " so it is the duty of man 
among other things also to bestow benefaction" {"Be 
Benef." 4, 12, 5). But what, after all, is great to man ? 
What is great in man ? The mighty works of Nature 
impress us as great, simply because we are small: it is all 
a relative greatness {"Nat. Qucest." 9, c, 3, prsefat. 9). 

Seneca utterly turns aside from that standard of virtus or 
excellence which we have observed without any substan- 
tial variation from Achilles to Caesar. He denies and re- 
jects these standards. His entire philosophy of history, his 
view of human annals — all this turns away from that 
ecstasy in the contemplation of the extraordinary, of the 
uncommon, provided the possessor thereof seeks merely 
power and self-aggrandizement. A sect which made 
Socrates its foremost saint, and him greatest in all his 
career when he defied the thirty tyrants and when he 
drank the hemlock: that philosophy, I say, looked with 
cool and searching glance at the conquerors: the "great 
men " of worldly valuation at all times. And so 
Seneca, too, rises above the long pagan worship. Let 
not the reader forget that that worship is of the 
essence of classic paganism: to classic paganism we 
return whenever we worship that, or abase ourselves 
before any form of uncommon endowment. This is no 
loose phrase of narrow bigotry; it is an important form of 
historical truth. So our philosopher says: "What is 
foremost in human affairs ? Not to have covered the seas 
with fleets, nor to have planted signs on the beach of the 
Red Sea, not, when land gave out for the quest of doing 
harm, to have roamed on the main in search of things 
unknown, but to have seen everything by means of the 
soul, and — greatest of all victories — to have overcome 
one's own faults. Numberless are they who had nations 
and cities in their power, very few who had themselves" 
{"Nat. Qu&st." prsef. Ill, 10). It is natural that Seneca 
should feel a keen antipathy and bitter hatred for the 
imperial pervert Caligula — his mad bursts of fury, his 
exquisite cruelty, his bitter vindictiveness, his incredible 


gluttony — among common pursuits of men, too, the cook 
and the soldier both appear to him as superfluous: his 
satire flays Apicius the gourmet of his earlier years ("Ad 
matr. Helv." 6, 8). Luxury is a treason to Nature 
(" Ep.," 90, 19). To the cruelty of Sulla's proscription 
he refers with quivering indignation. " Let them hate me 
provided they fear me ": you might know that this was 
written in the era of Sulla ("Be Ira" 1, 20, 4). 

What of Caesar, the most successful name in Roman 
annals? With Coriolanus, Catiline, Marius, Sulla, with 
Pompey himself, he forms a gallery of eminent Ingrates: 
44 From Gaul and Germany he worked the war around 
upon the capital, and that coddler of the plebs, that 
people's man, placed his camp in the Circus Flaminius, 
nearer than had been that of Porsena" ( 44 Be Benef." V, 
16, 5). All conquerors, nay all autocrats, are an object of 
his detestation : not only Cambyses and the puffed-up 
Xerxes, but even Alexander. When that genius indulged 
those fits of temper and passion which have so deeply 
stained his memory, he illustrated the very apogee from 
the Sun of righteousness — the Mastery over oneself 
being the essence of Stoic law of conduct. When the 
Macedonian conqueror threw Lysimachus before a lion, 
fangs and claws were really those of Alexander himself 
(" Be Clementia" 1, 25, 1). Alexander's killing of the 
philosopher Callisthenes was an indictment which time 
itself could not erase. All conquerors depart from the 
band of wise men, for they are insatiable. Chiefly, how- 
ever, are they rated so low because they lay violent hands 
on freedom. All the Saints in the Stoic cult are exemplars 
and apostles of freedom: Socrates, Scsevola, Fabricius the 
incorruptible, Rutilius the righteous exile, and above all 
the Romans, Cato of Utica ; the slayers of the Attic tyrant, 
Harmodius and Aristogeiton, are honorably mentioned 
here. It is cheap wit to call his eulogy of Socrates a Stoic 
homily: Seneca writes with substantial fairness : " Last of 
all his condemnation was accomplished undermost serious 
charges : he was accused both of violation of religious 
rites and of corrupting the young, which he was alleged 


to have let loose upon the gods, upon their fathers, upon 
the state. After this the prison and the hemlock. These 
things were so far from ruffling the soul of Socrates, that 
they did not even ruffle his countenance. That wonderful 
and extraordinary distinction he maintained to the end: 
no one saw Socrates more cheerful or more gloomy. He 
was even-tempered in such unevenness of fortune" ("Ep.," 
103, 28). In fact, everywhere are those historical char- 
acters extolled who suffered for righteousness and who 
abandoned all the world holds dear rather than abase their 
freedom or deny their deepest convictions. The Stoics are 
the masculine among philosophers. 

Righteousness is a healthy condition of the soul, all 
wrong-doing a form of mental disease. Reason should 
ever hold sway over Passion and Emotion. The highest 
happiness of this life is freedom from lust, from covetous- 
ness, from ambition, and above all, freedom from fear. 
The outward things (externa, fortuita) really do not bene- 
fit ; they do certainly not concern the soul, they are indif- 
ferent. The soul-element in us is divine, it is a particle, 
however small, of the divine spirit which permeates the 
Universe. The soul, therefore, defies physical violence 
and every form of force or constraint. Consequently the 
Wise Man cannot suffer wrong : the malefactor cannot 
injure the former's soul, which alone constitutes his true 
personality. It is a matter of controversy whether virtue 
is the highest good, intrinsically, or the cause of the 
highest good. A great thing and supreme, and near to 
the deity, is not to be shaken (non concuti). 

Instead of citing the endless passages in which Seneca 
disposes of death and the fear of death, I wOuld rather 
direct my reader to the philosopher's theory of self-de- 
struction. There is no other way, he holds, of maintain- 
ing one's freedom against tyrants. Thinking of the mad 
cruelty of a Cambyses, or how Astyages unknowingly 
was made to eat of his own son, he goes on to say: " In 
whatever direction you look, there is a limitation of 
troubles : do you see that precipice ? There is a descent 
to freedom. Do you see that sea, that river, that cistern ? 


Freedom there abides at the bottom. Do you see that 
tree, low, dried up, barren ? Freedom is suspended from 
it. Do you see your neck, your throat, your heart? 
They are means of escape from slavery " (" De Ira'' 3, 15, 
4). Of poverty: "If the extreme necessities befall the 
wise man, he will speedily go out from life and will cease 
to be troublous to himself" ("Ep.," 17, 9). "I shall 
not abandon old age if it shall reserve my entire being for 
myself, my entire being, mind you, on the side of that 
better part (i.e. the soul-powers), but if it shall begin to 
shake my intelligence, to violently wrench its essential 
elements, if it will not leave life to me, but mere animal 
existence alone, then I shall bound forth as from a crazy 
and tottering edifice " (" Ep.," 58, 35). Socrates is praised 
for not cutting short his life in prison, for letting the law 
take its course, for gratifying, for thirty days, his friends 
with his last discourses. Still he goes on to say a little 
further on : " One cannot lay down a universal rule, 
whether, when some force outside of ourselves threatens 
death, one should anticipate or await it " (" Ep.," 70, 11). 
He eloquently praises a German, who, a little while be- 
fore, when being prepared to fight with wild beasts in a 
forenoon spectacle, had choked himself with the meanest 
of appurtenances when retiring to a private place for the 
last time : " this it was, to treat death with insult "... 
" O hero indeed ! worthy to whom the choice of fate 
should be given ! how bravely would he have used a 
sword ! " (" Ep.," 70, 20). 

From this point it seems meet to go on to that of the 
Immortality of the Soul. The Stoic sect denied it, be- 
lieving in a corporality of the soul and that it was mingled 
again with the divine substance that permeated the Uni- 
verse. Seneca himself was too widely read and too 
greatly impressed, e.g. with Platonic ideas, to be content 
with mere iteration of Stoic dogma. Thus he writes 
("Ad Marciam de Comolatione" 23, 1) of death as a 
journey to the beings above, as a putting away of the 
dregs of earth, as a process of disencumberment from non- 
spiritual burdens, as a return to the soul's origin, — 


Platonism : indeed he names Plato (2) — " There awaits 
him (the deceased son of Marcia) an eternal rest (ceterna 
requiesy (24, 5). — " Your father, Marcia, there clasps to 
his breast his own grandson, although there all is kin to 
all, grandson rejoicing in the new light, and teaches him 
the movements of the neighboring stars, and not by con- 
jecture, but truly experienced in all things he gladly leads 
him into the mysteries of Nature " (ib., 25, 2). Thus as 
in Platonic fervor. But elsewhere his utterance greatly 
differs : he does not know whether the deceased has per- 
ception or not (" Ad Polybium" 5, 1). In either case 
the soul is well off: for either at least it is rid of all 
troubles of life, of pain and fear, or (the Platonic alterna- 
tive) it is then at last truly discharged from its dungeon, 
and enjoys the contemplation of the Universe, gains a 
closer vision of divine things, the comprehension of which 
he had so long sought in vain (ib., 9, 2-3) (cf. "Ep.," 71, 
16; 76, 25). "Death either consumes us or strips us" 
("Ep.," 24, 18). At bottom he vacillates and wavers in 
his position — there were Hamlets before Hamlet — and 
" we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth 
in pain together until now "... in short, it is the con- 
cern of the ages. But Seneca, I say, in his wavering is 
an image of our common unaided humanity. In one 
place he writes (as Comte has written later) : " Therefore 
men indeed do perish, but humanity itself, towards which 
individual man is being moulded, endures, and while men 
are toiling, are passing away, humanity suffers not at all " 
(" Ep.," 65, 7). Elsewhere he speaks with a positive 
hope : " Thus through this span of time which extends 
from infancy to old age, we are ripening for another 
birth" ("in alium maturescimus partum"). "Not yet 
can we endure heaven but at intervals, therefore fearlessly 
look thou forward to that decisive hour (" horam illam de- 
cretoriam ") : it is not the last for the soul, but for the 
body " . . . " You may carry out no more than you have 
brought in" . . . (" Ep.," 102, 24-25). Academic persons 
have said that this was " the historical point " where 
Paganism and Christianity met, whatever that may be. 


Historically, I deny it : the mere coexistence of Seneca 
and St. Paul means nothing but an item for chronological 
curiosity : the slender fiction of their correspondence is a 
shallow production, hardly to be dignified by the title of 
literary exercises on the part of the forger. The essence of 
Christianity is a reception of transcendental boons coming 
at a definite point of history ; essential facts, not a consum- 
mation of an academic development or of a sequence of ever 
loftier theses and positions. The proud autonomy and 
spiritual autocracy of the Stoic position defies fusion with 
a system, the founder and enduring basis of which uttered 
this beatitude : " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs 
is the Kingdom of Heaven" (St. Matthew, 5, 3). 

This non-relation then, historically and genetically speak- 
ing, I hold to be exactly true and entirely demonstrable 
to all unprejudiced students of classic civilization. 

At the same time there is a body of moral, of distinctly 
spiritual, judgment and sentiment which again and again 
reminds us of — seems to us to bear resemblance to — 
Christianity. True to the spirit and design of this work, I 
will not trim or trick out, not commend nor depreciate, but 
present data for my readers' own judgment : "All crimes 
are wrought, as far as sufficeth for their guilt, before the 
accomplishment of the deed" — and before: "If any 
one were to cohabit with his own wife in the belief that 
she were another man's, he will be an adulterer, although 
she be no adulteress " ("2)e Constantia Sapienth" 7, 4). 
" If we wish to be fair judges of all things, let us first be 
convinced of this, that none of us is without guilt (sine 
culpa). For it is this point from which the greatest 
indignation arises." "I have committed no wrong," and 
"I have done nothing." "Nay, you confess nothing. 
We are indignant at having been censured with some 
admonition or form of restraint, whereas on that very 
occasion we sin in that we add to our misdeeds, arro- 
gance, and contumacy. . . ." ("De ira," 2, 28, 1). Fiery 
coals : " Some one will be angry with you : but you 
reply by challenging him with acts of kindness" ("2)e 
7ra," 2, 34, 4). " We are all evil : whatever therefore 


is censured in another, this each single one will discover 
in his own bosom ( 4 in suo sinu inveniet ')" (ib., 3, 26, 4). 
Towards the eradication of anger "nothing will avail 
more than reflecting on our mortality" (ib., 3, 42, 2). 
"To obey God is freedom" (" Be Vita Beata," 15, 7). 
" Not even that poison (of calumny) . . . will prevent me 
from praising the life — not that which I lead, but that 
which I think I ought to lead, shall not prevent me from 
following virtue even though far behind it, and merely 
crawling" (reptabundus, ib., 18, 2). "You deny that 
any one lives what he utters . . . what wonder when 
they talk heroic things, gigantic things, passing beyond 
all storms of humanity : when they nail themselves to 
crosses, into which each individual, one of you himself 
drives his own additional nail. Still, when brought to 
execution, they hang each on his individual pale : these 
who direct their punitive action against themselves, are 
tortured (distrahuntur) by as many crosses as are their 
appetites. ..." (ib., 19, 3). "Nothing will I do for the 
sake of reputation, everything for the sake of conscience " 
(ib., 20, 4). "To my friends I shall be agreeable, to 
my enemies gentle and yielding" (ib., 20, 5). "This 
then is demanded of man, that he be useful to men, if 
possible, to many, if not, to few, if not, to those nearest 
him, if not, to himself " (" Be Otio," 3, 5). At another 
place he asks which of the two is more productive of 
good, a presiding justice who hands down verdicts in 
litigation, or he who teaches " what is righteousness, 
what devotion, what endurance, what bravery, what con- 
tempt of death, what the understanding of the gods (he 
means the physical universe) and how great a possession 
of men is a good conscience (bona conscientia) f -" ("Be 
Tranquillitate Animi," 3, 4). The Wise Man counts "his 
own body also and his eyes and his hand and whatever 
will make life dearer, and himself, among possessions 
held-on-sufferance (inter precarid) and lives as one who 
is loaned to himself and will make return to those 
making demand, without any gloominess. And still he 
is not, on this account, cheap in his own eyes, but will 


do everything with a painstaking care and circumspection 
as great as that with which a man of scrupulous honesty 
is wont to look after a trust" (ib., 11, 1-2). "The 
craving for the possession of another, from which arises 
all the evil of the soul " ("De Clementia," 2, 1, 4). " As 
not even in the animals destined for sacrifice, although 
they be fat and be resplendent with gold, is there honor 
shown to the gods, but in the pious and sincere purpose 
of the worshippers" (" De Benefioiis" 1, 6, 3). "There- 
fore the good discharge their worship acceptably even 
with flour and sacrificial porridge, the wicked on the 
other hand will not escape from (the charge of) impiety 
even though they stain the altars with rivers of blood 
(ib.). The widow's mite : " If benefactions depended on 
things, not on the purpose itself of him who bestows 
the kindness, they would be the greater, the ampler were 
what we receive. But that is an error : for sometimes 
he puts us under greater obligations who gave a little 
with a large manner " . . . " who gave a small dole 
but with a willing spirit" (ib., 1, 7, 1). A slave (ut- 
terly anti-Aristotelian) is capable of noble qualities : 
"a slave may be (it is in his power to be) righteous, 
he may be brave, he may be of a lofty spirit " (ib., 3, 
18, 4). " For it depends of what soul he is (who does 
the kindness), not of what civil station : from no one 
is virtue shut off, to all it lies open, all does it admit, 
all it invites : the freeborn, the freedman, slaves, kings, 
exiles " (ib., 3, 18, 2). " He is mistaken, who thinks 
that slavery takes possession of the entire man : his 
better portion is accepted : the physical persons are 
subject and are given in fee to the owners, the mind is 
sui juris " (ib., 3, 20, 1). " If thou imitatest the gods, 
bestow benefactions even upon the ungrateful : for even 
for criminals the sun rises and to the pirates the seas 
are open " (ib., 4, 26, 1) . . . " God gave also certain 
bounties to the human race as a whole, from which 
(bounties) no one is excluded. For it could not hap- 
pen, that the wind should be favorable to good men, 
but the opposite to bad men" ..." nor could a statute 


be laid down for the rain showers that are to fall, that 
they should not descend upon the fields of the bad and 
the wicked" (ib., 4, 28, 3). "I hold therefore that 
those are not benefactions which will not make the soul 
better " (ib., 5, 13, 2). " Not to admit evil counsels 
into the soul, to raise clean hands to heaven" ("Nat. 
Qucest." 3, prcefat. 3). It is a part of the design in 
the destruction of the world that its parts may be cre- 
ated anew sinless (innoxice) and that there may not 
survive any instructor of evil (" Nat. Qucest." 3, 29, 5). 
Of a future doomsday through deluge : " when the judg- 
ment of the human race shall have been accomplished " 
(ib., 3, 30, 7). "We die worse than we are born. That 
is our fault, not that of nature " (" Ep.," 22, 15). " He is 
happiest and an unconcerned possessor of himself who looks 
forward to to-morrow without anxiety " ("Ep.," 12, 9). 
" He who has learned to die has unlearned being a slave " 
("Ep.," 26, 10). "Nobody is familiar with God : many 
think ill of him and with impunity " (" Ep.," 31, 10). " O 
when will you see that time in which you will know that 
Time has no practical relation to you ? " (" Ep.," 32, 4). 
" A sacred spirit abides within us, observer of good and 
evil things, and guardian thereof. As we have dealt with 
this spirit, so it deals with us " (" Ep.," 41, 2). "What 
avails it to hide and to shun the eyes and ears of men ? 
A good conscience summons the crowd, an evil one is anx- 
ious and concerned even in solitude " (" Ep.," 43, 4-5). 
"How can Plato's Ideas make me better ? " ("Ep.," 58, 
26). " All things endure : not because they are eternal, 
but because they are defended by the care of him who 
controls " (H. 28). " Do you wonder that men go to 
gods ? God comes to men, nay, what is closer, comes 
into men : no intellect is good without God " (" Ep.," 73, 
16). " Luxurious banquets, wealth, vile pleasures, or any 
baits of our human kind are not really good, because 
God has them not " (" Ep.," 74, 14). " What does it avail 
that anything should be concealed from man ? Nothing 
is bolted for God." " He is present in our souls and 
comes into the midst of our reflections " (ib., 83, 1). 


" Let us forbid them bringing linen cloths and combs 
for Jupiter and to hold up a mirror to Juno : God seeks 
no attendants : why not ? He himself ministers to hu- 
man kind, everywhere and for all beings is he present " 
(" Ep.," 59, 48). Who will not be reminded of St. Paul, 
preaching on the hill of Ares at Athens : " Neither is 
worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any- 
thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all 
things" (Acts 17, 25)? 

But is it not perhaps true that the morality and the 
spiritual character of nascent Christianity and aging 
paganism were actually converging and approaching the 
point of fusion ? What if Seneca's noblest aspirations 
had been merely the birth and product of his own time 
and society; and that blessed automaton, evolution, had 
perhaps made this remarkable and impressive maturity of 
spiritual aspirations and convictions? As a matter of 
fact, the old courtier and man of letters lived and moved 
in a solitude which was well-nigh complete. As we took 
his own testimony as to his own soul, we may fairly accept 
his own testimony as to his own times, his actual environ- 
ment and milieu. 

Home, that capital of the Mediterranean world and con- 
geries of nations, — Seneca thus speaks of it : " Behold 
this multitude, for which hardly suffice the roofs of the 
boundless capital : the greatest part of that multitude has 
no fatherland. From their municipal towns and from 
their colonies, from the whole earth have they streamed 
together. Some, ambition has brought there, others, the 
urgency of public duty, others, some political mission, 
others, luxury seeking a convenient and rich place for im- 
moralities, others, the eager pursuit of liberal studies, 
others, the public shows. Some were drawn by friend- 
ship. . . . Some brought their beauty to find a market 
for it, some came to sell their power of rhetorical utterance. 
Every class of men hastens to a city which presents large 
rewards both to virtues and vices" ("Ad Helviam" 6, 2). 

In his moral censure directed at the Society of Rome — 
the note most frequently recurrent is the condemnation of 


Luxury, a worldliness and a worship of pleasure which 
fairly ran riot. " It is not necessary that all the depth 
of ocean should be searched through nor that one should 
burden one's stomach by means of a slaughter of living 
beings, nor to pluck shellfish from the unknown beach 
of the uttermost sea : may the gods and goddesses destroy 
those whose luxury transcends the boundaries of so daz- 
zling an empire. Beyond the Phasis River (Caucasus 
country) they insist that there must be caught that with 
which must be provided their ambitious cuisine, and they 
are not weary of importing birds from the Parthians who 
have not yet made requital to us. . . . They vomit in 
order to eat, and eat in order to vomit, and the feasts 
which they gather in the whole world, they do not even 
deign to digest" ("Ad Eelv." 10, 2-3). He speaks of 
certain tastes of the table : boars weighing a thousand 
pounds, tongues of flamingoes and other freaks of a luxury 
which actually disdains whole animals and makes a choice 
of definite limbs of each" (" Helv.? 10, 2). " Why is there 
drunk in your house a vintage older than you are ? " . . . 
"Why are no other trees preserved but those that will 
produce nothing but shade? Why does your wife wear 
in her ears the wealth of a rich mansion ? " (" Be Vita 
Beata" 17, 2). . . . "Those eyes which cannot endure 
any marble but variegated and burnished with recent care, 
who have no patience with a table but one of exquisite 
grain, who will not have their feet tread a mosaic floor 
less costly than gold; outdoors they will with perfect 
composure look on rough and muddy lanes and on the 
greater part of those who meet them, squalid, the walls 
of the tenement-blocks (insula) crumbling, cracked, un- 
symmetrical" ("Be Ira" 3, 35, 5). "I see robes of 
silken stuffs, if they must be called robes, in which there 
is nothing by which the body or shame can be defended, 
robes the mistress of which after attiring herself therein 
cannot well swear that she is not naked. These robes 
are imported for a vast sum from nations unknown to us 
even for commerce, in order that our matrons may not 
even display more of themselves in their boudoir to their 


lovers than they display in public " ("De Bene/.," 7, 9, 5). 
" The greatest evil of the times, unchastity " ("Ad. Helv." 
16, 3). The rich, flitting from city to country and there 
from villa to villa, rarely see their own children ("Ad Mar- 
ciam" 24, 2). The anecdotes of bestiality which Seneca 
relates of Hostius Quadra would afford a curious but most 
impressive commentary on certain verses written about this 
time by St. Paul in his first chapter to the Romans. It is 
startling that Seneca would pen such things at all. And 
if the loftiest spirit of Rome in his fervor of mortal satire 
would even touch upon such things with an almost cynical 
bitterness and brutality, what must have been the life 
and conversation of the broad mass of that society ! How 
would the smart set (the " Lauti ") accelerate the dragging 
hours ! Canopus, the watering-place of Alexandria, was 
notorious for its immorality; but Baiae, the favorite sum- 
mer residence of Roman " Society," was no better, accord- 
ing to Seneca (" Ep.," 51). Revels were there on the 
private yachts, the basins resounding with the music of 
private orchestras — the luxury connected with the thermal 
waters and that gulf of paradise — all the influences there 
were demoralizing in the extreme. The amours of this 
aristocracy were carried on with consummate effrontery. 
Roses were there and music and all the allurements of 
nocturnal dissipation. Sensualists were there so utterly 
unnerved and spent by their own lusts, that they knew no 
other allurement but to be spectators of the impurities of 
others (" Ep.," 114, 25). But why proceed? 

The dance of death in the chief city and mistress of the 
ancient world, as Martial and Petronius depict it, — literary 
swine who wallow in the sty of which they are a part, — 
these offer abundant proofs of the moderation with which 
the satirist, courtier, philosopher, man of the world, 
prophet of righteousness — Seneca, has written of his own 
times. The early Christian church chose for the "world" 
(the totality of men indifferent or hostile to the new 
spiritual society) the word kogiaos ; it is appalling that 
they used so vast and comprehensive a term, but Seneca 
himself writes thus of the universality of evil: "Why 


enumerate detail ? When you see the Forum packed with 
a multitude and the Barriers filled with a moving and 
teeming mass of every kind of numbers, and that Circus, 
in which the people displays the greatest part of itself: 
know this, that there are there as many faults as there are 
human beings. And among those whom you see attired 
in the garb of the Roman gentleman, there is no peace: 
one is drawn to the destruction of the other by a slight 
profit. None has an income but from a wrong done to his 
neighbor. The prosperous one they hate, the luckless 
one they despise. The one greater than themselves they 
feel a burden, to their inferior they are a burden. They 
are goaded by different appetites. They desire universal 
wrack and ruin on account of some frivolous pleasure 
or booty" ("De Ira" 2, 8). Still more sweeping and 
gloomy are these words: There is a rapidly changing 
fashion bound up with definite forms of moral evil : these 
abide not and maintain a noisy feud with one another, they 
rout in turn and are routed : " but the same utterance we 
will always have to make of ourselves ; that evil we are, evil 
we have been, and (unwillingly I must add it) evil we 
shall be" («2)e Bene/.," 1, 10, 3). 

Note. — When one measures the startling difference of apprecia- 
tion as uttered, e.g. by Bernhardy and by Schiller in his volume on 
Nero, one realizes the depreciation of Seneca now current. Seneca is 
a Stoicist : to him Stoicism is as a faith and a veritable spear and 
buckler. But this adherence is not set down in mere Latinization of 
the Stoa, but in allusions and expressions which incessantly emanate 
from his very being. His large reading, especially in the Epistulce 
Morales, tempted him often to take a text, as it were, for the essay in 
hand from the works he happened to be perusing. Shallow inferences 
have been drawn from this literary habit. For the sake of such read- 
ers as desire either verification or suggestion, I append here a some- 
what larger number of references. 

Seneca's domestic philosopher-companion, the Cynic Demetrius 
(Ep., 62, 3). Aviso-ships entering Puteoli (Ep., 77, 1). Posthumous 
fame (Ep., 79, 17). Open-air bathing in January (Ep., 83, 5). His 
desire to complete his "moral philosophy" (Ep., 106, 2). The 


miseries of a courtier's life : " non consolabimur tam triste ergastulura 
(prison-hut of chain-gangs of agricultural slaves), non adhortabimur 
ferre imperia carnificum : osteudemus in omni servitute apertam liber- 
tati viam " (de Ira, 3, 15, 5). Contrast between the simplicity of the 
exile's life in Corsica, and the glittering luxury of Rome (de Tranquill. 
Animi, 1, 9). " Patris mei antiquus rigor" (Helv., 17, 3). Sense of 
old age (Ep., 12, 1 ; 19, 1 ; 26, 1). 

The Universe, Nature, God, Providence. — Prov. 1, 5 ; 6,5; de Ira, 
2, 13, 1 ; 16, 2 ; 3, 5, 6 ; ad Marciam, 7, 3 ; 18, 1 sqq. ; de Vita Beata, 
15, 5 ; 20, 5 ; (ultra- Roman humanity, ib., 25, 3) ; larger humanity 
(de Otio, 4, 1). Nature's Design (ib., 5, 3). Ordination by Nature 
(Helv., 6, 8). Uncertainty as to personal God (Helv., 8, 3). The 
World and the human soul (*'&., 8, 4). Death an ordinance of Na- 
ture (ib.,13, 2). This world a fair abode in itself (Benef., 2, 29, 3), 
" Parens noster " (ib., 2, 29, 4). " Unus omnium parens mundus est " 
(3, 28, 2). " Quia enim aliud est natura quam deus et divina ratio 
toti mundo partibusque eius inserta" (4, 7, 1). First Cause (ib., 4, 
7, 2). u Sic nunc naturam voca fatum, lortunam : omnia eiusdem dei 
nomina sunt varie utentis sua potestate." . . . (Benef., 4, 8, 3). u Se- 
cundum naturam vivere et deorum exempla sequi : di autem . . . 
2uid praeter ipsam faciendi rationem sequuntur?" (ib., 4, 25,1). 
iosmic plan (6, 23, 1). Quid est deus? Mens Universi. Quid est 
deus? Quod vides totum, et quod non vides totum (Nat. Quaest. 
Praefat., 13, 14). Does Reason antedate Matter? (ib., 16). Fata irre- 
vocabilia ius suum peragunt, nee commoventur prece . . . (H. 2, 
35, 2) sive anima est mundus, sive corpus natura gubernabile (ib., 3, 
29, 2). Earth a globe (4, 11, 2). Providentia ac dispositor ille mundi 
deus (4, 18, 5). Quid tamen sit animus ille rector dominusque nostri 
(7, 25, 2). Sive nos inexorabili lege fata constringunt, sive arbiter 
deus universi cuncta disponit, sive casus res humanas sine ordine im- 
pellit et iactat, philosophia nos tueri debet (Ep., 16, 5). Destruction 
of World (Ep., 71, 13). 

The Stoic Saints : Prov., 3, 4. de Constant., 1, 3 ; 2, 1 ; 7, 3, 14, 
3; 18, 5 ; de Ira, 1, 15, 3; 2, 32, 2 ; 3, 11, 3 ; 38, 2 ; ad Marciam, 22, 3 ; 
de Vita Beata, 21, 3 ; 27, 1 ; de Otio, 8, 1 ; Tranq. Anim., 5, 2 ; 7, 5 ; 
16,1; 16, 4; 17, 4; Helv., 13, 4; 13, 5; 13, 6; Benef., 5, 3, 1 ; Ep., 
11, 10; 13, 4; 14, 2; 24, 4 ; 24, 6; 28, 8; 64, 10; Socrates, Cato, 
Regulus (Ep., 71, 17) ; Idealization of primitive races and primitive 
civilization (radical difference from Epicureans, here, Ep., 90, 4). 
Germans collectively praised : they defy poverty and hardships (Prov. 
4, 14). The Rousseau-movement in Europe will readily occur to the 
reader. Tacitus's " Germania," written about a generation after 
Seneca's death, is filled with the same spirit. 

Fortuita, Externa, A dventicia, Accidentia (Prov. 5, 1 ; 6, 5; Con- 
stant., 5,7; 9, 1) ; Gold and Silver the toys of adults (ib., 12, 1). An 
enumeration of the world's valuation of children, offices, wealth, 
palaces, highborn and comely wife, " ceteraque ex incerta et mobili 
sorte pendentia " (Marc, 10, 1). The Stoic to admire his spiritual 


portion alone and nothing else in the world (de Vit. Beat., 8, 3 ; cf. 
15, 4; 16,3). Independence of material boons constitutes resem- 
blance to the gods (Tranq. A., 8, 6). Neutral character of material 
goods (Benef., 1, 6, 2 ; cf . 4, 22, 4) . Things not in our control (5, 5, 4). 
The soul must seek riches which arise from the soul (7, 1, 7). Na- 
ture malignant in not concealing gold and silver from men (7, 10, 
4). Greed for gold very ancient (N. G., 4, 15, 2). Ne gaudeas vanis 
(Ep., 23, 1), invecticium gaudium (Ep., 23, 5), mortem inter indiffer- 
entia ponimus, quae dSia^opa Grseci vocant (Ep., 82, 10; 13). Media 
(ib., 15). The Hamlet view of death: " quod haec iam novimus ; ilia, 
ad quae transituri sumus, nescimus qualia sint, et horremus ignota" 
(Ep., 82, 15). Commoda sunt in vita et incommoda, utraque extra 
nos (Ep., 92, 16 ; cf. 22). ^Etas inter externa est (Ep., 93, 7). Fra- 
gilibus innititur, qui adventicio lsetus est : exibit gaudium, quod in- 
travit (Ep., 98, 1), quicquid est, cui dominus inscriberis, apud te est, 
tuum non est ({6., 98, 10). 

As to the Rome of Seneca, I must not forget to cite the noted work 
of Ludwig Friedlamder, formerly professor at Konigsberg (" Darstel- 
lungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms in der Zeit von August bis zum 
Ausgang der Antonine" first edition, 1862), " The City of Rome, The 
Court, the Three Classes, Social Intercourse, Women, Travels, Scenic 
Representations," etc., etc. Friedlsender also edited Martial and 


Perhaps such readers as have followed the author to 
this point may fail to see why there should be any fare- 
well. This present review of the gravest matter in classic 
civilization has filled the author's soul for nearly seven 
years. Moreover, this book is the fruit of a tree which 
has been growing for nearly six and thirty years. Are 
the classics worth while? I urge nothing here. For even 
now I clearly see the Pharos on that coast which bounds 
the ocean of life. There is a certain charm in gaining a 
profound understanding of something difficult or eschewed 
by the vast majority of the children of men. There is a 
definite satisfaction in gaining a close vision of things far 
away, of experiencing the feeling of intimacy and of living 
association, of agreeing or dissenting, of feeling antipathies 
and sympathies roused by recorded utterances admired for 
so many generations. There is a halfway point in this 
road — the mechanism of philological concerns, necessary 
on account of our remoteness, but necessary only for a 
while, a means, not an end. Many, ah too many, never 
go any farther. Undervaluation or Overvaluation : which 
shall it be ? The cordis pagan an d paganism are rarely heard 
from the lips of the professional classicist. Why not ? 

The sense of dealing with an intellectual and cultural 
elite is apt to be very strong with younger classicists, per- 
haps with all classicists in sweet youth, that charming time 
of growth and bounding experiences, when the verdure of 
life is fresh and green. The accumulations of erudition, 
the ever lengthening chain of learning, the herbaria of 
time, the strata and deposits of past and ever passing 
editors and editions, smother classicism. An elite ? Yes. 
Time itself, and academic exigencies, even in Alexandrine 
and Byzantine times, have constituted an elite. If a 
stranger in future aeons were to approach Britain and find 



nothing more than Westminster and St. Paul's and what 
they commemorate — if Shakespeare, Spenser, and Bacon, 
if Queen Elizabeth, Pitt, and Gordon, if Bunyan, Wesley, 
and Milton, if Cromwell and Wellington and Nelson and 
Tennyson, if Newton and Bentley, if, in a word, the fore- 
most worthies of British annals were the sole concern of 
the foreign student — if he never looked at Pepys's Diary 
nor saw the miseries of Whitechapel, the sordid side of 
Glasgow or Dublin, or the utter futilities of dancing and 
eating and hunting and card-playing and horse-racing, 
and sitting in theatres — would these strangers conceive 
of Britain aright? 

As a matter of fact, there is a forced and false glamour 
over classics. The ten thousand books that Kronos has 
swallowed, — Greek books, — who would resurrect them ? 
We neglect what we have. The chisel of Pheidias and 
Praxiteles, the pen of Pindar or Plato: these were un- 
common endowments. But the vile and sordid paganism 
which underlies most of classic civilization we ignore. Is 
it right that we do this ? The archaeologists sin most here. 
There is a strabism of one-sided vision in their profes- 
sional occupation. The mandatory ecstasy which they 
command us, the others, to feel — some duly feel — : but 
I would not bring back classical paganism if every idol 
described in Pausanias could be recovered in flawless per- 
fection, if every Corinthian bronze that once decorated the 
villas of Roman senators could be set up again, if every 
scroll cited by the elder Pliny, by Athenseus or Diogenes 
Laertius, or Gellius, or Macrobius, could be placed in the 
British Museum. 

The word pagan, I repeat, is never, I am told, heard in 
the vast majority of classical lecture-rooms. As if taste 
and sesthetical gratifications were consummations of soul- 
growth. The paganization of so many Italian humanists 
is a warning phenomenon of a much-vaunted culture 
movement: we run to sciolism, theirs was a veritable ab- 
sorption, an immersion — : I think of Cicero's phrase 

Besides, the classicists have suffered from the preten- 


sions of the students of matter. The absolute identity of 
matter, as often as we look at it, the experiment, the per- 
petual recurrence of phenomena, have given to these pur- 
suits a great prestige: unfortunately, so we were told 
recently at the death of Lord Rayleigh, nobody knows 
(as yet) what matter is. May we not then be permitted 
to be concerned as much in the affairs of the spirit ? The 
scales of fish, the chemical elements of meteorites, pollen 
and pistil of plants, the chemistry of fingernails or brain 
either — the futilities of much " research " subservient to 
the current simian mythology — what do they concern the 
better portion of ourselves ? 

Early in July, some eleven years ago, I had gone, even 
before sunrise, out of the gate of San Sebastian at Rome, 
out upon the Via Appia, beyond the Circus of Maxentius. 
There, in the utter solitude of what was once a row of 
tombs, still stands the ponderous and stately monument 
of Csecilia Metella, widow of the brilliant son of the avari- 
cious triumvir, Crassus, consort later of Pompeius Magnus, 
whom she saw foully slain hard by the beach of Egypt. 
As I looked out upon the wide and dreary Campagna and 
upon the distant fragments of arches of the Aqua Claudia 
(built by that emperor who was induced by his empress 
Messalina to banish Seneca), the most vigorous mental 
image associated with the spot on which I stood was that 
of Paul of Tarsus. He had appealed to Nero. It was in 
the spring of 62 a.d. He had come up from the great 
commercial port of Puteoli, and he walked by this very 
tomb, Rome ward, to meet his judge and his judgment. 
In this same year that judge of the great apostle married 
Poppsea, and slew his divorced spouse Octavia. Seneca 
and Paul: the one looking back upon all his brilliant 
career, and achievements ; he called them " vana studia." 
He knew he was not far from the goal, and entered upon 
his Upistula Morales. The one striving for absolute free- 
dom and living in a proud defiance of all — while buoyed 
up by a conformity with the Universe, he still wrote : 


" With himself is the Wise Man contented " (" Ep.," 9, 
13). The other one had written of that which was foolish- 
ness to the Greeks : but he was anxious and bent upon 
spreading it over the earth : no proud academic person: 
"An ambassador in bonds." 

Why is culture so unsatisfactory as the evanescence of 
years cheapens for our souls the very world which we 
have endeavored to comprehend ? Hadrian on his last 
pillow : was there anywhere a greater microcosm of 
classic civilization? When he came to die, why was he 
not consoled by his memories of the comely Antinous, by 
the temples and splendid statues he had reared or en- 
dowed, by the verse and the wit and wisdom which he 
had mastered, by the judgment and acumen with which 
he, a double sovereign, had held sway among the most 
conspicuous critics, poets, scholars of his time ? He had 
lost all concern for all things but one : his soul (^Elius 
Spartianus, " Hadrian," 25). 

" Dear Soul, roving dear, soft-speaking dear, 
Guest and companion of the body, 
To what places wilt now depart 
Pale poor thing, a-shivering, stripped poor thing? 
Nor, as thy wont, wilt utter jests? " 

University Heights, New York, May 1, 1908. 



1374. Petrarch dies. 

1375. Boccaccio dies. 

1396. Manuel Chrysoloras induced to occupy chair of Greek at Florence. 

1398. Filelfo born at Tolentino (near Ancona). 

1402. Poggio appointed Apostolic Secretary at twenty-two. 

1414. Poggio from Council of Constance visits St. Gall and other libraries, 

in quest of Classic Latin Codices. 
1417. Filelfo to Venice, where he remains two years. 
1419. Filelfo to Constantinople as secretary to Venetian consul-general, 

to master Greek. There marries a daughter of John Chrysoloras. 

1427. Lionardo Bruni appointed Chancellor of republic of Florence. 

Filelfo returns to Venice as professor of eloquence. 

1428. Filelfo at Bologna. 

1429-1433. Filelfo at Florence, appointed professor of commonwealth. 
1431. Lorenzo Valla at Pavia. 

1433. Beccadelli, the pornographer, crowned as poet by the emperor 


1434. Filelfo leaves Florence. 

1437. Valla, private secretary of Alfonso, king of Naples. 

1438. Greeks crowd Florence during sessions of Council. Ficinus born. 

1439. Eugenius IV makes Bessarion the Byzantine a Roman cardinal. 

Filelfo settles at Milan. 

1441. Four hundred Codices of Niccoli placed in library of San Marco at 

1447. The Bibliophile Parentucelli becomes pope as Nicholas V. Sum- 
mons Valla to Rome with honor. Chalcondylas comes to Rome. 

1450. Theodoros Gaza admitted to Bessarion's household at Rome. 

1451. Filelfo's Satires dedicated to King Alfonso of Naples. 

1453. Fall of Constantinople. Poggio chancellor of Florence at seventy- 



1454. Politian born. 

1456. Argyropulos teacher of Greek at Florence. 

1457. Death of Valla. 

1458. Trapezuntios attacks Plato's moral character. 
1469. Poggio dies and is buried in Santa Croce, Florence. 
1460. Thomas Linacre born at Canterbury. 

1463. Pico della Mirandola born. 

1464. Cosimo dei Medici, " Pater Patriae," dies at Florence. 

1465. The Press of Sweynheim and Pannartz established at Subiaco, 

whence it was removed to Rome. 

1467. Desiderius Erasmus born in the Netherlands. 

1468. Bessarion offers his library to Venice. Paul II imprisons Pom- 

ponius Lsetus. 

1469. Peter of Medici (father of Lorenzo) dies. 

1470. Bemboborn. 

1471. First press at Florence (Servius on Vergil). Thomas a Kempis 

dies near Zwolle. 

1475. Filelfo lectures at Rome. 

1476. Greek grammar of Lascaris printed at Milan. 

1480. Mso-p and Theocritus published at Milan. 

1481. Filelfo dies at Florence. 

1482. Ficinus completes his Latin version of Plato. 

1486. Pico's nine hundred theses (of Platonic mysticism) published at 

1488. First print of Homer, press of Lorenzo Alopa. 

1490. Aldus Manutius determines to set up his press at Venice. Marcus 
Musurus, a Cretan, furnished model for Greek type. The Aldine 
type of Italic was adopted from the handwriting of Petrarch. 

1492. Ficinus published an edition (with commentary) of Plotinus, one 

month after Lorenzo dei Medici's death. 

1493. Pico absolved by a brief of Alexander VI. Isocrates published at 


1494. Death of Pico and Politian. 

1496. Aldus published Theocritus, dedicated to Guarinus of Verona. 

First volume of Aristotle. 
1496. Erasmus at twenty-nine visits a Prince de Vere in Flanders. 

1498. Pomponius Laetus dies. Last volumes of the Aldine Aristotle. 

Nine comedies of Aristophanes. 

1499. Linacre's translation of Proclus's " Sphere " published by Aldus. 
1600. Before this date 4987 books were printed in Italy. Aldine Academy 

of Hellenists. 


1502. The Aldine Thucydides, Sophocles, Herodotus. Lucrezia Borgia 

makes her entry as duchess of Ferrara. 

1503. Aldus's Euripides and Xenophon's Hellenica. 

1504. Aldus's Demosthenes. Erasmus at Bologna. Saw Julius II there. 
1505-1506. Erasmus in England ; his intimate friendship with Sir Thomas 

1506. Erasmus teaches Greek at Cambridge. 
1509. Aldus publishes Plutarch's Minora. 

1513. Aldus's Plato dedicated to Leo X. 

1514. Aldus published Pindar, Hesychius, Athenseus. 
1522. Erasmus settles at Basel. 

1524. Thomas Linacre (physician to Henry VIII) dies, having founded 
the Greek chair at Oxford. 


(Figures are of the Pages) 

Academic lie, of drawing culture 
from everything Greek, 64; atti- 
tude, 78. 

^IcTuZZesandPatroklos, 101 ; Achilles 
as heros, 119. 

^Eschines contra Timarchum, 254 

^Eschylus, 136, 148 sqq.; person- 
ally more spiritual, 155. 

JEsop, 91. 

Agalma (idol, simulacrum), 146; 
divine honors given to it, ib. ; 
oldest, most venerated, 146, 310. 

Aiakos at iEgina, 121. 

Aigisthos rewards gods for his ac- 
complishing seduction, 67. 

Alexander, 12, 125 sqq.; beginnings 
purer, 256. 

Alexander VI (Borgia), 46. 

Alkibiades, 136. 

Allegorical interpretation of myths, 
63, 72 ; refinements, 112, 288. 

Altruism, 15. 

Ameis, on types of gods, 63. 

Anacharsis, 90. 

Anaxagoras, 193. 

Anchises, 61. 

Ancyranum Monumentum, 398. 

Angelo, Michel, 25. 

Antigone, 13. 

Antiquarianism, arid, of enumerat- 
ing appellations of Roman gods, 

Aphrodite, 59, 60; in Cyprian art, 
106; Phryne as model of, 129; 
foe of chastity, 206 ; nudity of 
idol late, 287. 

Apollo, 59, 63 ; worship of, 145. 

Apollodorus , s Bibliotheca, 63, 65, 

Apotheosis, 11 ; no apotheosis of 
men in Iliad, 68. 

Appetite, 100. 

Apuleius, 87. 

Ares and Aphrodite, ballad of, 62. 

Arete, areta, v. Virtus. 

Ariosto, 59. 

Aristarchos, 53. 

Aristides rhetor, 146. 

Aristippos of Kyrene, 28. 

Aristocrats, 98. 

Aristophanes, 1, 140, 149, 191 sq. ; 
gross caricaturist, 221. 

Aristotle, 3, 25, 36, 42, 81, 82, 85, 
88, 144; on Athens, 190; on 
manual labor, ib. ; definition of 
Tragedy, 159; too narrow, 172; 
on Pericles, 190 ; on refinement 
of affections, 206 ; universality of 
his research, 237 ; influence of 
Plato, 238 ; Earlier Dialogues on 
the Soul, 238 ; early conception 
of God as some Being kin to 
Intelligence, 239 ; origin of notion 
of gods among men, ib. ; argument 
of design, 240 ; not content with 
mechanical explanation of the 
world, 241 ; censures Demokritos, 




ib. ; eternity of Matter, ib. ; God 
prime mover, ib.; further defini- 
tion, 242 ; The First is not seed, 
but is the Perfect, 242 ; view of 
myths, ib.; his God severed from 
human concern, 243 ; felicity of 
God in his perfect insight, 244 ; 
Aristotle not concerned with an 
hereafter, ib. ; theory of conduct, 
244 sqq. ; defends slavery, 246 ; 
on general type of humanity, 246 
sq. ; his testament, 248. 

Arnold, Matthew, 11, 20, 84, 262. 

Atheism, 13, 16. 

Athena, in Homer, 61 ; in Sophocles, 

Athenceus, 258. 

Athenians, Athens, 2 ; abasement, 
127 ; brief duration of empire, 
173 ; Periclean Age, 173 sq., 189 ; 
domicile for every talent, 188 ; 
appreciation by exile Thucydides, 
ib. ; democratic changes, 190 ; 
democratic sovereignty, ib.; Polyb- 
ius on same, 191 ; Pallas's holy 
city, 197 ; dislike of Athenians for 
Socrates, 221 ; no genuine remorse 
for death of Socrates, 221, 262 ; 
Plato's utter condemnation of 
Attic democracy, 234 ; Athenian 
goodness less communal than that 
of other commonwealths, 249 ; 
Menander a mirror of Attic life, 
267 sqq. ; decay of family, 269 ; 
fashionable women, 261 ; pruritus 
disputandi, 262 ; Attic traits must 
not be confounded with Greekdom 
at large, 262 ; a weary and sur- 
feited civilization, 266 ; expen- 
siveness of worship, an incidental 
further burden for married men, 

Attic, decadent society, 65 ; comedy, 
103; tragedy, themes of, 171 ; 
subdialectical strain in Attic 

speech, 185 ; particularist vanity, 

Augural matters, 354. 
Augustine, St., 29, 413. 
Augustus, and letters, 398. 
Auspices, 364. 

Bacon, 54, 312. 

Beautiful, The, 3 ; v. Comeliness. 
Beccadelli, 37. 

Believer, The Evolutionist, 64. 
Believers, The Old, at Rome, 357. 
Bergk, Th., 116. 
Berkeley, Alciphron, 16. 
Bernard, St., 39, 62. 
Bias, 81. 

Bibliographical lists, fad of, 77. 
Biological theory of man, 13. 
Birds of gods, 77. 
Black Plague of 1348 a.d., 30. 
Boccaccio, 30 sqq. 
Bozotia, 1. 

Bonitz, Hermann, 237, 249. 
Borgia, 46. 
Brasidas, 123. 
Britain, actual, 102. 
Bruni, L., 35 sq. 
Bryant, young, 142. 
Bryn Mawr or Wellesley, 197. 
Buckle, 3. 
Bunsen, 374. 
Byron, 22, 60. 


Ccesar, characterization of, 376. 

Catilinarian, crisis, 366. 

Cato, Elder, on proper mode of 
farmer's worship, 342 sq. 

Cato, of Utica, 374 sqq. ; simplicity 
and determination, 375 ; stoicism 
of, ib. ; condemnation of con- 
temporary Society, 376 ; death, 
381 ; cf. 36. 

Character, as revealed in nomen- 
clature, 312-316. 



Charles Biver at Boston, classical, 

Chastity, 205 sqq. 

Children, 98. 

Chilon, 84. 

Chivalry, 61 ; absence of, 171. 

Christ, 18, 23 ; bearing the cross, 
Libanius on the gospels of, 358 ; 
central point of Christian faith in 
Julian's time, ib. 

Christ, W. v., Prof., 173. 

Christian, 3; position, 17 sqq., 23; 
religion, 116 ; more independent 
of sesthetical accessories, 116 ; 
St. Peter on basis of, 146. 

Christianity, 4, 9, 14, 15, 18, 21; 
(v. Buskin) nascent Christianity, 
and aging paganism, 424. 

Chrysippos, Stoic writer, v. Stoics. 

Cicero, M. Tullius, 34, 71, 135, 355- 
356 ; Philhellene and classicist, 
141 ; fervor and cultural enthu- 
siasm of, 169 ; in mourning, 169 ; 
sketch of, 362 sqq. ; a Wunder- 
kind, trend for idealization, 363 ; 
equipoise in technical judgments, 
ib. ; worship of glory, 365 ; in 
Catilinarian crisis, 366 ; in exile, 
368; noblest revelations of, 369 
sqq. ; leaning to Stoics and also to 
Plato, 370 sq. ; on death, 371 sq.; 
civic heaven, ib. ; his end, 374. 

Civilization, 17. 

Classicism, 13 ; and Christianity, 
22 ; weariness from, 24 ; contem- 
porary, 431 sq. 

Clement of Alexandria, 136. 

Clinton, Henry Pynes, 173, 339. 

Columbia University, Library of, 

Comedy, Attic, 261 sqq. ; v. also 

Comeliness, 100, 222. 

Comte, Auguste, 13 sqq. 

Concubinage, 7, 60, 

Concupiscence, justification of, at- 
tempted, 38 ; loose views of, 61, 
63, 112 ; v. Aphrodite and Eros. 

Conduct of Life, 133. 

Conscience, 421. 

Constance, Council of, 35. 

Constantinople, 39. 

Cosmopolitan spirit, 197. 

Courtesans, 104 sqq. ; v. Theoddte, 
215 sq., also Phryne. 

Creed, Hegelian, 12 ; Simian, 311. 

Cretans, 64. 

Criticism, Higher, 60. 

Cross among Romans, 327. 

Culture, 1 sqq., 11, 13; Droysen's 
definition of, 17; Symondson, 24; 
Goethe's pride of, 22 ; of the Hu- 
manists, 51 ; absurdity of attempt 
to derive culture from everything 
Greek, 64. 

Curtius, Ernst, 84, 172. 

Cynics, 91. 

Daimones, 144, 151. 

Banal, legend of, 65. 

Dante, 25, 172. 

Dead, the Book of, 58, 69. 

Death in symbolism of Eleusinian 
Mysteries, 139 ; consolation in, 
142 ; of Hadrian, 142, 434 ; fear 
of, 207 i Epicurus on, 273 sq . 

Decharme on Euripides, 209. 

Deism, 4, 5, 31, 43. 

Deists, 4, 20. 

Delos, sacred gifts at (anathemata) , 

Delphi, 80, 143 ; source of author- 
ity, 120 sq.; as Greek Westminster, 
128 ; Phryn§ there, 129 ; oracle 
there, 166 ; looted by Phocians, 
253 ; specimen quest addressed to, 

Demeter and Kora, 137. 

Demokritos, 269. 



Demons, Higher, 9. 
Design, in Culture, 19. 
Dindorf, W., 78. 
Diogenes Laertius, 287. 
DiUenberger, W., 302. 
Divine law, 10 ; order, 90. 
Doellinger, 130, 147. 
Dorians, 56, 96. 
Draper, 3. 
Dreams, 178. 
Droysen, J. G., 17. 
Drumann, 381. 

Education, Greek, 53. 

Elegy, 96. 

Eleusis, 136 sgg. 

JEtfgrin Marbles, 174. 

Emancipation of soul, why not 
maintained to the end ? 32. 

Encomium Morice, v. Erasmus. 

Endor, 161. 

j&nry of gods, 42 ; v. Prometheus. 

Epaminondas, 122, 140. 

Ephesus, Artemis of, 145 ; honors of 
this tutelary goddess, 306. 

Epicurean, 9, 36. 

Epicureanism, 38 ; of Maecenas, 

Epicurus, 267-274 ; quietism, 268 ; 
chief tenets, ib. ; celebration of 
his birthday, ib. ; extolled as 
spiritual deliverer, ib. ; borrows 
the materialism of Demokritos, 
268 ; aim of Life, 270 ; a school 
of Happiness, ib. ; Peace of Soul, 
271 ; chief function of philosophy 
to create a certain state of being, 
271 ; classification of Desires, 
ib. ; Theory of Pleasures, ib. ; 
would not be an atheist, 272 ; 
morals a matter of civil develop- 
ment, utilitarian in their origin, 
273 ; averse to matrimony, 273 ; 
on Death, ib. ; Plutarch's censure 

of, 274 ; cf. Maecenas,, Lucretius, 

Epiphany, form of, 62. 

Epistolce Obscurorum Vivorum, 50. 

Erasmus, 22, 25, 47 sqq. ; loved 
truth in a certain intellectual and 
scholarly way, 49 ; his exegesis of 
the New Testament, 49 ; on Lu- 
ther's movement, 50. 

Eros, Erotic, 100, 101 ; v. Con- 
cupiscence, Venus Canina, 
Sappho, 106 sqq. ; the problem of 
Sappho, ib. ; the Pervert, 107 ; 
Lesbian, 107 ; champions of 
Sappho, 108 ; Col. Mure, ib. ; 
Phaon and the Leucadian Leap, 
ib. ; ecstatic silliness of Bern- 
hardy, 109 ; Quintilian on Alcaeus, 
ib. ; Anakreon of Teos, eulogist 
of comely boys, 109 sq. ; Eros 
favorite name of Roman slave- 
pages, ib. ; Cicero's censure of 
Greek gymnasia, 109 ; Plutarch's 
"Amatorius," 110; usages at 
Babylon and Corinth, 110 ; Teuf- 
fel on amatory verse of Greeks, 
110; Apollo and Koronis, 112; 
a comely youth praised by Pindar, 
115 ; close association between 
pulchritude and libido, 116 ; Gil- 
bert Murray on Dorian camps, 
ib. ; concupiscence of gods, ib.; 
in the plays of ^Eschylus, 150 
sqq. ; The " Myrmidons," ib. ; 
" Hyakinthia" of Spartiats, 168 ; 
" loves " of gods without chivalry, 
171 ; cf. 176 ; Deianira forsaken, 
183 sq. ; adultery, 216 ; Aristotle 
on Venus Canina, 248 ; Plato on 
same, ib. ; fame of comely boys, 
2f>4 ; unnatural lust as an institu- 
tion or widespread habit, 254 sqq. ; 
Attic statutes, 255 ; Athletic 
schools, evil influence, according 
to Plato, 256 ; apotheosis of comeli- 



ness, 257 ; Greek love, ib. ; eva- 
sive phrase : tA Tcudiicd, 287 ; M. 
H. E. Meier, on Greek love, 287 ; 
erotic verse of Horace, 396 ; 
anecdotes of bestiality, 426. 

Erotikds of Plutarch, 86. 

Ethnical Beligions, 74 sq. 

Etruscan discipline, 349. 

Etymology of Brotds, of Homo, 71. 

Eugene IV, 34. 

Euripides, playwright, 194; modern- 
ism in handling of legends, 194 
sq.; debates of his heroes and 
heroines, 196 sq. ; on the here- 
after, 200 sq. ; spiritual protest 
against legends, 201 sq. ; moral 
postulates, 202 ; influenced by An- 
axagoras, 204 ; his "Hippolytos," 
a drama of chastity, 205 ; conflict 
between insight and appetite, 207 ; 
aspiration toward a Providence, 
207 ; critical attitude toward 
Greek humanity, ib. ; condemna- 
tion of athleticism, 207 sq. 

Evolutionist believer, the, 64. 

Excellence, 100, 111 sq. ; v. virtus. 

Exotic character of Roman belles 
lettres, 338. 


Fable, 91. 

Fad of bibliographical accumula- 
tion, 77. 

Fate, 57 ; and Guilt, unsatisfactory 
in Attic tragedy, 180 sq. 

Filelfo, 41 sq. 

Fischer, E. W., Zeittafeln, 339. 

Flux, All is in a, 13. 

France, 10. 

Freedwomen (Libertince), Greek, 
in Rome, 396. 

Froude, Anthony, 50. 


Ganymede, Plato on legend of, 64, 

Garnett, R., 49. 

Gellius, the fuzzy and pedantic, 360. 

Germany, 10. 

Gibbon, 4. 

Gildersleeve, B. L., "Essays and 
Studies," 361. 

Giovio, Paul, 49. 

Gladstone, 53, 60. 

Glib generalizations, 14, 20. 

Glory, motive with the Humanists, 

God, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13 ; Personal, 
11, 19. 

Gods, of Greece, 53 sqq. ; of Homer 
not essentially good, 59, 62 , mir- 
rors of human lust, 65, 112 ; same- 
ness of, and men, 68, 113 (a 
notable passage in Pindar) ; cf. 
118 ; are topical, regional, cir- 
cumscribed, 114 ; Anger and Envy 
of, 151 sqq., 171 ; cowering of 
mankind before, 152 ; v. Prome- 
theus ; of iEschylus, 152 ; his 
attempts to elevate Zeus, 155; 
Persians despised Greek polythe- 
ism, 163 ; god causes human folly, 
165 ; hemp from which Attic trag- 
edy was spun, 171 ; favorites of, 
177 ; collision with, ib. ; local, 
179; their endurance their chief 
difference from man, 186 ; tute- 
lary, 199 ; enumeration of catego- 
ries of, by Pollux, 296 ; by Seneca 
and St. Augustine, 413 ; Seneca's 
contempt for actual worship of, ib. 

Goethe, 4, 6, 7, 10, 20 ; his pride of 
culture, 22, 46, 60, 87, 142. 

Golden Age, 73. 

Gracchi, the, 333. 

Greek art, false abstraction from, 
101 ; cantonal feeling, 167 ; come- 
liness, valuation of, 113, 116 ; 
worship of physical, 255 ; cult 
of naturalness, 130 ; commerce, 
decline of, 169; felicity, 113; 



Frauenlob, no, 103 ; gymnasia 
contained images of Cupids, 109 ; 
heroic legends, 172 ; ingenium, 
55; local pride, 118, 120, 122; 
myths, low level of, 101 ; national 
feeling, 80 ; national character, 
grave faults of, 167 ; rating of 
legends as history, 251 ; as aca- 
demic influence, receding in our 
time, 63 ; sculptors, 101 ; think- 
ers, censuring the Homeric Olym- 
pus, 71 ; virgins, 106. 

Greekdom, futile abstraction, 87, 

Gree.cs, 2, 3, 14, 20; of Magna 
Graecia, 97; their spirit, 101 ; 
cult of beauty, ib.; Aufklaerung, 
absurdity of term, 193. 

Gregorovius, 37. 

Grote, George, 84, 172, 191, 222. 

Guarino of Verona, 37, 40. 

Guilt and Fate, interfusion of, 152. 

Hadrian, death of, 434 ; patron of a 

religious and cultural renaissance, 

Hamlet, note of death, 142, 208, 

Happiness, estimate of human, 162 

Hebraism, controversial term coined 

by Matthew Arnold, 11, 20. 
Hegel, 11 sq. 
Helen, 178. 
Helios, not of Olympians, in Homer, 

Hellenism, 20 ; academic fiction, 

exaltation of Mommsen in use of 

term, 336. 
Hera, 57, 58, 66. 
Heraclitus, 82, 83. 
Herbaria of Time, 64. 
Hercules (Herakles), 68, 184. 
Herder, 3, 4, 6. 

Hermann, C. Fr., on Greek women, 
104 sg.-147. 

Hermes, 68. 

Herodotus, 38, 55, 85, 169 sqq., 172 ; 
affinity with ^Eschylus 160 sqq. ; 
wider culture of, 160 sq. ; on 
Hesiod and Homer, 161 ; partisan 
of Athens in 431, 168. 

Heroes, 2 ; theory of, 74, 119 sqq. ; 
sacrifices to, 119 ; power of, to 
bless or harm, 120 ; some famous 
ones, ib. 

Hesiod, 65, 172 ; pessimism of 
moral judgments of, 75 sqq. ; v. 

Hetazra, the Greek, 217. 

Hexametric phrase, 64. 

Higher Criticism, 60. 

Historiography, Roman, 339. 

History, Philosophy of, 6, 11 ; v. 
Mommsen, Comte, Droysen ; 
crude efforts at, in Hesiod, 74. 

Homer, 44, 53 sqq. ; on northern 
tribes, 90. 

Homeric Olympians, 112 ; Epics, 
171 ; Sophocles does not rise 
above that level, 176; Plato's 
attitude, 225. 

Horace, 106 ; as poet, 391 ; Greek- 
ling, ib. ; death dominates his lyric 
verse, 391 ; futility of far-reaching 
aims, 391 ; condemnation of pas- 
sion, 392 ; peace universal quest, 
ib. ; wealth cannot satisfy the 
soul, 393 ; his withdrawal from 
the world, 393 ; a valetudinarian, 
394 ; moralizing, 396 ; valuation 
of things, ib. ; peace of soul, ib. ; 
erotic verse, 396 ; sallies against 
Stoicism, 397; respect for same, 
ib. ; Augustan themes, in support 
of statutory regeneration of so- 
ciety, 398 ; avowal of sensuality, 
399 ; utilitarian ethics, ib. ; sum- 
mary of his Weltanschauung, ib. ; 



mors ultima linea rerumst, 400; 

influence of Pindar, 401. 
Humanist popes, 45, 49. 
Humanists, typical failing of, 41 ; 

differences from Greek Sophists, 

191 j cf. 24 sqq. ; leaders of, 33 

sqq. ; fatherland of, 60. 
Humanity, 2, 3, 19 ; unalloyed, 60 ; 

of Greek states, 190. 
Humility, 60, 113. 

Iacchos, 137. 
Iambic writers, 102. 
Idealization of classical world, 25. 
Idols, v. agalma ; oldest idols were 

white stones, 146. 
Immortal soul, 16. 
Immortality, v. Chap. VII. 
Infants, exposure of, 236, 248, 260. 
Intellectualists, 5. 
Ionians, 56, 97. 
Isles of the Blessed, 6, 74. 
Isocrates, 140, 251. 
Italians, considering themselves as 

descendants from ancient Latins, 

26, 35. 


Jackson, A. V. W., Prof. , of Colum- 
bia University, 172. 

Jealousy, among Greek cantons, 
167 sq. 

Jebb, R., 53. 

Jeios, 5, 31 ; Cicero on their reli- 
gion, 356. 

Job, Book of, 58, 176. 

Johnson, Samuel, 171. 

Julianus, the Apostate, 357. 

Justice, 96. 


Kant, 4, 6. 

Kassandra, unwilling concubine, 60. 

Kelts, 13. 

Kirchhoff, Adolph, 159, 208. 

Kleanthes, 277 sq. ; his hymn, 279. 

Kleobulos, 82. 
"Knabenschandung," v. Venus Ca- 

nina, 287. 
Kronos, 74. 
Kumanudes, 308. 

Lachmann, 401. 

Lactantius, 109, 117. 

Laodicean phrase, 107. 

Lascivissimus versus, 87. 

Latin, idealized by Dante, 26 ; by 
Petrarch, 27 ; Latin verse held a 
means of human immortality by 
Humanists, 43. 

Latinity, purer, 35. 

Laudatio funebris, 330. 

Lear, King, 98. 

Legends and Epics, 54 ; vain at- 
tempts to refine or purge, 55, 63, 
148, 155, 159; v. Danae and 
Ganymede ; absence of moral law, 
70, 101, 135. 

Leo X, 44, 49. 

Leonidas, 167. 

Lesbian, 107 sq. 

Lessing, 4, 5, 91. 

Libanius on Christ, 358. 

Life and toil in Homer, 71 ; gloomy 
views, 99, 187. 

Lobeck, 135, 147. 

Local limitation of gods, 74. 

Loeb, James, translator of De- 
charme on Euripides, 209. 

Ldgos, a lexical Ianus-face, 192. 

Lotze, 19. 

Love, v. Eros, Erotic. 

Lucian, 48 ; v. Gildersleeve, B. L. 

Lucretius, bitterness and earnest- 
ness, 382 ; hatred of Etruscan 
discipline, ib.; seeks emancipation 
of Soul, 383 ; faults of Universe, 
ib.; Soul to him is material and 
mortal, 384 ; resignation, 385 ; on 
death, 386 ; bliss of extinction, 



387 ; Inferno, ib. ; origin of popu- 
lar Religion, 388 ; phenomena of 
sky, 389. 

Luke, St., 146. 

Lust, v. Eros and Erotic; Sappho. 

Luther, 22, 45. 


Macrobius, 363, 359. 

Madvig, 338. 

Maecenas, moral character of, 396. 

Mahaffy, 150, 154, 171, 188. 

Mankind, erring and sinful, 98 ; 
best for man not to be born at 
all, 99, 187 ; gloomy view, 102, 181, 
187 ; ephemeral man, 153 ; civili- 
zation acquired in despite of gods, 
152,182 sq.; essentials of human 
happiness, 162 sqq. ; inherited no- 
bleness, 185; Greek aspirations, 
187 ; felicitation before death, 198; 
men sport of gods, 199 ; is Life 
worth living ? 263, 265 ; praise of 
beasts as happier than man, ib. 

Mark, St., 18. 

Mary, St., the Virgin, 44. 

Material Culture, 2. 

Materialism, 224 ; students of mat- 
ter, 433. 

Matrimony, 104 sqq. 

Matthew, St., 18, 34, 49. 

Medici, Cosmo dei, 37, 40, 42; 
Lorenzo, 43, 45, 46. 

Meier, M. H. E., 287. 

Meister, Wilhelm, 10 sq. 

Men measured with gods, 70. 

Menander, mirror of Attic life, 257 

Mendacity, virtus, ipcr-//, of, 61. 

Merrill, Prof. Wm., of California, 

Messiah, 9. 

Metaphysics, 13. 

Microcosm of Greek nationality, 61. 

Middle Ages, 25, 38. 

Might makes Right, 113. 

Milton, 22. 

Mimnermos, 96. 

Minsinnary Fervor, why impossible 
in Classic Religion, 353. 

Moderation, self-control, continence, 
V. auxppoffijvr). 

Moira (Fate, Allotment), 67, 90. 

Mommsen, 4, 12 ; Hegelianism, ib., 
172, 312, 338, 374; the world- 
spirit, 380, 381. 

Montaigne, 25, 312. 

Morals, morality, 6, 11 ; of Fable, 
92 ; denial of moral law "by Pro- 
tagoras, 110; level of, 115; sense 
of limitations, 176 ; false conclu- 
sions from Greek art, 176 ; source 
of fall of, Ajax, 177 ; revenge 
and requital, 178 sq. ; conflict be- 
tween civic statutes and higher 
law, 181 ; sin must be associated 
with consciousness, 185 ; Mercy, 
186 ; civic laws and right living, 
197 ; chastity central theme of Eu- 
ripides's " Hippolytos," 205 sq. ; 
statutes of local utility, 228, 233 ; 
tax on sexual immorality, letting 
out of, 256 ; paternal, largely de- 
termined by questions of expense, 
260; freedom of choice essential 
in goodness, 263; of Roman so- 
ciety in Seneca's age, 425. 

More, Sir Thomas, 48. 

Mosaism, 31. 

Midler, Karl Ottfried, 361. 

Muller, Lucian, 401. 

Munro, 401. 

Mysteries, 135 sq. 

Mythology, v. Roscher ; Roman, a 
misnomer, 341. 

Naegelsbach, C. Fr., 57, 78, 130, 
147, 209 ; speculation no basis for 



Naples, 1. 
Napoleon, 10, 12. 
Nathan the Wise, 5, 31. 
National, character of Greeks, 167 ; 

limitation of ancient religions, 74 

Necromancy, Odyssey, book 11 ; cf. 

p. 151. 
Nemesis, 75. 
Neopagan (v. Nietzsche), 18, 117, 

Nestle, 194, 208. 
Niccoli, 35. 

Nicholas V (Parentucelli, biblio- 
Niebuhr, 312, 338. 
Nietzsche, 18. 
Nomenclature of Rivers of Inferno, 

69; by Hesiod, 73; personal 

names, 312 sqq. 
Nude, The, in Greek art, 287, 310. 

Odysseus, type of Greeks, 61. 

Odyssey, 68. 

OUdipus, Prince, psychological mas- 
terpiece, 179. 

Old Believers in Rome, 358 sqq. 

Oracles (v. Delphi), attitude of 
Herodotus towards, 166 ; in time 
of Hadrian, 294 sq., 305. 

Olympus, Homeric, ancient critics, 
71 sq. 

Overbeck, as representative of ar- 
chaeological exaltation, 129. 

Ovid's "Fasti," 360. 

Oxford and Cambridge, 28. 

Paganism, revived, 25 ; v. Nietz- 
sche; of Humanists, 45; Greek, 
dusk of (v. Pausanias), 55, 63 ; 
blackest cesspool, 255, 287 ; 
classic, essence of, 415. 

Panegyris, 79. 

Pantheism, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 81, 
142 ; v. Stoics. 

Pascal, Blaise, 17. 

Pater, Walter, 46, 87. 

Paul, St., 18, 38, 78, 311, 426, 433. 

Paulsen, 118; his knowledge of the 
Classical world inadequate, 19. 

Pauly, 138. 

Pausanias (traveller), 291 sq. ; v. 
worship, agalma, Hadrian; his 
genuine affinity with Herodotus, 

Pelopidce, curse of the, 158 sq. 

Penelope, the Lady of Ithaca, 
dragging down of, 103. 

Periander, 85. 

Periclean Age, 173 sqq. 

Persephone, 115 ; v. Mysteries. 

Persian invasions, 151, 162 sqq. 

Pervert, 107. 

Pessimism, 263. 

Peter, St., 146. 

Petrarch, 24, 27 sqq. 

Phceacians, The, 73 sq. 

Pheidias, 287. 

Philemon, 263 sq. 

Philip, King, 124, 248. 

Philo Iudceus, 119. 

Philochoros, 145. 

Phokylides, 97. 

Phryne, the courtesan, her statue in 
the temple of Delphi, 129 ; and 
Praxiteles, 287. 

Piety, Greek (efoipeia), 142 ; Plato 
on, 143 ; essentially a conformity 
with civic institutions, 144. 

Pindar, 96, 111. 

Pittakos, 82. 

Pius II, Humanist pope, 39. 

Plain people and Culture, 11. 

Plato, critic of Homer, 72 ; on legend 
of Ganymede, 64 ; on Orphic 
mysteries, 140, 173, 222-236 ; re- 
pelled by flux in phenomena of 
Nature, 223 ; his Ideas, ib.) felicity 



of soul, ib. ; Being and Becoming, 
223 ; aversion for materialism, 
224 ; orderliness of Universe, ib. ; 
goodness of God, ib.; & Pantheist, 
ib. ; abandons the idea that out- 
ward welfare is a sure sign of 
divine favor, ib. ; righteous and 
unrighteous man, 226 ; opposed 
to subjectivism, 226, 229 ; Idea of 
the Good, 227 ; God and Nature, 
ib. ; the practical atheism of the 
unrighteous, 228 ; assimilation to 
God, ib., 229; fate of souls, 228 ; 
Primacy and Eternity of soul, ib. ; 
literary style, ib. ; Retribution 
after death, 231 ; on the true 
vision of the moral bearing of 
things, 232; Plato's felicity no 
worldly felicity, 232 ; on Social 
Regeneration : his concern strictly 
limited to the intellectual elite, 
233 ; aristocratic ideals, 235 ; low 
conception of love, 235 ; view of 
ethnic gods, 236 ; various doc- 
trines with reference to passages, 
249; his "Phaedo" read by Cato 
in last hours, at Utica, 381. 

Plutarch, 85, 86, 87, 138, 139, 174, 
274 ; furnishes important passages 
on Stoicism, 288 ; attempted to 
maintain popular, actual religion 
in combination with Platonic doc- 
trines of soul, 289 ; on Atheism, 

Poggio, 33, 43. 

Politian, Humanist of Florence, 43. 

Polybius, 317. 

Polykrates of Samos, 163. 

Pornos, a (v. Eros, Erotic, Meier), 

Porphyry, 53, 134. 

Poseidon, 64. 

Positivism, v. Comte; Positivist 
school of literary criticism, 188. 

Praxiteles and his model, 129, 287. 

Prayer, 65 sq., 133, 178; cf. Worship. 

Preller, 138. 

Prometheus, 73, 75, 152, 182. 

Protagoras, 110, 192. 

Providence, denied, 267 ; asserted, 
v. Stoics. 

Ptolemies, 126. 

Purity, 60, 112. 

Pythagoras, critic of Homer's 
Olympus, 71 ; his doctrines in 
Pindar's verse, 114; Pythagore- 
ans, 114 sq. ; purity of soul, 134. 


Quattrocento, The Italian, 45. 

QuititiliaiV s moral condemnation of 
Greek lyrics, 36, 38, 107 ; on the 
futility of micrology in mytho- 
logical studies, 78. 

Rationalistic millennium, 5. 

Reason, 6. 

Refining and purging exegesis, 63. 

Religion, Homeric level of, 101 ; of 
impurity at Babylon and Corinth, 
110; Piety (e&atpeia), 114; suffi- 
ciency of Ritual, 115 ; low level 
of righteousness, 116 ; intrinsic 
worthlessness of Greek Religion, 
116 ; theory of, and worship of 
heroes, 119 sq. ; Egyptians had not 
this cult, 120 ; heroes of Attica, 
120; Delphi, source of authority for 
current questions of, 120 ; Persian 
contempt for Greek worship, 121 ; 
local heroes, ib. ; at Platsea, 122 ; 
apotheosis of the living, 123 sqq. ; 
fundamental weakness of Greek 
Religion, 141 ; of the Eleusinian 
mysteries, 141 sq. ; essence of 
Greek Piety defined, 143; reli- 
gious acts bound up with seasons, 
143 ; ascertaining proper locality 
of worship, 145 ; necromancy, 



151 ; objects of Greek worship, 
156 ; Earth in, 156 ; fear of power 
of heroes after their death, 156 ; 
current standard of Greek Religion 
in 480 b.c, 166 ; right of burial, 
178 ; Fear and Dread chief ele- 
ments, 182 ; why Zeus to be 
feared, 182; absurdity of using 
Christian or modern terminology 
in connection with ancient reli- 
gion, 193 ; absurdity of using the 
term of Faith, 195; tutelary 
powers, 198 ; attitude of Eurip- 
ides, 202 sq. ; conformity of 
Socrates to Attic, 217 ; civic and 
religious duties convertible, 218 ; 
prayer of Socrates, 219 ; sacrilege 
condoned, 253; worship by 
wicked men, 266 ; ritual mocked 
by Menander, 266 ; Epicurus on 
the religious ideas of the Many, 
272 sq. ; actual feeling of wor- 
shippers described by Plutarch, 
290 ; limitations of tutelary deities, 

Beligious doctrine, political in- 
fluence of, 14 ; of Comte, 15. 

"Religiosi" The, in the Renais- 
sance, 32, 38, 43. 

Bitschl, Fr., 312, 374. 

Benaissance, 33 sq. ; as resurrec- 
tion of paganism, 37 ; painters of 
the, 52 ; of Hadrian, 291 sq. 

Bepristination of letters, 51. 

Besponsibility, moral, declined by 
Homeric heroes, 70. 

Betribution, 66, 99, 115. 

Beuchlin, 50. 

Bhythm, 96. 

Bibbeck, O., 401. 

Biess, Ernst, 361. 

Bighteousness, 88 ; no religious 
character in, 100 ; Pindar no con- 
sistent prophet of, 115. 

Bite andBitual, atEleusis, 138 sq. ; 

criticism of same, 140 ; of Orphic, 
ib. ; at Rome, 346 sq. 

Boman Beligion, free from vicious 
legends, 341 ; their dignity and 
decorum in worship praised by a 
Greek, 341 ; religio, religiones, 
study of these terms, 345 sq. ; offi- 
cial hierarchy, 347 ; Jupiter and 
hisFlamen, 347 sq. ; Lord of light, 
348 ; Etruscan discipline, 349 ; 
fixed formularies, verba concepta, 
350 ; contract of State with gods, 
ib. ; simulacra driven in procession 
before Circensian games, 351 ; 
how to humor the gods, 351 ; 
sacrifices, ib. ; all terms of religious 
usage obsolete to current under- 
standing from their extreme an- 
tiquity, 352 sq. ; invitation to 
foreign or hostile gods to transmi- 
grate to Rome, 353; Oraicus 
ritus no spiritual progression for 
Romans, 354 ; deification of Ab- 
stractions, 354 ; Cicero on forms 
of worship, 355 ; soundness of a 
state religion held to be proven by 
the outward faring of that state, 
356; last stand of the Old Be- 
lievers in Rome, 357 sqq. ; Sym- 
machus essentially agnostic as to 
the deeper meaning or basis of 
human religions, 359 sq. ; Neo- 
platonism, 361. 

Bomance, absence of, 171. 

Bomans, The, 3 ; il gravitas " of, 97 ; 
their phrase of per grcecari, 98; how 
they progressed in government, 
318; regard for authority and 
property, 318 ; patria potestas, 
319 ; civil law, ib. ; guardianship 
conceived as a public duty, 320 ; 
Infamia, Culpa, and Dolus, ib. 
sq. ; unfriendly to mere innova- 
tion, 322; preference for rustic 
life, ib. ; severity and sternness, 



323 ; sumptuary laws, ib. ; utili- 
tarian trend, 324 ; Fruyi, '.l'2~> ; 
cruelty, 325 ; military laws, ib. ; 
slavery, ib. ; property triumphed 
over humanity, 326 ; flogging, ib.; 
the cross, 327 ; Patronus and 
Libertus, 328 sq. ; civic ambition 
powerfully kindled by funerals of 
the aristocracy, 329 sq. ; parental 
principle in their institutions, 331 ; 
euphemism of political terms, 
331 ; stubborn exclusiveness, 332 ; 
political morality in conquest, 
333 sqq. ; moral corruption re- 
sulting from exploitation, 335 ; 
Greek culture, 336 ; hatred of 
provincials for, ib. ; conceit of, 
337 ; as transmitters of Greek cul- 
ture, 338. 

Borne, 1, 3 ; as described by Polyb- 
ius, 317 sq. 

Boscher's Lexicon of Mythology, 
ogling article in, 64 ; appreciation 
of, 78. 

Bousseau, 2, 7, 60. 

Bousseauism, 11, 60, 163. 

Buskin, 22; his attitude to Chris- 
tianity, ib. 


Sacrifice, imposes obligation on 
gods, 66 ; symbolism of purifica- 
tion, ib., 67; to heroes, 120; at 
Platsea, 122 ; to the dead, 179, v. 

Sallust, 366, 378. 

Salve caput cruentatum, 52. 

Sand, Madame, 6. 

Sappho, 106 sq. ; v. Eros. 

Satyrs, and Pan, 34 ; and Sileni, 101. 

Schaefer, Arnold, 252. 

Schiller, Fr., 66, 135, 163. 

Schism, the great, 33. 

Schoemann, 65, 73, 77. 

Scriptures, revival of the, 48. 

Sellar, 401. 

Seneca, L. Annseus, on Maecenas, 
396 sq. ; style, 402 ; birth, ib. ; 
philosophical teachers of, 403 ; 
susceptible in youth to spiritual 
impressions, 404 ; culture, 405 ; 
exile, ib. ; consolation and pride, 
406 ; tricks of courtier, 406 ; re- 
called, 407 ; services to Nero, ib. ; 
great wealth, 407 sq. ; practical 
view of philosophy, contempt for 
sciolism, 409; on Universe, on 
"Nature," categorical postulate of 
goodness, 411 sq. ; God and 
divine Reason, 412; "Nature" 
and God interconvertible terms, 
412 ; on superstition, 413 ; con- 
tempt for actual Roman worship, 
ib. ; opposed to worship of power, 
415 ; conformity to "Nature," 415 ; 
prayer impossible, 414; hatred 
for conquerors and autocrats, 415 ; 
Stoic Saints, 416 ; on righteous- 
ness, 417 ; freedom from passions, 
ib. ; on boons, ib. ; on death, 417 ; 
on suicide, 418 ; vacillation as 
to hereafter, 418 sq. ; influence of 
Plato, 419 ; "we are ripening for 
another birth," ib. ; Seneca and 
St. Paul, 420; resemblances to 
Christianity, 420 sqq. ; " to obey 
God is Freedom," 421 ; our physi- 
cal being merely loaned to us, ib. ; 
the soul alone, not sex or civil 
station, determines the dignity of 
man, 422 ; on aristocratic society 
of his day, 425 ; spiritual pride, 

Servius, 146 ; one of the Old Be- 
lievers of Rome, 359 ; Varronian 
data in Servian scholia, why, 360. 

Seven Wise Men, 79. 

Sexual joys, 96, 104. 

Seymour, Prof. T. D., 53, 77. 

Shaftesbury, 3, 22. 



Shakespeare, his women, 110 ; 
Hamlet's soliloquy, 142. 

Sigismund, emperor, 40. 

Sihler, E. G., aim of this work, 143, 
148, 196, 294 ; Berlin days, 159 ; 
dissent from Usener, 288 ; on 
academic deities, 311 ; on Lucre- 
tius, 401 ; on Cicero's political 
character, 381. 

Simian, creed, 311 ; mythology, 

Simonides of Amorgos, 102 sq. 

Simonides of Keos, 84, 193. 

Simulacra of gods driven in public 
shows, 351. 

Sin, 21, 94, 99; of Ajax, 177 ; ini- 
tial, beginning of curse, 158, 159, 
185-186 ; Humanists ignored, 51, 

Singers in Homeric Age, 54. 

Slaves, 422 ; slave- wars, 327; v. 
Aristotle, 246. 

Socrates, 210 sqq. ; seeks truth else- 
where than in physical problems, 
211 ; his noble error that right 
insight must cause right action, 
212, 220 ; primacy of soul in his 
valuations, 212 ; Xenophon and 
Plato, ib. ; universality of his gifts 
of character, ib. ; and Delphi, 213 ; 
theory of morality, 213 ; value of 
given man determined by expert 
knowledge, 214 ; power of his per- 
sonality, 215 ; on adultery, 216 ; 
conforms to his community in 
views of unchastity, 217 ; con- 
formity to state religion, ib. ; ig- 
nores questionable legends, 218; 
lofty religious conceptions, 219; 
on rationality immanent in Na- 
ture, 219; his death, 220 sqq. ; 
caricature of, by Aristophanes, 
221 ; on Sparta, ib. ; and his 
daimonion, 222 ; Seneca on, 416. 

Sodom, Apples of, 110. 

Solon, 53, 86 sqq. ; moralizing of, 
88 ; and Croesus, 162. 

Sophists, 191 sq. ; difference from 
Humanists, ib. 

Sophocles, 139, 173 sqq. ; themes 
from Trojan Cycle, 175 ; on Eros, 
176 ; affinity for Herodotus, 178 ; 
Homeric level, 180 ; spirit of 
iEschylus and Herodotus, 183 ; 
Requiem of the old master, 185 ; 
native deme, 186 ; reader of He- 
rodotus, 188. 

<Tu<f>po<rtivy (Sophrosyne), 93, 97, 

Soul, departed, 100 ; primacy of, v. 
Plato, Socrates, Stoics. 

Spain and Rome, 402. 

Spartans, 12, 189, 221 ; condemned 
by Athenians for their aversion 
to culture, 252. 

Speculation no basis for Religion, 

Spencer, Herbert, false valuation 
of Man, Preface ; cf. 4, 14, 53. 

Spinoza, 3. 

Statues, 9. 

Stob&us, 83. 

Stoics, Stoicism, injecting their doc- 
trine into Homer, 72 ; cf . 38, 42 ; 
aversion for autocrats and con- 
querors, 123 ; on Alexander, 125 ; 
most virile revelation of Greek 
mind, 274 ; Zeno of Kition, 275- 
277 ; associations of the Painted 
Porch, 275 ; Athens decrees hon- 
ors, 276 ; elevation of Self-control 
and Freedom, 277 ; Kleanthes, 
277; his book, "Virtue of Man 
and Woman is the same," 278 ; 
Chrysippos of Soloi, 278; pan- 
theistic drift of Stoic system, 278 ; 
"God, Intelligence, Pate, Zeus," 
different names of same Being, 
279; Hymn of Kleanthes, 279- 
281; "Nature," an academic 



creation of the Stoic system, 281 ; 
conformity with Universe, 282 ; 
conception of Design : orderliness 
of Universe engendered idea of 
God, 282 ; allegorizing interpre- 
tation of mythology, 283 ; Theory 
of morals : conduct universally 
obligatory to be chosen — Kant 
anticipated, 284 ; Evil, 285 ; 
Boons : classification of, positive, 
neutral, ib. ; lofty Ethics, t&. ; on 
Passions and Emotions, 286; 
Spiritual pride, 286. 

Suidas, 148. 

Superstition (v. Biess), 76. 

Suringar, 381. 

Swinburne, 22. 

Symbolism, 2, 55, 61, 66, 67, 76, 92, 
132, 150, 299. 

Symmachus and the Old Believers 
in Rome, in the generation of St. 
Ambrose and the emperor Theo- 
dosius, 359. 

Symonds, John Addington, 24. 

Terence, 65. 

Testament, New, 48, 49. 

Thackeray, 6. 

Thales, 80. 

Themistios, 138. 

Theocritus, 37. 

Theodicy, 178. 

Theodosius, 358. 

Theognis, 98. 

Theogony, 56. 

Theseus, 121. 

Thirlwall, 22. 

Thucydides, 172 ; on Athens, 189. 

Timothy, St., 49. 

Tolman, Prof. H. C, of Vanderbilt, 

Tragedy, Attic, themes, 171 ; ces- 
sation of, 188 ; v. Wilamowitz. 

Tragical conflict, 171. 

Tutelary deities, 306. 
Tyrrell, Prof. R. Y., 381. 

Ulysses, v. Odysseus. 
Undergods of Zeus, 68. 
Unnatural lust, 86 sq. ; v. Venus 

Canina, Eros, Erotic, Meier ; 

Socrates on, 216 ; cf. 287. 
Usener, H., the Polyhistor of Bonn, 

Utilitarian Ethics, 92, 96. 

Valla, Lorenzo, 36, 38, 43. 

Varro, studied by the Old Believers 
at Rome, 359 ; his theories, 3(50. 

Venus Canina, v. Eros, Erotic, 
Unnatural lust; cf. 101, 150. 

Vergil, 26 sq. ; his JSneid, 842 ; 
bible of Old Believers at Rome, 

Verrall, 194, 208. 

Villani, 26. 

Villari, 46. 

Vinci, L. da, 62. 

Virtus ( = Excellence, or some spe- 
cific faculty or power), 366, 379, 
401, 406. 

Voigt, Georg, 24. 

Wealth, 88, 90, 98, 113. 
Weariness from classicism, 24. 
Wecklein, 172. 
Weimar, 10. 
Weissenfels, 1. 
Welcker, moral callosity of, 110 ; 

overstatement by, 131, 173. 
Werther, in petticoats, 8. 
Wickedness, prosperous, problem of, 

99, 176. 
Wilamowitz, 169, 188, 310. 
}Vi)ickelmann, 8, 87, 101, 116. 
Wissowa, 130, 147 j his admirable 



treatise on Roman Religion, 363, 

Woman, 102 sq., 104 sq., 116; ab- 
sence of chivalry in treatment of, 
171 ; Antigone, 181 ; Deianira, 
183; miserable position of Attic 
matron, 259. 

World-spirit, 380. 

Worship of Greeks, 93; heroes in, 
120 sq. ; Stoic theory, 283 ; acts 
of, communal, 289 ; iopr^, ib. ; 
described by Plutarch, 290-291; 
joyous share in ritual, ib. ; Pausa- 
nias, his work and personality, 
291 ; idol (agalma) chief object 
of, 296 ; enumeration of acts of, 
by Pollux, 296; the xoanon, or 
wooden idol, 297 ; transportation 
of idols, 297 ; oldest most honored, 
298 sq. ; Peaks in worship of Zeus, 
297 ; local beginnings of certain 
forms of, 297; requirements for 
priests or priestesses, 297 ; worship 
of Aphrodite came through Tyrian 
traders, 299-300 ; pantomimic rit- 
ual, 301 ; worship of Hadrian's 
boy-concubine, 301 ; comeliest 
youth chosen, 300 ; purchase of 
priesthood, 305 ; priests must be 
experts in ritual, 302; their per- 
quisites, 304 sq. ; qualifications of 
worshippers, 303 ; purification, ib. 

sq.; object of prayers, 304; ex- 
clusiveness and local pride, 306; 
brotherhoods or sodalities, 307 ; 
preeminence of oldest idol with- 
out regard to its artistic excel- 
lence, 310 ; Roman, 340 sqq. ; in 
furtherance of agriculture, 342 
sqq. ; exact formularies of pro- 
cedure, 343 sq. ; quasi-contractual 
type of formularies, 344; mos 
maiorum, 344 ; Cicero on worship, 
355 sq. 


Xenophanes, censures Greek le- 
gends, 72. 

Xenophon, 143 sq., and Socrates, 213; 
sterling qualities of, 218. 


Zeller, Eduard, 146; Hegelianism 
of, 249. 

Zeus, 55 ; rarely a moral force, 56 ; 
fatherhood of, limited to aristoc- 
racy, 56 ; and Fate, 57 ; Overgod, 
58 ; retribution of, 89; " Salacis- 
simus," 117; jEschylus attempts 
to elevate the conception of, 154 
sq. ; slave of lust, henpecked, 155 ; 
cited for unchastity, 205. 

Zielinski, 208. 

Zoological philosophers, 2; units, 











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