The Greek Mind - W. R. Agard
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The Greek Mind - W. R. Agard

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The Greek Mind

The Greek Mind
Autor: Walter R. Agard, professor of classics - University of Wisconsin
D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. New York, 1957,184p

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The Greek Mind - W. R. Agard The Greek Mind - W. R. Agard Document Transcript

  • THE AUTHOR N o t e d for the clarity and force of his writings on classical subjects, W A L T E R R. A G A R D is the aut h o r of The Greek Tradition in Sculpture, What Democracy Meant to the Greeks, and Classical Myths in Sculpture. H e is also a frequent contributor of articles on classics, art and education. D r . A g a r d g r a d u a t e d from A m h e r s t College in 1915 and received the degree B. Litt. from Oxford University in 1 9 2 1 . H e later studied at the S o r b o n n e and held fellowships at the A m e r i c a n School of Classical Studies in A t h e n s and at Johns Hopkins U n i versity. H e has been awarded two h o n o r a r y degrees, the Litt. D . from Cornell College a n d the L . H . D . from A m h e r s t . A professor of classics at the University of Wisconsin since 1927, Dr. A g a r d was c h a i r m a n of the d e p a r t m e n t of classics for sixteen years. H e is past president of the A m e r i c a n Classical League and of the Classical Association of the Middle West a n d South.
  • THE GREEK MIND WALTER R. AGARD Professor University of of Classics Wisconsin AN ANVIL ORIGINAL under the general editorship of LOUIS L. SNYDER D. VAN NOSTRAND COMPANY, INC P R I N C E T O N , N E W JERSEY TORONTO LONDON NEW YORK
  • To SEELYE BIXLER, E V E R E T T GLASS, and PAUL TRAVIS, w h o , like Solon of Athens, remain young in spirit D. V A N N O S T R A N D C O M P A N Y , I N C . 120 A l e x a n d e r St., P r i n c e t o n , N e w Jersey office); 2 4 West 4 0 St., N e w Y o r k , N . Y . (Principal D. V A N NOSTRAND C O M P A N Y ( C a n a d a ) , L T D . 25 Hollinger Rd., T o r o n t o 16, C a n a d a D. V A N NOSTRAND C O M P A N Y , L T D . 358, Kensington H i g h Street, L o n d o n , W . 1 4 , E n g l a n d COPYRIGHT, © , 1957, BY W A L T E R R. A G A R D Published simultaneously in C a n a d a b y D. V A N NOSTRAND COMPANY ( C a n a d a ) , L T D . No reproduction in any form of this book, in whole or in part (except for brief quotation in critical articles or reviews), may be made without written authorization from the publishers. Library of C o n g r e s s C a t a l o g C a r d N o . 5 6 - 1 2 9 0 2 PRINTED I N T H E U N I T E D STATES O F AMERICA
  • PREFACE S I N C E there are m a n y excellent anthologies of ancient G r e e k literature a n d countless volumes o n G r e e k life a n d t h o u g h t , what justification c a n there be for this b o o k ? I n addition to the obvious fact t h a t it is concise a n d convenient, two further claims m a y p e r h a p s be m a d e : first, that the readings a n d interpretations are grouped a n d correlated in t e r m s of certain basic p r o b l e m s a n d p a t t e r n s of life; second, that all of the translations are in a c o n t e m p o r a r y idiom. W i t h a wealth of m a t e r i a l available for the Readings, m y p r o b l e m h a s b e e n one of the most rigorous selection. I h a v e chosen passages which are representative of the G r e e k m i n d a n d w h i c h seem especially pertinent to us t o d a y , including s u c h subjects as international relations a n d the rights of minorities. T h e translations a r e m y o w n , with the o n e exception n o t e d below. I n t h e m I h a v e tried to r e n d e r the G r e e k ( s o m e t i m e s c o m p r e s s e d , I regret to say, for lack of s p a c e ) in a m o d e r n idiom which is fair t o the original m e a n i n g . A further explanation should b e m a d e of the fact that, with o n e slight exception, n o poetic translations a r e included; the lyric a n d d r a m a t i c excerpts a r e r e n d e r e d in p r o s e . This is certainly unjust to the p o e m s a n d plays, but I a m inclined to think that verse translations a r e m o r e unjust. P o e t r y is a m a r r i a g e of m u s i c a n d idea; a n d it is impossible to r e c r e a t e in a differe n t l a n g u a g e the s o u n d a n d r h y t h m of any p o e m . R a t h e r t h a n give a distorted version of the musical element, I h a v e b e e n c o n t e n t to translate t h e b a r e ideas. In that w a y o n e m a y see t h e mind of the poet at w o r k , even t h o u g h the music which m a k e s his ideas s o m u c h m o r e emotionally stirring is lost. T h e r e a r e only a few selections from t h e tragedies a n d c o m e d i e s included in the R e a d i n g s . A play should b e r e a d in its entirety; passages t o r n from their context lose m u c h of their relevance. T h e o n e scene given at s o m e length, from E u r i p i d e s ' Medea, h a s the a d v a n t a g e 3
  • 4 PREFACE of being easily understood and felt "across the footlights of the c e n t u r i e s . " O n e final w o r d of warning. A n y s u c h compressed a c c o u n t as this is b o u n d to suffer from oversimplification. T h e r e m e d y is to read widely in s u c h original sources a n d c o m m e n t a r i e s as are suggested in A S h o r t Biblio g r a p h y at the end of the b o o k . F o r permission to reprint brief excerpts from some of m y previous publications I a m indebted to the University of K a n s a s Press (The Humanities for Our Time), the University of N o r t h C a r o l i n a Press (What Democracy Meant to the Greeks), a n d the University of Wisconsin Press (Classics in Translation, V o l . I ) . I a m further indebted to the University of Wisconsin Press a n d to my colleague, H e r b e r t M. H o w e , for permission to use his rendering in Classics in Translation of the passages concerning A r c h i m e d e s (Reading No. 21b). Madison, Wisconsin WALTER R. AGARD
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS PART I — T H F . G R E E K 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 1 1. 12. 13. 14. MIND F o r e w o r d : W h y the G r e e k M i n d ? P i o n e e r s : T h e Setting Pioneers: M a n , N a t u r e , a n d G o d P i o n e e r s : H e r o i c Virtues P i o n e e r s : Individual Values T h e G r e a t A g e : T h e Setting T h e Great A g e : M a n , Nature, and G o d T h e G r e a t A g e : M a n and Society T h e G r e a t A g e : F o r e i g n Relations T h e G r e a t A g e : Individual Values T h e Dispersion: T h e Setting T h e Dispersion: M a n , N a t u r e , a n d G o d T h e Dispersion: M a n a n d Society T h e Dispersion: F o r e i g n Relations T h e Dispersion: Individual Values 9 15 17 21 24 31 33 39 52 55 70 73 77 78 81 PART I I — S E L E C T E D R E A D I N G S FROM G R E E K BOOKS 1. Traditional Religion: H e s i o d , H o m e r , E u r i p ides' Bacchae 2 . Pioneer Scientists: X e n o p h a n e s , T h a l e s , A n a x imines, H e r a c l i t u s , P y t h a g o r e a n s , A n a x i mander 3. H e r o i c V i r t u e s : H o m e r ' s Iliad a n d Odyssey 4 . C o m m o n Sense a n d I n g e n u i t y : H o m e r , Hesiod, A e s o p , Homeric Hymn to Hermes 5. Poetic Insight: T y r t a e u s , A r c h i l o c h u s , A l c m a n , A l c a e u s , A n a c r e o n , Thcognis, S a p p h o 6. Evolving Religion: Aeschylus, P i n d a r 7. Evolving Science: P a r m e n i d e s , E m p e d o c l e s , Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Hippocrates 8. Sophists a n d Idealists: P r o t a g o r a s , Socrates, P l a t o , Aristotle 5 89 92 95 100 105 109 110 113
  • 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS 9. T h u c y d i d e s : Pericles' F u n e r a l Speech 10. T h u c y d i d e s o n Revolution 11. Minority R i g h t s : A r i s t o p h a n e s ' Knights, and Acharnians, Sophocles' Antigone, Euripides' Medea, A r i s t o p h a n e s ' Ecclesiazusae, Plato's Republic 111 12. Plato's Republic 13. Aristotle's Politics 14. Foreign R e l a t i o n s : H e r o d o t u s , T h u c y d i d e s 15. T h e M a n of C o u r a g e : Simonides, H e r o d o t u s , Aeschylus, P l a t o 16. T h e R a t i o n a l M a n : Sophocles' Antigone, Plato's Lysis, Meno, Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus, Aristotle's Ethics, Rhetoric, Poetics 17. T r a g e d y : E u r i p i d e s ' Medea 18. Stoics: C l e a n t h e s , Epictetus 19. Epicurus 20. Skeptics: Diogenes, L u c i a n 2 1 . Euclid a n d A r c h i m e d e s 22. Defense A g a i n s t D i c t a t o r s h i p : D e m o s t h e n e s 23. Federal Union: Polybius 24. Refuge in S e n t i m e n t : Theocritus, Greek Anthology 25. Refuge in Satire a n d P e s s i m i s m : T h e o p h r a s t u s , Lucian, Greek Anthology A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY 118 121 122 127 130 134 138 142 151 158 161 163 165 170 173 174 179 185 INDEX 187 L I S T OF A N V I L BOOKS 192
  • Part I THE GREEK MIND
  • FOREWORD WHY THE GREEK MIND? T w o questions are immediately suggested by the title of this b o o k : W h a t right has a n y o n e to speak of the G r e e k m i n d , a n d , if such a thing did exist over 2000 years ago, w h y should people in the twentieth century c o n c e r n themselves with it? C a n o n e with any precision say "the G r e e k m i n d " ? Certainly during the centuries of the recorded culture of ancient G r e e c e t h e r e were countless different m i n d s in various times a n d places. W h i c h time a n d place should be chosen? M y c e n a e in the heroic age, when A g a m e m n o n was said to have led an expeditionary force against T r o y ? Lesbos in the sixth c e n t u r y B.C., when S a p p h o wrote her p o e m s ? Fifth-century A t h e n s during the d a y s of a p e a c e ful a n d p r o s p e r o u s d e m o c r a c y ? O r during the attempts at federal u n i o n , o r t h e sophisticated society of c o s m o politan first-century A l e x a n d r i a ? T h e differences are so great that w e m a y well question w h e t h e r a n y significant c o m m o n d e n o m i n a t o r c a n be found. A n d then the further question arises: W h a t kind of people are to be chosen? Shall they be professional philosophers and scientists, or statesmen, businessmen, farmers, artisans, housewives? H e r e again there was such a t r e m e n d o u s range in intellectual capacity, interests, a n d achievement that w e might c o n c l u d e that it is useless to a t t e m p t such a generalization. A n d yet, p e r h a p s to m a k e the attempt is useful. W e constantly speak of "the A m e r i c a n way of life," a t e r m that is open to the same objections. It has, n o n e the less, a fairly definite m e a n i n g and a practical value in stirring A m e r i c a n s to t h o u g h t and action. It m e a n s ideally that equal o p p o r t u n i t y is available to all to develop and utilize 9
  • 10 FOREWORD their abilities, enjoying the freedoms provided by the Bill of Rights. Of course m a n y A m e r i c a n s have not subscribed to this belief, even in theory; there have always been other A m e r i c a n ways of life. A n d a m o n g those w h o have subscribed to it in recent years, the tendency has been to confine it to e c o n o m i c o p p o r t u n i t y . Certainly in practice the ideal has been far from realized. Y e t to question that the phrase h a s genuine and i m p o r t a n t m e a n ing would be a serious error. C a n any similar general point of view be d e t e r m i n e d in the thinking of the ancient G r e e k s ? T h e a t t e m p t is worth m a k i n g ; but at the start it should be clear that we have n o desire to be classified with the "society offender" on the Lord H i g h Executioner's list in the Mikado—"The idiot w h o praises with enthusiastic t o n e / All centuries but this, a n d every c o u n t r y but his o w n . " W h a t e v e r value the analysis m a y have will be in t e r m s of its helping us to meet the p r o b l e m s of o u r time a n d offering us some aid in o u r search for happiness. Using as the chief basis what is generally regarded as the culmination of G r e e k culture, that created by Athens, during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. (in this book dates will be B.C., unless otherwise specified), but including also characteristic m e n and m o v e m e n t s from other periods and places, w e m a y say at least that the prevailing G r e e k altitude of mind, a n d by n o m e a n s only that of the intellectual giants, was a freely inquiring o n e , which enjoyed experimenting with a wide variety of speculation and activity, and had a robust faith in the rational control of experience. F e w societies have encouraged intellectual curiosity about the n a t u r e of the world, social and political institutions, a n d the capacities and limitations of m e n , as zestfully as the G r e e k s did. Few have been so varied, enjoying a polytheistic religion, many types of g o v e r n m e n t , a n d m a n y forms of art ( n o t only what is today called "classical," but also realistic, romantic, impressionistic, b a r o q u e , a n d to some extent even abstract a r t ) . A n d few have been so confident of the capacity of m e n to attain by rational m e a n s the good life, relatively free from authoritarianism of any kind. That confidence was basically a reliance on plain c o m mon sense. T h e most p o p u l a r of all G r e e k m a x i m s w a s
  • W H Y T H E GREEK MIND? 11 the one emphasized at Apollo's shrine at D e l p h i . " N o t h ing to excess," and elaborated upon by poets, statesmen, and philosophers. T h i s was n o prescription, however, for a n e m i a ; instead, it was a necessary corrective for overa b u n d a n t vitality and emotional drive. " B o u n d a r y " was also a favorite w o r d ; G r e e k s generally preferred to limit situations and ideas to those which could adequately be c o m p r e h e n d e d by their intelligence; they disliked vagueness, uncertainty, and mysticism. As far as u n c o m m o n sense was c o n c e r n e d , a similar attitude prevailed: the a t t e m p t was m a d e by statesmen a n d philosophers to det e r m i n e by objective reasoning what w a s right conduct for both individuals and states. It is significant that ethics played a small part in G r e e k religion; codes of c o n d u c t were determined by reflecting on the trial and e r r o r of social experience. T h a t is not to say that there were not m a n y irrational beliefs a n d practices a m o n g the G r e e k s . A s E. R. D o d d s has brilliantly d e m o n s t r a t e d in his recent b o o k The Greeks and the Irrational, they had plenty of t h e m , a l t h o u g h there were m o r e in the early a n d late periods than in the G r e a t Age. But even in that period the tragedians pictured neuroses a n d complexes which h a v e provided n a m e s for m o d e r n psychiatry. T h i s is, of course, a relative m a t t e r ; and p e r h a p s all that should be said is that m a n y G r e e k s tried unusually hard to b e rational, a n d enjoyed the a t t e m p t . T h e y also h a d , it should be a d d e d , a lively sense of h u m o r . Regardless, however, of the value of these general attitudes ( a n d their value has often been q u e s t i o n e d ) , h o w can people today profit from the specific experience of the ancient G r e e k s ? H e r e are five possible ways. 1. T h e G r e e k s were r e m a r k a b l y like us in m a n y of t h e p r o b l e m s they faced and the solutions they tried. I n fact, m u c h of the cultural pattern of o u r Western institutions is G r e e k in origin: and we can u n d e r s t a n d o u r p a t t e r n better when w e see h o w a n d why it began. O u r climate of free inquiry was first established by G r e e k scientists and philosophers. D e m o c r a c y was first formulated in theory and put into practice in G r e e c e . M a n y of o u r forms of literature a n d art have followed a G r e e k tradition. A n d o u r major philosophies are derived from G r e e k prototypes. By seeing these similarities in a setting
  • 12 FOREWORD so different from o u r o w n we m a y find the familiar values freshly m i n t e d . 2 . In m a n y ways the G r e e k mind was different from ours. T h e recognition of contrasting values is i m p o r t a n t , because it enables us to u n d e r s t a n d o u r o w n culture better and m a y suggest i m p r o v e m e n t s in it, freeing us from the prevailing prejudice that everything present is better than anything past. T h e most obvious difference is that whereas o u r age is above all else characterized by and d e p e n d e n t on the technological devices of practical science, in this respect the G r e e k s were quite primitive. T h e y learned h o w to be civilized, some o n e has said, without being comfortable. Placing the t w o cultures side by side, w e are b o u n d to ask h o w i m p o r t a n t such aids to comfort and c o m m u n i c a t i o n really are. A n o t h e r major difference is that w h e r e a s o u r society is d o m i n a t e d by business m e t h o d s and s t a n d a r d s , G r e e k society devoted time a n d gave prestige less to t h e m and m o r e to political activity. In A t h e n s m a n y of the leading businessmen were not even citizens. Advertising, c u t t h r o a t competition, and the appeal to top-flight m i n d s of c a r e e r s in c o m m e r c e and industry, played a less i m p o r t a n t role then than now, and political c a r e e r s h a d a m o r e exhilarating appeal. Finally, w h e r e a s w e claim to be by and large a Christian civilization, the G r e e k s were p r e Christian. 3. O n e of the chief p r o b l e m s raised by G r e e k statesm e n , dramatists, and philosophers was the p r o p e r balance between the individual and the c o m m u n i t y , between freed o m and authority. W h a t were the obligations of people to their city-states, a n d of the states to their citizens? W h a t were the necessary limitations placed o n individual liberty, a n d what ones were unnecessary a n d intolerable? H o w about minority rights? T h e s e are still crucial q u e s tions. Past experience in answering or failing to answer them should help us. 4 . "Those w h o c a n n o t r e m e m b e r the p a s t , " G e o r g e S a n t a y a n a once said, "are c o n d e m n e d to repeat it." History is w o r t h studying quite as m u c h for the failures it records as the successes. In one notable respect the G r e e k s failed tragically: in international relations. T o their credit it should be said that they tried m a n y devices
  • W H Y T H E GREEK MIND? 13 to secure i n d e p e n d e n c e and p e a c e : isolationism, defensive alliances, a b a l a n c e of power, e m p i r e , leagues of citystates. N o n e succeeded for long, a n d the states finally fell into the grip of a totalitarian p o w e r because of their inability to unite. H o w and why the various a t t e m p t s failed m a y have relevance to twentieth-century nations still striving for i n d e p e n d e n c e and peace. 5 . Finally, in o u r individual search for self-respect a n d happiness in the face of a h a r r o w i n g a t o m i c age, we m a y find in the c o m r a d e s h i p of G r e e k m i n d s and the a c h i e v e m e n t s of G r e e k culture s o m e u n d e r s t a n d i n g , c o m fort, a n d , p e r h a p s , inspiration. F o r in this h u m a n i s t i c field, unlike that of science, the achievements of earlier times are not to b e discarded as inferior; the sensitive insights into h u m a n motives realized by G r e e k poets and d r a m a t i s t s are still relevant, the faith in h u m a n decency and the c o u r a g e of philosophers a n d statesmen still challenge us, the radiant serenity of classical G r e e k art m a y still calm a n d uplift o u r spirits. All this is a vital part of the intellectual, aesthetic, a n d m o r a l treasury of o u r W e s t e r n world, a n d we shall impoverish ourselves if we disregard it. T o the people of the United States a n y such impoverishment would be especially tragic. I n a s m u c h as the United States has assumed the industrial, financial, a n d military leadership of the W e s t e r n world, there is need for an increased u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the cultural traditions of that world if w e are to p r o v i d e leadership worthy of the n a m e . A n d w h e n t h e p h r a s e "defending W e s t e r n civilization" is used, it will have little m e a n i n g if the defense is thought of merely in military a n d e c o n o m i c t e r m s . T h i s is not to say that only the M e d i t e r r a n e a n E u r o p e a n c u l t u r e is of i m p o r t a n c e to us; such a provincial attitude would be equally tragic in a world wherein the great traditions a n d achievements of the Orient d e m a n d o u r sympathetic u n d e r s t a n d i n g , if we a r e to win c o n fidence and respect as an international leader. But it r e m a i n s true that the foundations of o u r indigenous c u l t u r e are M e d i t e r r a n e a n - E u r o p e a n , consisting primarily of the religious and m o r a l insights of the Jews and the intellectual, aesthetic, and ethical experience of the G r e e k s . T h a t is o u r native e n v i r o n m e n t of values, r e p r e -
  • 14 FOREWORD sented by the uninhibited use of the critical faculty, t h e exercise of political responsibility, sensitiveness to clarity of form, a n d u n c o m p r o m i s i n g respect for h u m a n dignity and freedom. T h e s e are the attitudes which the Greek, m i n d , if we are receptive, can c o m m u n i c a t e to o u r s .
  • PIONEERS: THE SETTING T h e Physical E n v i r o n m e n t . T h e d e v e l o p m e n t of the G r e e k m i n d was caused by m a n y factors, but a m o n g t h e m the influence of the physical e n v i r o n m e n t m u s t be considered i m p o r t a n t . G r e e c e was the stepping stone from A s i a to E u r o p e , the bridgehead by w h i c h the earlier great cultures of Asia M i n o r a n d Egypt m o v e d westward. T h e A e g e a n Sea, with its scores of islands, e n c o u r a g e d exploration a n d the e x c h a n g e of ideas as well as of material goods. T h e land was a c o u n t r y of limestone a n d m a r b l e m o u n t a i n ranges, with n a r r o w valleys between t h e m ; the soil was thin, favorable chiefly for the cultivation of olive o r c h a r d s and v i n e y a r d s ; there w e r e few m i n e r a l deposits. T h e climate, s u n n y a n d neither o p pressively hot n o r cold, was suitable for o u t d o o r activity n e a r l y all the y e a r r o u n d . Insofar as physical s u r r o u n d ings affect h u m a n c h a r a c t e r the G r e e k s might be expected to h a v e been healthy, h a r d - w o r k i n g , a n d v e n t u r e s o m e , m o l d e d by the sun, the m o u n t a i n s , the povertystricken soil, a n d the sea; clear-sighted a n d practical, r a t h e r t h a n m o o d y or mystical, since the landscape w a s o n e of s h a r p outlines, strong colors, a n d well-defined forms. T h e r e w a s variety in the scene to stimulate versatility in the people. If the m o u n t a i n s provided protection for the d e v e l o p m e n t of i n d e p e n d e n t city cultures, the sea saved them from provincialism. Finally, there w e r e the g e o m e t r y and color of the M e d i t e r r a n e a n landscape to e n c o u r a g e the aesthetic sensitivity of the people living t h e r e . Lacking o v e r p o w e r i n g g r a n d e u r and mystery, it h a d fine p r o p o r t i o n s a n d clarity of form to stimulate t h e 15
  • 16 T H E GREEK MIND eye and m i n d . W i t h o u t laying too m u c h stress o n geographical factors, we m a y see in t h e m a strong formative influence o n t h e attitudes a n d values cherished by t h e Greeks. T r i b a l I n v a s i o n s . D e s c e n d i n g d u r i n g t h e second millennium B . C . u p o n the people living in this n o r t h eastern M e d i t e r r a n e a n area there c a m e wave after wave of invaders from a r o u n d the D a n u b e basin, p a r t of that migration of I n d o - E u r o p e a n s w h o swept ultimately westward across all E u r o p e . T h e y were sturdy fighters, a robust, youthful r a c e , w h o subdued the indigenous p o p u lation, m a n y of w h o m w e r e culturally far superior to t h e m , as archaeological excavation in C r e t e h a s d e m o n strated. H o w the Ionian a n d A c h a e a n tribes profited from the M e d i t e r r a n e a n cultural influences is evidenced by discoveries m a d e at such sites as M y c e n a e a n d Pylos. It w a s t h e a m a l g a m a t i o n of these t w o ethnic stocks ( M e d i t e r r a n e a n a n d A l p i n e , the anthropologists call t h e m ) and their c u s t o m s which p r o d u c e d the people and ways of t h i n k i n g t h a t we call G r e e k . Political a n d E c o n o m i c E x p l o r a t i o n . Following t h e tribal age there was a long period of adjustment to the p r o b l e m s of peaceful living. T h e n , from 700 to 5 0 0 , c a m e rapid c o m m e r c i a l a n d political d e v e l o p m e n t , with a consequent impetus to cultural c h a n g e . T h i s was t h e time of G r e e k adolescence, when m e n felt the exhilaration of curiosity, g r o w t h , a n d delight in a new, rapidly unfolding w o r l d . I n d e p e n d e n t city-states g r e w strong, with w o r k e r s a n d businessmen challenging the p o w e r of the nobles. T h e r e was steady expansion in industry a n d c o m m e r c e to supplement the earlier agricultural e c o n o m y . E c o n o m i c p r o b l e m s of the farmers w e r e partly solved by a colonization m o v e m e n t ; h u n d r e d s of settlements to t h e northeast, south, a n d west w e r e peopled by emigrants from G r e e k cities a n d soon c r e a t e d a flourishing life of their o w n , thus relieving congestion at h o m e and o p e n i n g new sources of supplies and m a r k e t s all over the M e d i t e r r a n e a n area. I n t e r n a t i o n a l athletic and religious festivals were established. Artists a n d writers m a d e visible and articulate the aspirations of the people. T h e tribal h e r o h a d n o w given w a y to the responsible citizen of the city-state.
  • — 2 — PIONEERS: MAN, NATURE, AND GOD T h e O l y m p i a n C o d s . T h e n o r t h e r n tribes worshipped a family of gods representing for the most part t h e u p p e r air a n d sky, w h e r e a s the chief divinities of t h e s o u t h e r n e r s seem to h a v e been e a r t h a n d u n d e r c a r t h spirits. Integration of the t w o religions resulted in a multiplicity of divinities, but the s u p r e m e god was the n o r t h e r n Z e u s , "father of gods a n d m e n , " whose family w a s supposed to live at the t o p of M o u n t O l y m p u s ; they w e r e k n o w n as the O l y m p i a n gods. Relation of C o d s a n d M e n . A basic belief of the early G r e e k s w a s that the present gods did not c r e a t e the world, but c a m e fairly late in the evolution of forms out of the original C h a o s . (See Reading No. la.) T h e y w e r e regarded as having m o r e o r less control over the world a n d h u m a n affairs, but as p r o b a b l y being t h e m selves subject in ultimate decisions to Destiny. T h e y had division of l a b o r : H e r m e s , for e x a m p l e , was a messenger, H e p h a e s t u s a c r a f t s m a n , Artemis a huntress. Z e u s and his d a u g h t e r , Justice, were supposed to b e the special g u a r d i a n s of p r o m i s e s and the o b s e r v a n c e of c u s t o m . (See Reading No. lb.) T h e gods w e r e regarded as being similar in n a t u r e to m e n , differing only in s u p e r i o r p o w e r , longevity, a n d beauty. By believing in such divinities t h e G r e e k s felt securely at h o m e in a world governed by p o w e r s so like themselves. T h e i r attitude m a y be s u m m e d up by the statement, " I give so that you m a y give"; m e n acknowledged t h e p o w e r of the gods, a n d h o p e d by sacrifice and p r a y e r to avoid their a n g e r a n d secure their good will. 17
  • IS T H E GREEK MIND A l t h o u g h there was often tender and reverent devotion in the worship, it was primarily a business relationship. T h e r e was n o deep conviction either that the gods h a d created m a n k i n d (various explanations were a d v a n c e d for m a n ' s e x i s t e n c e ) , or h a d any great solicitude for m e n ' s welfare, except as individuals by special offerings or native ability w o n their favor. (See Reading No. 1c.) T h e religion included n o sacred book; although H o m e r ' s Iliad a n d Odyssey a n d Hesiod's Theogony s u m m e d up prevailing religious concepts, they h a d n o sacred significance in themselves. It insisted o n n o creed; people w e r e free to accept any a c c o u n t s of the gods t h a t they cared to. It h a d little ethical content; there was n o p r e cise code of c o n d u c t h a n d e d d o w n from M o u n t O l y m p u s . It had n o organized c h u r c h e s or c o m p r e h e n s i v e priesth o o d ; there w e r e countless priests of different cults, but their responsibility was to p e r f o r m the p r o p e r rituals of sacrifice, p r a y e r , a n d festival for w h o e v e r wished to participate. T h e r e w a s n o conflict between c h u r c h a n d state; religion was one aspect of c o m m u n i t y life, controlled by the g o v e r n m e n t . T h e essential element in G r e e k religion was ritualistic worship. It was a religion of e x t r a o r d i n a r y tolerance a n d diversity. A s such it p e n e trated into every aspect of G r e e k life: it w a s an interpretation of the n a t u r a l world, a consecration of daily w o r k and of social institutions, a n d one of the chief sources of inspiration for poets and artists. Relation of M y t h o l o g y to Religion. It is fortunate that d e m a n d s were not m a d e on worshippers to believe specific a c c o u n t s of the gods, since in the extremely varied m y t h o l o g y which developed there were m a n y instances of inconsistency in the stories and of i m m o r a l c o n d u c t on the p a r t of the divinities. Because of the fusion of different religious strains, such variety w a s inevitable. S o m e m y t h s arose out of t h e early rituals involving natural p h e n o m e n a , such as stories of D e m e t e r a n d P e r s e p h o n e which personified the revival of vegetation in the Spring. O t h e r s represented i m p o r t a n t h u m a n attributes, such as H e r m e s ' business ingenuity; a n d since in h u m a n affairs not all the powerful a n d successful activities seemed to meet exacting ethical tests, so a m o n g the gods exploits were pictured involving deceit a n d
  • PIONEERS: M A N , N A T U R E , AND GOD 19 cruelty. A third g r o u p of m y t h s arose out of religious history; m a n y of the love affairs of Zeus, for e x a m p l e , w e r e stories based o n the mingling of O l y m p i a n a n d M e d i t e r r a n e a n cults during the t i m e of the tribal invasions. A n d to this already complicated mythological w e b the story-tellers a n d poets added, as t i m e went o n , their purely fictional elaboration, until the mythology c a m e to be regarded by thoughtful people as art or symbol r a t h e r than religious fact. Life After D e a t h . A s h a d o w y existence for t h e soul in the u n d e r w o r l d was the prospect for life after d e a t h . F o r nearly all people it was a painless existence; only a small portion of H a d e s was reserved for t h e p u n i s h m e n t of o u t s t a n d i n g sinners, like Sisyphus, a n d their sin w a s usually some personal affront to the gods. B u t t h e after-life was nothing for even a h e r o or a saintly m a n t o anticipate with pleasure; life here a n d n o w was regarded as the desirable o n e . (See Reading No. Id.) T h e Mysteries. Beginning probably with the wides p r e a d e c o n o m i c distress of the seventh century a n o t h e r type of religion b e c a m e p o p u l a r in m a n y parts of G r e e c e , the so-called " M y s t e r i e s . " W h e n life here a n d n o w was so painful a n d seemingly so unfair, people t u r n e d to cults like those of D e m e t e r , D i o n y s u s , a n d O r p h e u s , w h i c h helped the initiates to e n d u r e their present suffering a n d enjoy the prospect of a blessed immortality. (See Reading No. le.) It should be noted that m e m b e r s h i p in such cults was in addition to the worship of the O l y m pian gods, not in place of it, thus a d d i n g to the diversity of G r e e k religion. T h e difficulties faced by the Dionysiac cult in m a k i n g its way into G r e e c e is the t h e m e of a later tragedy by Euripides, the Bacchae; apparently at the start there was opposition, not so m u c h from priests as from political leaders w h o feared the explosive character of these mystery cults. L a t e r they were incorpor a t e d into the state religion. T h e Q u e s t i o n i n g M i n d . D u r i n g the early sixth c e n t u r y in cities o n the coast of Asia M i n o r , such as Miletus and E p h c s u s , a few m e n began to question the traditional explanations of the n a t u r e of the world a n d to ask radical and penetrating questions; they were as
  • 20 T H E GREEK MIND keen in exploring new ideas as their business c o n t e m poraries were in exploring new m a r k e t s . T h e chief questions they asked w e r e : Of what material is the world m a d e ? H o w can its c o m p l e x a p p e a r a n c e be explained? T h e earliest answers were in t e r m s of a single substance o r principle. T h a l e s ( c . 5 8 0 ) suggested water, since moisture is so pervasive a n d can t a k e various forms u n d e r the pressure of cold or heat. A n a x i m i n e s (c. 5 5 0 ) argued that it was air, which b e c o m e s fire when rarefied, a n d wind, cloud, water, e a r t h a n d stone when c o n d e n s e d ; he was the pioneer in explaining the universe purely in terms of physical law. Heraclitus ( c . 5 0 0 ) believed that fire described it best, that it w a s constantly changing a s a result of the conflicts of opposites, a n d t h a t a principle of limitation (Destiny o r Necessity) preserved equilibrium in the universe. A different explanation was offered by P y t h a g o r a s ( c . 5 1 0 ) a n d his followers; they were interested in the form rather t h a n the material, a n d concluded that t h e universe could best be u n d e r s t o o d in t e r m s of m a t h e m a t i c a l formulas. A n a x i m a n d e r ( c . 5 5 0 ) , the first of the physical philosophers to postulate a u n i versal law which keeps any finite p a r t from b e c o m i n g "unjust" t h r o u g h excess, also the first to d e t e r m i n e the equinoxes and m a p out the earth, m a d e the d a r i n g deduction that m a n h a d evolved from animals of a simpler species. So answers of m a n y sorts were being given; the answers themselves w e r e not as significant as t h e fact that freely inquiring m i n d s were asking such questions a n d establishing a n e w climate of speculative opinion. It should further be noted that, although most of t h e answers involved physical substance, the m e n w h o gave them were not, generally speaking, materialists. In their attempt to explain h o w m a t t e r assumes so m a n y different forms m a n y of them posited principles of o r d e r or d e sign. T h e y w e r e far from being irreligious; r e n o u n c i n g the traditional a n t h r o p o m o r p h i c concepts, they worked o u t ones that seemed to t h e m m o r e rational and laid the foundations for a monistic faith. (See Reading No. 2.)
  • — 3— PIONEERS: HEROIC VIRTUES T h e H o m e r i c H e r o . D u r i n g the period of conquest by the n o r t h e r n tribes, certain s t a n d a r d s of c o n d u c t w e r e established, chiefly in t e r m s of the contribution of tribal leaders to their people's welfare. T h e s e s t a n d a r d s , at first aristocratic, w e r e later incorporated into d e m o c r a t i c education, since the epic p o e m s were a basic p a r t of later G r e e k elementary education. T h e Iliad. A l t h o u g h there is still c o n t r o v e r s y r e garding t h e d a t e and a u t h o r s h i p of the Iliad, p r o b a b l y an Ionian poet in the ninth c e n t u r y wove m a n y of the traditional stories of the tribal invasions into a story fairly well unified a r o u n d a central plot. O u t of the legends h e chose o n e episode, from the story of the teny e a r T r o j a n W a r , which lasted only seven weeks a n d was not primarily c o n c e r n e d with battles: a q u a r r e l between A g a m e m n o n , t h e commander-in-chief of the allied tribes, a n d h o t - t e m p e r e d a n d lonely Achilles, leader of o n e of the tribes a n d by far the ablest fighter a m o n g either the A c h a e a n s or T r o j a n s . T h i s episode he invested with tragic g r a n d e u r . Since both Achilles and A g a m e m n o n p u t their personal pride ahead of the allied c a u s e and the welfare of their fellow-soldiers, both h a d to b e c o m e wiser t h r o u g h suffering; Achilles developed from adolescent irresponsibility to a m e a s u r e of m a t u r i t y as h e m o u r n e d over his fallen friend, Patroclus, a n d pitied P r i a m , the father of H e c t o r w h o m he had slain. A m o n g t h e host of c h a r a c t e r s , such as kindly P r i a m , indolent Paris, a n d realistic, disillusioned H e l e n , in T r o y , a n d resourceful Odysseus, aged Nestor, a n d gallant D i o m e d e s a m o n g the A c h a e a n s , Achilles is pre-eminently praised 21
  • 22 T H E GREEK MIND for his valor (see Reading No. 3a), and H e c t o r for his m a t u r e responsibility and devotion to family and city. (See Reading No. 3 b.) In his crisp imagery H o m e r shows typically G r e e k keeness of perception. H e writes of an a r m y seated "like a dark ruffled sea u n d e r the w i n d " ; of a m a n falling in battle "like a p o p p y d r o o p i n g heavy after s h o w e r s of spring," of troops retreating "like goats fleeing before a s t o r m , " of the T r o j a n watchfires "like stars o n a winter's night," similes "flowering, as it were, in the bloody and trampled plain of T r o y . " T h e O d y s s e y . W h e t h e r the Odyssey was c o m p o s e d by the poet w h o w r o t e the Iliad is also disputed. But it certainly describes a later stage in social evolution and is m u c h m o r e intimate and r o m a n t i c in m o o d . Ostensibly describing the r e t u r n of Odysseus to his h o m e in I t h a c a after the c a p t u r e of T r o y , it actually is a tale of adv e n t u r e a n d r o m a n c e based u p o n t h e voyages of discovery and peaceful penetration along the M e d i t e r r a n e a n following t h e aggressive tribal age. T h e a u t h o r d r e w u p o n m a n y traditional stories. Folklore is represented b y the themes of t h e m a n w h o succeeds by using his wits, t h e absent h u s b a n d and the faithful wife, "blood will tell" ( E u m a e u s the swineherd w a s a prince by b i r t h ) , " b e a u t y and the b e a s t " ( t h e shipwrecked Odysseus a n d N a u s i c a a ) , a n d t h e impossible j o u r n e y (Odysseus goes to H a d e s ) . Sailors' y a r n s , based doubtless o n actual e x perience but richly e m b r o i d e r e d by the sailors' imagination, include the episodes of the Lotus Eaters, the giant Cyclops, the n y m p h Calypso, the witch Circe, the seamonsters Scylla a n d C h a r y b d i s , a n d the Sirens. H o m e r himself, it m a y be surmised, introduced the central t h e m e of resourceful Odysseus, the p r o t o t y p e of the successful businessman ( h e is always unblushingly acquisitive, a n d is taunted as a t r a d e r by one of the P h a e a c i a n athletes), a n d the n a r r a t i v e frame at the beginning a n d the e n d based on t h e m a t u r i n g of T e l c m a c h u s , Odysseus' son. I n this p o e m , in addition to the intellectual ingenuity Odysseus constantly displayed, thus m a k i n g him then a n d in later times a very p o p u l a r h e r o , a n o t h e r typical G r e e k virtue is illustrated: that of hospitality. It is p o r t r a y e d in the most c h a r m i n g episode in the entire p o e m , t h e welcoming of Odysseus by the princess N a u s i c a a after
  • PIONEERS: HEROIC VIRTUES 23 h e has been shipwrecked on the island of Phaeacia. (See Reading No. 3 c.) H e r a c l e s . T h e r e w e r e m a n y other h e r o e s of the pioneer days, notably the legendary founders of various cities, such as C a d m u s of T h e b e s , a n d gallant a d v e n t u r ers like Jason, Perseus, Castor, and Pollux; but a h e r o w h o soon t r a n s c e n d e d his local a r e a a n d b e c a m e universally a d m i r e d and adopted was H e r a c l e s . Originally n o m o r e than a petty king of T i r y n s , h e b e c a m e famous for his e x t r a o r d i n a r y strength, a n d to his original exploits of ridding the land of preying beasts and bandits were added, as time went o n , m a n y o t h e r a d v e n t u r e s over wide areas in every direction, until h e was k n o w n a n d celebrated by writers a n d artists as the foremost helper of m a n k i n d . H e was t h o u g h t of as m u c h m o r e than a m a n of strength. H e h a d c o u r a g e a n d d e t e r m i n a t i o n ; his exploits w e r e p e r f o r m e d for t h e public good, not for his o w n glory; he h a d a fair a m o u n t of modesty, t r e m e n d o u s zest for enjoying life, a robust sense of h u m o r , a n d a great capacity for friendship. Also c h a r acteristic of this h e r o were his h u m a n limitations. H e h a d n o s u p e r n a t u r a l w e a p o n s ; h e relied on his o w n strength a n d used as w e a p o n s only his c l u b a n d b o w . His zest for life often led him to e x t r e m e s in eating, drinking, and getting involved in love affairs; a n d once the b u r d e n of his labors was t o o m u c h for him a n d h e sulTered a period of m a d n e s s . It m a y seem strange that such a p r e - e m i n e n t G r e e k h e r o was not invested with o u t s t a n d i n g intellectual p o w e r s . But the G r e e k s already h a d such a h e r o in Odysseus. A n d even in this respect H e r a c l e s was by n o m e a n s negligible. Dealing with such p r o b l e m s as those of the regrowing h y d r a a n d the wrestler A n t a e u s , w h o s e strength increased w h e n e v e r he t o u c h e d the earth, h e was imaginative a n d keen-witted. H i s record of achievem e n t was so great that, according to the legend, he w o n admission to O l y m p u s as a demigod. M o r e i m p o r t a n t , h e w o n admission into the hearts of the G r e e k people as the o u t s t a n d i n g e x a m p l e of qualities of leadership which they a d m i r e d : physical vigor, c o u r a g e , e n d u r a n c e , good h u m o r , a n d devotion to public service.
  • — 4 — PIONEERS: INDIVIDUAL VALUES F r e e S p e e c h . In t h e heroic age a n o t h e r typically G r e e k point of view b e c a m e well established: the right of free speech for even c o m m o n men. T h e tribal governm e n t was based u p o n a king, a council of nobles, a n d the c o m m o n p e o p l e ; although the king m a d e the final decisions, m a t t e r s of i m p o r t a n c e were b r o u g h t before a general assembly for discussion before action was taken. H e r e is the beginning of g o v e r n m e n t with t h e consent of the governed. A t one such assembly an o r d i n a r y soldier, Thersites, called u p o n the a r m y to desert the c o m m a n d e r , A g a m e m n o n . (See Reading No. 4a.) H e was humiliated because of it by Odysseus, but h e w a s not prevented from voicing his opinions. A F a r m e r P r o t e s t s . After the h e r o i c age there c a m e the prosaic period of settling d o w n a n d trying to m a k e a living off the rocky soil of G r e e c e . F o r a long period m a n y of t h e small farmers suffered cruelly at the h a n d s of t h e wealthier landowners. T h e y found a s p o k e s m a n in Hesiod ( c . 7 5 0 ) , himself cheated by a greedy brother a n d an unjust judge. In the first farmer's a l m a n a c , The Works and Days, he gave practical advice about farming, and included with it traditional lore, m o r a l m a x i m s , and wry h u m o r . A m o n g the traditional lore was the story of the five successive ages of m a n k i n d : gold, silver, b r o n z e , the warrior heroes, and the present cruel age of iron; the last three of them had an historical basis. Hesiod also told the story of P a n d o r a : h o w Zeus created w o m a n to be m e n ' s plague. It was doubtless a reflection of the actual distress w h e n there w e r e several girls in a p o o r farmer's family for w h o m 24
  • PIONEERS: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 25 h e could p r o v i d e n o m a r r i a g e dowry. T h i s prejudice against w o m e n constantly recurs later in m o r e prosperous times, p e r h a p s as a result of t h e influence of t h e Orient on Ionian G r e e c e . In t h e sixth century a vitriolic satire by Semonides classified w o m e n as sows, foxes, m e d d l e s o m e dogs, clods of earth, t h e variable sea; only a few. he said, w e r e like t h e busy b e e , a n d a m a n was lucky when he m a r r i e d o n e of t h e m . O n the positive side Hesiod preached a code of h a r d w o r k , thrift, honesty, self-reliance, a n d religious o b s e r v a n c e as t h e only means of m a k i n g t h e best of a h a r d life. (See Reading No. 4b.) Aesop's F a b l e s . O t h e r expressions of the practical sense admired by o r d i n a r y people a r e t h e fables ascribed to Aesop ( c . 6 5 0 ? ) . Such stories as those of t h e shepherd boy w h o cried "Wolf! Wolf!," t h e goose t h a t laid golden eggs, and t h e d o g in t h e m a n g e r , indicate w h a t useful virtues honesty, m o d e r a t i o n , a n d tolerance were considered to be. M a n y o t h e r fables taught similar homely lessons, especially t h e i m p o r t a n c e of facing disagreeable facts candidly. (See Reading No. 4c.) T h e O r a c l e a t D e l p h i . M o r a l a n d practical advice w a s given by t h e oracle of Apollo at D e l p h i , t h e chief international c e n t e r of the ancient world. " K n o w thyself" (i.e., y o u r h u m a n limitations) a n d " N o t h i n g t o e x c e s s " were its chief m a x i m s . T h e c o m m o n sense of t h e oracle was shown in t h e replies it gave to individuals and states consulting it. Regardless of t h e hocus-pocus involving t h e m e d i u m w h o was supposed t o be Apollo's m o u t h p i e c e , b e y o n d question the priests k n e w what was going on in t h e world a n d had a shrewd u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e needs a n d capacities of people. T h e y e n c o u r a g e d the founding of colonies to relieve o v e r p o p u l a t i o n ; their P y t h i a n Festival, an all-Greek meeting n o t only of athletes b u t of political and cultural leaders as well, provided for the exchange of ideas in addition to competition in athletics a n d the arts; and the r e a s s u r a n c e which t h e oracle gave t o distraught individuals was usually based upon sound psychology. Of t h e m a n y o r a c u l a r responses which a r e recorded in H e r o d o t u s ' History, a touching o n e m a y be cited as typical. A y o u n g m a n n a m e d Battus from t h e island of T h c r a was worried over a speech defect, which h e felt
  • 26 T H E GREEK MIND would keep him from realizing his ambition for leadership. So h e m a d e his way to Delphi to ask Apollo's advice as to h o w he could o v e r c o m e it. A l t h o u g h he w a s surprised when the oracle told him to found a colony in Libya, he proceeded to organize a g r o u p and establish on the African coast the prosperous colony of C y r e n e . W a s his speech defect corrected? At any rate, the priests encouraged him to o u t g r o w his nervous apprehension and have confidence in his ability to d o something useful a n d i m p o r t a n t . T h e advice given cities was usually of the same sensible sort, although it was often c o u c h e d in sufficiently cryptic terms to give the oracle an alibi in case disaster unexpectedly resulted. Of c o u r s e at times events proved the priests definitely wrong, notably after they h a d advised the A t h e n i a n s in 4 8 0 not to resist the Persian invasion; but even in that instance doubtless most people agreed with t h e m that resistance, however heroic, would be futile. W h e n the priests m a d e mistakes it was usually, as on that occasion, due to a cautious conservatism. Business Skill a n d T a c t . T h e growing realization that intellectual ingenuity and the spirit of conciliation were necessary for success in business is delightfully illustrated in the Hymn to Hermes, a m y t h written p r o b ably a b o u t 650. (See Reading No. 4d.) It describes h o w on the first day of his life H e r m e s invented the lyre, stole Apollo's cattle, o u t s m a r t e d that aristocratic god when he c a m e to the c a v e - h o m e of H e r m e s investigating the crime and then took H e r m e s up to O l y m p u s to b e tried before Zeus; a n d h o w H e r m e s finally got the good will of his o p p o n e n t by m a k i n g him a present of the lyre. In this tale there is a good detective plot, including the clever c r i m e , the sleuth's seeking evidence, a n d the trial scene. But in addition there are m e a n i n g s representative of the G r e e k m i n d in the pioneer period. It has the psychological significance of the little m a n overcoming his m o r e privileged o p p o n e n t by using his wits. It symbolizes the mercantile class ( H e r m e s was their g o d ) successfully challenging the p o w e r of the l a n d e d aristocrats, represented by Apollo, yet realizing that good will must also be established. A n d , finally, it sets a strong s t a m p of approval on intellectual keenness, even
  • PIONEERS: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 27 t h o u g h it is employed unethically. Of course H e r m e s , the s h a r p dealer, was inferior to Zeus, the god of justice; but nonetheless his skill was positive a n d a d m i r a b l e . Solon the Conciliator. T h e techniques of conciliation were used by the A t h e n i a n legislator Solon ( c . 6 4 0 5 6 0 ) in a statesmanlike way, w h e n , in arbitrating a crucial conflict between the rich l a n d o w n e r s and the poverty-stricken farmers, h e put to practical use the policy of the middle way, "so that neither side should h a v e an unfair a d v a n t a g e over the o t h e r . " His e c o n o m i c r e f o r m of canceling all debts which h a d resulted in personal slavery, and m a k i n g it impossible for such security to be asked in the future, fully satisfied neither the rich, w h o wanted those debts paid to some extent, n o r the poor, w h o asked for a c o m p l e t e redistribution of land. But it did r e m e d y the acute disbalance of the A t h e n i a n e c o n o m i c structure. Realizing that such reforms would be only t e m p o r a r y unless positive political and e c o n o m i c m e a s u r e s were also a d o p t e d , he instituted people's courts to judge magistrates a n d e n c o u r a g e d the d e v e l o p m e n t of industry. A n d he stated a n d practiced for the first time the theory that g o v e r n m e n t should be an impartial arbiter, reconciling conflicting interests. " E q u a l i t y , " he declared ( m e a n i n g equality before the l a w ) "breeds n o revolution." W h e n asked if he had enacted the best laws, he replied, " t h e best that could h a v e been a c c e p t a b l e . " T h e G r e e k virtue of m o d e r a t i o n was never better practiced than by Solon. N o r the G r e e k attitude of youthful curiosity. In the Timaeus Plato reports an Egyptian priest, impressed by the aged legislator's u n q u e n c h a b l e interest in new c u s t o m s and ideas, declaring that there were n o old m e n a m o n g the G r e e k s , since all of them r e m a i n e d y o u n g in spirit. Solon's theory of arbitrating differences was followed to a d v a n t a g e in later fifth-century G r e e k domestic conflicts a n d interstate disputes; inscriptions s h o w several instances w h e r e a neutral state was n a m e d to arbitrate disputes, and peace treaties regularly included a clause in which both sides agreed to submit their future disa g r e e m e n t s to arbitration. Unfortunately in major disputes the principle was not often applied. P i o n e e r Art. T h e fine arts m i r r o r the spirit of en-
  • 28 T H E GREEK MIND thusiastic exploration in humanistic values seen in so m a n y o t h e r fields during the sixth century. In architect u r e the Doric a n d Ionic styles were developed, with m a n y variations in plan, p r o p o r t i o n , and decorative colu m n s , friezes, m e t o p e s , a n d moldings; but in all of them a n o r m a l h u m a n scale prevailed, and both the grotesque a n d the grandiose were avoided. Sculptors, as yet unable to p o r t r a y the h u m a n form accurately, invested s o m e w h a t schematized bodies with a fresh a n d buoyant vitality, delighting in scenes from mythology which represented gods and m e n in spirited action. T h e i r relief sculpture was notable for the clarity a n d vigor of its geometric design. T h i s was a p r o s p e r o u s period for the vase m a k e r s a n d painters, since their a r t was in great d e m a n d as o n e city c o m p e t e d with a n o t h e r in the quality of its p r o d u c t i o n of jars, pitchers, cups, plates, and m a n y o t h e r types of pottery. A vast n u m b e r of shapes for the various uses were e x p e r i m e n t e d with, and each dish h a d its individual decoration, with mythological scenes again furnishing the chief subject m a t t e r , although scenes from everyday life were also p o p u l a r . Finally, a b o u t 5 2 5 , the so-called red-figure t e c h n i q u e was invented. T h e figures were in terra-cotta color, delicate bristle-strokes sketched in the details, a n d the rest of the vase was covered with lustrous blue-black glaze. This permitted m u c h m o r e varied a n d lively m o v e m e n t to be pictured t h a n did the previous black-figure silhouette. Crisp linear precision characterized these illustrations. In o t h e r arts, such as gems, m i r r o r s , dress, a n d furniture, the same exploratory spirit and imaginative design prevailed. Poetic I n s i g h t . Along with political, c o m m e r c i a l , and artistic progress, speculation in physical philosophy, and the growing i n d e p e n d e n c e of mind a m o n g o r d i n a r y people, the seventh and sixth centuries also saw the rise of talented individuals w h o invented lyric verse forms to express their personal reactions to n a t u r e , people, a n d situations. T h e fact that poets were n o w voicing their o w n feelings r a t h e r t h a n singing of the heroic past is evidence of the new spirit of the times; a n d in their emphasis o n the pursuit of individual happiness they contributed a liberalizing influence. T y r t a e u s ( c .
  • PIONEERS: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 29 6 5 0 ) praised patriotic devotion; A r c h i l o c h u s ( c . 6 8 0 ) sang of the blither life of an i n d e p e n d e n t soldier of f o r t u n e ; A l c m a n ( c . 6 3 0 ) wrote choral odes a n d h y m n s a n d m a d e w o r d s , s o u n d s , and r h y t h m s m i r r o r the e m o tions aroused by n a t u r e . Alcacus ( c . 5 8 0 ) w r o t e of civic strife and good fellowship, a n d T h e o g n i s ( c . 5 4 0 ) c o m m e n d e d the aristocratic code of h o n o r . T h e s e are a few of the rising host of poets. T h e greatest of t h e m w a s S a p p h o ( c . 5 8 0 ) , w h o c o n d u c t e d a girls' school h o n o r i n g A p h r o d i t e and the Muses on the island of Lesbos. Sensitive a n d intense, with deep feeling for her students, she found forthright a n d subtle expression for m a n y m o o d s , tender, satiric, passionate. (See Reading No. 5.) In addition to the expression of individual m o o d s a n d t h e invention of lyric forms for such expression, this poetry is distinguished in two other respects. First is the crisp e c o n o m y of its phrasing, which m a y seem excessively austere to people used to poetic elaboration, but which stamps the image o r idea with great precision o n the reader or listener. Second is the richness of sound, a richness m a d e possible by the e x t r a o r d i n a r y frequency of open vowels in the G r e e k language. O n e e x a m p l e m a y illustrate the point. W h e n S a p p h o speaks of the "longing-voiced nightingale," the G r e e k s o u n d s s o m e w h a t like t h i s : e e m - m e r - o - p h o n e - o s ah-ay-dough. T h e r e are actually t h r e e vowels a n d o n e c o n s o n a n t in t h e word for "nightingale," c o m p a r e d with four vowels a n d seven c o n s o n a n t s in the English w o r d ; and w h e r e a s the English vowel s o u n d s are high-pitched a n d thin, two of the G r e e k ones are full-bodied a n d deep, like the cello notes of the nightingale's song. C h a n g i n g H u m a n N a t u r e . Finally, t o w a r d the e n d of the sixth c e n t u r y in A t h e n s , a most significant experim e n t in h u m a n relations was c o n d u c t e d which paved t h e way for the realization of greater opportunities for individuals in the following century. T h e leader of this e x p e r i m e n t was Cleisthenes. Like so m a n y political liberals he c a m e from an aristocratic family, but h e w a s quick to grasp the d e m o c r a t i c t r e n d of the times a n d chose to direct r a t h e r than o p p o s e it. T h e first need was to destroy e c o n o m i c a n d political factionalism based o n the old g r o u p loyalties. Cleisthenes w o r k e d out a scheme
  • 30 T H E GREEK MIND of registration which c u t across the f o r m e r divisions, each new unit including representation from the major e c o n o m i c a n d social classes. T h u s by a shrewd a d m i n i s trative device people of different classes and conditions had to act in c o m m o n , with the welfare of the entire city emphasized m o r e than the interest of any single g r o u p . O n e can imagine that there was plenty of criticism on the g r o u n d that "you can't change h u m a n n a t u r e , " but the simple fact was that h u m a n motives were e d u cated and redirected by this administrative process. T h e new constitution adopted by A t h e n s also provided for participation by m o r e citizens in the g o v e r n m e n t on a basis of equality, t h u s laying the foundations for the m a t u r e d e m o c r a c y of the G r e a t Age. Hereafter all A t h e n i a n citizens would share in the control of their way of life. T h e pioneers had created conditions favoring dignity and i m p o r t a n c e for even the humblest m a n .
  • — 5 — THE GREAT AGE: THE SETTING T h e C r e a t i v e Fifth C e n t u r y . O n e of those d a n g e r o u s but useful generalizations found in historical writing classifies the fifth century as primarily a creative period, the fourth century as chiefly critical. Certainly by any sensible definition there were creation and criticism in both periods; but p e r h a p s in t e r m s of a ratio there was some such difference. A t any rate, the years from 500 to about 3 4 0 were years of greatness. T h e fifth century saw the repulse of the Persian invasions by temporarily united free states of G r e e c e ; this victory gave a t r e m e n d o u s lift to m o r a l e a n d a spur to c o m m u n i t y projects. It saw the formation of a federal u n i o n — t h e Delian L e a g u e , an organization of m o r e than two h u n dred city-states, most of them o n t h e islands of the Aegean a n d the coast of Asia M i n o r , created to safeguard G r e e c e from further invasions. It saw the rapid rise of A t h e n s to e c o n o m i c a n d military leadership. It saw A t h e n s , led by Pericles, prodigally p r o d u c t i v e in a score of w a y s : in developing d e m o c r a t i c institutions, in a great building p r o g r a m , in d r a m a and the fine arts, in historical writing, o r a t o r y , scientific medicine, a n d philosophy. N e v e r during so short a t i m e have so m a n y m e n of unquestioned creative genius been active in one small area. U n f o r t u n a t e l y war put an end to m u c h of the creative spirit. After A t h e n s had turned the Delian League into the A t h e n i a n E m p i r e , a coalition of Sparta, C o r i n t h , and T h e b e s in 431 challenged her power. H e r control of the seas threatened C o r i n t h ' s c o m m e r c e ; her successful d e m o c r a c y was regarded by the master-race oligarchy of Sparta as ideologically d a n g e r o u s . T h e con31
  • 32 T H E CREEK MIND flict, most of which was recorded in T h u c y d i d e s ' History of the Peloponnesian War, ended in the defeat of A t h e n s in 4 0 4 . T h e r e a f t e r , she never regained her political and military power, although in the fourth century she continued to function as an economically successful d e m o c racy and for a while helped maintain a balance of p o w e r a m o n g the G r e e k states. F u r t h e r m o r e , m u c h of G r e e c e had suffered such physical and psychic w o u n d s that the earlier creative zest was never r e c a p t u r e d . T h e Critical F o u r t h C e n t u r y . If c o m m u n i t y enterprises were less distinguished t h a n those of the former century, after 4 0 0 individual enterprises b e c a m e m o r e v e n t u r e s o m e . Business firms flourished; artists received generous commissions from private p a t r o n s and d e veloped new t e c h n i q u e s of impressionism and d r a m a t i c and realistic s c u l p t u r e ; t h e c o m e d y of m a n n e r s supplanted the political c o m e d y of A r i s t o p h a n e s ; a n d schools of philosophy set to w o r k on a m u c h m o r e t h o r o u g h analysis of ideas a n d institutions t h a n h a d previously been a t t e m p t e d . N o t a b l y the d e m o c r a c y of A t h e n s , which h a d been so sure of itself in the previous century and had survived a terribly costly and lost w a r , c a m e u n d e r a t t a c k by two of its p r o d u c t s : Plato a n d Aristotle. A n d the time of the city-state as an institution was drawing to a close, with a u t h o r i t a r i a n M a c e d o n looming from the n o r t h a n d finally bringing all of the G r e e k cities within its orbit.
  • — 6 — THE GREAT AGE: MAN, NATURE, AND GOD Aeschylus. A m a t u r e view of the evolution of r e ligion was represented by Aeschylus ( 5 2 5 - 4 5 6 ) . In his d r a m a t i c trilogy of the P r o m e t h e u s legend (only the Prometheus Bound h a s been p r e s e r v e d ) , h e pictured Z e u s in his early days as an arrogant y o u n g god, relying on his superior p o w e r to crush without m e r c y rebels like P r o m e t h e u s ; but the final o u t c o m e {Prometheus Unbound) apparently pictured a Zeus g r o w n wiser, m o r e just, a n d willing to bargain. T h i s was Zeus as fifthcentury A t h e n i a n s worshipped him. T h e c o n c e p t of the gods had c h a n g e d as the people's ethical principles developed. T h i s attitude toward Zeus, defender of justice a n d C o m f o r t e r , is beautifully portrayed by the c h o r u s of old m e n in Aeschylus' Agamemnon, w h e r e they describe h o w Zeus as " h o u n d of h e a v e n " tracks the sinner d o w n , call upon him as the sole consoler of those in bitter grief, a n d try to justify his ways to m e n . (See Reading No. 6a.) If m e n have to b e c o m e wise t h r o u g h suffering, they say, the gods impose this bitter grace because they themselves went t h r o u g h the s a m e sort of e d u c a t i o n . Aeschylus believed profoundly that the world is governed by a just Providence, which punishes a r r o g a n t pride but reconciles conflicting p u r p o s e s . P i n d a r . An optimistic view of heaven for those w h o win it by noble living was voiced by P i n d a r ( 5 1 8 - 4 3 8 ) , the poet laureate of athletic odes. In his highly elaborate songs in h o n o r of victorious athletes, P i n d a r took the actual event as merely a starting point, going o n to praise the boy's ancestors a n d city, a n d mingling history, 33
  • 34 T H E GREEK MIND mythology, a n d the glory of aristocratic principles of h o n o r . N o w , according to his faith, a h a p p y immortality in the Isles of the Blest is available to m e n w h o have lived nobly in this life. (See Reading No. 6b.) Sophocles a n d E u r i p i d e s . A l t h o u g h the tragedies of Sophocles (496—406) have m a n y references to the gods (since the tragic writers based their plays o n the heroic legends it could hardly have been o t h e r w i s e ) , the e m phasis in them is upon the c h a r a c t e r s of the tragic m e n and w o m e n r a t h e r than any divine agency. People in his plays voice their duty to reverence the gods (see Reading No. lib) and their recognition of divine p o w e r ; the influence of oracles and priests is recognized (although their motives are sometimes q u e s t i o n e d ) ; b u t Sophocles was not primarily interested in p r o b l e m s involving religion. H e was chiefly c o n c e r n e d with h u m a n heroism a n d personal integrity in the face of any o b stacles—personal, social, or universal. If Sophocles was not deeply c o n c e r n e d in his tragedies with conventional religion, Euripides ( c . 4 8 0 - 4 0 6 ) was positively critical of traditional views regarding the gods. In his plays the gods are pictured as heartless and brutal (Apollo in the Ion, Dionysus in the Bacchae, A p h r o d i t e in the Hippolytus); c h a r a c t e r s criticize t h e m , or even question their existence, a n d c o n d e m n priests a n d oracles; a n d mortals often act o n a higher level of ethics and kindness t h a n t h e gods are credited with. In this attitude Euripides doubtless reflected the point of view of the skeptical Sophists. H i s chief interest was in the relationships between individuals, especially those situations b e t w e e n m e n and w o m e n which involved pathological factors. Physical P h i l o s o p h e r s . T h e cosmologists of the fifth century continued their predecessors' search for physical e x p l a n a t i o n s of the universe, in a m o r e systematic w a y . A m o n g them the following m a y b e cited: P a r m e n i d e s (c. 4 5 0 ) of Elca, w h o took exactly the opposite position from Heraclitus' theory of change, asserting that c h a n g e is simply an illusion of the senses a n d that the mind assures us that only Being exists, u n c h a n g i n g and eternal; the pluralist E m p e d o c l c s ( c . 4 9 3 - c . 4 3 3 ) of A g r i g e n t u m , w h o postulated four elements or " r o o t s " : earth, air, fire, and water, as the indestructible materials out of whose
  • T H E GREAT AGE: MAN, N A T U R E , A N D GOD 35 bringing together by Love and separation by Strife the forms in the universe are m a d e ; A n a x a g o r a s ( c . 5 0 0 - c . 4 2 8 ) of C l a z o m e n e a n d A t h e n s , a thorough-going m a t e rialist, w h o explained m o t i o n as being caused by an especially fine sort of m a t t e r with kinetic centrifugal power, which h e arbitrarily defined as " m i n d " ; a n d L e u c i p p u s ( c . 4 4 0 ) of Miletus and D e m o c r i t u s ( c . 4 2 0 ) of A b d e r a , both of w h o m proposed the theory that the universe is c o m p o s e d of a t o m s (indivisible particles) moving in e m p t y space. (See Reading No. 7.) D e m o critus believed that these atoms are infinitely varied, a n d that Mind consists of very fine, fiery a t o m s ; that there a r e m a n y worlds, created by a cosmic whirl, a purposeless and purely mechanistic principle of causation. M a t h e m a t i c s . "Let n o o n e w i t h o u t m a t h e m a t i c s e n t e r h e r e " w a s t h e m o t t o of Plato's A c a d e m y ; and Plato voiced the opinion of m a n y intellectuals w h o considered m a t h e m a t i c s essential in b o t h e l e m e n t a r y a n d the most advanced education. T h e foremost m a t h e m a tician of the period was E u d o x u s ( c . 4 0 8 - 3 5 5 ) . H e created the theory of proportion applied to both c o m m e n s u r a b l e and i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e m a g n i t u d e s , and the m e t h o d of " e x h a u s t i o n " for m e a s u r i n g a n d c o m p a r i n g areas and volumes of p l a n e a n d solid figures; h e also a t t e m p t e d to explain by g e o m e t r y the m o v e m e n t s of the heavenly bodies, a n d solved the p r o b l e m of doubling t h e cube. H i p p o c r a t e s , " F a t h e r of M e d i c i n e . " A n o t h e r indication of the inquiring spirit of the times w a s the research in medicine initiated by H i p p o c r a t e s ( c . 4 2 5 ) . C o u n t e r a c t i n g p o p u l a r belief in n o n r a t i o n a l m e t h o d s of treating disease, such as s y m p a t h e t i c magic, p r a y e r and sacrifice, oracles, a n d amulets, H i p p o c r a t e s believed t h a t t h e careful study a n d recording of the circumstances involving any disease will p e r m i t the able physician to diagnose correctly a n d deal as effectively as possible with it. H e established medical m e t h o d s and a c o d e of ethics for the profession which profoundly influenced later medical history. (See Reading No. 7.) T h e Sophists. A b o u t the m i d d l e of the fifth cent u r y there c a m e into p r o m i n e n c e m a n y so-called Sophists (wise m e n ) , traveling scholar-teachers w h o h a d enthusi-
  • 36 T H E GREEK MIND astic fallowings, especially a m o n g the y o u n g m e n in A t h e n s . T h e y taught all sorts of subjects, including current scientific theories; but, in general, they took a dim view of the value of both religious and scientific interpretations of the world, believing that such speculation was purely theoretical a n d served n o useful p u r p o s e . (See Reading No. 8a.) M o s t of their instruction w a s in the practical art of persuasive speech, the effective use of words, and m e t h o d s of gaining success in public affairs. O n e of the greatest of t h e m , P r o t a g o r a s ( c . 4 5 0 ) frankly acknowledged that h e was an agnostic. " M a n is the m e a s u r e of all things," h e declared. T h i s has been interpreted as a statement of the relativity of knowledge, each m a n being his o w n authority on what is t r u e ; but it m a y represent a belief that h u m a n social j u d g m e n t s establish a d e q u a t e rules of c o n d u c t . A m o n g other Sophists, G o r g i a s scorned the study of the world of n a t u r e , declaring that nothing exists; if anything did exist w e could not k n o w it, and if w e did know it we could not c o m m u n i c a t e the knowledge to others. Even m o r e radical was Hippias, w h o a d v a n c e d the theory of natural rights as opposed to social c u s t o m . S o m e of his followers developed the theory into a defense of strong individuals asserting their natural p o w e r regardless of c u s t o m o r law: might, they declared, m a k e s right. Such ideas caused grave c o n c e r n a m o n g m a n y of the citizens of A t h e n s , w h o felt that the time-honored beliefs a n d m o r a l standards were being u n d e r m i n e d by these teachers. T h e i r attitude is reflected in A r i s t o p h a n e s ' Clouds, in which a caricatured Socrates a n d his disciples in a school called The Thinkery deny the existence of Zeus and the o t h e r conventional gods a n d w o r s h i p instead such divinities as Clouds, Air, a n d Persuasive T o n g u e . Plato ridiculed the m o r e superficial Sophists in his dialogue Euthydemus. Socrates' F a i t h . T h e actual Socrates ( 4 6 9 - 3 9 9 ) was far from being either a materialist or a Sophist, if we m a y believe the a c c o u n t of his beliefs as given by Plato a n d X e n o p h o n . In the Memorabilia of X e n o p h o n h e is pictured as religiously conventional; a n d in Plato's Phaedo he describes his early disillusionment with m a terialistic theories of A n a x a g o r a s . (See Reading No.
  • T H E GREAT AGE". M A N , N A T U R E , AND GOD 37 8b.) H e was h o p i n g to find, h e declared, an interpretation of the world in t e r m s of intelligence directed tow a r d a m o r a l p u r p o s e . Such an interpretation he c a m e to accept; and he believed that his mission of exposing ignorance a n d trying to discover the t r u t h w a s divinely inspired. Plato's W o r l d of I d e a s . Socrates' greatest pupil, Plato, w o r k e d into a philosophical system the notion of the world which Socrates h o p e d w a s t r u e , a n d in so doing set a p a t t e r n for later idealistic philosophy a n d religious faith. By elaborate analysis h e arrived at the following conclusions. T h e world is dualistic. T h e r e is the material world which we a p p r e h e n d to some extent t h r o u g h o u r senses; it is constantly changing a n d essentially u n r e a l . A n d there is the world of F o r m s or Ideas, which we c o m p r e h e n d to some extent by m e a n s of o u r M i n d ; it is eternal, u n c h a n g i n g , a n d real. Just as m e n believe there is an actual physical world existing outside of themselves which c o r r e s p o n d s m o r e o r less closely to their perception of it, so t h e r e is an actual world of Ideas, which corresponds m o r e or less closely to their c o n c e p t i o n of it. H o w are they able to arrive at such c o n cepts as Equality. Beauty, Justice, T r u t h ? Plato m a d e the suggestion that the m i n d of the individual must have existed in the world of Ideas before its existence in this material world, in o r d e r to b e able to recollect these Universals. A n d u p o n the d e a t h of the b o d y , h e a r g u e d , the individual m i n d will again be at h o m e in that world of M i n d . (See Reading No. 8c.) Aristotle on C o d a n d N a t u r e . With the s a m e essential faith as Socrates and Plato in a m o r a l intelligence controlling the Universe, Aristotle ( 3 8 4 - 3 2 2 ) w o r k e d out an even m o r e detailed system to d e m o n s t r a t e it. A s a biologist h e w a s m o r e interested in the material world than Plato w a s ; and although he accepted the Platonic conception of Ideas, he considered that they must b e studied inseparably from m a t t e r . A s a semanticist h e analyzed the c o n c e p t " c a u s a t i o n " and applied his findings to the w o r l d : it is caused by its m a t e r i a l , by the form the material assumes, by the agent w h o affects the form, a n d by the end p u r p o s e d by the agent. T h e r e must be, he declared, a First C a u s e , the P r i m e Mover, G o d .
  • 38 T H E GREEK MIND A n d there is always present the p u r p o s e which M i n d intends m a t t e r t o serve, although m a t t e r is often recalcitrant; the U n i v e r s e expresses the p u r p o s e of a m o r a l intelligence, whose o w n chief happiness consists in c o n templation. Picturing this U l t i m a t e Being, Aristotle, for all his logical a n d biological discipline, b e c a m e quite as mystical as his t e a c h e r P l a t o . (See Reading No. 8d.) But in his zoological research Aristotle was highly realistic, showing a c c u r a t e observation a n d analysis. I n tensely curious a b o u t the whole natural world, he did invaluable service in r e c o r d i n g the habits a n d s t r u c t u r e of m o r e t h a n five h u n d r e d species of animals, including the heart and vascular system, traced the d e v e l o p m e n t of the chick, a n d m a d e detailed studies of m a n y m a r i n e forms. H e was also the pioneer in scientific classification.
  • THE GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY A t h e n s : D e m o c r a c y a n d E m p i r e . By the middle of t h e fifth c e n t u r y A t h e n s h a d b e c o m e the c o m m e r c i a l , military, a n d cultural leader of the M e d i t e r r a n e a n world, a n d the ruler of an E m p i r e of some 2 0 0 city-states, alt h o u g h she still called t h e m h e r "allies" in the Delian L e a g u e . H e r e , for the first time, was a d e m o c r a c y governing a n E m p i r e . A n d until the stress of w a r b r o u g h t out t h e brutal self-interest of E m p i r e , A t h e n s governed well. Pericles. F o r a b o u t thirty years of c o m p a r a t i v e peace, between the repulse of Persia a n d the beginning of the P e l o p o n n e s i a n W a r , Pericles w a s t h e leader of t h e majority d e m o c r a t i c p a r t y in A t h e n s . P e r h a p s n o w h e r e can history show a s t a t e s m a n of b r o a d e r vision for his people. H i s r a n g e of interests w a s far wider t h a n merely political, as a r e a d i n g of T h u c y d i d e s ' History a n d the b i o g r a p h y of him by P l u t a r c h will show. H e encouraged c o m m e r c e a n d industry, science, a n d the fine arts. Himself a student of m u s i c a n d philosophy in his y o u t h , he s u r r o u n d e d himself with the foremost scholars a n d artists of the G r e e k world; his closest friends were A n a x a g o r a s a n d the sculptor Phidias. H i s great public works p r o g r a m r e m e d i e d u n e m p l o y m e n t a n d a d d e d to the aesthetic prestige a n d happiness of the city; in statesm a n l i k e fashion h e realized that a great c o m m u n i t y is o n e profitably a n d joyously engaged in public enterprises which c a p t u r e the imagination of the citizens. T h e only major weakness of Pericles was his imperial policy, w h i c h finally resulted in war. If he h a d favored 39
  • 40 T H E GREEK MIND m o r e generosity t o w a r d the so-called "allies" of A t h e n s and m o r e restraint in the c o m m e r c i a l and military expansion of A t h e n s , it is conceivable that the disastrous Peloponnesian W a r m i g h t have been avoided. But n o empires h a v e been n o t e d for such generosity a n d r e straint. T h u c y d i d e s s u m s up the c h a r a c t e r of Pericles in glowing t e r m s ; n o flatterer, he was willing even to p r o voke the anger of the p e o p l e ; h e retained their confidence because of his sound j u d g m e n t , his liberal policies, a n d his personal integrity. Pericles' F u n e r a l Speech. After the first y e a r of t h e P e l o p o n n e s i a n W a r , at t h e state funeral for the fallen soldiers Pericles gave an address which, in addition to paying eloquent tribute to the d e a d , outlined the political and cultural aims of the city which those m e n h a d died to preserve. (See Reading No. 9.) It is obviously a n idealized picture, partly p r o p a g a n d a to help the m o r a l e of the people; but it, nevertheless, expressed w h a t A t h e n s o n the whole wanted to b e : a liberal d e m o c r a c y . D e m o c r a c y , Pericles said, m e a n s that p o w e r resides with the majority of the citizens, not with any small g r o u p . But the majority recognizes that all people d e serve to have e q u a l rights before the law, a n d t h a t individuals, regardless of their political, e c o n o m i c , o r social status, should have o p p o r t u n i t y to receive recognition o n the basis of their merit. H e claimed that in A t h e n s there was respect for people's privacy and for generally accepted u n w r i t t e n as well as for formal laws. A s far as the p r o c e d u r e of g o v e r n m e n t was c o n c e r n e d , he declared that A t h e n s believed in full discussion of all m e a s u r e s before decisions w e r e reached, in t h e conviction that free speech was essential if t h e r e w a s t o b e wise action. In t h e same spirit n o restrictions were p u t u p o n foreigners c o m i n g to A t h e n s and r e m a i n i n g t h e r e . But Pericles went b e y o n d the purely political advantages offered by the city, and elaborated u p o n its cultural w a y of life A t h e n s , he declared, believed in liberal e d u c a t i o n for all its residents, offering religious, d r a m a t i c , musical, a n d athletic festivals t h r o u g h o u t the year, a n d public buildings " t o cheer the h e a r t a n d refresh the spirit as w e see t h e m every d a y . " A l o n g with t h e advantages h e also stressed the responsibilities.
  • T H E GREAT AGE: MAN A N D SOCIETY 41 W e a l t h , h e said, was regarded as a m e a n s for public service rather than for private display. M e n were expected to take their political duties seriously, and those w h o refused to d o so were regarded, not as indifferent, but as "useless." T h e citizens must always r e m e m b e r that "happiness d e p e n d s on freedom, a n d freedom is w o n and preserved by c o u r a g e . " and that A t h e n s was m a d e •great by m e n w h o understood their duty and disciplined themselves to perform it well. T h e Actual D e m o c r a c y . This is a noble speech, but h o w true is it to the facts of A t h e n i a n life? W h e n the c o m p a r i s o n is m a d e , several explanations and reservations are in o r d e r . T o begin with, when Pericles spoke of g o v e r n m e n t by the majority, h e m e a n t only the m a jority a m o n g some 4 0 . 0 0 0 male citizens w h o had the right to vote. But in A t h e n s there w e r e s o m e 2 5 . 0 0 0 resident aliens, 5 0 . 0 0 0 slaves, a n d the w o m e n , all of w h o m h a d n o political o p p o r t u n i t y . T h i s was obviously a limited d e m o c r a c y . But it was by n o m e a n s g o v e r n m e n t by a specially favored leisure class. T h e 4 0 . 0 0 0 citizens represented n o privilege of noble birth or e c o n o m i c position; they included a genuine cross-section of s o ciety, and fully half of t h e m were in the lowest e c o n o m i c class of w o r k e r s . It w a s a direct d e m o c r a c y : the 4 0 , 0 0 0 voted in o p e n assembly all legislation (like the traditional A m e r i c a n town m e e t i n g ) . N e a r l y all the executive officers were chosen by lot from the registration lists a n d served only for o n e year; in this w a y one-party control and m a c h i n e graft were m a d e impossible, a n d a great n u m b e r of the citizens w e r e educated in political knowledge a n d practice. Legal m a t t e r s were decided, not by professional judges, but by juries. All this indicates a faith in the j u d g m e n t of the c o m m o n m a n and a belief in the educative value of political liberty and equality. T h e rights of minority g r o u p s and individuals were generally respected, as Pericles claimed; and A t h e n i a n law w o n a well-deserved reputation for its fair dealing. Politics as E d u c a t i o n . Pericles in his F u n e r a l Speech declared that public service was recognized a s a civic obligation. T h i s was n o m e r e rhetoric. It has been estimated t h a t o n a n y given day one A t h e n i a n citizen
  • 42 T H E GREEK MIND in four w a s engaged in s o m e form of service to the State; and in the course of their lives most of the citizens would expect to have been o n the executive council or o n e of m a n y official commissions, in addition to voting regularly in the legislative Assembly. T h u s , the A t h e n i a n citizenry was educated in the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of public affairs a n d in civic responsibility. T h e device of selection by lot was largely responsible for this sharing of c o m m u n i t y service. It certainly could not have been expected to provide for securing t h e most experienced and able public administrators, but it did g u a r a n t e e a high level of c o m m o n knowledge a n d a wide r a n g e of responsibility. T h e device of the lot was inherited by the d e m o c r a c y from the aristocratic sixth century, w h e n it was used for two p u r p o s e s : to settle disputes a m o n g various aristocratic factions ( n o one c a n question a decision determined by l o t ) , a n d to m a k e it easy for the divine will to assert itself in h u m a n affairs. T h e d e m o c racy, by applying it to all the citizens, converted it into a m e a n s of bringing the widest possible n u m b e r of citizens into public service. D e m o c r a c y in L a w . In the handling of legal cases A t h e n s further d e m o n s t r a t e d her confidence in the sound j u d g m e n t of o r d i n a r y m e n . T h e r e were n o professional judges in o u r sense of the word, and n o lawyers appeared in c o u r t ; the principals involved had to present their case directly to the jury, although lawyers m a y h a v e helped them p r e p a r e it. State officials chosen annually by lot for the duty of administering the courts received indictments presented by individuals, and arranged the time and place of the trials. T h e n they d r e w the n a m e s of j u r o r s (sometimes as m a n y as 501 for an i m p o r t a n t case) from a panel of 6 0 0 0 w h o h a d been chosen by lot to serve as available for the year, a n d they presided o v e r the trials, merely as c h a i r m e n to g u a r a n t e e that p r o p e r p r o c e d u r e was followed. N o c h a r g e w a s given the jury. After h e a r i n g both sides of t h e case presented by the principals and any witnesses they c a r e d to present, the jury voted on the question of guilt. If the majority voted " n o t guilty," t h e case was dismissed; if the prosecutor, however, failed to secure twenty p e r cent of t h e votes he h a d to p a y a substantial fine, t h e
  • THE GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY 43 p u r p o s e being to discourage people from bringing inconsequential or malicious suits and also to help meet the legal expenses of the city. If the verdict was "guilty," the jury chose one of two penalties—that proposed by the prosecutor, or an alternative offered by the d e f e n d a n t . T h e c o m m o n e s t penalty was a fine, a n d the next w a s exile; there was little i m p r i s o n m e n t , a n d t h e d e a t h penalty was seldom invoked. T h e informality of this p r o c e d u r e resembles what t o d a y would be considered p a r l i a m e n t a r y r a t h e r t h a n judicial p r o c e d u r e . But it did show great confidence in the ability of ordinary m e n to r e n d e r substantial justice. A n d , like political service, it educated m a n y A t h e n i a n s in a wide variety of social and e c o n o m i c p r o b l e m s . E c o n o m i c E n t e r p r i s e . A t h e n s h a d developed from an agricultural to a busy industrial a n d c o m m e r c i a l city, judged in t e r m s of its o w n time; but although many of its e c o n o m i c practices were similar to o u r s they w e r e o n a vastly smaller scale. It was a world, not of m a c h i n e s , but of handicraft, of limited resources and p r o d u c t i o n , modest competition, virtually n o advertising, and the m e r e beginning of a b a n k i n g and credit system. A m o n g the master-craftsmen and apprentices in each field there were organized guilds, which were primarily interested in good fellowship and improving professional standards of w o r k m a n s h i p . M e n w h o engaged in c o m m e r c e took risks o n every c a r g o . A n o r m a l rate of interest was twelve p e r cent. Such ways of doing business e n c o u r a g e d caution; e c o n o m i c security r a t h e r t h a n profit venturing was the n o r m a l w a t c h w o r d . M u c h of this business w a s carried on, n o t by the citizens of A t h e n s , but by resident aliens. T h e citizens preferred to spend as m u c h time as possible in the varied life of politics, athletics, religious, d r a m a t i c , a n d musical festivals a n d lively conversation. Yet they must not be t h o u g h t of as a leisure-class people. Only a few of t h e m did not h a v e to w o r k for a living, o n farm, in factory, o r o n the sea; a n d fully hall of t h e m w e r e day laborers. I n m a n y w a y s A t h e n s assumed responsibility for t h e e c o n o m i c welfare of its residents. T h e city o w n e d a n d o p e r a t e d silver mines in the public interest. T h e wealthier
  • 44 T H E GREEK MIND people were called u p o n to m a k e d o n a t i o n s ("liturgies") for public purposes, such as the construction of naval vessels a n d the p r o d u c t i o n of musical a n d d r a m a t i c festivals. D u t i e s were levied on exports a n d imports, a n d imported wheat was kept at a reasonable price. A b u r e a u of s t a n d a r d s inspected weights a n d measures and the purity of goods. T h e obligation to u n e m p l o y e d and disabled w o r k e r s and the families of soldiers was recognized; doles and pensions were provided, and grants were given the p o o r e r citizens so that they could afford to participate in political and recreational activities. Public w o r k s p r o g r a m s enlisted m a n y people in constructive service to the c o m m u n i t y . In general, it m a y b e concluded that, although A t h e n s preserved a fair balance between private a n d public enterprise, private e c o n o m i c interests were regarded as subservient to public-political ones. R e v o l u t i o n a r y Conflict. In addition to the frequent interstate wars with which the G r e e k s plagued t h e m selves, civil conflicts within cities often o c c u r r e d , involving oligarchical ( t h e wealthy few) a n d d e m o c r a t i c factions. In his History, T h u c y d i d e s gave an objective analysis, o n e might say a clinical record, of o n e such revolutionary situation a n d the distortion of values that c a m e in its train. (See Reading No. 10.) A r i s t o p h a n e s . I n A t h e n s the conflict between classes was for the most p a r t lacking in e x t r e m e brutality, but it was n o n e the less spirited. T h e landed aristocrats, w h o had b e c o m e a minority p a r t y by 5 1 0 , c o n t i n u e d d u r i n g the following c e n t u r y to o p p o s e the majority policies of e c o n o m i c , military, and imperial expansion. D u r i n g the w a r they favored a restoration of peace, and m a n y of t h e m were frankly p r o - S p a r t a n . A m o d e r a t e , by n o m e a n s bitter e x p o n e n t of the conservative point of view w a s Aristophanes ( c . 4 5 0 - c . 3 8 5 ) . Primarily a c o m e d i a n , using all the tricks of the t r a d e to m a k e people l a u g h — slapstick, personal abuse, verbal absurdities, fantasy a n d v u l g a r i t y — h e was also a social satirist. L o o k i n g back wistfully to the "good old d a y s , " h e held u p to ridicule the radical d e m o c r a t i c leaders and policies in the Acharnians a n d the Knights (see Reading No. 11a), the peoples' juries ( W a s p s ) , t h e exploitation of so-called "allies,"
  • THE GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY 45 the imperialistic v e n t u r e s , the w a r m o n g e r s , informers and profiteers (Birds), a n d the n e w ideas in education, morals, literature a n d philosophy (Clouds, Frogs). Scientists, Sophists, and Euripides, a p a r t from the political leaders Pericles a n d Cleon, w e r e his favorite targets. T h e fact that his u n p o p u l a r political views w e r e year after y e a r officially presented in the state t h e a t r e is a striking indication of two things: first that A r i s t o p h a n e s stated his u n p o p u l a r ideas so brilliantly that people wanted to h e a r t h e m ; second, that A t h e n s not only tolerated but welcomed the expression of minority opinions, even d u r i n g the critical years of war. O t h e r C o n s e r v a t i v e Critics. A m o n g other critics of the d e m o c r a c y was the a n o n y m o u s "Old O l i g a r c h " w h o wrote an ill-tempered, blistering attack o n d e m o c r a t i c policies a n d p r o c e d u r e s , in which h e claimed they favored only t h e w o r k i n g class, gave slaves t o o m u c h liberty, exploited the "allies," and were economically and politically irresponsible. X e n o p h o n ( c . 4 3 0 - c . 3 5 4 ) , a c o u n t r y g e n t l e m a n of wide interests but limited intellectual a c u m e n , wrote a favorable a c c o u n t of the daily conversations of Socrates (Memorabilia), a pro-Spartan and moralistic history of G r e e c e from 4 1 1 to 362 (Hellenica), an idealized picture of Persian royal e d u cation (Cyropaedia), an a c c o u n t of a m e r c e n a r y expedition in Asia M i n o r in which h e took p a r t u n d e r C y r u s the Y o u n g e r (Anabasis), a n d treatises on the S p a r t a n g o v e r n m e n t a n d the m a n a g e m e n t of estates. All h a v e a sturdy anti-democratic bias. T h e r e was unquestionably s o m e justification in the criticism by conservatives. P r o b a b l y the A t h e n i a n assembly would have m a d e wiser decisions if there h a d been some checks o n the i m m e d i a t e will of the p e o p l e ; t h e d e m o c r a t i c majority w a s inclined to follow irresponsible leaders w h e n those leaders h a d m a g n e t i c personalities; the policy of imperial expansion had developed an arrogant attitude t o w a r d t h e "allies." But judged by two tests: the over-all achievements of d e m o c r a t i c A t h e n s and the range of interests, knowledge a n d happiness of the average citizen, it w o u l d seem that the b a l a n c e sheet was decidedly in d e m o c r a c y ' s favor. T h e C o n s c i e n c e vs. A u t h o r i t y . Pericles in his
  • 46 T H E GREEK MIND F u n e r a l Speech declared that individual and minority rights w e r e respected in A t h e n s . But n o society can avoid s o m e conflict between the authority of governm e n t and the conscience of individuals w h o refuse to accept g o v e r n m e n t a l decisions. I n the Antigone, Sophocles presents o n e such situation in t h e early history of T h e b e s , with obvious s y m p a t h y a n d respect for the rebel. But although A n t i g o n e is noble in her defiance of the king (see Reading No. lib), Sophocles shows that she is far from being a saint; the p r o b l e m of the conscience versus authority m a y be complicated by m a n y h u m a n factors. A n t i g o n e is devoted to h e r religious duty and to her b r o t h e r , whose body she buries in spite of C r e o n ' s dictum that he is to lie u n b u r i e d as a traitor; but she is also s t u b b o r n , hates C r e o n as a m a n as well as a ruler, scorns h e r sister, disregards h e r fiance, glories in m a r t y r d o m , and at the end indulges in selfpity. C r e o n , on the other h a n d , is n o villain; h e w a n t s to preserve law and o r d e r a n d d o well by his people; but he, t o o , is s t u b b o r n , refuses to listen to his son's tactful a r g u m e n t s , resents being o p p o s e d by a w o m a n , mistrusts the motives even of the priest, and finally collapses u n d e r the e m o t i o n a l strain. It is a vivid e x a m p l e of the complexity of such situations; a n d the implied lesson is clear: such stubbornness of will c a n lead only to disaster. A u t h o r i t y a n d the conscience m u s t try t o w o r k things o u t t o g e t h e r a n d c o m e to a reasonable solution. It is a typically A t h e n i a n formula, based o n d e m o c r a t i c principles of conciliation. W o m e n ' s W r o n g s . W o m e n represented o n e m i n o r ity which did not receive fair t r e a t m e n t . T h e r e c o n t i n u e d from early times a prejudice against t h e m , and a definite philosophy developed r e g a r d i n g their inferiority. A w o m a n could o w n n o p r o p e r t y ; she h a d n o vote; it w a s difficult for her to secure a divorce; her place was in the h o m e , not in public places. X e n o p h o n voices the general point of view when h e listed the chief virtues of a w o m a n as " t e m p e r a n c e , modesty, a n d teachableness." In the Eumenides, Aeschylus h a d A t h e n a herself voice t h e prejudice; a n d Aristotle w e n t so far as to state categorically the astounding d o g m a that w o m a n was by n a t u r e inferior. I n the later fifth c e n t u r y , however, signs
  • T H E GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY 47 of reaction against the prejudice b e g a n to appear. All three dramatists, Aeschylus, Sophocles, a n d Euripides, pictured some w o m e n as superior to their m e n in intelligence as well as c o u r a g e ; a n d Euripides concentrated u p o n the injustices d o n e w o m e n by men. In the Medea h e described one w o m a n ' s revenge, a n d uttered t h r o u g h her a strong indictment against the prevailing prejudice. (See Reading No. 11c.) A r i s t o p h a n e s also took u p t h e cause, partly because it offered good c o m e d y , partly because h e regarded w o m e n as at least m o r e conservative than m e n , a n d partly, p e r h a p s , because he genuinely sympathized with t h e m . I n the Lysistrata they are p i c t u r e d as stopping the war that m e n foolishly started and m o r e foolishly were u n a b l e to e n d ; in the Thesmophoriazusae they criticize Euripides; and in the Ecclesiazusae they take over the g o v e r n m e n t . (See Reading No. lid.) Plato gave w o m e n for the first t i m e their full rights. In his Republic he declared unequivocally that w o m e n should be treated on precisely the same basis as m e n , with the single exception of physical strength, in public as well as personal o c c u p a t i o n s a n d professions. (See Reading No. lie.) Slavery. A n o t h e r minority consisted of the slave population. A l t h o u g h slavery as an institution w a s a c cepted without question ( a n d Aristotle actually argued that it was justified), the living conditions of A t h e n i a n slaves w e r e far better t h a n those usually associated with t h e w o r d "slavery." First of all, it should be noted t h a t most of these slaves w e r e w a r captives from the northeast frontier a n d were screened in a c c o r d a n c e with their ability and experience so that they would d o the sort of w o r k which they could d o best. Second, the jobs they h a d in m a n y instances paralleled those of citizens, a n d inscriptions reveal s o m e instances w h e r e slaves were foremen supervising citizens. It is true that the slaves assigned to the silver mines h a d a h a r d a n d short life; but those employed by the city on public w o r k s projects, police and clerical jobs, enjoyed w o r k i n g conditions a n d wages similar to those of citizens. S o m e of t h e m saved e n o u g h m o n e y to buy their freedom, after which they could live on in the city as resident aliens. Laws p r o -
  • 48 T H E GREEK MIND tected slaves from bodily h a r m or unfair exploitation b y their private masters, w h o bought t h e m from the city for domestic or industrial work. T h e y w o r e n o distinctive dress or insignia to show their status. It is significant t h a t there was no protest recorded against slavery as an institution, a n d there were n o slave revolts in A t h e n s . T h e explanation is that slaves on the w h o l e h a d e c o n o m i c security and a fair m e a s u r e of self-respect and happiness. M a n y of t h e m shared to a considerable extent in enjoying the civilization which they helped to create. So, even in the undefensible institution of slavery, A t h e n s showed its characteristic flexibility and liberality of attitude. Plato's Republic. I n his Republic, Plato p r o p o s e d a system of g o v e r n m e n t a n d education which w o u l d , h e believed, r e m e d y t h e inefficiency a n d injustice w h i c h h e deplored in existing g o v e r n m e n t s , especially his o w n A t h e n s . T o d e m o c r a c y ' s claims of equality and liberty h e replied that m e n are not e q u a l and should not b e treated as if they w e r e ; a n d as for liberty, although h e g r a n t e d in the Laws that people w o r k better w h e n they have a sense of freedom, he believed that the e x t r e m e freedoms of d e m o c r a c y lead to a n a r c h y . W h a t , t h e n , is the positive alternative? W h a t is a genuinely just society? T h e search led Plato to refuse to accept such answers as " M i g h t is R i g h t " a n d " A Social C o n t r a c t , " a n d instead analyze the psychological m a k e - u p of both an individual and a c o m m u n i t y into three p a r t s : appetite, unselfish spirit, reason. T h e individual lives justly, he concluded, w h e n all three elements are healthy a n d w o r k h a r m o n i o u s l y together, guided by reason. So in a c o m m u n i t y , justice prevails w h e n the classes chiefly d o m i n a t e d by these various m o t i v e s — t h e p r o d u c i n g class by appetite, t h e soldier-guardian class by unselfish spirit, the philosopher rulers and e d u c a t o r s by r e a s o n — a r e healthy in p e r f o r m ing their function a n d w o r k h a r m o n i o u s l y together, led by the philosopher-kings. P l a t o devoted most of his attention thereafter to the m e a n s of educating the ruling class of " g o l d e n " m e n . H e declared it the first duty of society to give every child an equal o p p o r t u n i t y to show to w h a t class his ability a n d aptitude entitled h i m . M o s t children after their elementary education would go into the acquisitive vocations, which P l a t o obviously dis-
  • T H E GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY 49 liked. T h o s e w h o d e m o n s t r a t e d that they h a d the c a p a c ity to proceed further would c o n t i n u e their education until they were fitted to b e soldier-guardians; then only the most gifted intellectually would be chosen to c o m plete the training in m a t h e m a t i c a l and abstract t h o u g h t which would qualify t h e m for political and educational leadership. O n c e m e n were assigned to their respective classes, they would c o n t i n u e t h e r e ; it would be most unjust, for e x a m p l e , for a w o r k e r o r businessman or a soldier t o be a ruler. T h e great lower class would be permitted to o w n private p r o p e r t y in m o d e r a t i o n , but a c o m munistic system, including family life, would prevail a m o n g the two u p p e r classes, so as to offer n o t e m p t a tion for t h e m to put private interests ahead of public o n e s . T h i s system was not confined by Plato to m e n ; h e advocated the s a m e e d u c a t i o n a n d opportunities for women. In his r a n k i n g of g o v e r n m e n t s Plato p u t a genuine aristocracy of brains a n d devotion to public service a t the t o p . If, however, such an ideal system could b e established, he was not optimistic e n o u g h a b o u t h u m a n n a t u r e to believe that it w o u l d e n d u r e ; it would d e generate, h e declared, into the successive stages of t i m o c r a c y ( r u l e by m e n seeking personal p r e s t i g e ) , olig a r c h y ( r u l e by the wealthy f e w ) , d e m o c r a c y (rule by the m a j o r i t y ) , and t y r a n n y (rule by o n e "wild b e a s t " ) . M e n w h o sought prestige would in time not be satisfied with that; they would w a n t p r o p e r t y for themselves. W h e n they h a d it, they would oppress the p o o r until finally the p o o r would revolt a n d establish a d e m o c r a c y . But then the people, u n a b l e to govern themselves, w o u l d fall into the grip of a dictator. Plato has been criticized in m o d e r n times b o t h as a fascist a n d as a c o m m u n i s t . Insofar as he advocated t h e absolute control of g o v e r n m e n t a n d education by a small minority, h e might be considered a fascist. But his minority, it must be noted, was to consist of people of the highest intelligence, motivated by unselfish service; this can hardly b e said of a n y fascist system. Insofar as h e advocated the abolition of private property for t w o of his t h r e e classes, h e might be regarded as a c o m -
  • 50 T H E GREEK MIND munist. But h e r e again it m u s t b e noted that only t h e m i n o r i t y of rulers and military g u a r d i a n s w e r e to live in such a fashion; the great majority of people, Plato declared, needed a n d should have private p r o p e r t y . T h e claim might b e m a d e with s o m e reason that P l a t o w a s a d e m o c r a t , for h e advocated a system of universal education to discover a n d develop the capacities of e a c h child; h e w a n t e d w o m e n to have c a r e e r s on the same basis as m e n ; a n d h e visualized a society whose aim w o u l d be the c o m m o n welfare and in which every person would d o the w o r k a n d win the rewards that his abilities m e r i t e d . All these are sound d e m o c r a t i c principles. Y e t in his lack of faith in the intelligence a n d honesty of o r d i n a r y m e n a n d his unwillingness to give t h e m a n y s h a r e in the control of g o v e r n m e n t a n d education h e w a s p r o f o u n d l y anti-democratic. P e r h a p s , concluding that it is d a n g e r o u s to use such labels, w e should call h i m merely a Platonist. (See Reading No. 12.) Aristotle's Politics. Less impatient with existing g o v e r n m e n t s t h a n Plato, a n d m o r e c o n c e r n e d with classifying t h e m than with blueprinting a U t o p i a , Aristotle was n o n e the less an aristocrat by birth, training, a n d conviction. T h e g o v e r n m e n t s which have developed he classified u n d e r three b r o a d h e a d i n g s : rule by o n e person, by a few, or by the majority. Theoretically a wise a n d benevolent m o n a r c h w o u l d be t h e ideal ruler, b u t o n c e unlimited p o w e r was in the h a n d s of one m a n the tendency was for t y r a n n y , the worst form of g o v e r n m e n t , t o result. Similarly with rule by a few: if the few are t h e ablest a n d most unselfish people, the g o v e r n m e n t will be good; but a g r o u p in p o w e r is likewise apt to degenerate into a self-seeking oligarchy, w h i c h m a y b e expected to lead to a revolt of the masses. D e m o c r a c y , with certain constitutional checks a n d balances ( " p o l i t y " ) is good; but w h e n the majority gives way to its unbridled selfish interests, it is b a d — n o t so b a d as the others, for, as Plato h a d previously said, d e m o c r a c y is b o u n d to b e w e a k e r in both its virtues a n d its injustice t h a n m o r e c o n c e n t r a t e d control. Aristotle h a d m o r e faith in the j u d g m e n t of c o m m o n m e n than Plato did. T h e collective j u d g m e n t , h e claimed, m a y in general be expected to be superior to that of a n y
  • T H E GREAT AGE: MAN AND SOCIETY 51 o n e person or g r o u p . F u r t h e r m o r e , people can b e e d u cated in public responsibility by holding office, deliberating a b o u t policies, and electing their officials. T h e chief practical obligation of g o v e r n m e n t , Aristotle believed, w a s to g u a r a n t e e law and o r d e r a n d avoid revolution. A d e m o c r a c y with certain constitutional checks is one effective m e a n s t o w a r d that end. A n o t h e r is the existence of a large a n d powerful middle class; its spirit of m o d e r a tion a n d conciliation will check the selfishness of the rich and the envy of the p o o r , and p r o v i d e that the c o m m u n i t y "shall pass t h r o u g h life safely." A n d the p u r p o s e of g o v e r n m e n t , its final cause? A r i s totle stated that in ringing t e r m s . Its p u r p o s e is a m o r a l o n e : to create for all of its m e m b e r s a good life, rich in intellectual and aesthetic activity, leading to happiness. Within the state m a n y lesser associations will m a k e their c o n t r i b u t i o n to this e n d ; but the state will unite them all into the s u p r e m e association which g u a r a n t e e s justice a n d m a k e s living together the generous sharing of the best things which life can offer. (See Reading No. 13.) Aristotle's aristocratic bias r e a p p e a r s , however, in his limiting the finest experience to citizen m e n of the leisure class. W o m e n and slaves h e regarded as inferior by n a t u r e ; a n d farmers, w o r k e r s , and businessmen as engaging in inferior occupations.
  • — 8 — THE GREAT AGE: FOREIGN RELATIONS H e r o d o t u s t h e Anthropologist. H e r o d o t u s ( c . 484— 4 2 5 ) played a dual role: h e was the historian of the fateful conflict between East a n d West, when the Persian E m p i r e invaded G r e e c e and was repulsed at M a r a t h o n , Salamis, a n d Plataca ( 4 9 0 - 4 7 8 ) , because, according to H e r o d o t u s ' m o r a l interpretation of history, Persia had the arrogant pride that inevitably leads to ruin; and in building up the b a c k g r o u n d for these events h e traveled widely in Asia M i n o r and Africa a n d reported on the c u s t o m s of the people there, thus being the pioneer anthropologist. T h e a c c o u n t s he gives of foreign ways a n d beliefs are interesting and often a m u s i n g ; h e reports what he was told by m e n of authority and c o m m o n folk, not v o u c h i n g for its accuracy, but frankly enjoying it. M o s t significant is his attitude of curiosity and his c o m p l e t e lack of c o n descension o r disapproval, race prejudice, o r intolerance. H i s conclusion is simply that " c u s t o m is lord of all." (See Reading No. 14a.) T h e same generosity was shown by A t h e n s in welcoming aliens and political refugees to the city. Until the Peloponnesian W a r frayed the nerves of the people of A t h e n s , h e r attitude toward foreigners, G r e e k s or o t h e r s , was o n e of hospitality w i t h o u t discrimination. Defensive Alliances. A l t h o u g h relations between the G r e e k city-states and foreign countries were on the whole friendly, within G r e e c e itself there w e r e constant controversies, and the cities always found it difficult to join forces in the face of d a n g e r from a b r o a d . F o r t u 52
  • T H E GREAT AGE: FOREIGN RELATIONS 53 nately, when the greatest early t h r e a t of all a p p e a r e d , a loose alliance of m a n y cities was temporarily formed to o p p o s e the invasion of G r e e c e by t h e Persian E m p i r e (490—478); a n d , led by the S p a r t a n a r m y and the A t h e n ian navy, it succeeded in repulsing the invaders. After the final victory, scores of the G r e e k cities o n the coast of Asia M i n o r a n d the islands of the A e g e a n wished to form a p e r m a n e n t defensive alliance to g u a r a n t e e r e sistance against a n y such future invasion. Sparta w a s asked to assume t h e leadership; but, protected by her m o u n t a i n s and c o n c e r n e d chiefly with keeping her o w n slave p o p u l a t i o n in subjection, Sparta s h u n n e d any such "entangling alliances." A t h e n s , however, welcomed t h e o p p o r t u n i t y to t a k e part in this c o o p e r a t i v e venture, partly because she too feared future aggression by Persia, partly because she was ambitious to b e c o m e the leader of the Ionian G r e e k cities. T h e sacred island of Delos was chosen as the h e a d q u a r t e r s of the L e a g u e , which was therefore called the D e l i a n L e a g u e . A c c o r d i n g to its constitution every m e m ber h a d an equal vote on the Council, impartial law c o u r t s at Delos w e r e to settle disputes arising between m e m b e r cities, a n d there w e r e a c o m m o n treasury a n d a c o m m o n military force. T h e a n n u a l budget assigned c o n t r i b u t i o n s on the basis of the wealth of the various m e m b e r s , and the funds w e r e supposed to be used for t h e p u r p o s e of building a n d o p e r a t i n g a navy a n d administering the other functions of the League. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , this p r o m i s i n g v e n t u r e in international c o o p e r a t i o n s o o n b e c a m e converted into an A t h e n i a n E m p i r e . T h e underlying reason was the superior naval strength of A t h e n s . H e r superior p o w e r led to her controlling the votes of the smaller states in the C o u n c i l ; soon the treasury w a s m o v e d to A t h e n s , and A t h e n i a n c o u r t s supplanted those at Delos. So cooperation yielded to d o m i n a t i o n by one major power, which in t u r n eventually led in 431 to the Peloponnesian W a r . I m p e r i a l Policies. U n d e r the stress of w a r , selfinterest dictated to A t h e n s an intolerant a n d cruel c o d e . T h u c y d i d c s reports t w o situations in which A t h e n s dem o n s t r a t e d the ruthless tactics of an e m p i r e at bay. O n e was in 4 2 8 when the wealthy a n d strategic city of M i t y -
  • 54 T H E GREEK MIND lene tried to w i t h d r a w from the so-called D e l i a n L e a g u e . A t h e n s p r o m p t l y blockaded the island and starved the people into submission; then the Assembly met to decide on a p u n i s h m e n t for these "rebels." Should it b e d e a t h for the ringleaders, or d e a t h for all the m e n a n d slavery for the w o m e n a n d children? T h e Assembly voted the latter, on the m o t i o n of Cleon, the majority leader. L u c k ily, this was reversed in a later m e e t i n g in favor of the m o r e m o d e r a t e policy, but even t h a t policy was voted purely o n g r o u n d s of e x p e d i e n c y — t h a t such e x t r e m e cruelty would be bad for A t h e n s ' reputation. A n d Cleon restated his case for imperial rule in n o u n c e r t a i n t e r m s . (See Reading No. J4b.) T h e M e l i a n E p i s o d e . In 4 1 6 a n o t h e r episode o c c u r r e d which reveals even m o r e clearly the increasing brutality of A t h e n s ' foreign policy. T h e small n e u t r a l island of Melos, A t h e n s decided, would b e a useful base for naval o p e r a t i o n s , so she sent envoys to invite Melos to join the " L e a g u e . " T h e people of Melos realized that the choice was between death in battle or servile submission, but tried to a r g u e for continuing their neutrality. A t h e n s c o u n t e r e d with an u n a b a s h e d statement of the "might m a k e s r i g h t " policy (see Reading No. 14c); a n d w h e n the Melians chose to fight, s u b d u e d t h e m , killing o r enslaving the inhabitants, a n d settling A t h e n i a n s o n the land. Such was the attitude of a r r o g a n c e bred by e m p i r e a n d w a r . H o w o n e A t h e n i a n was affected by such cruelty is seen in E u r i p i d e s ' tragedy, The Trojan Women, p r o d u c e d , significantly e n o u g h , shortly after the Melian episode. It is an unforgettable picture of the brutality unleashed by w a r a m o n g the victorious G r e e k s a n d the suffering of the i n n o c e n t e n e m y w o m e n a n d children.
  • — 9 — THE GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES P a t r o n D i v i n i t y a n d H e r o . T h e personal values prized by a n y c u l t u r e m a y be seen in the c h a r a c t e r s , divine a n d h u m a n , that are w o r s h i p p e d o r a d m i r e d . I n A t h e n s t h e p a t r o n divinity was A t h e n a , worshipped o n t h e Acropolis as A t h e n a P a r t h e n o s ( t h e V i r g i n ) , A t h e n a Promachos (the W a r r i o r ) , and Athena Ergane (the W o r k e r ) . A s the Virgin goddess she was born, according to the ancient m y t h , from the very b r a i n of Zeus a n d represented statesmanlike u n d e r s t a n d i n g of practical p r o b lems. A s the W a r r i o r she defended her favorite city. A s the W o r k e r she was the p a t r o n especially of w o m e n ' s weaving and e m b r o i d e r y , herself an expert c r a f t s m a n . So in her holy person w e r e c o m b i n e d three essential characteristics prized by the A t h e n i a n s — p r a c t i c a l intelligence, c o u r a g e , and artistic skill. T h e i r national h e r o w a s T h e s e u s , a c c o r d i n g to legend the early king w h o freed the city from paying h u m a n tribute to the C r e t a n M i n o t a u r . P r i o r to the fifth c e n t u r y he h a d been r e g a r d e d chiefly as a blithe w a r r i o r , athlete, a n d lover, a m o r e graceful a n d sensitive local version of H e r a c l e s , the universal G r e e k h e r o . But by the G r e a t A g e he h a d developed into the c o n t e m p o r a r y i m a g e of the city t h a t revered h i m . It was n o w A t h e n a w h o w a s said to h a v e sponsored his expedition " t o bring a just d o o m on the u n r i g h t e o u s , " which he did with an intelligence e q u a l to his valor. T h e dramatists pictured him as having been democratically m i n d e d , even though a king. Aeschylus w r o t e at least two, Sophocles three, a n d Euripides five plays in which h e played an i m p o r t a n t role, always as 55
  • 56 T H E GREEK MIND a considerate a n d public-spirited ruler, w o r k i n g for i m p o r t a n t causes, and defending the weak and helpless. In E u r i p i d e s ' Suppliant Women he argues at length the advantages of d e m o c r a t i c rule. " I n f o r m m e , " h e says in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus; "I must have full k n o w l edge before I reach a decision. . . . I shall see to it t h a t this state is stronger t h a n any one m a n . Y o u have c o m e to a city that observes justice and does nothing except with p r o p e r legal s a n c t i o n . " A s a friend of the suffering h e w e l c o m e d Heracles, when that h e r o was in anguish over having m u r d e r e d his children d u r i n g a fit of m a d ness, and received him in A t h e n s with the most t e n d e r s y m p a t h y ; and in his o w n grief over the d e a t h of his son H i p p o l y t u s h e showed his full m e a s u r e of c o m p a s sion. H i s temple b e c a m e a refuge for maltreated slaves; a n d h e was generally considered the c h a m p i o n of the p o o r a n d helpless. So T h e s e u s , not limited by the k n o w n facts of an actual life, h a d g r o w n as A t h e n s grew, r e created after her o w n heart, in h e r o w n best image of insight and kindness. E d u c a t i o n . T h e aims a n d m e t h o d s of G r e e k e d u cation differed widely in various places; in S p a r t a , for instance, education was almost exclusively military, in A t h e n s the basis was broadly liberal. A t h e n i a n children were trained at h o m e u p to the age of seven, told stories from the exploits of the h e r o e s of t h e past and A e s o p ' s animal fables, a n d taught m a n y g a m e s of skill. T h e rest of the girls' e d u c a t i o n was in domestic science at h o m e . T h e boys went to school from seven to fourteen, w h e r e they had p r i m a r y instruction in physical education a n d in " m u s i c , " the latter including reading and m e m o r i z i n g poetry a n d reciting it to musical a c c o m p a n i m e n t , a c o m bination of literature, speech, a n d music. O t h e r courses included arithmetic a n d d r a w i n g . T h e r e was also instruction in personal and public ethics. After the age of fourteen only the wealthier boys could c o n t i n u e their e d u c a tion. F r o m fourteen to eighteen they studied m a t h e m a t i c s , rhetoric, and literature. F r o m eighteen to t w e n t y all y o u n g m e n were enrolled in military service, in the course of which m a n y "saw the w o r l d " in the navy, or w e r e stationed at various far-flung outposts of the empire. Following this period, the wealthy y o u n g m e n could have
  • THE GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 57 advanced instruction by enrolling for courses in rhetoric, public speaking, ethics, and the like, u n d e r the Sophists w h o c a m e to A t h e n s for p r o t r a c t e d stays, or in schools like Plato's A c a d e m y . But all residents of the c o m m u n i t y shared in the adult e d u c a t i o n provided by the city: the musical, d r a m a t i c , athletic, a n d religious festivals, the public w o r k s p r o g r a m s e m p l o y i n g leading architects, sculptors and painters, s o m e contact with the intellectual leaders of A t h e n s , and, for the citizens, a constant e d u c a tion in politics a n d the wide r a n g e of p r o b l e m s presented to A t h e n i a n voters a n d executives. Athletics. Physical education was not only regarded as o n e of the chief elements in formal education, it was also sponsored by cities for local festivals and for developing athletes to represent t h e m at the great international g a m e s at O l y m p i a , Delphi, N e m e a , a n d the Isthmus of C o r i n t h . N e v e r again until m o d e r n times has the athlete been so e n c o u r a g e d a n d h o n o r e d . A s early as the heroic age there were well developed athletic meets, described in Book 2 3 of the Iliad a n d Book 8 of the Odyssey, including races, weight t h r o w i n g , boxing, and wrestling. A t the great international g a m e s , which increased in n u m b e r a n d i m p o r t a n c e from the eighth cent u r y on, there w e r e additional events, including the p a n c r a t i u m , an over-all contest in strength, skill, and e n d u r a n c e . Athletes w h o w o n at these meets were greeted with elaborate victory odes ( P i n d a r was the poet laureate w h o c o m m e m o r a t e d the victories of scores of these athletes) and were lavishly entertained at public expense. But it was not only star athletes w h o received attention. In the cities there were m a n y g y m n a s i u m s a n d athletic clubs, w h e r e instruction a n d facilities for enjoying the various sports were available. T h a t a sound body was the most favorable e n v i r o n m e n t for a sound m i n d was a generally accepted belief a m o n g the G r e e k s . Sports during the G r e a t Age were primarily c o n d u c t e d o n an a m a t e u r basis, and a n y great e m p h a s i s o n specialization was deplored. Only in the later Hellenistic period did a m a t e u r athletics give way to professionalism, a n d w a t c h ing contests b e c o m e m o r e i m p o r t a n t than taking p a r t in them. Classical Art. In the art of this period m a n y values
  • 58 THE GREEK MIND which appealed to G r e e k s of the G r e a t Age w e r e expressed. W h e t h e r it is a temple like the P a r t h e n o n , a bronze statue of Zeus hurling his thunderbolt, a vase painted by Polygnotus, a piece of furniture, or a mirror, there are certain characteristics which m a y be called "classical." Negatively the t e r m m e a n s that the abstract, grotesque, and exaggerated were avoided. Positively it m e a n s : ( 1 ) A healthy h u m a n n o r m . T h e h u m a n body provided the scale; temples were not gigantic, but w e r e planned to please a n t h r o p o m o r p h i c divinities; sculpture a n d painting usually pictured healthy people in enjoyable activity. ( 2 ) A synthesis of design a n d naturalism. T h e g e o m e t r i c element was p r o n o u n c e d in over-all design a n d p r o p o r tion, thus giving clean, firm, a n d logical s t r u c t u r e , but it n e v e r went to the e x t r e m e of sheer abstraction; in sculpture and painting it was integrated with adequately naturalistic forms. ( 3 ) Refinement of detail. O n c e the essential structure had been established, the most loving care was given to refinement of detail. In buildings the relationships of the various elements were calculated most subtly, so that the effect is o n e , not of mechanical uniformity, but of flexibility and resilience. So with the s c u l p t u r e : sensitive handling of line and m o d u l a t i o n s of mass give freshness and c h a r m . ( 4 ) Serenity of m o o d . T h e c o m b i n a t i o n of clarity of design and refinement of detail produces an effect of poise a n d dignity which is t r e m e n d o u s l y satisfying. Lacking sheer abstraction, realism, and nervously d r a m a t i c e x u b e r a n c e , this art's chief virtue lies in the logic of its structure, the refinement of its details, and its expression of h u m a n sanity and dignity. Even one of the humblest of the arts, that of the potter, illustrates this m o o d . In the middle of the fifth century the shapes of the vases h a d b e c o m e streamlined without fussy detail; the scenes painted o n them were generally of quiet subjects, in b r o a d and m o n u m e n t a l designs and free-flowing r h y t h m ; a m p l i t u d e a n d dignity replaced the pioneer nervous tension. Art in this period was essentially a c o m m u n i t y affair. T h e great buildings and sculpture were city projects, enlisting the interest of the people and expressing their aspiration. T h e most ambitious project was Pericles'
  • T H E GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 59 building p r o g r a m . F r o m 450 to 4 2 0 n o less than six major temples, the e n t r a n c e hall to the Acropolis, the Hall of Mysteries at Eleusis, a n d a music a u d i t o r i u m w e r e erected; and H i p p o d a m u s was b r o u g h t from Miletus to plan the port of the Piraeus o n a geometric basis. In their buildings the architects used both the Doric a n d Ionic styles, but modified them so as to c o m b i n e grace and strength in a typically A t h e n i a n way. A n d to m a k e t h e m m o r e w o r t h y of the city, m o r e capable (in Pericles' p h r a s e ) of cheering and delighting the A t h e n i a n s as they saw t h e m daily, sculptors a n d painters joined forces with architects and statesmen in a spirit of enthusiastic cooperation. In both its a r c h i t e c t u r e and sculpture the P a r t h e n o n m a y profitably be studied as an o u t s t a n d i n g e x a m p l e of this classical art. T h e first impression it gives is one of noble simplicity and of structure based u p o n an austere g e o m e t r y . But closer inspection reveals that the p r o p o r tions were so subtly calculated and the refinements so delicately executed that the building has intimate c h a r m as well as sober power. It avoids m o n o t o n y by a c o m plicated series of curved lines and planes. Its sculptural decoration w a s consistent with the a r c h i t e c t u r e , having a similar a m p l i t u d e a n d dignity of composition, with winning variety in the details. T h e p e d i m e n t s pictured the divine protection of the city: on t h e east end the birth of A t h e n a was represented, on the west end the contest between A t h e n a a n d Poseidon for the lordship of A t h e n s . T h e s e groups were skillfully planned to fit within the triangular s h a p e of the pediment, and the figures rose from the c o r n e r s to the c e n t e r in a fluent lateral r h y t h m , with d r a p e r y interweaving from the backg r o u n d o u t w a r d to help build up the stalwart forms by casting shadows across them in the strong sunlight. T h e m e t o p e s , representing G r e e k s subduing C e n t a u r s a n d A m a z o n s , were c o m p o s e d in interesting horizontal, vertical, oblique, a n d circular patterns which provided effective secondary d e c o r a t i o n ; a n d the c o n t i n u o u s frieze within the c o l o n n a d e , recording the people of A t h e n s c o m i n g to worship in the P a n a t h e n a i c festival, was delightful in design as well as in narrative a n d pictorial interest. H e r e was art genuinely expressive of the clarity.
  • 60 THE GREEK MIND strength, technical skill, and graciousness which were cherished by the people. P a t r i o t i c C o u r a g e . A m o n g the individual virtues most prized by the city-states, so p r o u d of their indep e n d e n c e , was patriotic courage. " R e m e m b e r , " Pericles had said, "that the secret of happiness is freedom, a n d freedom is created by c o u r a g e . " In m a n y epitaphs over fallen soldiers, the cities of G r e e c e in the fifth c e n t u r y praised their dead. (See Reading No. 15a.) H e r o d o t u s recounts the A t h e n i a n tradition in his story of Solon and Croesus (see Reading No. 15b) a n d his tribute to d e m o c r a c y . (See Reading No. 15c.) A n d the record of the most glorious of all their victories, t h a t over the Persian a r m a d a at Salamis, was given e l o q u e n t tribute in the play by Aeschylus devoted to that t r i u m p h , the Persians. (See Reading No. 15d.) T h e M o r a l C o u r a g e of Socrates. A n o t h e r kind of courage was equally prized, as it always has been by free m e n : the c o u r a g e of standing up for one's convictions. T h e most d r a m a t i c e x a m p l e of this c o u r a g e w a s that shown by Socrates o n three notable occasions. T h e first was w h e n , as c h a i r m a n for a day of t h e C o u n c i l of 500, h e defied an hysterical public d e m a n d for the mass trial a n d execution of generals w h o h a d failed to recover t h e bodies of several h u n d r e d soldiers killed in the sea battle of A r g i n u s a e ( 4 0 6 ) . H e claimed, quite properly, that such action would be unconstitutional. T h e second incident o c c u r r e d during the short period following the defeat of A t h e n s when the notorious antid e m o c r a t i c g o v e r n m e n t k n o w n as the T h i r t y was in power, t h a n k s to S p a r t a n backing. T h e y tried to m a k e Socrates share in their policy of persecution, but he bluntly refused. Finally, w h e n h e was on trial o n charges of being a subversive influence, with death p r o p o s e d as t h e penalty, h e would not yield an inch o r even try to be diplomatic; instead, he argued that his criticism of m e n and institutions was the best thing that could h a p p e n to A t h e n s . (See Reading No. 15e.) W h y did A t h e n s p u t a m a n like this to d e a t h ? In defense of the majority of t h e jury w h o voted for his conviction it should be n o t e d t h a t nerves were frayed following a long and lost w a r , t h a t Socrates h a d been
  • T H E GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 61 critical of some d e m o c r a t i c policies a n d p r o c e d u r e s , that a m o n g his f o r m e r followers were leaders of the antid e m o c r a t i c forces in a blood-bath during their short stay in p o w e r at the e n d of the war (Socrates was considered "guilty by a s s o c i a t i o n " ) , a n d that most of the jurors w h o voted "guilty" doubtless expected that Socrates would propose exile as t h e alternative penalty. T h e y simply w a n t e d him out of the city; but when he defied t h e m and refused to consider exile they voted the death penalty. It w a s o n e of the few instances of radical intolerance in the history of A t h e n s . O n e m u s t , however, bear in m i n d that Socrates h a d practiced his profession without interference for nearly fifty years prior to his being b r o u g h t to trial. T h e Life of R e a s o n . L o v e r s of freedom, of diversity, of c o u r a g e — w e have seen A t h e n i a n s of the G r e a t A g e as all of these. But p e r h a p s the chief characteristic of this period is the high evaluation placed o n the rational control of experience a n d the ability to solve p r o b lems by objective consideration and discussion. It a p p e a r s in Pericles' F u n e r a l Speech. It is the t h e m e implied in m a n y of the tragedies. T h e finest single statement of the faith is p e r h a p s the c h o r u s from Sophocles' Antigone in which the genius of m a n is praised. (See Reading No. 16a.) But it is recognized that the great skills acquired by m a n in mastering n a t u r e and fashioning c o m m u n i c a tion a n d institutions can be used by him for self-destruction as well as for progress. T h e play, a conflict of s t u b b o r n wills, illustrates the point. D e s t i n y a n d F r e e d o m . But of what value is reason if h u m a n life is in the control of the gods o r of Destiny, as priests a n d earlier poets h a d declared? T h e three great d r a m a t i s t s of A t h e n s tried to a n s w e r that question. A l t h o u g h F a t e a n d the gods still r e m a i n in the traditional plots they used, their t r e a t m e n t of the c h a r a c t e r s indicates that m e n a n d w o m e n actually choose their destiny, a n d their o w n tragic errors bring about their d o o m . At the least, m e n have n o sure way of k n o w i n g what decisions p o w e r s b e y o n d them m a y have m a d e ( a l t h o u g h those p o w e r s apparently dislike h u m a n excess and p r i d e ) , so they must m a k e their decisions on the basis of their o w n best j u d g m e n t . F u r t h e r m o r e , those powers, apparently
  • 62 T H E GREEK MIND often at variance a m o n g themselves, fail to give m e n clear instructions as to what they should d o , a n d often seem willing to let m e n m a k e their o w n decisions. S o m e times a m a n ' s best j u d g m e n t m a y seem to incur divine displeasure; but it m a y be argued, as Euripides does, that his moral sense is superior to that of the god. So m u c h for the survival of divine intervention in the tragedies. But in most of the plays the sense of a n y ultimate determinism grows dim and largely or totally irrelevant; c h a r a c t e r s m o r e and m o r e disregard the existence of the gods or of Destiny in m a k i n g their decisions; they rely upon their o w n experience and reasoned j u d g m e n t in deciding what to d o . W h o will say that the conflict between M e d e a and Jason in Euripides' Medea or between Antigone a n d C r e o n in Sophocles' Antigone is m o r e t h a n a conflict of h u m a n wills? In E u r i p i d e s ' Alcestis, the wife of A d m c t u s freely chose to sacrifice herself to save her h u s b a n d ' s life when he was fated to die. Euripides' plays are often clinical studies of neurotic w o m e n , such as P h a e d r a and Electra, or of emotionally u n b a l a n c e d m e n like the m a d H e r a c l e s . Such instances could be multiplied at length. T h e y indicate that the dramatists were concerned chiefly with probing into the consequences of h u m a n purposes in conflict, with the rational and fallacious j u d g m e n t s of m e n in shaping their destiny, with the failures a n d achievements of h u m a n freedom. Finally, it should be noted that the tragic e r r o r of nearly every play is a pride of m i n d or emotional arrogance which m a k e s the rational reconciliation of differences impossible. T h u s , the ideal of the dramatists, like that of Pericles, would seem to be the m a n of sound j u d g m e n t , eager to consider various points of view a n d c o m e to a reasoned a g r e e m e n t with any honest o p p o n e n t . T h e R a t i o n a l R e c o r d i n g of H i s t o r y . T h u c y d i d e s in writing his History of the Peloponnesian War signally exemplified the G r e e k confidence in the method of reason. A l t h o u g h an A t h e n i a n and in all probability a m o d e r a t e d e m o c r a t in his political convictions, h e m a d e the most earnest effort to be objective in his description of events and his analysis of motives; one might say that h e p r e sented case studies of social disorder as objectively as
  • T H E GREAT AGE I INDIVIDUAL VALUES 63 H i p p o c r a t e s did his clinical records of individual diseases. H e recorded the three stages by which A t h e n s converted the Delian League into her E m p i r e : first, the fear of Persia which she shared with her allies; then h e r pride in her increasing d o m i n a t i o n of the League in military, financial, legal, a n d cultural t e r m s ; finally, her brutal self-interest when her p o w e r was t h r e a t e n e d . H e reported with scrupulous a c c u r a c y the events of the w a r , such as the siege of A t h e n s , the plague that s m o t e the city, a n d t h e various naval e n g a g e m e n t s . O n e of his devices added d r a m a to his a c c o u n t : his reporting, as well as h e could recall t h e m or find out about t h e m , the actual speeches a n d debates of political leaders and diplomatic envoys. T h u s , the discussions leading up to the war, the d e b a t e in the A t h e n i a n assembly regarding p u n i s h m e n t for the " r e b e l s " of Mitylene, a n d the a t t e m p t of A t h e n i a n diplom a t s to convince neutral Melos that it would b e to her a d v a n t a g e to submit to A t h e n s , all sound in o u r ears with the vividness of a c o n t e m p o r a r y recording. A n d the implicit lesson of his h i s t o r y — t h a t too m u c h p o w e r leads to a r r o g a n c e , and that in turn to disaster—is traced with u n e r r i n g skill and buttressed with an a b u n d a n c e of evid e n c e , especially in the tragic debacle of the A t h e n i a n expedition against Syracuse. (See Reading Nos. 9, 10, 14b,c.) T h e Socratic M e t h o d . T o be r e a s o n a b l e — y e s . But w h a t is the process of reason? N o w for the first time people began to study the w o r k i n g of the h u m a n m i n d . " T h e uncritical life," said Socrates, "is not w o r t h a m a n ' s living." H e devoted his life to the analytical study of the concepts men have, such as of freedom, piety, friendship, and justice, believing that if m e n try to define w h a t those t e r m s m e a n and to c o m m u n i c a t e the exact m e a n ings to others, they will be on the road to living in terms, not of m e r e conjecture or habit, but of u n d e r s t a n d i n g . So he evolved a t e c h n i q u e of cross-examination. W h e n the first easy definition was given h e would lead the person to see its shortcomings; then other definitions rep h r a s e d in view of the c o n c r e t e particulars Socrates suggested would be tried out; finally, p e r h a p s n o satisfactory definition would be arrived at, but in the process t w o valuable experiences were gained: the complexity of the
  • 64 T H E GREEK MIND situation and the i n a d e q u a c y of a n y easy solution a p peared, and at least some phases of the t r u t h h a d been discovered. (See Reading No. 16b.) A s far as conclusions w e r e concerned, there was one t h a t Socrates was strongly convinced was t r u e : k n o w l e d g e is goodness. H e believed that all e r r o r is due to i g n o r a n c e , a n d o n c e a m a n k n o w s w h a t is right he invariably will d o it. Such knowledge, however, must be d e n n e d ; it is not knowledge of any particular skill, but r a t h e r t h e knowledge of h u m a n relationships which m a y be called insight or u n d e r s t a n d i n g ; it is not being a " g o o d " c a r p e n t e r — o r a " g o o d " b u r g l a r — b u t a good m a n that Socrates h a d in m i n d . N o w this doctrine m a y rest u p o n t o o optimistic a view of h u m a n n a t u r e ; Socrates w a s living in a pre-Christian a n d p r e - F r e u d i a n age, when t h e destructive urges of h u m a n beings w e r e p e r h a p s insufficiently realized. But it m u s t be granted that within its limitations it is a sound theory. " H e didn't k n o w a n y better" is o n e of t h e genuine explanations of c r i m e ; a n d education is the basis of m u c h of o u r penal reform as well as of positive ethical practices. Plato's R a t i o n a l M a n . C o n t i n u i n g Socrates' m e t h o d of dialectic, P l a t o extended the study of concepts and of t h e n a t u r e of ideas. In the Phaedrus h e c o m p a r e d a m a n to a chariot t e a m , consisting of a powerful brute of a h o r s e ( a p p e t i t e ) , a t h o r o u g h b r e d (unselfish s p i r i t ) , a n d the charioteer ( R e a s o n ) . Only R e a s o n can see the goal to be achieved a n d discipline t h e two horses to w o r k t o g e t h e r t o w a r d that goal. In his dialogues Plato d e m o n strated not only results of the reasoning process, but also case studies of the process itself; hypotheses were p r o posed, tested in t e r m s of experience, modified or r e jected, amplified, s h a r p e n e d . A n d Plato believed that by this process o n e grows from knowledge of small areas to constantly m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e ones, including interrelationships in laws a n d institutions, science a n d ethics, until, finally, one reaches a coordinated u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the universal good. (See Reading No. 16c.) Plato's T h e o r y of Art. A m o n g his analyses of c o n cepts Plato included pioneer aesthetic criticism. H e arrived at t w o conclusions: ( 1 ) art imitates n a t u r e ; ( 2 ) art is to be evaluated chiefly in t e r m s of its m o r a l effect.
  • THE GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 65 A w o r k of art, h e believed, imitates a physical object, hence is less real t h a n its m o r e substantial p r o t o t y p e ; b u t since the physical object itself is less real than the c o n cept which it imperfectly e m b o d i e s , art is doubly r e m o v e d from reality. Its technical excellence is to be judged in t e r m s of the a c c u r a c y with which it copies the material world. A s such it has i m p o r t a n c e in elementary education, training the senses of the y o u n g . But its chief i m p o r t a n c e , Plato concluded, lies in its molding sound m o r a l c h a r a c ter. L i t e r a t u r e which inspires people to be brave, soberm i n d e d , truthful, a n d m a g n a n i m o u s is the only kind t h a t should b e permitted. Music that is effeminate, plaintive, a n d convivial m u s t b e discarded, a n d only those h a r monies retained which "represent the tones a n d accents of a c o u r a g e o u s m a n acting with sobriety a n d m o d e r a tion, the natural r h y t h m s of a well-regulated a n d m a n l y life." Similarly with the o t h e r a r t s : the philosopher-rulers will a d m i t into their city only those artists w h o will "imitate the style of the virtuous m a n . " (See Reading No. 16c.) Properly interpreted there is m u c h to b e said for both of Plato's points, although his conclusions are obviously i n a d e q u a t e ; art is m o r e than imitation of n a t u r e , " m o r a l " requires careful definition, and c e n s o r s h i p (even by p h i l o s o p h e r s ) is a threat to the creative spirit. But regardless of their validity, they w e r e useful in stimulating later study of the function of art in individual a n d social experience. Aristotle's V i r t u o u s M a n . Less t h e poet a n d m o r e the practical scientist than Plato, Aristotle m a d e a rigo r o u s analysis of the thinking process and a detailed series of precise definitions; he formulated the principles of formal logic a n d classified fallacies. Accepting as axiomatic t h a t happiness is the goal of h u m a n life, h e proceeded to study t h e essential quality of h u m a n h a p p i ness a n d ways of arriving at it. H a p p i n e s s , h e c o n c l u d e d , is an activity of the soul in a c c o r d a n c e with virtue. M a n y virtues, such as c o u r a g e , generosity, and high-mindedness, a r e found to lie in a m e a n between extremes. T h e period of life in which m e n naturally live in a c c o r d a n c e with this principle is middle age. T h u s m u c h of the folk wisd o m of the G r e e k people, favoring m o d e r a t i o n , found philosophical justification in the conclusions of Aristotle.
  • 66 THE GREEK MIND Obviously any such s u m m a r y as this c a n n o t pretend to d o justice to the extremely detailed analysis which Aristotle m a d e of the various virtues. H e distinguished in every category several types a n d degrees, refusing to be satisfied with facile generalizations. C o u r a g e , for exa m p l e , he defined as a m e a n between fear and recklessness; but he proceeded to show h o w s o m e things, such as disgrace, should be feared, a n d h o w spurious m u c h so-called " c o u r a g e " is. Virtues such as practical wisdom, primarily intellectual, can be learned; but o t h e r s , like t e m p e r a n c e , are m o r a l and are cultivated by habit. In his down-to-earth w a y Aristotle c o n c l u d e d that m o r e t h a n rational activity and sound m o r a l habits are needed; a fair m e a s u r e of wealth is also necessary for happiness, and good birth, good looks, and joy in one's children play an i m p o r t a n t p a r t . A n d a c o m p l e t e life must b e reckoned with, for "as o n e swallow o n a single fine d a y does not m a k e t h e s u m m e r , so a single d a y or short period of delight does not m a k e a m a n really h a p p y . " (See Reading No. 16d.) Aristotle's Analysis of T r a g e d y . Aristotle considered that the writers of tragedy were a m o n g the most effective teachers of virtue. By spectators sharing vicariously in the tragic e r r o r of a person capable of great experience a n d going t h r o u g h the s e q u e n c e of events leading to his downfall, Aristotle believed that their feelings of pity and fear are aroused, a n d when they leave the theatre they have a better u n d e r s t a n d i n g of h u m a n experience. A n alyzing the various elements in a play, he t e r m e d the plot by far most i m p o r t a n t , since it develops the t h e m e of the e r r o r a n d its o u t c o m e ; it m a y e m p h a s i z e life as it is, as it a p p e a r s to be, o r as it o u g h t to be; a n d it heightens its effect by such devices as suspense, irony, reversal of a n o r m a l situation, a n d a final recognition of the t r u t h . N e x t in i m p o r t a n c e comes the skillful portrayal of the c h a r a c t e r s involved: the tragic h e r o or heroine must be neither a villain nor a saint, but essentially a person like us except for greater intellectual or emotional capacity. N e x t comes "rationalizing," the way in which c h a r a c t e r s try to justify their action to t h e m selves a n d to others. Of lesser i m p o r t a n c e are the elements of poetic diction, music, a n d spectacle. T h e only
  • T H E GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 67 d r a m a t i c unity which Aristotle insisted on was unity of a c t i o n — t h a t the plot should be logically constructed. A n d t h r o u g h the inevitable sequence of events in a great tragic play the p u r p o s e is accomplished of arousing pity for those w h o suffer, fear that we might m a k e some such tragic error ourselves, and the final relief from emotional strain. (See Reading No. 16d.) O t h e r T r a g i c Values. T h e r e were, however, o t h e r values either ignored o r inadequately treated by Aristotle in his technical analysis of tragedy. ( P e r h a p s they were included in his discourses; what we have are little m o r e than his lecture notes.) A m o n g them should be mentioned the value of the c h o r u s as an e m o t i o n a l reaction to the action of e a c h episode, a n d to some extent a thoughtful interpretation of it, a n d the value of t h e messenger's speech describing the tragic climax, appealing to the spectator's imagination while sparing him the actual scene of h o r r o r . T h e r e was also the value of t h e d r a m a t i c festival itself, d u r i n g which for three days the residents of A t h e n s faced together s o m e of the great p r o b l e m s of h u m a n decision, a n d doubtless, in the A t h e n i a n way, argued long after the p r o d u c t i o n s were over what the dramatists h a d in m i n d a n d h o w right or w r o n g they w e r e . A n d finally, although pity a n d fear are doubtless aroused by the plays, a n d the spectator m a y b e purged of such e m o t i o n s , the ultimate value of tragedy w a s hardly m o r e than suggested by A r i s t o t l e : the b r o a d e n i n g and deepening of experience by seeing people of great emotional and intellectual capacity face situations m o r e terrible than they can o v e r c o m e , however resourceful a n d b r a v e they m a y be. T h i s inspires m o r e than pity a n d fear; it arouses a d m i r a t i o n a n d a fellow-feeling for m e n and w o m e n of heroic stature, even w h e n they e r r and suffer; a n d it leads to m o r e g e n e r o u s a n d sensitive insight. T h e ultimate value of the life of tragedy, as J o h n Masefield o n c e said, is that t h r o u g h it we b e c o m e better able to u n d e r s t a n d a n d e n d u r e the tragedy of life. (See Reading No. 17.) H y b r i s a n d S o p h r o s y n e . In appraising the scale of values of t h e G r e a t A g e , w h a t shall we c o n c l u d e were the chief attitudes which the G r e e k s t h o u g h t should be avoided a n d b e cultivated?
  • T H E GREEK MIND T h e r e can be little question that the chief sin was considered to be hybris, " a r r o g a n t p r i d e . " T o o m u c h of any material thing, especially m o n e y a n d power, they t h o u g h t , is apt to lead to such pride, which distorts a m a n ' s clear j u d g m e n t , blinds him to plain facts, a n d ultimately brings him to disaster. " P r i d e comes before a fall." T h e epic legends had already pointed u p the lesson; in the Iliad, A g a m e m n o n ' s s u p r e m e p o w e r and Achilles' pre-eminence as a fighter m a d e them so p r o u d that they forgot their d u t y to the c o m m o n cause of their people; the result was disaster to themselves as well as the m e n w h o dep e n d e d on t h e m . A leading t h e m e in the Odyssey was the insolence of the suitors for Penelope's h a n d ; because of their a r r o g a n c e they were an easy prey for the coolheaded Odysseus when h e r e t u r n e d h o m e . T h e same moral was d r a w n from the defeat of Persia at M a r a t h o n and Salamis. H e r o d o t u s a n d Aeschylus agreed o n the e x p l a n a t i o n : it was not that the Persians w e r e as a people inferior to the G r e e k s , it was the hybris of the invader; in Aeschylus' w o r d s , " P r i d e , after it blossoms, p r o d u c e s fruit of d o o m and a harvest of t e a r s . " Hybris is the tragic flaw in m a n y of the c h a r a c t e r s in G r e e k d r a m a . T h e revolutions in G r e e k cities, deplored by T h u c y d i d e s , were caused, he declared, "by greed, ambition, and the love of p o w e r . " Plato considered the acquisitive motive so dangerous that he prescribed m o d e r a t i o n as the chief virtue to be cultivated by businessmen a n d w o r k e r s , a n d permitted his ruling class n o private p r o p e r t y whatever. Aristotle regarded the acquisition of great wealth or power as a p r i m a r y evil. Finally, A t h e n i a n s after 4 0 0 could hardly fail to realize that their o w n imperial p o w e r had led to a r r o g a n c e that blinded their j u d g m e n t a n d brought about their defeat. Opposed to hybris was the positive virtue which the G r e e k s called sophrosyne, "intelligence which keeps p e o ple secure," o r "saving sense." T h e w o r d has often been translated as " p r u d e n c e , " "sobriety," or " t e m p e r a n c e , " but these are m u c h too negative w o r d s . T h e G r e e k s recognized that e m o t i o n s must b e kept vigorous a n d alert, but that an even stronger intellectual faculty must guide them. Countless references might be cited to the way in which this attitude was praised d u r i n g the G r e a t Age.
  • T H E GREAT AGE: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 69 It w a s emphasized constantly in the tragic d r a m a s . Pericles paid tribute to it in his F u n e r a l Speech. In one of the debates reported by T h u c y d i d e s it is u n d e r s c o r e d : " T h e r e is n o disgrace in showing reasonable self-control, for by it we avoid insolent prosperity and d o not surr e n d e r to adversity." Socrates, in the only p r a y e r of his which has been preserved, asked to have only as m a n y possessions as a m a n with saving intelligence could m a n a g e . T h e great pity is that, u n d e r s t a n d i n g and esteeming this attitude as they did, the G r e e k s of the fifth century were not able to apply it m o r e effectively in their interstate relations a n d thus avoid their suicidal wars.
  • — 10 — THE DISPERSION: THE SETTING M a c e d o n i a n S u p r e m a c y . T h e battle of C h a e r o n e a in 338 sealed the d o o m of the free cities of G r e e c e . Previously, various ones h a d d o m i n a t e d others for short periods of t i m e ; n o w all w e r e destined to fall u n d e r the control of M a c e d o n , a n d their political a u t o n o m y w a s to be virtually at an end. T h e reasons for this loss of freedom deserve careful study, as every loss of freedom does. O n e reason was the military genius a n d political shrewdness of Philip of M a c e d o n . Pioneering in the devices later used by m a n y dictators, he first c r e a t e d a superb fighting force, p r o u d of its tactical skill and fanatically loyal to him. T h e n he used this a r m y to c o n q u e r small neighboring states, including a gold-mining area which provided useful revenues for his military and diplomatic ventures. His next step was to w e a k e n in every possible w a y the will to resist in the m o r e i m p o r t a n t states to the south, especially A t h e n s a n d T h e b e s . H e was friendly to the businessmen ( " Y o u can d o business with P h i l i p " ) ; h e assured the war-weary political leaders that he h a d n o further aggressive designs; h e craftily suggested the possibility of eventually c o n q u e r i n g their ancient e n e m y , Persia; a n d to c r o w n it all he drew on his copious treasury for outright bribes w h e n that m e t h o d was likely to be effective. A n equally i m p o r t a n t reason was t h e susceptibility of t h e free states t o such strategy. T h e y h a d so exhausted themselves by constant wars, and individualism h a d so far supplanted the civic responsibility of the earlier days, that the m o r a l e for resistance was at a low e b b . F u r t h e r m o r e , Philip's ability was so obvious a n d hi-? claims 70
  • T H E DISPERSION: THE SETTING 71 seemed so p r a i s e w o r t h y that m a n y patriotic citizens genuinely believed that in his leadership lay their best h o p e for G r e e k unity, progress, a n d peace. So it is n o t surprising that w h e n Philip struck d e cisively the resistance at last organized, but m u c h too little and too late, was ineffective. After his victory at C h a e r o n e a , Philip adopted a fairly lenient policy t o w a r d the G r e e k cities; but M a c e d o n i a n s u p r e m a c y was soon m a d e most explicit by A l e x a n d e r the G r e a t . A s A l e x a n d e r p r o c e e d e d to extend his c o n q u e s t s to distant, n o n - G r e e k lands, he was an a r d e n t cultural missionary as well as a military victor. T h e instruction which h e h a d received in his teens from Aristotle h a d developed in him intellectual interests which b o r e fruit in the colonies of G r e e k s which he established as his armies m o v e d eastward t o w a r d I n d i a ; a n d the influence of these G r e e k institutions, ideas, a n d art lingered a n d spread t h e r e long after A l e x a n d e r ' s d e a t h spelled the disappearance of G r e e k military a n d political c o n t r o l . T h e Hellenistic A g e . T h e period from the death of A l e x a n d e r the G r e a t ( 3 2 3 ) to the c o n q u e s t of G r e e c e by R o m e , s o m e 2 0 0 years later, is k n o w n as t h e Hellenistic Age. A l e x a n d e r ' s e m p i r e was split into three parts, with centers in M a c e d o n i a , Asia M i n o r , a n d E g y p t . A l o n g with the loss of political i n d e p e n d e n c e there w e r e o t h e r distinctive characteristics of the Hellenistic period. E l e m e n t s of G r e e k culture were extended to m a n y areas w h e r e they h a d either previously not p e n e t r a t e d or h a d not been so influential. A new e m p h a s i s w a s put on private enterprise, s h o w n in increasing specialization; notably at A l e x a n d r i a , a great university c e n t e r developed specialized research in m a n y fields, literary as well as scientific. T h e c o m e d y of m a n n e r s of M e n a n d e r ( 3 4 2 - 2 9 1 ) s u p p l a n t e d the c o m e d y based o n c o m m u n i t y p r o b l e m s of the G r e a t A g e , a n d tragedy gave way to r o m a n t i c verse a n d fiction. T h e r e w a s a g r e a t e r c o n c e r n with practical science. M a n y cults arose, religious, philosophical, a n d aesthetic; and there was a g r o w t h of skepticism a n d a sense of futility. M e n were losing their c o n fidence in the rational control of themselves a n d of society. T h e R o m a n C o n q u e s t . T h i s process was c o n t i n u e d
  • 72 T H E GREEK MIND after the conquest of G r e e c e by R o m e . H e n c e f o r t h , G r e e k c u l t u r e followed the R o m a n legions as it h a d previously followed A l e x a n d e r ' s a r m y ; for a l t h o u g h R o m e achieved a military victory over G r e e c e , G r e e c e was the cultural c o n q u e r o r of R o m e . W e a l t h y R o m a n s sent their sons to A t h e n s for their liberal e d u c a t i o n ; G r e e k t e a c h e r s and artists were in d e m a n d in Italy; a n d G r e e k literature a n d art, philosophy and religion, w e r e adopted by the R o m a n s . T h e seeds from the a n c i e n t tree of G r e e c e were scattered to the four w i n d s , to sprout to n e w life all over the world. So it is not a c c u r a t e to call the Hellenistic culture " d e c a d e n t " ; it w a s a process, not of dying, but of dispersion, which stimulated n e w g r o w t h w h e r e v e r it went.
  • THE DISPERSION: MAN, NATURE, AND GOD T h e Stoics. A m o n g the p o p u l a r philosophies which sought to c o m p e n s a t e for the loss of political liberty a n d give people self-confidence and c o u r a g e in the face of adversity, the chief o n e was Stoicism. It derived m a n y of its tenets from the principles of the earlier idealistic philosophers. T h e pioneer Stoic ( t h e n a m e c o m e s from t h e covered p o r c h -stoain which he t a u g h t ) w a s Z e n o of A t h e n s ( c . 2 7 0 ) . Its interpretation of the world is seen in the eloquent Hymn to Zeus by C l e a n t h e s ( 3 3 1 - 2 3 2 ) (see Reading No. 18a). a n d in the Discourses a n d Manual of Epictetus ( c . 8 0 A.D.) a slave at t h e c o u r t of N e r o . (See Reading No. 18b.) A c c o r d i n g to their philosophy, the world is controlled by o m n i p o t e n t and perfect Universal R e a s o n . Men therefore live in a morally planned universe, in which they have their role to play, a n d a noble role, since they have within t h e m selves p a r t of the divine element; their role is to recognize a n d live in a c c o r d a n c e with this guiding principle of N a t u r e . In their attempt to define the principle in physical as well as m o r a l terms, the Stoics contrived some bizarre explanations of cyclical cosmic conflagrations; but their real c o n c e r n was not with physical but with m o r a l interpretations of the world. In their m o r a l interpretation they accepted the fact that evil exists. H o w can that be, if an o m n i p o t e n t and utterly virtuous Reason governs the world? T h e i r explanation (which was to be repeated in m a n y later times by theologians) was that the perfect plan includes giving m e n some freedom of choice; only by exercising such 73
  • 74 T H E GREEK MIND freedom can moral strength b e attained. So m e n m a y live reasonably, but they m a y choose instead to indulge in the spurious satisfactions of wealth, prestige, a n d sensual pleasure. Such choice is e r r o r ; and the e r r o r is evil. But even that evil is part of a perfect universal design, which the Stoics praised with religious fervor. E p i c u r u s . T h e most i m p o r t a n t rival of Stoicism as a p o p u l a r philosophy was E p i c u r e a n i s m , founded by Epic u r u s ( 3 4 1 - 2 7 0 ) , w h o spent most of his life in A t h e n s at his school, which was called the G a r d e n . E p i c u r u s adopted the atomic theory of L e u c i p p u s and D e m o c r i t u s . H e declared that nothing exists except a t o m s m o v i n g in e m p t y space; a property of the a t o m s is an occasional swerve, which results in new and unpredictable patterns. So the universe c a n n o t be regarded as planned or even mechanistically regular; the element of luck plays an i m p o r t a n t part in it. T h e h u m a n mind, he said, is m a d e up of very fine a t o m s , which are dispersed when death o c c u r s . So there is n o personal immortality. A s for the gods, according to E p i c u r u s they exist as c o m b i n a t i o n s of very fine a t o m s , but they have their o w n far-off world w h e r e they enjoy themselves, a n d have n o c o n c e r n whatever with h u m a n affairs. (See Reading No. 19.) Sense perception is the only basis of k n o w l e d g e ; e r r o r c o m e s t h r o u g h reason r a t h e r than t h r o u g h the senses. Sense perception is true because "effluences" shed from m a terial objects actually e n t e r o u r senses a n d form correct images there. Skeptics. T o an increasing n u m b e r of critical m e n even the consolations offered by Stoics and E p i c u r e a n s seemed self-deception; they found their chief satisfaction in skepticism. T h e lead in this attitude was taken by the C y n i c (a "dog's life") philosopher Diogenes (c. 4 0 0 3 2 5 ) in Athens, noted for the pithy sarcasm with which h e pilloried pretention and superstition. (See Reading No. 20a.) A c c o r d i n g to his positive philosophy, h a p piness is to be gained by satisfying natural needs in the simplest way, thereby attaining serene self-sufficiency. A m u c h m o r e detailed a n d devastating criticism of p o p u lar beliefs regarding the gods and of m a n y aspects of h u m a n pretention was m a d e by Lucian ( c . 160 A.D.) a Syrian teacher of rhetoric, w h o wrote Dialogues of the
  • T H E DISPERSION: M A N , N A T U R E , AND GOD 75 Gods a n d The Gods in Council, showing their all-tooh u m a n attributes, the Sale of Creeds a n d various other d e b u n k i n g essays. (See Reading No. 20b.) A m o n g the professional philosophers in A t h e n s a g r o u p of Skeptics went to the ultimate point of declaring that nothing can be k n o w n . Arcesilaus ( c . 3 1 5 - 2 4 0 ) developed this theory in refutation of the Stoics' d o g m a t i c assertion of the claims of reason. A n o t h e r g r o u p , unable to accept t h e religious m y t h s as objectively true, but trying to salvage something of value from the fading O l y m p i a n religion, interpreted the gods as simply glorified heroes, to be r e g a r d e d as symbols of h u m a n qualities. T h i s interpretation was first m a d e by the Sicilian philosopher E u h e m e r u s in the fourth century, and the t h e o r y , which was to have considerable subsequent a c c e p t a n c e (including a revival of it by the C h u r c h F a t h e r s in the Middle Ages) w a s k n o w n as E u h e m e r i s m . Science. In the field of science, this was a period of creative achievement; specialization paid high divid e n d s . A m o n g the scientists interest h a d shifted from theories about the ultimate n a t u r e of the w o r l d — t h e o r i e s which seemed to have reached a dead e n d — t o the exact description of n a t u r e and of m e a n s of controlling it for practical purposes. Euclid ( c . 3 0 0 ) in his school in A l e x a n d r i a formulated with beautiful clarity and p r e cision axioms a n d propositions of g e o m e t r y which laid t h e foundations for further research in m a t h e m a t i c s , a s t r o n o m y , and engineering. H e also was a pioneer in g e o m e t r i c optics. (See Reading No. 21a.) Aristarchus of S a m o s ( c . 3 1 0 - 2 3 0 ) arrived at the heliocentric theory, a n d described the rotation of the e a r t h a r o u n d its o w n axis. E r a t o s t h e n e s of C y r e n e ( c . 2 7 5 - 1 9 4 ) , head of the Library at A l e x a n d r i a , figured out the circumference of t h e e a r t h close to the actual figure, a n d calculated the size a n d distance of the sun a n d m o o n ; h e was also the first systematic physical a n d ethnological g e o g r a p h e r . But t h e greatest scientific m i n d in the Hellenistic period, and for that m a t t e r o n e of the greatest in history, w a s A r c h i m e d e s ( c . 2 8 7 - 2 1 2 ) of Syracuse. A m o n g m a n y m a t h e m a t i c a l formulations which h e m a d e (including operations of the type of the integral c a l c u l u s ) , the most i m p o r t a n t were in solid geometry a n d hydrostatics. (See
  • 76 T H E GREEK MIND Reading No. 21b.) H e invented the w a t e r screw, discovered the principle of moving a great weight by a small force, a n d by an arithmetical process discovered the upper a n d lower limits to - (3 1/7 and 3 1 0 / 7 1 ) .
  • — 12 THE DISPERSION: MAN AND SOCIETY Stoics a n d E p i c u r e a n s . In this time of political a p a t h y a n d of flourishing specialization a n d individualism, c o m m u n i t y obligations of the earlier period seemed far from i m p o r t a n t to most p e o p l e ; the sense of public enterprise was fading out of t h e p i c t u r e . Of the two great p o p u l a r philosophies, E p i c u r e a n i s m frankly dismissed the m a t t e r with a s h r u g ; all that shall c o n c e r n us, it said, is individual happiness, a n d that is to be gained by ridding oneself of all fear a n d by choosing for o n e self the qualitatively best a n d m o s t e n d u r i n g pleasures. Political a n d social ambition a r e to be s h u n n e d as deterents to happiness. Incidentally, in E p i c u r u s ' school for the first time w o m e n were a d m i t t e d as m e m b e r s . T h e Stoics, o n the other h a n d , a l t h o u g h they h a d somewhat the same aim as the E p i c u r e a n s — t h e achievem e n t of a basic serenity a n d self-sufficiency—projected their notion of a divine plan governing the universe to h u m a n society. Since all m e n share in Universal R e a s o n , they are therefore b r o t h e r s , they are fellow-citizens in the c o m m o n w e a l t h of the world, a n d have a duty to play that part well. But in practice n o such obligations could be allowed to disturb one's serenity of m i n d ; n o o u t w a r d c i r c u m s t a n c e was regarded as w o r t h worrying a b o u t . So even the Stoic's very real sense of duty a n d c o m m u n i t y responsibility was subservient to w h a t he called his individual m o r a l freedom; and he could not be counted on to wage a very d e t e r m i n e d battle against injustice w h e n he believed that n o external c i r c u m s t a n c e was really i m p o r t a n t . (See Reading Nos. 18 and 19.) 11 :
  • THE DISPERSION: FOREIGN RELATIONS T h e F u t i l e Opposition to D i c t a t o r s h i p . T h e period between the collapse of the A t h e n i a n E m p i r e a n d the conquest of G r e e c e by M a c e d o n was politically a dreary o n e , of t e m p o r a r y h e g e m o n y first by Sparta a n d then by T h e b e s , and of shifting p a t t e r n s of alliance. A t h e n s occasionally tried to unite various G r e e k states into a coalition; but the G r e e k people were war-weary and the prevailing m o o d was o n e of private, not public, enterprise. Finally, however, facing the greatest threat since the Persian invasion, the i n d e p e n d e n t city-states had to m a k e the fateful decision w h e t h e r to accept the rule of Philip of M a c e d o n or attempt resistance. T w o parties developed in Athens, one for a p p e a s e m e n t , the other for resistance. T h e resistance m o v e m e n t was led by D e mosthenes ( 3 8 4 - 3 2 2 ) , w h o used his genius as a public speaker to urge A t h e n s a n d the o t h e r free states of G r e e c e to oppose Philip, calling him a tyrant w h o would reduce t h e m to slavery. O p p o s i n g him were various groups; some refused to take Philip's designs seriously, others t h o u g h t their business interests would be as successful with Philip as ruler as u n d e r a d e m o c r a t i c regime, a n d m a n y patriotic citizens, including s o m e of the leading e d u c a t o r s and politicians, were convinced that the day of the city-state was past, a n d A t h e n s might better c o m e to as a d v a n t a g e o u s terms as possible with a general as powerful and able as Philip, thus b e c o m i n g part of a united G r e e c e at p e a c e , able to defend itself against any aggressor, a n d even take the initiative against Persia. 78
  • T H E DISPERSION: FOREIGN RELATIONS 79 D e m o s t h e n e s in his Philippics presented the case effectively against Philip and Philip's supporters. Recognizing the ability a n d military p o w e r of Philip a n d the shortcomings of the A t h e n i a n d e m o c r a c y , he, nevertheless, claimed that the A t h e n i a n principles of g o v e r n m e n t a n d c h a r a c t e r were vastly s u p e r i o r to those of Philip, a n d h e urged the A t h e n i a n s to strengthen their a r m e d forces, enter into effective alliances with other free states, go to the assistance of cities attacked by Philip, and, above all, revive the patriotic spirit of the earlier days. H i s fervent sincerity and oratorical skill finally m o v e d A t h e n s to action, but w h a t she did was too little a n d too late. P e r h a p s D e m o s t h e n e s ' o p p o n e n t s were right in claiming that he was advocating a cause b o u n d to be lost, that t h e r e was no future for i n d e p e n d e n t small states, a n d t h a t unification of the G r e e k world u n d e r a powerful ruler was desirable as well as inevitable. Obviously, D e m o s t h e n e s overestimated the resources, material a n d spiritual, of A t h e n s , a n d exaggerated t h e malignity of Philip, w h o in fact h a d great respect for A t h e n i a n cult u r e . P e r h a p s a really effective alliance of G r e e k states w a s impossible. Yet, in leading his resistance D e m o s thenes was true to the finest G r e e k t r a d i t i o n s : those of self-respecting freedom and of political responsibility. A n d after the city-states h a d fallen u n d e r dictatorial control, even t h o u g h their traditional culture w a s extended to distant lands by A l e x a n d e r the G r e a t , the spirit which h a d created that culture was, as D e m o s t h e n e s foretold, incurably w o u n d e d . (See Reading No. 22.) F e d e r a l U n i o n . It is a p p a r e n t that as the o u t s t a n d ing virtue of the G r e e k s was their love of freedom, their o u t s t a n d i n g weakness was the inability of the city-states to engage in constructive cooperation. T h e r e w e r e , h o w ever, several defensive alliances, a n d a few attempts at federal union. T h e most promising w a s the Delian L e a g u e , until A t h e n s converted it into h e r E m p i r e . A m o n g other federations the most ably organized and directed was the A c h a e a n League, an association of cities in s o u t h e r n G r e e c e . Its d o u b l e aim w a s to g u a r a n t e e its m e m b e r s local a u t o n o m y and security from external aggression. T o this end a L e a g u e a r m y , courts, and currency were adopted, and c o m m o n policies were decided
  • 80 T H E GREEK MIND by a Council which included representatives elected annually from all the m e m b e r cities. A chief executive officer was also elected annually. T h e ablest leader of the League was G e n e r a l A r a t u s ( 2 7 1 - 2 1 3 ) , d e m o c r a t i c king of Sicyon, but even his political skill was unable to m a k e the union effective when it c a m e face to face with t h e vastly superior military p o w e r of M a c e d o n . T h e historian of the L e a g u e , Polybius ( 2 1 0 - 1 2 8 ) , although he later served as a R o m a n official and a p p r o v e d of R o m a n rule, paid sincere tribute to this valiant a t t e m p t to m a k e interstate cooperation a reality. T h e fact that such a federal union succeeded as m u c h a n d as long as it did is a tribute to the G r e e k m i n d . (See Reading No. 23.)
  • — 14 — THE DISPERSION: INDIVIDUAL VALUES Hellenistic Art. In the art of this period the values cherished by people in the sophisticated u r b a n centers arc very clearly indicated. T h e previous c o m m u n i t y sponsorship gave way largely to art regarded as a m e a n s for personal display a n d a source of satisfaction to the individual collector. Stylistically it m i r r o r e d the specialization, the eclectic variety, and the tendency toward exaggeration of the time. W h e n wealthy cities like P e r g a m o n a n d Miletus erected civic centers it was o n a spectacular scale, with buildings of various styles g r o u p e d for an o v e r w h e l m i n g effect of great stairways, forests of c o l u m n s , and pretentious sculptural d e c o r a t i o n . T h e severe D o r i c style went o u t of fashion; the Ionic b e c a m e m o r e intricate in its details, though less subtly c a r v e d ; and the florid C o r i n t h i a n style c a m e into the favor which it was to enjoy in the later history of E u r o p e . But the chief c h a n g e w a s in the attention given to luxurious private h o m e s . In earlier times even the houses of wealthy m e n h a d been quite modest, but n o w architects spent m u c h of their effort o n devising comforts a n d displays for such h o m e s . In sculpture the three tendencies which began in the late fourth c e n t u r y : realism, r o m a n t i c impressionism, and d r a m a t i c exaggeration, were further developed by sculptors w h o had learned h o w to use every technical device to achieve the effects they desired. S o m e of them studied a n d pictured a n a t o m y with scientific a c c u r a c y ; others noted the most delicate transitions of the play of light a n d shade across lovely bodies, a n d recorded 81
  • 82 T H E GREEK MIND evanescent and transitory c h a r m ; others pictured scenes of i m p e t u o u s violence, as in the conflict of gods a n d giants on the G r e a t Altar of Zeus at P c r g a m o n a n d the group influenced by it, the famous L a o c o o n . But regardless of subject or technique, the clarity of design and serenity of m o o d of the earlier sculpture w e r e usually regarded as o u t m o d e d . A n d most of the sculpture was n o w commissioned by wealthy p a t r o n s for their personal enjoyment instead of by cities for public projects. T h e previous w h o l e h e a r t e d cooperation between the artist and his c o m m u n i t y had b e c o m e converted into a pattern of private p a t r o n a g e . Vases showed a similar evolution. T h e centers of pottery m a n u f a c t u r e , n o w in S o u t h e r n Italy, p r o d u c e d w a r e which emphasized bizarre o r n a m e n t a t i o n a n d casually complex paintings instead of good basic design in the shapes a n d illustrations. Refuge in P h i l o s o p h y a n d Religion. T h e Hellenistic age was an age of the individual, but the individual without the political o p p o r t u n i t y and responsibility that were formerly so d e a r to h i m , a n d without m u c h faith in the traditional religion. W h e r e , then, were a s s u r a n c e and happiness to be found? T o this question Epicureanism and Stoicism, the two great philosophies, had answers which gave perplexed a n d frustrated people some m e a s u r e of emotional security a n d peace of m i n d . T h e E p i c u r e a n formula was this: first, get rid of fear, especially fear of the gods and of d e a t h , since neither c o n c e r n m e n ; the gods pay n o attention to t h e m , a n d there is n o life after d e a t h to w o r r y a b o u t . T h e next step is to reduce wants to those that can be readily satisfied, and to avoid all circumstances which might c a u s e mental distress. Positively o n e should seek w h a t e v e r pleasure of high quality and long d u r a t i o n c h a n c e permits one to have. In this w a y the individual will attain the serenity of mind a n d satisfaction of the senses which constitute true happiness. T h e Stoics also sought freedom from fear; but they found it by having faith in Divine P r o v i d e n c e a n d by ridding themselves of d e p e n d e n c e o n anything except that Providence a n d their o w n m o r a l will. T h e y recognized that there are m a n y calamities which afflict m a n -
  • T H E DISPERSION: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 83 kind a n d which a brave m a n c a n n o t seek to escape; b u t h e can e n d u r e t h e m , even rejoice in rising superior to t h e m , if h e refuses to be affected by anything external to himself. A n d what is external? His p r o p e r t y , his family a n d friends, his reputation, his health, even his life, are in the p o w e r of other p e o p l e ; if he d e p e n d s on such things h e is b o u n d to be miserable. Only his o w n mind a n d m o r a l will are in his o w n control. By exercising them he not only can o v e r c o m e every c i r c u m s t a n c e , but also can feel the s u p r e m e happiness of being p a r t of U n i versal R e a s o n . So, by a r o u t e other than the E p i c u r e a n o n e , the Stoic also arrived at the goal of self-sufficiency a n d freedom from fear. It was a m o r e rugged r o u t e , a n d along it the Stoic did not hesitate to e n g a g e with difficulties and dangers that the E p i c u r e a n blandly avoided; but b o t h found in their philosophy a similar assurance of some value in living. (See Readings Nos. 18 and 19.) F o r less philosophically minded people there w a s widespread refuge in religious cults of the mystery type, some imported from Asia M i n o r , a n d in reliance u p o n astrology a n d magical rites. Refuge in S e n t i m e n t . H o w e v e r , there w e r e other avenues of escape from the perplexing d i l e m m a s of life. O n e was offered by poets, in voicing the enjoyments of n a t u r e , friendship, and love. In the Greek Anthology there are h u n d r e d of little p o e m s , s o m e of t h e valentine type, s o m e literary tours de force, s o m e tender and wistful, on those t h e m e s . (See Reading No. 24c.) T h e first such anthology w a s published by the poet Melcager about 9 0 B.C. In it he included m o r e t h a n o n e h u n d r e d of his o w n e p i g r a m s and presented it to his sweetheart, H e l i o d o r a , ascribing to the various poets characteristic flowers ( h e n c e the n a m e " A n t h o l o g y , " " A Collection of F l o w e r s " ) . Of S a p p h o , for instance, there w e r e only a few, he said, but "every one was a rose." In later periods m u c h larger collections of such G r e e k p o e m s w e r e m a d e , covering a wide range of subjects, in B y z a n t i u m in the sixth, tenth, and fourteenth centuries A.D. A m o n g the ablest of t h e A l e x a n d r i a n poets was C a l l i m a c h u s ( c . 3 0 5 - c . 2 4 0 ) , w h o held a post in the f a m o u s L i b r a r y of Alexandria. In periods of u r b a n sophistication there has often de-
  • 84 T H E GREEK MIND veloped nostalgia for t h e healthy physical life a n d serenity of m i n d presumably found in the c o u n t r y . Such was the emotional refuge that Vergil provided for R o m e , Robert B u r n s for E d i n b u r g h , and R o b e r t F r o s t for Boston. In A l e x a n d r i a , the Sicilian poet T h e o c r i t u s ( c . 2 7 0 ) b r o u g h t this back-to-nature freshness to the jaded senses of u r b a n society. H e developed in his Idylls the pastoral form of poetry, wherein s h e p h e r d s and goatherds, resting in a spot of shade in a Sicilian landscape d r e n c h e d in sunshine, vied with each other in various sorts of songs, including the laments which w e r e to furnish a pattern for such English p o e m s as Milton's Lycidas a n d Shelley's Adonais. H e also did a series of d r a m a t i c m o n o l o g u e s : a love-sick girl p e r f o r m s a p r i m i tive hexing ritual by moonlight in a frantic effort to m a k e her apathetic lover return; two Syracusan w o m e n gossip freely and frankly as they go t o g e t h e r to t h e festival of A d o n i s at Ptolemy's palace. T h e r e is a genial h u m o r in m a n y of his p o e m s , notably two in which the ugly C y clops, P o l y p h e m u s , is pictured naively in love with G a l a tea, a friskily teasing s e a - n y m p h . T e n d e r feeling c h a r a c terizes such Idylls as the one telling h o w the n y m p h s of a spring fell in love with the lad H y l a s a n d dragged him d o w n to his d e a t h , a n d the tribute which the reaper Bucaeus sang to his sweetheart. (See Reading Nos. 24a, b.) T h e o c r i t u s ' followers, Bion a n d M o s c h u s , treated similar t h e m e s in a m o r e florid and sentimental fashion; but in T h e o c r i t u s ' p o e m s there is always, in addition to r o m a n t i c c h a r m , a sturdy vigor representative of the c o u n t r y s i d e he loved so well, providing a tonic needed by restless and distracted people in the Hellenistic cities. Refuge in Satire. As is usually true in times of depression a n d "failure of n e r v e , " spotting other people's faults gave satisfaction to m a n y a u t h o r s a n d their public. A s early as the fourth c e n t u r y , T h e o p h r a s t u s ( c . 3 7 0 c. 2 8 5 ) h a d in his Characters pictured with devastating precision certain types of h u m a n pests, such as the boor, the busybody, a n d the suspicious m a n . (See Reading No. 25a.) L u c i a n satirized mercilessly both gods a n d men. E p i g r a m s critical of various professions b e c a m e p o p u l a r ; t h e foibles of doctors, lawyers, teachers, a n d athletes
  • T H E DISPERSION: INDIVIDUAL VALUES 85 w e r e pinpointed in caustic phrases. (See Reading No. 25b.) Refuge in Pessimism. Finally, in this time of e m o tional and intellectual frustration, the ultimate cult a r o s e : t h a t of futility, the fin-de-siecle weariness with life itself which c o n t i n u e d in the survival of G r e e k c u l t u r e in B y z a n t i u m . T h e Greek Anthology gives in h u n d r e d s of beautifully turned e p i g r a m s the sense that life h a s n o m e a n i n g ; there is n o joy in the present a n d n o h o p e for the future. (See Reading No. 25c.) So did some G r e e k s write for their c u l t u r e an undeserved epitaph; for having lived a long a n d useful life in its original e n v i r o n m e n t , it was destined to live o n , in far-off lands, woven into the stuff of later m e n ' s lives. W h y t h e D e c l i n e ? T h e reasons for the decline of creative G r e e k c u l t u r e have long since been implicit in this a c c o u n t , b u t p e r h a p s a final s u m m a r y m a y be useful. T h e c o m p l e x situation defies a n y simple explanation; as m a n y factors c o n t r i b u t e to the creation of a culture, so d o m a n y a c c o u n t for its weakening vitality. T h e theory has been a d v a n c e d that civilizations, like individuals, by a kind of natural process have periods of y o u t h , maturity, old age, a n d d e a t h ; but there are m o r e plausible explanations t h a n this. Certainly the loss of political liberty played a large p a r t . Overspecialization led to less social unity a n d drive. T h e partial d e p e n d e n c e o n slave labor was responsible for lack of initiative with regard to technological a n d industrial experimentation. H u m a n resources had been depleted by m a n y wars. M o r a l standards had declined as civic responsibility a n d religious faith lessened. But certainly o n e of the chief reasons was the shattering of m o r a l e as individuals faced the c o m plexities of u r b a n living a n d a range of n e w knowledge so vast that its integration into a c o h e r e n t a n d satisfactory philosophy of life seemed well-nigh impossible. In the face of this situation people were t e m p t e d to retreat from the a t t e m p t to u n d e r s t a n d a n d rationally control their lives. T h e y found it far easier, as E. R. D o d d s h a s said, to take "unconscious flight from the heavy b u r d e n s of individual choice which an o p e n society lays u p o n its m e m b e r s " and cast their intellectual a n d e m o -
  • 86 T H E GREEK MIND tional b u r d e n s o n some absolute ruler, some priest, o r some other leader w h o was willing or eager to accept the responsibility—and the power. W h a t e v e r the intricate w e b of causation, the civilization w a s tired. Escapism b e c a m e the order of the d a y : refuge was sought in one's h o m e , one's profession, social clubs, artistic circles, mystical cults, o r in sheer a p a t h y or despair. But the final w o r d is not o n e of despair. F o r t h e ideas created by the G r e e k m i n d at its best have c o n t i n u e d ever since to stimulate the thinking of m e n a n d their confidence in the p o w e r a n d beauty of h u m a n reason.
  • Part I SELECTED READINGS FROM GREEK BOOKS
  • — Reading No. 1 — TRADITIONAL RELIGION 1 About 750 the farmer-poet Hesiod recorded traditional accounts of the creation and evolution of divine powers. In Homer's Odyssey the Olympian gods are pictured as directing human affairs, and when Odysseus talks with Achilles in the realm of Hades, Achilles expresses the generally accepted view of the after-life. Release from present suffering and a happy immortality were promised those initiated into the mystery cult of Dionysus, praised by his followers in Euripides' Bacchae. i i a. HESIOD: 1 Theogony In the beginning was C h a o s , and next b r o a d - b o s o m e d E a r t h . F r o m C h a o s c a m e E r e b u s a n d black Night, a n d of N i g h t a n d E r e b u s were b o r n Air a n d D a y . A n d E a r t h b o r e t h e starry H e a v e n to c o v e r h e r a n d b e c o m e the h o m e of the blessed gods. She also b o r e the unharvested sea. L a t e r to E a r t h and H e a v e n was b o r n C r o n o s (father of Z e u s ) , the c u n n i n g youngest a n d most fearful of her brood. b . HESIOD: Works and Days T h e i m m o r t a l gods are close to men and observe those w h o with unjust judgments grind their fellowmen d o w n , heedless of the gods' w r a t h . F o r countless i m m o r t a l s walk upon the b o u n t e o u s earth and n o t e m e n ' s cruel deeds 3 All dates are B.C. unless otherwise specified. 89
  • T H E GREEK 90 MIND and judgments. A n d Justice, Zeus' d a u g h t e r , glorious and revered a m o n g the O l y m p i a n gods, also keeps watch. c. H O M E R : Odyssey I After the w a r at T r o y all the other heroes w h o h a d escaped death in battle or at sea returned h o m e . But Odysseus h a d not r e t u r n e d , although he was longing for his h o m e and his wife. A n d even when the time c a m e that had been set by the gods for his return to Ithaca, h e still was not over his troubles. All the gods except Poseidon felt sorry for him, but the lord of the sea never ceased being violently angry against Odysseus. N o w the rest of the gods ( P o s e i d o n was away visiting the Ethiopians) were gathered in the palace of O l y m p i a n Zeus, w h e r e the father of gods and m e n began to address t h e m . T h i n k i n g of the h e r o Aegisthus. w h o m A g a m e m n o n ' s son Orestes had killed, he said, "See h o w mortals b l a m e the gods, saying their troubles c o m e from us, when actually their own folly brings worse troubles on them than fate ever planned. Aegisthus over-reached himself when he b e c a m e the lover of A g a m e m n o n ' s wife and killed A g a m e m n o n on the day of his return h o m e from T r o y . Aegisthus was well a w a r e of the fact that he would die for it, for we had sent H e r m e s to w a r n him. 'Vengeance will c o m e , ' H e r m e s said, 'from Orestes when he grows up and longs to return to his o w n c o u n try!' But H e r m e s ' w a r n i n g did not restrain Aegisthus, and now he has paid the p e n a l t y . " T h e n gleaming-eyed A t h e n a said, " F a t h e r , lord of lords, it was right that Aegisthus died. M a y every one die w h o acts as he did. But I am h e a r t b r o k e n as I think of Odysseus, so resourceful yet so u n l u c k y . F o r a long time he has e n d u r e d all sorts of misfortunes, exiled from kith and kin, o n a wave-wracked island, Calypso's h o m e . She keeps the p o o r m a n from going on his way, trying to beguile him with clever talk so that he will forget Ithaca. But Odysseus wishes only to see the smoke rising from his o w n h o m e . O Ruler of O l y m p u s , I a m a m a z e d that you c a r e nothing about h i m . W e r e n ' t you satisfied with the sacrifices h e m a d e to you on the plain of T r o y ? " Cloud-gatherer Zeus a n s w e r e d her, " M y child, w h a t a
  • TRADITIONAL RELIGION 91 w a y to talk! H o w could I forget noble Odysseus, w h o surpasses other m e n in insight as well as in offerings to the gods? It is Poseidon w h o hates him, because Odysseus blinded Poseidon's son, the Cyclops P o l y p h e m u s . E v e r since that h a p p e n e d Poseidon has prevented Odysseus from r e t u r n i n g to his ancestral h o m e . But c o m e n o w , let us all plan for his r e t u r n . Poseidon will eventually get over his anger, h e c a n n o t o p p o s e the o t h e r gods all by himself." T h e n A t h e n a said, " F a t h e r , lord of lords, if the blessed gods really wish Odysseus to r e t u r n h o m e , let us call H e r m e s and p r o m p t l y send him to Calypso's island, to tell the fair-haired n y m p h of o u r fixed p u r p o s e to set long-suffering Odysseus on his way h o m e . A s for myself, I shall go to I t h a c a to a r o u s e his son a n d e n c o u r a g e him to speak boldly to all those suitors for his m o t h e r ' s h a n d . A n d I shall send him to sandy Pylos a n d Sparta, to ask those h e meets for news of his father." d. H O M E R : Odyssey XI N e x t c a m e the ghost of Achilles. H e recognized m e , a n d wept. " N o b l e son of Laertes, ingenious O d y s s e u s , " h e said, " w h y d o you plan still crazier adventures? H o w c o u l d you think of c o m i n g d o w n h e r e to H a d e s , w h e r e only ghosts dwell, the m e r e s h a d o w s of m e n w h o m life wore out?" I a n s w e r e d , "Achilles, mightiest of the A c h a e a n warriors, I c a m e to learn from the seer Tiresias h o w to get b a c k to rocky I t h a c a . So long I h a v e been away, with m i s f o r t u n e always plaguing m e . But you, Achilles, I consider the happiest m a n w h o has been or ever will be. W h i l e you were still alive we all h o n o r e d you as if you w e r e a god, a n d n o w in H a d e s ' realm you are a prince a m o n g the d e a d . T o y o u , Achilles, death can be n o disaster." T o that h e replied, " D o n ' t talk lightly to m e of d e a t h , n o b l e Odysseus. I had r a t h e r w o r k o n e a r t h as a hired h a n d for a poverty-stricken farmer t h a n be king of all the ghosts down h e r e . "
  • THE GREEK 92 e. E U R I P I D E S : MIND Bacchae PRIEST. YOU deride this new god, O king, but I c a n n o t find w o r d s to describe his greatness. F o r there are two chief p o w e r s a m o n g m e n . O n e is D e m e t e r , the E a r t h , by whatever n a m e you want to call her; she nourishes m a n k i n d with dry food. T h e o t h e r is Dionysus, w h o discovered the flowing vine and gave it to m e n to end their long-suffered grief and bring the sleep which lets them forget their cares. CHORUS. O u r god Dionysus, son of Zeus, loves Peace, bestower of prosperity and nursing m o t h e r of y o u t h . Equally to rich and poor h e grants his bounty, the joy of wine that puts an end to grief . . . T h e world's wise, over-ambitious for knowledge, are not really wise, and their time is brief . . . W h a t is wisdom, or what m o r e precious prize have m e n from the gods than t h i s — t o be victorious over their foes a n d a d o r e beauty forever? . . . H a p p y the m a n w h o knows the sacred mysteries, w h o is p u r e of life, a n d whose spirit is inspired by holy revels. — Reading No. 2 — PIONEER SCIENTISTS Later histories of philosophy, such as Aristotle's survey in the Metaphysics, include the following fragments from the writings of the physical philosophers or summaries of their ideas. i i i
  • PIONEER SCIENTISTS 93 XENOPHANES H o m e r a n d Hesiod have described the gods as doing all sorts of things that are shameful a n d disgraceful a m o n g m e n . A n d m e n believe that the gods are b o r n like t h e m , w e a r clothes like t h e m , a n d have h u m a n voice a n d shape. But if oxen and horses had h a n d s and could p r o d u c e w o r k s of art as m e n do, they would m a k e their gods in their o w n image; E t h i o p i a n s d o m a k e their gods black a n d snub-nosed, the T h r a c i a n s m a k e theirs with blue eyes and red hair. Actually there is o n e god, like m e n neither in form nor way of thinking, w h o sees, thinks, a n d hears in t e r m s of the whole, a n d himself, eternally u n m o v i n g , sets all things in motion by his t h o u g h t . . . T h e sea and e a r t h were once o n e . Evid e n c e of this is the discovery of shells on the m a i n l a n d in m o u n t a i n rock. THALES M o s t of the earliest philosophers believed that things originate in some kind of m a t t e r . Thales, the first to state this belief, t h o u g h t that this elemental m a t t e r was water. H e was also said to be the first to study the heavens a n d predict eclipses. ANAXIMINES T h e elemental material, o n e a n d unlimited, is air, which varies in density and thinness as it changes its form; when rarefied it becomes fire, when condensed it becomes successively cloud, water, earth, a n d stone. M o tion is eternal, and t h r o u g h motion all these changes take place. HERACLITUS T h i s world, created by n o god or m a n , w a s , is, and ever wili be an u n d y i n g fire, kindling a n d extinguishing itself a c c o r d i n g to a pattern.
  • 94 T H E GREEK MIND E v e r y t h i n g is in m o t i o n , nothing stays still; y o u c a n not step twice into the same river. Conflict is universal, a n d justice consists of strife; t h r o u g h strife all things c o m e into existence and d i s a p pear. A thing which includes strife is at o n e with itself; h a r m o n y arises from opposing tensions, like those of t h e b o w a n d the lyre. G o d is d a y and night, winter a n d s u m m e r , w a r a n d peace, surfeit a n d h u n g e r . T h e sun will not overstep his limits; if h e does, t h e A v e n g e r s , servants of Justice, will t r a c k him d o w n . Knowledge of m a n y things does not t e a c h u n d e r standing. U n d e r s t a n d i n g is to k n o w the t h o u g h t by w h i c h all things are directed. All h u m a n laws are nourished by one divine law. THE PYTHAGOREANS I n n u m b e r they t h o u g h t they could see m a n y similarities to things which are a n d things which c o m e into being. F o r e x a m p l e , justice is an a r r a n g e m e n t of n u m ber, so is life, so is intelligence . . . T h e y c o n c l u d e d that the elements of n u m b e r are basic to everything; t h e h e a v e n s themselves are a h a r m o n y and a ratio. ANAXIM ANDER A n a x i m a n d e r says that m a n had his origin in a n i m a l s of a different species, for all other animals are able to feed themselves early in life, but the h u m a n child needs such a long period of nursing that he would not have survived in early times.
  • — Redding No. 3 — HEROIC VIRTUES The following passages from the Iliad and Odyssey picture the reckless daring of Achilles when he hears that his dearest friend, Patroclus, has been killed; the civic and family responsibility of the Trojan leader, Hector; and the hospitality offered the shipwrecked Odysseus by Princess Nausicaa, who has gone with her maids near the seashore to do the family washing. i i a. HOMER: Iliad i XVIII W h e n Achilles h e a r d of P a t r o c l u s ' death a cloud of grief fell u p o n him. H e p o u r e d handfuls of dust over his h e a d , disfiguring his h a n d s o m e face and lovely new t u n i c ; h e t h r e w himself on the g r o u n d , and in his a n g uish tore his hair. T h e captive w o m e n s c r e a m e d in grief a n d beat their breasts, bending toward the e a r t h in their sorrow. T h e n , as Achilles cried aloud, his m o t h e r , Thetis, h e a r d him as she was sitting in the depths of the sea beside her father, a n d she, t o o , started screaming, and the o t h e r s e a - n y m p h s joined her a n d beat their breasts a n d l a m e n t e d with her. " O h m y sisters," she cried, "listen to m y woe. S o r r o w , sorrow is m i n e . I bore the most glorious of all sons, I bore him to be h a n d s o m e a n d stalwart, a h e r o of heroes, a n d h e grew like a tree, I w a t c h e d over h i m as if he w e r e a precious plant. A n d then I sent him to T r o y to fight, but I shall never w e l c o m e him back to Pelcus' palace. W h i l e he lives to look on the sun h e is always in distress, and I c a n n o t help him. But all the s a m e I a m going to see m y darling and find out what grieves him n o w . H e has not been fighting lately, that I k n o w . " She left her cave-home a n d the o t h e r s e a - n y m p h s c a m e weeping after her, a n d the waves parted to m a k e their going easy. W h e n they arrived at the b o u n t e o u s T r o j a n plain they e m e r g e d from the sea w h e r e the ships 95
  • 96 T H E GREEK MIND of the M y r m i d o n s w e r e d r a w n up n e a r Achilles' tents. T h e n his m o t h e r w e n t to him as h e lay wailing on the g r o u n d , she caressed his head with her h a n d , and said, "Son, w h y d o you weep so? W h a t trouble has c o m e to you now? Tell m e , d o n ' t keep it a secret. Surely Zeus did what you prayed him to d o , when you asked to have the A c h a e a n s h e m m e d in at their ships until they realized h o w m u c h they need y o u . " Achilles g r o a n e d a n d replied, " M o t h e r , Zeus granted me that request, but what good has it d o n e m e , now that m y beloved c o m r a d e Patroclus is dead? H e was m o r e to me than a n y o t h e r friend, I loved him as m u c h as I d o life itself. N o w h e is gone forever, killed by H e c t o r . O h , how I wish that you h a d never m a r r i e d Peleus, but h e h a d taken instead a mortal w o m a n as his wife, for n o w you shall grieve o v e r the death of the son w h o m y o u shall never again w e l c o m e back h o m e . F o r I shall not live or c o m e a m o n g m e n unless H e c t o r falls by m y spear and pays by his o w n d e a t h for having killed P a t r o c l u s . " Thetis wept as she said, " T h e n , m y son, y o u r d e a t h , t o o , is near, for you k n o w it is due to c o m e soon after Hector's." "I wish I w e r e dead n o w , " said Achilles, "because I could not save m y friend. H e died far from his h o m e , a n d when h e needed m e I was not there to help. W h a t is left for m e ? I shall go after H e c t o r , and when I have killed him I shall await m y d o o m w h e n e v e r Zeus a n d the other gods care to send it. Until it c o m e s , I will win glory, and tears will flow d o w n the cheeks of the T r o jan w o m e n in grief over their m e n w h o have died in battle, and they will k n o w then that he w h o held b a c k from fighting will hold back n o longer. D o n ' t try to restrain m e out of y o u r love for me, for you shall not move m e . " b. H O M E R : Iliad VI H e c t o r h u r r i e d from his house t h r o u g h the streets tow a r d the Scaean gates, w h e r e he was just a b o u t to go into the plain w h e n his wife, A n d r o m a c h e , c a m e r u n ning to meet him. With her was the n u r s e , holding in
  • HEROIC VIRTUES 97 h e r a r m s H e c t o r ' s darling son, lovely as a star. H e c t o r had n a m e d him S c a m a n d r i o s , but all the peole called him A s t y a n a x ( " L o r d of the C i t y " ) , because H e c t o r alone was the g u a r d i a n of T r o y . T h e n H e c t o r smiled and silently gazed at the boy. A n d r o m a c h e stood by weeping, and put her hand on him . . . (She tries to prevail upon him to stay inside the city and direct its defense, instead of risking death by going out on the plain to fight.) N o b l e H e c t o r answered her, " M y dear, I, too, have t h o u g h t of everything you say. But I would b e a s h a m e d before the Trojan m e n and w o m e n if like a coward I w e r e to shirk battle. And m y o w n heart doesn't let m e d o it, for I have learned to be brave a n d to fight in the front r a n k s of the T r o j a n s , winning glory for m y father a n d myself. I k n o w well that the d a y will c o m e when holy T r o y shall perish, and with it Priam and his people. But it isn't the agony of the T r o j a n s that grieves m e , not even of m y mother, H e c u b a , or King P r i a m , or m y brothers, m a n y and brave, w h o will fall in the dust, as m u c h as y o u r bitter sorrow when some bronze-clad A c h a e a n shall lead you away a n d rob you of y o u r freed o m . M a y the earth be heaped over m y body before I hear y o u r cries as they c a r r y you a w a y into slavery." So spoke noble H e c t o r , and reached his a r m s out to his son. But the child s h r a n k back with a w h i m p e r into the a r m s of his nurse, afraid of the b r o n z e a r m o r a n d the horsehair crest nodding terribly on top of the helmet. H i s father and m o t h e r laughed, a n d H e c t o r took off his helmet and laid it on the g r o u n d . T h e n he kissed his son a n d dandled him in his a r m s and spoke in prayer, "Zeus a n d y e o t h e r gods, g r a n t that this son of m i n e m a y b e c o m e , like m e , o u t s t a n d i n g a m o n g the Trojans, as strong as I, a n d a mighty ruler of men. A n d m a y some one say of him as h e r e t u r n s from battle, ' H e is a m u c h better m a n than his father ever was.' M a y he bring back blood-stained spoils of victory, and m a k e glad the h e a r t of his m o t h e r . " T h e n H e c t o r put the child in the h a n d s of his wife, a n d she took him to her fragrant bosom, smiling t h r o u g h her tears. H e c t o r pitied her, a n d caressed h e r tenderly a n d said, " D a r l i n g , don't be so sad. N o m a n shall send m e to H a d e s before my time comes. But no one has ever
  • T H E GREEK 9S MIND escaped his d o o m , w h e t h e r he be cowardly or brave, once he has been b o r n . G o h o m e now a n d keep busy with y o u r tasks there, the loom and the distaff, and overseeing the maids at their work. W a r is the business of men, for all m e n here in T r o y , but most of all for m e . " c. HOMER: Odyssey VI As Odysseus emerged from the bushes, naked and saltencrusted, the girls were terrified and went racing down the beach. But N a u s i c a a stayed right w h e r e she was, for A t h e n a put c o u r a g e in her heart a n d took away her fear. T h e n Odysseus was at a loss as to w h e t h e r h e should clasp her knees and ask her to help him, o r w h e t h e r he should stay at a distance a n d merely ask her for some clothes a n d directions for reaching the city. It seemed better to stay at a distance. So then he began with wheedling words, "I beg you to help m e , p r i n c e s s — but first tell me this, are you a goddess or a m o r t a l ? If you are one of the goddesses, I imagine you are A r t e m i s . Yes, you are very m u c h like her in looks, size, a n d figure. But if you are a m o r t a l , most h a p p y are y o u r father and m o t h e r , most h a p p y y o u r brothers and sisters! H o w delighted they m u s t b e when they see so radiant a d a u g h t e r going to a d a n c e ! But happiest is t h e m a n w h o will win y o u with his gifts and lead you to his h o m e as his bride. N o w , princess, think of my cruel suffering. Only yesterday I escaped from the w i n e - d a r k sea after twenty d a y s of being lashed by waves a n d winds. D o take pity on m e , for I k n o w n o one in this country, and point out to me the way to the city a n d give me a rag to t h r o w a b o u t m e — p e r h a p s the w r a p p e r in which you did up the washing. In return, I pray the gods to give you w h a t e v e r y o u r heart longs f o r — a husband, a h o m e , a n d a h a p p y m a r r i a g e . F o r there is nothing m o r e pleasant than when a m a n and his wife live together and understand each other. It irritates their enemies, delights their friends, a n d they themselves k n o w better than anyone else h o w good it is." Nausicaa answered, "Stranger, you seem to m e a very sensible person. Of course O l y m p i a n Zeus allots good a n d
  • HEROIC VIRTUES 99 b a d fortune to m e n as h e wishes, a n d he has given you these troubles, which you must e n d u r e . But n o w that you have c o m e to o u r c o u n t r y you will not lack clothing o r anything else that a m a n in trouble deserves to get when he asks for help. I will show you the way to the city and tell you w h o live there. W e are P h a e a c i a n s , and t h e king is Alcinous, and I am his d a u g h t e r . " T h e n she called to h e r m a i d s , " S t o p ! W h y are you r u n n i n g off like that when you see a m a n ? H e ' s n o e n e m y of ours, for there is no one w h o will m a k e w a r on us, d e a r as we are to the i m m o r t a l gods and living so far a w a y from the rest of the world. T h i s m a n is just a p o o r w a n d e r e r w h o has strayed here a n d deserves o u r help, for strangers a n d beggars are u n d e r Z e u s ' protection. So give him something to eat and drink, and b a t h e him in the river in a place sheltered from the w i n d . " A t that t h e maids stopped r u n n i n g and called to one a n o t h e r to c o m e back. T h e n they led Odysseus to a sheltered place, as N a u s i c a a h a d directed, b r o u g h t him clothes to wear, gave him a golden flask of oil, a n d told him to take his bath in the river. Odysseus washed the brine from his back and b r o a d shoulders a n d hair, a n d r u b b e d his body with oil a n d p u t on the clothes. A n d then A t h e n a m a d e h i m look taller and m o r e stalwart than before, she even m a d e the hair grow thick on the t o p of his head a n d flow d o w n like hyacinth blossoms, and she shed beauty a n d grace about him. O h , h e was h a n d s o m e a n d radiant to see as h e c a m e and sat d o w n on the sand. A n d when she saw him N a u s i c a a couldn't stop looking at h i m , and she said to the m a i d s , "Listen, m y dears. I believe the gods w h o live on O l y m p u s have sent this m a n here. W h e n I first saw him I thought he looked rather plain, but n o w he resembles the gods w h o live in heaven. If only h e w o u l d stay here, for it's a person like him w h o m I'd like for a h u s b a n d . O h well, give him something to eat a n d d r i n k . " So they did as she c o m m a n d e d and served Odysseus with food a n d wine.
  • — Redding No. 4 — COMMON SENSE AND INGENUITY As early as the heroic age the common man had a right to speak his mind, as when Thersites in public assembly criticized Agamemnon, his commander-in-chief. In the eighth century Hesiod spoke for the oppressed farmers. By the sixth century Aesop had written and collected fables which illustrate everyday common sense, and in the H o m e r i c H y m n to H e r m e s , an anonymous poet praised by implication the skill and tact of the rising mercantile class, of which Hermes was the patron god. Even if their ethics were sometimes questionable, their ingenuity was praiseworthy. i i a. H O M E R : Iliad i II N o w all the rest were seated in an orderly fashion in their places, but Thersites kept ranting on, an endless talker, with a m i n d full of subversive ideas and o p p o s i tion to those in authority. H e was the ugliest of all t h e m e n w h o c a m e to T r o y : bow-legged, l a m e in one foot, his shoulders h u n c h e d over his chest, a n d his head rising to a point with only a little fuzz growing on the top of it. H e was most obnoxious to Achilles a n d Odysseus, for h e used to revile t h e m constantly, but n o w it was noble A g a m e m n o n w h o m h e shrilly accused. T h e A c h a e a n s were indignant a n d disgusted with h i m , but he kept b a w l ing his criticism of A g a m e m n o n at the t o p of his lungs. "Son of A t r e u s , what's the m a t t e r n o w , a n d w h a t m o r e d o you w a n t ? Y o u r tents are full of b r o n z e and the pick of the w o m e n we give you w h e n e v e r w e A c h a e a n s seize a t o w n . O r d o n ' t you have gold e n o u g h , b r o u g h t by s o m e horse-taming T r o j a n as r a n s o m for his son, after it was I or some o t h e r soldier w h o took him prisoner? Or is it a young girl y o u ' r e looking for, to keep to yourself a n d enjoy? (turning to the soldiers) I say it's not right f o r o u r c o m m a n d e r to bring misery on us. O h you weaklings, 100
  • COMMON S E N S E AND 101 INGENUITY c o w a r d s , w o m e n , not m e n ! I say let's go h o m e and leave him h e r e at T r o y to profit from his precious prizes and find out w h e t h e r we're of any use to him or not. N o w h e has insulted Achilles, a m u c h better m a n than h e is. H e has grabbed Achilles' girl away from him. If Achilles resented it the way he should (turning to the king), son of A t r e u s , you'd never live to insult him a g a i n ! " b. HESIOD: Works and Days After P r o m e t h e u s h a d deceived Zeus by bringing fire from heaven to m e n , Zeus said to him, "So you rejoice in having stolen fire a n d deceived m e ! It shall b e disastrous to you a n d to m e n in the future. F o r I shall give them evil to offset the fire, and they shall delight in it and hug it to their h e a r t s . " T h e n h e laughed merrily, a n d o r d e r e d H e p h a e s t u s to mix e a r t h with w a t e r a n d put in it h u m a n voice a n d strength a n d m a k e its face like the i m m o r t a l goddesses, the face of a lovely m a i d e n ; h e o r d e r e d A t h e n a to teach her the useful arts of weaving, a n d golden A p h r o d i t e to shed a b o u t her head grace that inspires painful longing and desires that weaken limbs; and he o r d e r e d H e r m e s to give h e r a shameless m i n d a n d tricky ways. So h e c o m m a n d e d , a n d they obeyed Zeus; a n d this w o m a n h e called P a n d o r a , because all the gods living o n O l y m p u s gave her a gift. A n d she was to b e the bane of m e n . I wish I had not been b o r n in this fifth race of m e n , but either h a d died before it or been born after it. F o r n o w we are a race of iron, which never ceases from labor a n d sorrow. A n d as t i m e goes on there will be n o kindness between kin, between guest a n d host, between friend and friend. N o h o n o r will be paid parents as they grow old and frail; instead, their children will criticize t h e m and treat them cruelly. T h e r e will b e n o respect for the m a n w h o keeps his promises, nor for m e n who are just a n d good, but arrogant and evil m e n will receive h o n o r . Might will be r e g a r d e d as right. Better m e n will be injured by crafty a n d lying ones; malice a n d envy will be rife a m o n g wretched mortals. T h e n the divine
  • 102 T H E GREEK MIND spirits of self-respect a n d consideration for others a n d just retribution will veil their faces and a b a n d o n this earth for heaven, leaving only misery for m e n a n d n o refuge from disaster. Before success the gods have set sweat. . . . D o not put off work until t o m o r r o w . . . . H u n g e r is a fit c o m rade for an idler. . . . Befriend the m a n who befriends you, and oppose the o n e w h o opposes you. . . . It is good to take in m o d e r a t i o n from a neighbor, but it is also good to repay him the same a m o u n t , a n d m o r e if you can, so that if later you arc in need you m a y rely on him for help. . . . T h e m a n w h o h a r m s a n o t h e r h a r m s himself, a n d evil planned h a r m s most him w h o planned it. . . . Little time h a s a m a n for law suits unless he has a year's victuals stored u p . . . . D o n ' t be taken in by a w o m a n , it's y o u r b a r n that she's after. . . . Even with y o u r brother, smile but bring along a witness. . . . K e e p to the m i d d l e way, m o d e r a t i o n is best. . . . Zeus has decreed this law: although fish a n d animals and birds should eat o n e another, for justice is not in t h e m , m a n k i n d has been given justice, a far better way of life. c. AESOP: Fables A camel, forced by his m a s t e r to d a n c e , said, "Of course I'm n o good at d a n c i n g . Even w h e n I walk I'm awkward." A m o s q u i t o settled on a bull's horn and stayed there for some time. W h e n he was about to fly away he asked the bull, " A r e you willing for me to leave n o w ? " T h e bull replied, " W h e n you c a m e I didn't notice it, and I won't notice it if you g o . " A groom stole the horse's grain a n d sold it, but kept rubbing d o w n a n d c u r r y i n g the horse every d a y . T h e horse said, "If you w a n t me really to look well, d o n ' t sell my barley."
  • COMMON S E N S E AND 103 INGENUITY A dog chased a h a r e and o v e r c a m e it. N o w it would t a k e a nip at the hare, then wag its tail a n d caress it. T h e hare said, "If you are friendly, why d o you bite m e ? If you are hostile, w h y d o you wag y o u r tail?" While w a n d e r i n g along the seashore a lion saw a dolphin s w i m m i n g , and invited him to m a k e an alliance, saying that it was right for t h e m to be friends and help one another. " F o r y o u , " he said, " a r e the king of sea c r e a t u r e s a n d I of those on land." T h e dolphin gladly agreed. A little later the lion got into a fight with a savage bull and kept calling upon the dolphin for help. W h e n the dolphin, though eager, was not able to c o m e out from the sea, the lion r e p r o a c h e d him for being a traitor. But the dolphin said, " D o n ' t b l a m e m e . Blame N a t u r e , which m a d e m e a sea c r e a t u r e and doesn't allow m e to c o m e on land." d. ANON.: Homeric Hymn to Hermes A h y m n to H e r m e s , the son of Zeus a n d Maia, that clever child, that c u n n i n g schemer, that thief of cattle. Born at d a w n , by noon he had invented the lyre and in the evening he stole the cattle of A p o l l o . . . . (He jumped from his cradle, killed a tortoise at the doorway of his cave-home and made a lyre out of it, then, hungry for roast beef, he set out for the meadows where Apollo kept his prize cows. He picked out fifty of them and drove them away backwards to a mountain glen, swishing along himself on bundles of brushwood, so as to confuse any pursuer. Then he slaughtered the cattle, roasted the meat, stored it away for future use, destroyed all obvious evidence, and returned to his cradle. On the following day Apollo visited his herd and discovered the theft; suspecting Hermes he went to the cave, which he searched thoroughly without avail before confronting the baby.) " Y o u baby in the c r a d l e , " A p o l l o said, "tell me w h e r e m y cattle are, right a w a y , or I shall hurl you to black T a r t a r u s , and neither y o u r father n o r y o u r m o t h e r will b e able to bring you back to the light."
  • 104 T H E GREEK MIND H e r m e s answered him with shrewd w o r d s : "ApollG, what in the world d o you m e a n by such r o u g h talk? W h y have y o u c o m e here looking for y o u r cattle? I've seen nothing and heard nothing about t h e m . I couldn't even accept an informer's r e w a r d . A n d d o I look like a cattle thief, a husky fellow? N o , that's n o c o n c e r n of mine. M y business is sleep, m y m o t h e r ' s milk, w a r m blankets a n d hot baths. I strongly advise y o u n o t to let any o n e k n o w that you have m a d e such an accusation; t h e gods would be astounded at the very idea of a new-born baby stealing and bringing h o m e a h e r d o t cattle. It's ridiculous! I was b o r n only yesterday, m y feet are too tender for any such rough going. If y o u want I'll swear a great o a t h , by m y father's h e a d : I solemnly swear I a m n o t guilty and d o not k n o w w h o may have stolen y o u r c a t t l e — w h a t e v e r cattle m a y b e , for I have only heard tell of t h e m . " While he said this his eyes kept darting here and there a n d his head shook from side to side a n d he m a d e little whistling noises. Apollo replied, "Son, you a r e a trickster and y o u have a heart full of deceit. I expect you'll d o plenty of stealing as you grow older, judging from t h e way y o u ' v e talked n o w , a n d you will be called t h e P r i n c e of Thieves." (Apollo then took him up to Olympus and charged him with the crime before Zeus as judge. Hermes denied the charge.) " F a t h e r Zeus, I will tell y o u t h e t r u t h , for I cannot tell a lie. Apollo c a m e t o o u r house this m o r n i n g looking for some of his cattle. H e b r o u g h t n o witnesses, but d e m a n d e d , using force and threats of hurling m e to T a r tarus, that I confess t o stealing t h e m . Of course h e is a stalwart y o u n g m a n , a n d I a m a baby b o r n only yesterday, as h e very well knows. I certainly d o n ' t look like a cattle thief, a husky fellow! Believe m e , f a t h e r — f o r y o u say you a r e my f a t h e r — I did not drive his cattle t o m y house, I did not even step o v e r the threshold of t h e cave. So as to be rich s o m e day it's the truth I'm telling y o u . I revere the sun and I love y o u , but I hate him. Y o u know 1 am innocent, a n d besides I'll n o w swear a solemn o a t h : I a m not guilty, and s o m e day I shall m a k e this person pay for the o u t r a g e o u s way he has treated m e , even if he is the stronger. D o you, father, help t h e w e a k
  • 105 POETIC INSIGHT and helpless." (Zeus, of course, knew what had actually happened, and laughed, admiring his little son's skill and ingenuity. He told the two of them to settle their differences in the spirit of conciliation; whereupon Hermes showed consumate tact as well as shrewdness in giving Apollo the lyre he had invented and thereby getting the good will of the god.) " A p o l l o I d o not begrudge you the use of this lyre, in fact you will b e c o m e proficient in playing it this very d a y . Of c o u r s e you are all-wise, you sit o n a front seat a m o n g the gods, you are sturdy and powerful. Zeus loves you, a n d n o w o n d e r , a n d h e has given you precious gifts—the p o w e r of knowing the oracles and prophecies that c o m e from Zeus himself. But as far as this art of music is c o n c e r n e d , I welcome y o u r learning it to y o u r heart's content. Since you feel like playing the lyre, play it, sing to it, enjoy it. Just please r e m e m b e r that I gave it to y o u , and let me have some of the glory. H e r e is the lyre, t a k e it, it is y o u r s . " 5 — POETIC INSIGHT In the seventh and sixth centuries poets, chiefly in the Ionian cities of Asia Minor and the islands of the Aegean sea, invented forms of lyric poetry to express their intimate personal feelings on such subjects as patriotism, nature, love, and wine. Among the chief poets were Tyrtaeus, Archilochus, Alcman, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Theognis, and Sappho.
  • 106 T H E GREEK MIND TYRTAEUS N o b l e is the m a n w h o falls in battle, bravely fighting for his native land. But wretched is the m a n without a country. ARCHILOCHUS S o m e T h r a c i a n struts with m y shield—I threw it in a bush as I fled. It was a good shield, but I'm still alive to fight again with a n o t h e r shield just as good. ALCMAN Asleep are the m o u n t a i n t o p s a n d valleys, ridges and ravines; the creeping things in the dark earth, the beasts that live on the hills, the race of bees, the great fish in the d e p t h s of the p u r p l e sea, all are asleep, and asleep are the tribes of long-winged birds. ALCAEUS Not well-roofed houses o r sturdy walls or canals or d o c k y a r d s m a k e a city. A city is m a d e by m e n w h o have the ability to seize their o p p o r t u n i t i e s . T h e sailors (of o u r ship of state) h a v e t h r o w n their entire c a r g o o v e r b o a r d and are trying to save their lives, while the ship, lashed by the waves, has nearly given up the fight a n d would willingly hit a reef a n d sink. But as for m e , d e a r c o m r a d e s , I would like to forget all that and m a k e m e r r y here with you and Bacchus. A n d yet we must cherish o u r c o u n t r y , even t h o u g h fools have b r o u g h t her to confusion.
  • POETIC 107 INSIGHT ANACREON I dined on a bit of wheat c a k e , I d r a n k a whole jug of wine, and n o w I s t r u m softly on my lute a serenade to m y sweetheart. THEOGNIS H a v e nothing to d o with inferior m e n , but associate only with the well-born. E a t and drink with t h e m , stay beside t h e m and study h o w to please t h e m . T h a t is the part of w i s d o m ; but those w h o associate with base m e n lose their wisdom. M a n y base m e n are rich and m e n of noble birth are p o o r ; but we will not e x c h a n g e o u r virtue for their wealth, for m o n e y goes now here, now there, but virtue always abides steadfast. SAPPHO T h a t m a n seems to me like a god w h o sits beside you a n d listens to y o u r sweet chatter, and y o u r lovely laughter, which sets m y heart beating wildly. F o r w h e n I look at you m y voice leaves m e , m y tongue is frozen, and a piercing flame pervades m y flesh, m y eyes a r e blurred a n d m y ears ring, sweat p o u r s d o w n m e , I t r e m b l e all over, I b e c o m e paler than grass, and I feel I am nearly dying. Atthis, o u r beloved A n a c t o r i a n o w lives far away in Sardis, but often she sends over the severing sea her loving t h o u g h t s . And she r e m e m b e r s h o w we used to be together, a n d h o w she loved y o u r singing, a n d you were like a goddess to her. N o w , a m o n g the girls in Lydia, she is as r a d i a n t as the rosy-fingered m o o n , which outshines all the stars a n d sheds its light o v e r the salt sea a n d the
  • 108 T H E GREEK MIND flowering fields, w h e n the dew lies on the grass, a n d the roses and the delicate anthryse a n d honey-sweet clover are in bloom. A n d even if she is far from us, I k n o w she r e m e m b e r s Atthis' love for her, a n d her heart is aching with loneliness, and she cries for us to c o m e — and Night hears her cries a n d brings t h e m to us across the severing sea. Evening, you bring h o m e all that the shining d a w n scattered: you bring h o m e the sheep, you bring h o m e the goat, you bring h o m e the child to its m o t h e r . She is like the sweet apple that reddens upon the t o p bough, high on the very highest o n e , which the pickers forgot. O h n o , they didn't forget it, they c o u l d n ' t r e a c h it! M o t h e r , I c a n n o t tend m y weaving, for I a m o v e r c o m e by A p h r o d i t e with longing for my slender lover. A r o u n d the lovely m o o n the radiant beauty of t h e stars grows dim w h e n she at the full sheds her silver light over the e a r t h . T h e m o o n and the Pleiads have set, it is midnight, a n d I lie alone. Love has u n b o u n d my limbs and m a d e me t r e m b l e , sweet-bitter Love. H a r b i n g e r of Spring, longing-voiced nightingale.
  • — Reading No. 6 EVOLVING RELIGION The chorus of old men in the A g a m e m n o n by Aeschylus (525-456) trying to justify the ways of gods to men, declare that men learn through suffering and transgressors are punished. Pindar (518-438) went beyond earlier notions of the after-life in picturing, in one of his odes in honor of athletes, how men of honor live after death in the Isle of the Blest. i 1 a. AESCHYLUS: i Agamemnon CHORUS. Zeus, w h o e v e r h e is, if by this n a m e h e wishes to be called, by this n a m e I will call h i m . T h e r e is n o one c o m p a r a b l e to Zeus for comfort, w h e n I reflect u p o n the whole of experience a n d try to rid myself of the bitter s o r r o w which eats at m y h e a r t . N o god w h o formerly was great will even be spoken of n o w . But Zeus is the n a m e to invoke if o n e is to win the boon of w i s d o m — Z e u s w h o , setting us on o u r road, m a d e this the law of life, " M e n must learn t h r o u g h suffering." So, d r o p by d r o p , in sleep u p o n the heart falls the heavy m e m o r y of pain. Against one's will c o m e s wisdom. T h i s grace of the gods is forced u p o n us by p o w e r s w h o themselves b e c a m e s u p r e m e only after bitter struggle. CHORUS. O m n i p o t e n t Zeus, you encircled with a net those towers of T r o y so that n o n e could escape, all w e r e trapped in the wide coils of d o o m . Zeus, G o d of Hospitality, him I praise because h e punished t h e transgressor, shooting with u n e r r i n g a c c u r a c y so that the a r r o w would not miss its m a r k . It h a s been truly said that Zeus t r a c k s d o w n a n d smites the sinner, such is his will. W h e n m e n say that G o d p a y s n o heed to those w h o t r a m p l e underfoot his holy laws, they lie. F o r swift ruin c o m e s o n m e n w h o , 109
  • 110 T H E GREEK MIND puffed up with arrogant pride and wealth beyond m e a s u r e , insult the altar of Justice. W h e n such a one p r a y s , n o n e in heaven hears his cry, but Justice drags him down to d e a t h . So with Paris, who c a m e to the h o m e of Menelaus and betrayed his host's hospitality by taking Helen away. b. PINDAR: Olympian 2 T h e souls of good m e n win a life of happiness with lightened toil, enjoying sunshine by both day a n d night; and those w h o gladly kept their promises live on without tears ( b u t those w h o broke them suffer hideous torm e n t s ) . Men w h o bravely stood firm and refrained from injustice walk a divine road to a place w h e r e breezes from the ocean gently blow about the Isle of the Blest. T h e r e gleam golden flowers, some on shining trees, others on the water; and the blest wear wreaths of the flowers on their heads as they enjoy the righteous laws of the greatest of judges. 7 — EVOLVING SCIENCE Speculation on the physical nature of the universe continued during the fifth century, resulting in theories which included those of elements, the atom, and kinetic energy. Only fragments of the writings of these theoretical scientists remain. Principles of scientific medicine were formulated and practiced by Hippocrates ( c . 425), whose case histories and physician's oath are preserved along with the medical observations of many of his followers.
  • EVOLVING 111 SCIENCE PARMENIDES "Being is real, non-Being is impossible." T h i s is a reasonable statement, but to say that there are of necessity things that d o not exist is a b s u r d ; for h o w can one know a b o u t a nonexistent thing? Being is without beginning or end; it includes everything, is i m m o v a b l e and eternal, one c o n t i n u o u s whole. H o w could it have been created? F r o m what could it have c o m e into existence, and how? It cannot have c o m e from nothing. EMPEDOCLES T h e r e are four e l e m e n t s : fire, air, earth, and water. T h e r e is n o beginning or end of things, there is only mixt u r e and separation of these elements. Sometimes a unity develops out of m a n y things, a n d sometimes a whole separates into m a n y parts. Such c h a n g e goes o n continuously. L o v e is the force that brings things t o gether. Strife the force that separates t h e m . T h u s O n e keeps developing from M a n y and M a n y from the division of O n e . ANAXAGORAS All things include portions of every kind of matter, but Mind alone is infinite, self-controlled, subject only to itself. It governs all o t h e r matter, being itself the finest a n d purest of matter. Mind started the universe rotating; Mind determined the mixing a n d separation of m a t t e r ; Mind decided the n u m b e r of everything past, present, and future; it established the course of the heavenly bodies; it caused the rotation that separated thick from thin, w a r m from cold, light from d a r k n e s s , dry from moist. LEUCIPPUS A t o m s (indivisible particles) and their countless c o m binations are the elements of everything; they are un-
  • 112 T H E GREEK MIND limited in n u m b e r , a n d are in c o n t i n u o u s motion. T h e solid a n d c o m p a c t a t o m s m a y be defined as "Being," a n d they m o v e t h r o u g h e m p t y Space, w h i c h m a y b e called " N o t - B e i n g . " HIPPOCRATES T h e so-called "sacred disease" (epilepsy) has natural causes like o t h e r disease. N o disease is beyond being understood o r incapable of being c u r e d . T h e material on which medicine w o r k s has always been right at h a n d , a n d m e t h o d s have been worked out by which m a n y i m p o r t a n t discoveries h a v e been m a d e . W h a t is still undiscovered will be found out if those w h o study it are c o m p e t e n t . T o u n d e r s t a n d disease we must study t h e general nat u r e of m a n k i n d , individual differences, the disease itself, the t r e a t m e n t s used, a n d the d o c t o r w h o applies them. T h e m o r e we k n o w of such m a t t e r s , the easier it will be to m a k e a sound j u d g m e n t . C l i m a t e a n d local peculiarities of w e a t h e r must be considered; then the particular p a t i e n t — h i s habits, o c c u p a t i o n , and age; his m a n n e r of talking and keeping silent; his t e m p e r a m e n t ; his sleep or inability to sleep; the time and type of his d r e a m s ; his gestures, his tears. Finally w e must record during the course of the disease the m o v e m e n t s of the bowels a n d the u r i n e , the spitting a n d vomiting; we must follow every stage of the disease a n d note what o c c u r s and the result in recovery or d e a t h . D u r i n g its c o u r s e we must observe carefully every detail so as to decide w h a t direction the disease will take. A Case History. N a m e : Philiscus. R e s i d e n c e : near the city wall. T h e first day he had an acute fever with sweating, went to bed, was distressed all night. Second d a y : worse, but took an e n e m a a n d got some sleep. T h i r d d a y : he seemed to be over his fever in the m o r n ing, but in the afternoon it c a m e o n again, higher t h a n before; sweating, thirst, p a r c h e d t o n g u e , dark-colored u r i n e . H a d a bad night, sleepless and delirious. F o u r t h d a y : worse, urine still dark, but he felt m o r e comfortable
  • SOPHISTS A N D IDEALISTS 113 at night. Fifth d a y : slight nosebleed, granules in urine, small bowel m o v e m e n t after taking laxative. Bad night, delirium, extremities cold. T o w a r d m o r n i n g h e got some sleep. Hereafter u n a b l e to speak. H e a v y sweat, extremities t u r n i n g grayish color. Sixth d a y : died at n o o n , after period of slow, painful breathing. H i s spleen was swollen. Disease m a r k e d by cold sweats. H e felt w o r s e every even-numbered day. T h e H i p p o c r a t i c O a t h . — I swear by Apollo and the o t h e r divinities of healing that according to m y ability I will keep this o a t h : to regard the m a n w h o taught m e t h e art of m e d i c i n e as d e a r to m e as m y o w n p a r e n t s ; to follow that system of t r e a t m e n t which I believe will help m y patients, a n d to refrain from a n y t h i n g that is h a r m f u l to t h e m . I will give n o deadly d r u g if I a m asked to d o so, n o r will I r e c o m m e n d any such thing; I will not practice abortion. In purity a n d holiness I will p r a c t i c e the art of m e d i c i n e . W h a t e v e r I see or h e a r w h i c h should not be divulged, I will keep secret. While I c o n t i n u e to keep this oath m a y I enjoy life a n d the p r a c t i c e of m y profession, respected at all times by all men. — Reading No. 8 — SOPHISTS AND IDEALISTS In reaction against materialistic conclusions there were two groups of philosophers during the fifth and fourth centuries: the Sophists, and the idealists Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Sophists believed that the perfecting of human communication for practical success should be the chief subject of study. The idealists believed that men
  • THE should try to understand governs the universe. i the moral i a. GREEK M I N D intelligence which i SOPHISTS P r o t a g o r a s said that m a n is the m e a s u r e of all things, of the existence of those things t h a t exist a n d of t h e nonexistence of those that d o not. (Aristotle: Metaphysics) Regarding the gods, I ( P r o t a g o r a s ) d o not k n o w w h e t h e r they exist or not, or of what their n a t u r e m a y be. F o r m a n y things keep me from k n o w i n g — t h e o b scurity of the subject, and the brevity of life. SOCRATES. If this friend of m i n e becomes y o u r pupil, P r o t a g o r a s , in what respect will he b e c o m e a better m a n ? PROTAGORAS. Socrates, y o u r question is a reasonable one, and I a m h a p p y to answer it. If h e comes to learn of me, he will not be treated as o t h e r Sophists treat their pupils, with a routine course of study in m a t h e matics, a s t r o n o m y , literature, music, and speech. N o , from m e h e will learn h o w to m a n a g e efficiently his private affairs and acquire such an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of p u b lic affairs as to fit him for a successful c a r e e r as a citizen and statesman. Hippias was s u r r o u n d e d by students he had b r o u g h t with him from various cities, and they were questioning him about the philosophy of n a t u r e a n d a s t r o n o m y . (Plato: Protagoras) b. PLATO: Phaedo SOCRATES. W h e n I was a y o u n g m a n I was eager t o understand the natural w o r l d — h o w animals are formed, what p r o d u c e s perception, the n a t u r e of the heavens a n d earth, and m a n y other similar p h e n o m e n a . T h e n I heard a person reading from a book by A n a x a g o r a s which said
  • SOPHISTS AND 115 IDEALISTS that it is intelligence which sets everything in order and is the cause of all things, and I was delighted; it seemed to me a fine thing that intelligence ordered everything for the best. So I was h a p p y to have found in A n a x a goras a teacher of the causes of things, showing how they c a m e to be as they are and that it is best for them to be as they a r e . F r o m this wonderful h o p e I was speedily t h r o w n d o w n , for as I read his books I found that he defined intelligence in purely materialistic and n o n m o r a l t e r m s . It w a s as if o n e should say that I, Socrates, a m sitting here because m y body is c o m p o s e d of bones a n d sinews a n d joints, a n d from their interaction I n o w sit as I d o , omitting to tell the real cause, that since it seemed best to the A t h e n i a n s to c o n d e m n me, I t h o u g h t it best to sit here a n d submit to the p u n ishment. F o r by the d o g (i.e., the dog-star, Sirius) I think these sinews and bones of m i n e would have been off long since to some o t h e r c o u n t r y , if I had not t h o u g h t it m o r e just a n d h o n o r a b l e to submit to m y sentence t h a n to run away. Of c o u r s e I could not d o as I wish without bones and sinews; but to say that I d o as I d o because of t h e m , and not from a choice of w h a t I think is best, is an u n r e a s o n a b l e way of speaking. c. PLATO D i d the universe always exist, or was it created? Since it is visible a n d tangible a n d has material substance we c o n c l u d e that it was created. W h a t is created m u s t necessarily be created by a cause. . . . G o d did not m a k e material first a n d the soul afterw a r d s ; in origin a n d value h e m a d e the soul prior to material in o r d e r to rule it. . . . A s t h e final stage in the p a t t e r n of the universe the C r e a t o r contrived four species: heavenly gods, the birds of the air, the fish of the waters, and land animals. T h e heavenly creatures he created chiefly out of fire, so that they might b e brightest and most beautiful. A n d h e instructed t h e m to imitate him a n d create the o t h e r species, by mixing portions of fire, earth, water, a n d air. T h e s e are the elements with which the self-sufficient a n d per-
  • T H E GREEK 116 feet C r e a t o r associated himself as his ministers ing his w o r k , which was for the good of his So the universe has received creatures, mortal mortal, and h a s b e c o m e a creation expressing ator, w h o is the image of the intellectual, the the most beautiful, and the best. (Timaeus) MIND in creatcreation. and imthe C r e greatest, This parable (of the cave) I ask you to apply to o u r previous discussion (of the relation of the world of sensation to the world of ideas, which we c o m p r e h e n d by reasoning p r o c e s s e s ) . W e m a y c o m p a r e the cave to t h e world which w e perceive by sight, a n d the j o u r n e y u p w a r d from it a n d the contemplation of the world of sunlight we m a y c o m p a r e to the journey of t h e soul i n t o the world of Ideas. W h e t h e r this is t r u e or not, G o d k n o w s , but t h a t is h o w it seems to m e . In t h e world of Ideas the final thing to be c o m p r e h e n d e d , a n d that n o t easily, is t h e Idea of the G o o d ; but o n c e it is c o m p r e h e n d e d , o n e m u s t c o n c l u d e that it is the c a u s e of everything just a n d lovely. . . . Every m a n ' s soul has this p o w e r of c o m p r e h e n s i o n , but it m u s t t u r n from t h e world of becoming and look u p o n that brightest of B e ing, the G o o d . (Republic VII) d. ARISTOTLE W e believe t h a t w e possess scientific knowledge of a thing w h e n w e think we k n o w its cause. (Posterior Analytics) W e m u s t a c q u i r e knowledge of original causes, of which there are four: the material cause (e.g., the b r o n z e of the s t a t u e ) ; the formal c a u s e (e.g., the ratio 2 : 1 and n u m b e r generally are causes of the o c t a v e ) ; the efficient c a u s e (e.g., the father is the c a u s e of the c h i l d ) ; a n d the final c a u s e (e.g., the p u r p o s e served, as health is a cause of w a l k i n g ) . (Metaphysics) Evidently there is a first cause. Since c o n t i n u o u s m o tion exists, there m u s t be s o m e t h i n g eternal that first i m p a r t s m o t i o n , a n d this m u s t itself be u n m o v e d . A n d M
  • SOPHISTS A N D IDEALISTS 117 insofar as it is necessary it is good. Such a principle governs the heavens a n d the natural world. (Physics) O u r ancestors from long ago h a n d e d d o w n to us t h e tradition that the essential substances of the universe are gods, a n d that all n a t u r e is divine. Religious tradition later added to this certain m y t h s , in o r d e r to p e r s u a d e the people a n d provide for practical social expediency, to the effect that these gods are in the form of m e n o r other earthly c r e a t u r e s . If, however, w e were to take only the original a s s u m p t i o n — t h a t the essential s u b stances are d i v i n e — w e would have to consider that a n inspired statement. (Metaphysics) G o d is always in that state of contemplation which is most pleasurable and best. Life belongs to G o d ; for the existence of t h o u g h t is life, and G o d is that existence, and G o d ' s essential being is life most good and eternal. So we say t h a t G o d is a being eternal a n d perfect, a n d that life and c o n t i n u o u s d u r a t i o n belong to G o d . (Physics) Every p a r t of n a t u r e is wonderful, a n d we should study every kind of animal life without aversion; for all will s h o w us s o m e t h i n g natural a n d beautiful. T h e lack of c h a n c e and the direction of every part to a definite end a r e present in all the w o r k s of n a t u r e . (De Parti bus Animalium) All natural p r o d u c t s serve an end. T h i s is most clearly seen in c r e a t u r e s o t h e r t h a n m a n . T h e swallow, for e x a m p l e , m a k e s its nest a n d the spider spins its w e b for a p u r p o s e ; plants grow leaves to protect the fruit from the sun, a n d send their roots d o w n for n o u r i s h m e n t . T h i s final c a u s e applies to everything in n a t u r e . (Physics)
  • — Readins No. 9 — THUCYDIDES: PERICLES' FUNERAL SPEECH In 430, after the first year of the war between Athens and the coalition of Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes, a state funeral was held for the Athenian soldiers who had died during that year. Pericles was chosen to give the funeral oration. Here it is as reported by Thucydides in his History of the P e l o p o n n e s i a n W a r , II. i i 1 Most of the previous speakers at this c e r e m o n y have praised the custom of having an address. T h e y have considered it fitting that the m e n w h o died in battle should be so c o m m e m o r a t e d . I d o not share that feeling. In m y opinion deeds deserve deeds, not w o r d s , to h o n o r t h e m . But since custom has determined that an address should be m a d e , I must abide by the c u s t o m a n d speak to the best of m y ability in a way satisfactory to you. I shall speak first of o u r ancestors. It is right a n d fitting that on such an occasion we should r e m e m b e r t h e m ; for, living here, generation after generation, they h a n d e d d o w n to us because of their efforts a c o u n t r y that is free. So they deserve o u r praise. And o u r o w n fathers deserve it even m o r e , for they labored to add to A t h e n s the e m p i r e which we n o w possess. A n d we o u r selves, those of us w h o are in middle age, have contributed to m a k e the city self-sufficient both in w a r a n d peace. T h e various wars and military c a m p a i g n s by which w e rose to greatness I shall not recount; you k n o w the story well. Instead, I will describe the w a y of life which led to o u r success, the form of g o v e r n m e n t and the kind of c h a r a c t e r that have m a d e A t h e n s great. O u r g o v e r n m e n t is called a d e m o c r a c y because p o w e r resides, not in a few people, but in the majority of o u r citizens. But every person h a s e q u a l rights before the 118
  • THUCYDIDES: PERICLES' F U N E R A L SPEECH 119 law; prestige a n d respect are paid those w h o win t h e m by their merits, regardless of their political, economic, o r social status; a n d n o one is deprived of m a k i n g his contribution to the city's welfare. W e are equally fairm i n d e d in tolerating differences in people's private c o n cerns; we d o not get irritated with o u r neighbors w h e n they d o what they like or show those signs of disa p p r o v a l which d o n o great h a r m but a r e certainly u n pleasant. In o u r public dealings we have respect for o u r officials and the laws, especially those laws which protect t h e helpless and those unwritten laws whose violation is generally regarded as shameful. But we d o m o r e than this. W e have provided for the happiness of o u r people m a n y r e c r e a t i o n s : athletic g a m e s , contests of various sorts, festivals t h r o u g h o u t t h e year, a n d beautiful buildings to cheer the heart and r e fresh the spirit as we see t h e m every d a y . Also w e enjoy imported goods from all o v e r the world, which a d d to the attractive variety of o u r life. A s far as p r e p a r i n g for w a r is c o n c e r n e d we are m u c h better off than o u r enemies. O u r city is o p e n to the world, a n d w e h a v e n o regular deportations to keep foreigners from learning what might be of use to a n e n e m y . F o r we have confidence in o u r native resourcefulness rather than in m e r e military strength. O u r e n e mies have a rigid system for cultivating c o u r a g e from their y o u t h o n w a r d , but we, doing pretty m u c h as w e please, are as well p r e p a r e d as they when danger arises. If w e choose such a varied way of life instead of c o n stant military drill, a n d rely on native ingenuity r a t h e r t h a n state-made c o u r a g e , we have a d o u b l e a d v a n t a g e over t h e m . W e d o not b e c o m e w o r n out beforehand, and when d a n g e r does arise w e are as c o u r a g e o u s as o u r plodding rivals. W e love beauty without e x t r a v a g a n c e , a n d wisdom w i t h o u t weakness of will. W e a l t h w e regard not as a m e a n s for private display but r a t h e r for public service; a n d poverty we consider n o disgrace, a l t h o u g h we think it is a disgrace not to try to o v e r c o m e it. W e believe a m a n should be c o n c e r n e d about public as well as p r i v a t e affairs, for we regard the person w h o takes n o p a r t in politics not as merely uninterested but as useless. W e
  • 120 T H E GREEK MIND r e a c h decisions on public policy only after full discussion, believing that sound j u d g m e n t , far from being impeded by discussion, is arrived at only when full information is considered before a decision is m a d e . T o sum it u p , I claim that o u r city is a m o d e l for all G r e e c e and that here m o r e than a n y w h e r e else a m a n c a n b e c o m e i n d e p e n d e n t in spirit, versatile in accomplishm e n t , and richly developed in personality. T h e proof of o u r greatness is the way in which we h a v e m a d e o u r w a y into every land a n d sea, establishing m e m o r i a l s of o u r hostility a n d o u r favor. Such is the city for which these m e n died, exulting in their d e t e r m i n a t i o n that she should not perish. It is fitting that we w h o survive should likewise spend o u r selves in her service. W e m a y pray to be spared their suffering, but w e c a n n o t be less b r a v e t h a n they. W e m u s t not be content with w o r d s — h o w fine a thing it is to defend A t h e n s against her e n e m i e s — b u t m u s t fall in love with o u r city as w e see her engaging in her e v e r y d a y activities, a n d r e m e m b e r that it w a s m e n like these w h o m a d e her great because of their c o u r a g e , their u n d e r s t a n d i n g of their duty, a n d their self-discipline in performing it. By giving their lives they h a v e w o n for themselves glory that shall never fade, a n d t h e greatest of all m e m o r i a l s , not t h a t in which their bodies are laid to rest, but m e m o r y in the m i n d s of m e n , to stimulate fut u r e generations in o t h e r lands to t h o u g h t a n d action. Y o u r d u t y n o w is to rival w h a t they have d o n e , rem e m b e r i n g that happiness d e p e n d s o n freedom, a n d freedom is w o n a n d preserved by c o u r a g e . T o those w h o m o u r n here today for their loved ones, I say, be of good c o u r a g e . F o r you k n o w t h a t life is a m a t t e r of fortune, good a n d bad, a n d the most fortunate a r e those w h o get a noble d e a t h , like these m e n , or a noble grief, like y o u r s . It will be h a r d for you to b e lieve this, I k n o w ; in seeing others h a p p y in their families you will be r e m i n d e d of the happiness that y o u o n c e enjoyed, but you p a r e n t s must h o p e to have other children, those of you w h o are not too old to d o so; o t h e r children will help you forget those w h o have died, a n d they will provide greater security for o u r city. A s for y o u w h o are b e y o n d y o u r p r i m e , r e c k o n the p a r t of
  • THUCYDIDES O N 121 REVOLUTION y o u r lives already past as gain, a n d r e m e m b e r that only a short time is left, and its b u r d e n s will b e lightened by t h e glorious m e m o r y of the d e a d . Finally, if I m u s t say a w o r d to those of you w h o a r e n o w bereft of y o u r h u s b a n d s , a b o u t the virtues of w o m e n , I will s u m it u p in this w a y : y o u r reputation is best w h e n you m a i n t a i n the s t a n d a r d s of true w o m a n h o o d a n d w h e n you give m e n the least occasion either t o praise or b l a m e y o u . I h a v e c o m p l i e d with the c u s t o m a n d said w h a t I t h o u g h t should be said. A s for deeds, the funeral honors h a v e n o w been paid o u r fallen soldiers, a n d , as you k n o w , the city will provide for their children until they c o m e of age. T h a t is the reward the city pays for such service; and properly, for the best m e n serve the city which serves them best. A n d now, when you have finished your lamentations, let each of you d e p a r t . — Reading No. 10 — THUCYDIDES ON REVOLUTION In Book III of his History Thucydides analyzed motives and actions involved in party strife within states. i i the city- i Revolution w r o u g h t terrible calamities in the cities of G r e e c e , such have existed and always will exist as long as h u m a n n a t u r e remains as it is, but which c h a n g e in c h a r a c t e r u n d e r varying conditions. In times of peace a n d prosperity states a n d individuals, not subject to imperious necessity, are governed in a c c o r d a n c e with higher motives; but w a r , taking a w a y the c o m f o r t s of life, is a h a r d m a s t e r a n d molds m e n ' s c h a r a c t e r s to fit their circumstances.
  • 122 T H E GREEK MIND A s the revolutionary spirit grew in intensity, m e n surpassed their predecessors in the ingenuity of their plots and the brutality of their revenge. W o r d s n o longer m e a n t what they h a d before, but were distorted to serve personal and p a r t y p u r p o s e s : recklessness w a s called loyal c o u r a g e ; p r u d e n t delay, c o w a r d i c e ; restraint, w e a k ness of will; frantic energy, true manliness. T h e ties of p a r t y were stronger t h a n those of family, because a partisan would act w i t h o u t d a r i n g to ask why. N o agreem e n t s w e r e binding if there was an o p p o r t u n i t y of breaking them successfully. F o r p a r t y associations, it should be u n d e r s t o o d , are not based o n law n o r d o they seek the c o m m o n welfare; they a r e lawless a n d seek only selfinterest. T h e cause of all these evils was greed, ambition, a n d lust for p o w e r , and the p a r t y spirit which they created. L e a d e r s of o n e faction would pretend to uphold d e m o cratic equality, the o t h e r the superior wisdom of an aristocracy, w h e r e a s in reality both considered only what profit they could m a k e for themselves at the expense of the people. T h e y c o m m i t t e d the most atrocious crimes with complete disregard of a n y process of law. Religion m e a n t nothing to either g r o u p , but it was cynically used for selfish purposes. T h o s e w h o belonged to neither p a r t y b e c a m e the prey of both. — Reading No. 11 MINORITY RIGHTS Pericles included in his Funeral Speech a reference to individual and minority rights. In the A c h a r n i a n s the comedian Aristophanes spoke for the anti-democratic and anti-war minority. Sophocles, in the A n t i g o n e , pointed up the conflict between authority and the individual con-
  • MINORITY 123 RIGHTS science; Antigone believes it is her sacred as well as her family duty to bury her brother's body, because his soul will never find rest in the lower world until the proper ceremony of burial has been performed. One leading minority consisted of women. Euripides' M e d e a is a tragic portrayal of a woman who punishes a faithless husband. Aristophanes, in the Ecclesiazusae, represented women masquerading as men in order to vote to hand over the government to women. Plato, in the Republic, unequivocally declared for women's rights. •f 1 a. ARISTOPHANES: Knights i and Acharnians (In the K n i g h t s a general is trying to persuade a sausageseller, to unseat Cleon, the democratic leader.) SAUSAGE SELLER. Tell m e this, h o w c a n I, a sausageseller, be a big m a n like that? G E N E R A L . T h e easiest thing in the world. Y o u ' v e got all the qualifications: low birth, m a r k e t p l a c e training, insolence. SAUSAGE SELLER. I d o n ' t think I deserve it. G E N E R A L . N o t deserve it? It looks to m e as if you've got too good a conscience. W a s y o u r father a g e n t l e m a n ? SAUSAGE SELLER. By t h e gods, n o ! M y folks were scoundrels. G E N E R A L . L u c k y m a n ! W h a t a good start you've got for public life! SAUSAGE SELLER. But I can hardly read. G E N E R A L . T h e only trouble is that you k n o w anything. T o be a leader of the people isn't for learned m e n , or honest m e n , but for the ignorant a n d vile. D o n ' t miss this golden o p p o r t u n i t y . (In the A r c h a r n i a n s , Dicaeopolis (Honest Citizen) is pictured as a sensible farmer who makes a private peace of his own with Sparta. This is resented by a group of poor charcoal burners from rural Acharnia, who want to stone him to death as a traitor but finally consent to listen to his explanation.) DICAEOPOLIS. M y good m e n , listen to the t e r m s of m y treaty a n d see if they a r e n ' t reasonable.
  • 124 THE GREEK M I N D ACHARNIANS. H o w can they be? Sparta doesn't keep any promises. DICAEOPOLIS. I k n o w the Spartans, too, and even if w e hate them we'll have to admit they aren't entirely to b l a m e for the mess A t h e n s is in. ACHARNIANS. N o t entirely? N o t entirely? Y o u dare to say things like that and expect to be s p a r e d ? DICAEOPOLIS. N o t entirely to blame, I say, a n d if y o u ' d give me a c h a n c e I could prove that w e have w r o n g e d t h e m . I hate t h e m , to be sure, for they have cut d o w n m y vines as well as y o u r s . Yet, since we a r e all friends h e r e , let's ask ourselves why we b l a m e the S p a r t a n s for o u r troubles. It's o u r o w n l e a d e r s — n o t the people of A t h e n s , they're not to b l a m e — b u t rascals a m o n g us, counterfeit statesmen, worthless, spurious m e n , w h o kept d e n o u n c i n g i m p o r t s from M e g a r a and put an e m b a r g o on t h e m . T h a t was a trifling matter, the way we regularly c o n d u c t o u r foreign affairs. But then some of o u r y o u n g bloods stole a prostitute from M e g a r a , and the Megarians retaliated by a b d u c t i n g two of the light w o m e n in the house r u n by Aspasia. T h e n o u r O l y m p i a n Pericles t h u n d e r e d a n d lightninged so as to stir u p all Hellas, the M e g a r i a n s begged the S p a r t a n s to help t h e m , a n d the S p a r t a n s asked us to r e m o v e the e m b a r g o , but of c o u r s e w e w o u l d n ' t yield an inch. T h e n the w a r was o n . S o m e of you will say the S p a r t a n s shouldn't have d o n e w h a t they did. But you k n o w that if somebody stole a p u p p y from o n e of y o u r island allies you would go to w a r about it. b. SOPHOCLES: Antigone C R E O N . Tell m e at o n c e a n d to the p o i n t : Did you k n o w that m y edict forbade burial of y o u r brother's body? A N T I G O N E . Of c o u r s e . H o w could I help knowing? It was m a d e perfectly clear. C R E O N . A n d you dared to disobey it? A N T I G O N E . Yes, for it was not Zeus w h o issued t h a t edict, and Justice w h o lives with the gods below never m a d e any such law. A n d I could not believe that a n
  • MINORITY RIGHTS 125 edict of yours, since you are only a m a n . could overrule the unwritten, eternal laws of the gods. T h o s e laws live forever—yesterday, today, t o m o r r o w . So, revering t h e m , I would not for fear of any m a n invite divine j u d g m e n t . I know that I must die. W h y not? Even though you never m a d e such an edict I would have to die; a n d if n o w I die before my time I shall gain by it. F o r when one lives as I have in the midst of suffering, h o w can death be anything but gain? N o , dying will not h u r t m e . But if I had left m y brother's body unburied that would have hurt m e . And if I seem to you to be a fool in what I am doing, p e r h a p s you w h o judge me are the fool. c. E U R I P I D E S : Medea M E D E A . W o m e n of C o r i n t h , I ask you to be kind to m e . because a blow has fallen on me which has ruined m y life. T h e r e is no m o r e happiness for m e , I want only to die. My h u s b a n d , on w h o m 1 relied for all m y h a p p i ness, has betrayed m e . Of all living things we w o m e n surely are the most w r e t c h e d . First w e must get together a large d o w r y to buy a h u s b a n d , a n d then it's a master of o u r bodies that w e get. Not to have o n e brings even m o r e u n h a p p i n e s s . T h e n c o m e s the greatest gamble of all—will h e be kind or cruel? Y o u k n o w h o w h a r d it is for w o m e n to secure a divorce, and it is impossible to reject a h u s b a n d . So, entering on a new way of life, a bride must be a seer — s h e never learned those things at h o m e — t o get o n well with this m a n w h o sleeps beside her. If we w o r k o u r hardest w e m a y m a n a g e it so that o u r h u s b a n d s stay with us without fretting—then life is enviable. But if we fail, w e were better dead. W h e n a m a n finds life u n b e a r a b l e at h o m e he goes out to visit some friend, or to his c l u b , a n d finds relief. But we have only him to t u r n t o . T h e n they say that we lead a sheltered life, that we avoid d a n g e r , while they go out to fight. N o n sense! I'd r a t h e r go three times into battle than bear one child.
  • T H E GREEK 126 d. ARISTOPHANES: MIND Ecclesiazusae A S S E M B L Y " M A N . " H O W w o m e n a r e better in r u n n i n g things than we a r e I'll n o w explain. First, they d i p their wool in boiling dyes, in the good old-fashioned w a y . Y o u won't sec them trying new-fangled m e t h o d s . A n d w o u l d n ' t A t h e n s have been safe if she had let well e n o u g h alone and not always tried s o m e t h i n g new? W o m e n sit down when they roast grain just as they used to d o . T h e y carry b u r d e n s on their heads just as they used to d o . T h e y observe their festivals just as they used to d o . T h e y pester their h u s b a n d s just as they used to d o . T h e y buy themselves dainties just as they used t o d o . T h e y take their wine strong just as they used to d o . T h e y enjoy m a k i n g love just as they used t o d o . S o , m e n , let us h a n d over the city to them a n d not even guess; let alone try to find o u t , what they intend to d o , b u t wholeheartedly let them govern, having decided that they, being m o t h e r s , will be eager to keep their soldier sons safe. A n d w h o could supply a solder's rations as well as she w h o bore him? W o m e n a r e most resourceful in providing things, and they just can't be cheated, for they know all t h e tricks. e. PLATO: Republic III N o occupations belong exclusively t o either m e n or w o m e n , but as natural abilities will be found h e r e a n d there in both sexes, so w o m e n will be a d m i t t e d to all pursuits o n the s a m e basis as m e n .
  • — Reading No. 12 — PLATO'S REPUBLIC Plato ( c . 429-347) in the Republic voiced the critical reaction of an aristocrat to the democracy of Athens, and the positive creation of an ideal commonwealth governed by genuine aristocrats, "the best people" in terms of intelligence and devotion to the public welfare. i i i A city is formed because m e n are not self-sufficient but have m a n y wants. So each looks to others for help in supplying his various wants, and m a n y associates and helpers c o m e together in one place a n d call it a city. E v e r y o n e w h o gives or takes in e x c h a n g e does so in the belief that h e is thus serving his o w n best interests. It follows that m o r e and better of everything will be produced, a n d m o r e easily, when each person w o r k s at his o w n specialty according to his o w n peculiar talent, a n d at the p r o p e r time, without interfering with other tasks. W e shall tell o u r people the following m y t h . "All of you are brothers, but w h e n you were created G o d mixed gold in the composition of those of you w h o arc qualified to govern; in those fitted to be g u a r d i a n s he mixed silver; and in the farmers and artisans h e mixed baser metals. It is therefore the first duty of o u r rulers to see which of these metals e n t e r s into the composition of each child that is b o r n ; a n d if a child of baser metal is born in the golden class they arc to h a v e n o pity on it, but shall put it into the class of farmers and artisans; if. on the other h a n d , a m o n g that class a child of gold or silver is born, they are to raise it to its p r o p e r status. F o r an oracle h a s declared that when a city is ruled by m e n of baser metal it shall perish." 127
  • 128 T H E GREEK MIND " W h e n a n y o n e who is by n a t u r e an artisan or other kind of p r o d u c e r is inflated by the wealth h e has a c quired or other material a d v a n t a g e so as to try to join the soldier-guardian class; o r when a soldier tries to join the class of philosopher-rulers; o r when o n e person attempts to be all three at one time, you will agree with m e , will you not, that such changes in status a n d such interference will ruin the state?" "I most certainly d o agree," h e said. "This, then, is injustice. But when each of these groups — w o r k e r s , soldier-guardians, a n d philosopher-rulers, keeps in its place and p e r f o r m s its o w n function, then justice will prevail." O u r object in constructing o u r state is not to m a k e a n y o n e class pre-eminently h a p p y , but to g u a r a n t e e the welfare of the whole c o m m u n i t y as far as possible. Unless either philosophers b e c o m e rulers, o r those w h o rule b e c o m e lovers of wisdom, a n d so political p o w e r a n d philosophy are united, there can be n o respite from calamity for states o r for m a n k i n d . Shall we not require for o u r rulers m e n w h o are by n a t u r e of good m e m o r y , speedy in learning, high-minded, gracious in m a n n e r , friends and brothers of t r u t h , justice, c o u r a g e , a n d self-control? T w e n t y - y e a r old y o u t h s of exceptional ability must receive special educational o p p o r t u n i t i e s ; the separate b r a n c h e s of knowledge m u s t be developed so as to show their interrelationship a n d the n a t u r e of reality. A t the age of thirty this g r o u p must be tested in t e r m s of ability at dialectic, in o r d e r to discover w h o c a n a d v a n c e further t o w a r d a true u n d e r s t a n d i n g of reality. D e m o c r a c y arises w h e n the p o o r c o m e to p o w e r , killing a n d exiling s o m e of the opposing party, but ad-
  • PLATO'S REPUBLIC 129 mitting the rest to equal participation in g o v e r n m e n t . Usually the officials are d e t e r m i n e d by lot. In such a city are not m e n free, and does not liberty of speech and action flourish, a n d is not every m a n allowed to d o what h e wishes? T h i s might seem to be the most beautiful constitution of all, decorated, so to speak, with every variety of c h a r a c t e r as a dress is e m b r o i d e r e d with every kind of flower. But m a y we not say that d e m o c r a c y , like oligarchy, is destroyed by its unrestrained craving for w h a t it considers the s u p r e m e good? In the case of oligarchy, it is wealth; in a d e m o c r a c y it is freedom. F o r excessive freed o m leads to a n a r c h y , which in turn results in despotism, the most b u r d e n s o m e and most brutal slavery. A s s o o n as the despot rids himself of his enemies, his first policy is to be continually starting wars so that the c o m m o n people will look up to him as their necessary leader. T h e n he will keep t h e m p o o r by taxing t h e m to m e e t military expenses, and so m a k e t h e m less able to plot against h i m . A n d then, if h e suspects a n y o n e of being h u n g r y for freedom, h e will get rid of h i m ; in fact, noting all those w h o are courageous, high-minded, sensible, a n d wealthy, he m u s t of necessity b e hostile to t h e m and liquidate t h e m . . . . T h e despot c a n n o t help b e c o m i n g , because of his p o w e r , m o r e and m o r e suspicious, u n t r u s t w o r t h y , unjust, friendless, and d e p r a v e d ; h e will be a most u n h a p p y m a n , and m a k e those a r o u n d h i m as u n h a p p y as himself. A m a n who has joined the select c o m p a n y of philosophers and has c o m e to realize h o w delightful a n d blessed is their lot. and has seen h o w m a d the multitude is, h o w c o r r u p t their politics, a n d h o w impossible for a just m a n to save t h e m from folly, or his o w n life should he try to d o so, this m a n will refrain from political activity a n d tend to his o w n affairs, like a traveler who finds shelter u n d e r a wall during a whirlw i n d . H o w m u c h better it would be, however, if the
  • 130 THE GREEK MIND philosopher had been fortunate e n o u g h to belong to a society which appreciated him; for then he would b e able to save the c o m m u n i t y as well as himself. — Readins No. 1 3 — ARISTOTLE'S POLITICS Aristotle (384-322), more interested in the classification of existing governments than Plato, saw advantages in various types; in order to secure stability he advocated a large and powerful middle class. The following are excerpts from his Politics. i i i All associations aim at some good, but the state, the most lofty a n d inclusive of associations, aims at m o r e and greater good than any other. . . . W h e n several families b e c o m e united, a village is formed; w h e n several villages are united in a single c o m m u n i t y , of sufficient size to be virtually self-sufficient, the state c o m e s into being. F o r m e d at the start merely to provide the necessities of life, it c o n t i n u e s for the p u r p o s e of creating the good life. If the earlier forms of association are n a t u r a l , the state is n o less so, for it is the final c a u s e of h u m a n association, and the n a t u r e of anything a p p e a r s in its final cause. . . . H e n c e it is obvious that the state is a natural association and that m a n is by n a t u r e a social and political a n i m a l . . . . F u r t h e r , the state is by n a t u r e of greater i m p o r t a n c e t h a n the family or the individual, since the whole is necessarily m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a n the p a r t . . . . T h a t the state is natural and prior to the individual is proved by the fact that an isolated individual is not self-sufficing. H e w h o c a n n o t live in society, o r does not need to because he is self-sufficient, must b e either a beast or a god; he is n o m e m b e r of a h u m a n
  • ARISTOTLE'S POLITICS 131 o r d e r . T h e gregarious instinct is a natural element in all m e n , and the m a n w h o first established a state was the greatest of benefactors; for m a n w h e n he realizes such potentialities is the first of animals, but when he lacks law and justice he is the worst of all. . . . But justice is w h a t binds m e n together in states, a n d the administration of justice is the first principle or o r d e r in society. G o v e r n m e n t s which have c o n c e r n for the c o m m o n welfare are just a n d true forms of g o v e r n m e n t , but those w h i c h c o n c e r n themselves only with the interest of the rulers are inferior. . . . W e must next consider h o w m a n y forms of governm e n t there are a n d their n a t u r e . . . . T h e true forms are those in which the one m a n , a few m e n , o r the m a n y , govern with the c o m m o n welfare in m i n d ; but governm e n t s which regard only private interest, w h e t h e r it b e of one, a few, o r the m a n y , are perverted g o v e r n m e n t s . F o r the citizens of a state o u g h t to share in its a d v a n tages. Of forms of g o v e r n m e n t which h a v e the c o m m o n welfare in m i n d , w h e n o n e p e r s o n rules w e call it m o n a r c h y ; when a few rule ( t h e best m e n , or at least those w h o have the interests of the state and the citizens a t h e a r t ) , aristocracy; and w h e n the majority of the people rule in the c o m m o n interest t h e g o v e r n m e n t is called "polity.". . . T h e perversions of these forms are as follows: of m o n a r c h y , t y r a n n y ; of aristocracy, olig a r c h y ; of polity, d e m o c r a c y . T y r a n n y has regard only for the interest of the ruler, oligarchy only for the interest of the wealthy, d e m o c r a c y only for the interest of t h e poor. N o n e of them cares for the c o m m o n welfare. W h a t is the best constitution for most states, and the best life for most m e n ? It is not an ideal state which we h a v e in m i n d , but a life in which the majority of people c a n take p a r t and a form of g o v e r n m e n t which can actually be attained. If the h a p p y life is the life lived a c c o r d i n g to virtue, and virtue lies in a m e a n between e x t r e m e s , the same principles apply to cities and to constitutions. N o w there are three elements in all states: t h e very rich, the very poor, a n d the middle classj It
  • 132 T H E GREEK MIND is admitted that m o d e r a t i o n a n d the m e a n are most desirable; therefore it will be best if property is possessed in m o d e r a t i o n , for people in that situation a r e most inclined to act reasonably. But those w h o are extraordinarily h a n d s o m e , strong, well-born, o r wealthy find it hard to act in such a rational w a y . A n d those w h o are extremely p o o r , weak, or degraded, likewise find it h a r d . . . . F u r t h e r m o r e , the middle class is least inclined either to refuse to take part in politics o r to be t o o ambitious for office, both of which are harmful to the c o m m u n i t y . Also people w h o have too m u c h p o w e r a n d wealth are neither willing n o r able to submit to authority. But the very p o o r are inferior. So the f o r m e r cannot obey, a n d c a n rule only in tyrannical fashion, a n d the latter c a n n o t c o m m a n d but must be ruled like slaves. T h e result is a city of masters a n d slaves, not of freem e n ; and nothing c a n b e m o r e deadly to states than this, for when m e n are hostile t o w a r d o n e a n o t h e r they r e fuse to travel a c o m m o n road. A city should consist as far as possible of equals, a n d those are usually the middle classes. T h e r e f o r e a city c o m p o s e d of middle-class citizens is m a d e of the stoutest fabric. A n d these are the people w h o keep a city safe, for they d o not, like the poor, c r a v e their neighbor's goods, n o r d o others crave theirs; they neither plot against others n o r are plotted against; so they pass t h r o u g h life in safety. It is clear, therefore, that the best c o m m u n i t y is formed by the middle class, a n d that those states will be well administered in which the middle class is large a n d stronger t h a n both the other classes. T h e a r g u m e n t that the majority should rule rather than the few best m e n might seem to have some validity. It is possible for the majority, even though each individual m e m b e r is not good, to be better as a g r o u p t h a n as individuals. W h e n m a n y are involved, each will h a v e his o w n portion of virtue and u n d e r s t a n d i n g to c o n tribute. T h i s is w h y the m u l t i t u d e is a better judge of musical and poetic compositions; o n e m a n c a n judge o n e part, a n o t h e r a different part, a n d the whole g r o u p can judge the w h o l e . A l t h o u g h each person is a worse judge than a specialist, the whole g r o u p acting together
  • ARISTOTLE'S POLITICS 133 will be certainly not worse, but even better. F u r t h e r m o r e , sometimes the m a k e r is not the only, or even the best, judge of his p r o d u c t ; for e x a m p l e , the person w h o lives in a house can judge it better than the builder; a pilot can judge a r u d d e r better t h a n the shipwright; a n d o n e w h o eats the dinner, not the cook, judges the food best. A m a n is a slave by n a t u r e w h e n h e is capable of belonging to s o m e o n e else. Clearly there are some w h o are by n a t u r e free, others are by n a t u r e slaves, and for the latter their condition of servitude is both advantageo u s and just. In the best-governed state the citizens must not be businessmen or m a n u a l w o r k e r s , for such a life is lacking in nobility a n d is hostile to virtue; a n d they m u s t not be farmers, since farmers lack the leisure which is necessary for the cultivation of virtue a n d political activity. T h e greed of m e n is insatiable. T h e way to deal with this p r o b l e m is not so m u c h to equalize property as to p e r s u a d e m e n of better natures not to desire m o r e p r o p e r t y , a n d prevent m e n of baser n a t u r e s from getting m o r e . T h e r e are m a n y disadvantages in a c o m m u n i s t i c holding of p r o p e r t y . O u r present a r r a n g e m e n t of private p r o p e r t y can be improved by good c u s t o m s and laws so as to b e better than it is n o w or t h a n a c o m m u n i s t i c system. P r o p e r t y should be considered both c o m m o n and private. W h e n every o n e has t h e personal interest of o w n e r s h i p , m e n will have m o r e initiative; yet, as the old p r o v e r b puts it, " F r i e n d s have things in c o m m o n . " T h i s d u a l role of property is not impractical; it already exists in s o m e states, w h e r e every m a n has private p r o p e r t y yet m a k e s s o m e of it available to his friends. It is certainly better that the o w n e r s h i p of property should be private, but the use of it c o m m o n ; a n d it is the legislator's job to see to it that this generous state of m i n d is created.
  • 134 T H E GREEK MIND W e have n o w to consider the causes of revolution and how stability in g o v e r n m e n t m a y best be secured. Revolution arises from inequality. D e m o c r a c y is m o r e secure and free from party strife than oligarchy, for in oligarchy there are two kinds of strife, that a m o n g the ruling class and that against the people, whereas in d e m o c r a c i e s the only strife that m a t t e r s is that between the people a n d the oligarchs. D e m o c r a c i e s are o v e r t h r o w n chiefly because of the reckless conduct of their leaders. Sometimes these leaders a r o u s e the wealthy to unite in opposition, sometimes they lead the people in persecuting t h e m . (He cites several examples of such revolutions). F o r sometimes in seeking p o p u l a r favor d e m o c r a t i c leaders have m a d e the noble class unite by treating them unfairly, either taking away their property or imposing unjust burdens on t h e m . T y r a n n y h a s the evils of both d e m o c r a c y and olig a r c h y : of oligarchy in that it aims at wealth for itself and does not trust the p e o p l e ; of d e m o c r a c y , in that it persecutes the nobles. — Reading No. 1 4 — FOREIGN RELATIONS Herodotus ( c . 440), both anthropologist and historian, was especially interested in foreign customs, which he eagerly investigated and frankly enjoyed, as did many other Greeks. But empire and war brought to Athens a
  • FOREIGN 135 RELATIONS new policy toward foreigners, devastatingly pictured by Thucydides in his account of the subjugation of Mitylene, which sought to leave the Delian League, and the destruction of the neutral island of Melos. Cleon, leader of the majority party in Athens, argues for no mercy to Mitylene; Athenian envoys try to persuade Melos to submit. i i a. HERODOTUS: 1 History I n T h r a c e w h e n a child is b o r n its relatives gather a r o u n d and m o u r n for all the calamities it is b o u n d to suffer; but when a m a n dies they joke a n d rejoice at the burial, since he has found release from his misfortunes a n d has achieved happiness. W h e n D a r i u s was king of Persia he asked the G r e e k s w h o were there h o w m u c h m o n e y they would ask for eating their fathers' dead bodies. T h e y replied that n o m o n e y w o u l d induce t h e m to d o it. T h e n h e asked some I n d i a n s , w h o eat their parents, what would induce them to b u r n their fathers' corpses, as the G r e e k s d o . They replied that he should not even suggest such a horrible thing. So firmly rooted are local c u s t o m s ; P i n d a r was right when he said that c u s t o m is lord of all. T h i s is the most sensible custom a m o n g the Babylonia n s : they m a k e n o use of d o c t o r s , but instead c a r r y a sick person into the m a r k e t p l a c e , w h e r e those w h o have h a d the same illness or seen others afflicted with it c o m e u p to him a n d give him advice and comfort, telling him h o w they themselves got well or saw others d o so. Before P s a m m e t i c u s was king of Egypt, the Egyptians t h o u g h t themselves to be the oldest race on earth. But w h e n he b e c a m e king he wanted to find out what people really were the oldest, a n d devised the following plan. H e took two new-born children of plain people a n d gave t h e m to a shepherd to bring u p a m o n g his sheep, in-
  • 136 T H E GREEK M I N D structing him that n o o n e should say a w o r d near t h e m . H e ordered this because h e w a n t e d to h e a r w h a t sort of words the children would say w h e n they started to talk. A n d the experiment succeeded. F o r after the shepherd h a d d o n e as h e was o r d e r e d for two y e a r s , o n e d a y as he entered the fold the children ran t o w a r d him, h a n d s outstretched, calling " B e k o s . " After this h a d occurred several times the shepherd b r o u g h t the children before the king so that P s a m m e t i c u s could h e a r the words himself. T h e n the king sought to find out w h a t people used the w o r d Bekos, a n d discovered it was a Phrygian w o r d for b r e a d . F r o m this the Egyptians concluded that the Phrygians were an older r a c e t h a n they. This a c c o u n t was told by priests in the t e m p l e of Hephaestus ( P t a h ) at M e m p h i s . Croesus said to C y r u s , " N o m a n is such a fool as to desire war instead of p e a c e ; for in peace sons b u r y their fathers, but in w a r fathers bury their s o n s . " b. THUCYDIDES: History III C L E O N . I h a v e often realized that a d e m o c r a c y is incompetent to control an e m p i r e , but never m o r e t h a n today, when I see you having a c h a n g e of h e a r t a b o u t punishing the people of Mitylene. Y o u must r e m e m b e r that y o u r e m p i r e is a despotism imposed o n intriguing subjects, w h o are ruled against their will, a n d w h o obey you, not because of any kindness y o u d o them or any good will they feel t o w a r d you, but only in so far as you are stronger t h a n they are a n d impose y o u r will on them. Most i m p o r t a n t of all, w e m u s t stop everlastingly changing o u r m i n d s , a n d realize that a state with inferior laws which are enforced is better off t h a n one whose laws are good but ineffective. So I m a i n t a i n y o u should not reverse y o u r former decision to p u n i s h t h e m , or be misled by pity, delight in clever a r g u m e n t s , or m e r c y — t h r e e things most prejudicial to e m p i r e . I will s u m it up briefly: If you t a k e m y advice you will d o w h a t is just to the people of
  • 137 FOREIGN RELATIONS Mitylene a n d what is expedient for u s ; b u t if you decide otherwise you will not b e t h a n k e d by t h e m but r a t h e r c o n d e m n e d . F o r if these people h a d a right to revolt, then you are w r o n g in exercising imperial power. B u t if, rightly or wrongly, y o u are d e t e r m i n e d to rule, then you must punish these people, justly or not in y o u r o w n interest. If you fail to d o so y o u m u s t give u p y o u r empire, a n d then you can practice y o u r virtues to y o u r heart's content. I say punish t h e m as we formerly decided. P a y them back for the trouble they have caused. S t o p being tender-hearted. R e m e m b e r the d a n g e r that w e lately faced, a n d by punishing the people of Mitylene warn y o u r o t h e r allies that w h o e v e r revolts shall perish. c. THUCYDIDES: History V A T H E N I A N S . W e shall not m a k e a long a n d tiresome speech a b o u t h o w w e deserve o u r p o w e r because we defeated Persia, or that we have suffered some injury at y o u r h a n d s . Similarly w e ask you not to try to convince us that you should not join us because you were originally colonized by Sparta, or because y o u h a v e never d o n e us any h a r m . Let both of us be sensible a n d say w h a t we really intend, since you k n o w as well as w e d o that justice is arrived at by deliberation only w h e n t h e two sides are equal, a n d that the strong exact all they c a n a n d the weak yield what they must. M E L I A N S . Y O U say w e must ignore justice a n d deal merely with w h a t is expedient, but w e believe you will find it expedient not to rule out an appeal to reason a n d justice, because if you should be ultimately defeated y o u r enemies would j u d g e you by y o u r o w n e x a m p l e . A T H E N I A N S . W h a t m a y h a p p e n to o u r e m p i r e is o u r o w n affair. W e are h e r e n o w to act to the a d v a n t a g e of o u r empire, and w h a t w e p r o p o s e is also to y o u r adv a n t a g e ; for if y o u submit w i t h o u t fighting it will be easier for us, and you will avoid c o m p l e t e ruin. M E L I A N S . W e realize h o w weak in p o w e r we are. But w e h a v e faith that the gods will help us in this contest between justice a n d injustice.
  • 138 THE GREEK M I N D A T H E N I A N S . W e expect to h a v e t h e favor of the gods quite as m u c h as y o u , for as far as the gods are concerned we believe, as of m e n w e k n o w , that by a necessity of their n a t u r e they rule w h e r e v e r they have the p o w e r to d o so. W e did not invent this principle, n o r are w e the first t o act u p o n it. W e found it already existing, a n d w e expect people in the future will c o n t i n u e to use it. Y o u a n d others, if you h a d the p o w e r we h a v e , would d o what we are doing. — Reading No. 1 5 — THE MAN OF COURAGE The love of freedom and the courage to die in preserving freedom for one's country were commemorated in many grave inscriptions written hy Simonides, in Herodotus' accounts of Tellus of Athens and of the overthrow of the tyrants, and in the battle-cry of the Athenian sailors as their ships advanced against the Persian armada at Salamis (480 B . C . ) , as reported in Aeschylus' Persians. But there is another courage: the will to fight for individual freedom of thought and action, represented by Socrates in his speech when on trial, as reported by Plato in the Apology. i i a. i SIMONIDES Stranger passing by, tell the S p a r t a n s that w e lie here, having d o n e w h a t they told u s to d o . (On the Spartan dead at Thermopylae). If to die nobly is the greatest m a r k of virtue, to u s of all m e n F o r t u n e gave this prize. F o r eager to c r o w n G r e e c e with freedom, h e r e we lie enjoying ageless glory. (On the Athenian dead at Plataea).
  • THE M A N O F COURAGE b. 139 HERODOTUS: History I CROESUS. W h o m d o y o u , Solon, consider t h e h a p piest m a n y o u h a v e k n o w n ? SOLON. Tellus of A t h e n s . T o begin with, his city w a s p r o s p e r o u s . H e h a d a family of attractive a n d responsible sons, w h o in t u r n h a d children, all of w h o m survived. H e h a d e n o u g h m e a n s to live comfortably, according to o u r modest s t a n d a r d s . Finally, h e m e t d e a t h nobly, for in a battle between t h e A t h e n i a n s a n d t h e people of Eleusis, h e c a m e to t h e rescue of his c o u n t r y m e n a n d helped rout t h e e n e m y before h e fell; a n d t h e A t h e n i a n s gave h i m a state funeral with a h e r o ' s h o n o r s . c. HERODOTUS: History VIII T h e p o w e r of A t h e n s increased. A n d here is proof that freedom is a good thing, for w h e n t h e A t h e n i a n s w e r e u n d e r a tyrant they were n o better soldiers t h a n their neighbors, b u t when they got rid of tyrants they w e r e far superior. Clearly they did n o t w o r k h a r d while in subjection, b e c a u s e they were w o r k i n g for a m a s t e r ; but w h e n they b e c a m e free, each person w a s eager to w o r k because h e profited from his labor. d. AESCHYLUS: Persians On, sons of Hellas, free y o u r fatherland, free y o u r children, y o u r wives, t h e shrines of y o u r ancestral gods, the t o m b s of y o u r forefathers. N o w everything w e love is a t stake. e. P L A T O : Apology SOCRATES. S o m e o n e of y o u m a y ask, " W h a t have y o u been doing, Socrates, t o have caused such c h a r g e s to b e b r o u g h t against you? Certainly y o u m u s t h a v e d o n e s o m e t h i n g u n u s u a l . Tell u s , so that w e m a y n o t c o n d e m n y o u wrongly." T h a t is a r e a s o n a b l e request, a n d I shall try t o explain w h a t h a s caused this slander. A s o r t of w i s d o m w h i c h I possess is responsible f o r m y r e p u t a t i o n ; a n d f o r that w i s d o m I shall give as a reference an authority in w h o m y o u believe: A p o l l o , t h e g o d of D e l p h i . Y o u k n e w C h a e r e p h o n , a n d y o u k n o w h o w enthusiastic h e w a s in everything h e u n d e r t o o k . Well, h e w e n t
  • 140 T H E GREEK MIND to Delphi a n d asked the oracle if there was a n y o n e wiser t h a n I; and Apollo answered that there was n o one wiser. W h e n I h e a r d of it I said to myself, " W h a t c a n h e m e a n by this riddle? I k n o w that I a m not wise in any respect. W h a t does h e m e a n by saying that I am the wisest of m e n ? H e is a god, so he c a n n o t lie." F o r a long time I was baffled. T h e n I decided to go to o n e of the m e n considered to be wise, and disprove the oracle, saying to A p o l l o , " H e r e is a m a n wiser t h a n I, but y o u said I was the wisest." After observing him and c o n versing with him ( I w o n ' t say w h o h e was, but he w a s a political l e a d e r ) , I concluded that he seemed to o t h e r m e n , and most of all to himself, to be wise, but actually he was not wise. T h e n I tried to point this out to h i m , but merely caused myself to be hated by him a n d by m a n y others w h o w e r e present. So I said to myself, " I am certainly wiser t h a n he is. Probably neither of us knows anything of real value; but h e thinks h e k n o w s w h e n he doesn't, w h e r e a s I a m a w a r e of m y ignorance. In this respect p e r h a p s I am wiser t h a n h e . " (After this Socrates went to other prominent men in the community, including poets and expert craftsmen, and discovered that they, too, had the reputation of being wise but failed to realize the significance of what they did.) As a result of this inquiry m a n y people h a v e c o m e to regard me with violent hostility, and m a n y slanders have b e e n directed against m e . A n d people call m e wise, for they imagine that I have the wisdom which I reveal as lacking in o t h e r s . But really, m e n of A t h e n s , only G o d is wise; a n d by his o r a c u l a r response h e indicates that h u m a n wisdom is w o r t h little o r nothing, a n d that the wisest m a n is the one w h o , like Socrates, k n o w s h o w slight his wisdom is. A n d I shall not cease q u e s t i o n i n g and cross-examining a n y o n e I meet, b e h e citizen o r foreigner, w h o seems to be wise; a n d if I find h e is not, I shall reveal to him his ignorance. But p e r h a p s some o n e will say, " A r e n ' t you a s h a m e d , Socrates, of behaving in such a w a y that n o w you m a y be put to death for it?" H e r e is m y answer. " Y o u are w r o n g a b o u t that. A m a n w h o is w o r t h anything should not calculate the c h a n c e of living or dying, but should
  • T H E MAN OF COURAGE 141 consider only w h e t h e r h e is doing the right or the w r o n g thing a n d behaving like a good m a n or a bad o n e . F o r w h e r e v e r a m a n ' s place is. w h e t h e r one of his o w n choice or one in w h i c h h e has been stationed by a c o m m a n d ing officer in battle, there he should remain in the time of danger, a n d should give n o t h o u g h t to death. It would be strange, m e n of A t h e n s , if, w h e n I h a d b e e n given o r d e r s by o u r generals at Potidaea, A m p h i p o l i s , and D e l i u m , I h a d stayed w h e r e they put m e , but n o w w h e n , as I believe, G o d has c o m m a n d e d me to e n q u i r e critically into myself a n d o t h e r m e n , I w e r e to leave m y post t h r o u g h fear of d e a t h or a n y t h i n g else. T h a t certainly would be strange, a n d then I might with justice b e b r o u g h t to trial for d e n y i n g that the gods exist, if I so disobeyed t h e god's will because I feared death a n d imagined I w a s wise w h e n I w a s not. F o r to fear d e a t h is to p r e t e n d o n e k n o w s what o n e does not k n o w . N o o n e k n o w s w h e t h e r d e a t h , w h i c h m e n fear as the greatest of evils, m a y not b e the greatest good. I n this respect alone p e r h a p s I a m wiser t h a n o t h e r m e n : k n o w i n g little a b o u t w h a t h a p p e n s after d e a t h I d o not pretend I k n o w . But I d o k n o w this: t h a t injustice a n d disobedience to w h a t is better, w h e t h e r divine o r h u m a n , is evil a n d d i s h o n o r a b l e ; a n d I shall never fear or avoid a possible good m o r e t h a n a certain evil. So if you release m e n o w , a n d say to m e , "Socrates, this time we'll let you off, but on this c o n d i t i o n : t h a t y o u will not engage in such criticism any m o r e . If w e catch you d o i n g so again you shall die"—if y o u said that, I would a n s w e r : " M e n of A t h e n s , I h o n o r and love y o u , but I shall obey G o d r a t h e r t h a n you, a n d while I live and h a v e the strength to d o it I shall c o n t i n u e m y pursuit of u n d e r s t a n d i n g , saying to a n y o n e w h o m I m e e t , ' Y o u , m y friend, a citizen of the great a n d powerful a n d intellectual city of A t h e n s , aren't you a s h a m e d of a m a s sing as m u c h wealth and prestige as y o u c a n but paying so little if any attention to u n d e r s t a n d i n g the t r u t h a n d y o u r soul's progress?' A n d if the m a n protests a n d says h e does c a r e , I d o not let him get off so easily, but I question a n d cross-examine him; a n d if I think he has n o goodness in him but only says he has, I u p b r a i d him for his false set of values. A n d I shall keep on doing this with everyone w h o m I meet, for you m u s t realize
  • 142 T H E GREEK MIND that this is m y assignment from G o d , and I believe n o greater good has ever h a p p e n e d in o u r city than this service of m i n e . " U p o n reflection we shall see that w e are justified in hoping that death is a good thing. F o r it is either a state of unconsciousness, or, according to w h a t m e n say, it is a change of form a n d residence for the soul from this world to a n o t h e r . N o w if it is total u n c o n sciousness, then death is a gain, for eternity is just one long night. But if it is a j o u r n e y to a n o t h e r place where, as they say, all the dead reside, what could b e a greater good than that? W h a t w o u l d n ' t a m a n give for the o p portunity to talk with O r p h e u s and M u s a e u s , Hesiod and H o m e r ? F u t h e r m o r e , I can c o n t i n u e m y investigation into knowledge. A n d there they d o not put a m a n to death for asking questions! So, m y judges, be cheerful about d e a t h , a n d be sure that n o h a r m can c o m e to a good m a n either living or dead. — Reading No. 16 — THE RATIONAL MAN In the "hymn of humanism" in Sophocles' Antigone. the chorus praises the achievements made by man's intelligence. Socrates through a process of questioning tried to develop the faculty of reason in his youthful followers and guide them toward sound definitions; the Lysis and M e n o present this procedure in its simpler terms. Plato, using the Socratic method, analyzed the construction of general concepts and the process of understanding. Aristotle made a systematic study of ideas in their logical relationships and social contexts. i 1
  • 143 T H E RATIONAL M A N a. SOPHOCLES: Antigone T h e r e a r e m a n y wonderful things, b u t n o n e m o r e wonderful than m a n . O v e r t h e whitecaps of t h e sea h e goes, driven by the stormy winds, topped by the towering waves; and t h e E a r t h , oldest of the gods, eternal and tireless, he wears away, t u r n i n g furrows with his plough year after year. H e snares t h e lighthearted birds and t h e wild beasts of the fields, and he catches in his nets the fish of the sea, m a n forever resourceful. H e tames the animals that r o a m t h e m e a d o w s and m o u n tains, yoking the shaggy horses and t h e powerful bulls. A n d he h a s learned the use of language t o express windswift thought, and he h a s mastered the art of living with o t h e r m e n in addition t o t h e conquest of n a t u r e . Skillfully he meets t h e future; although h e h a s found n o escape from death, he h a s discovered release from painful diseases. His ingenuity results in evil as well as good; when he respects his c o u n t r y ' s laws and justice h e deserves h o n o r ; but m a y t h e arrogant m a n , u n t r u e t o his city, never c o m e to m y hearth or share m y thoughts. b. PLATO O N SOCRATES: Lysis and Meno I suppose, Lysis, y o u r father and m o t h e r love y o u very m u c h ? Of course, Socrates. T h e n they would wish you to be as h a p p y as possible. W h y not? D o e s a person seem t o you h a p p y when he is a slave and c a n n o t d o w h a t h e wants to? By Zeus, I w o u l d n ' t say so. So if y o u r father and m o t h e r love y o u a n d want y o u to be h a p p y they obviously p u t themselves out in o r d e r to please y o u ? W h y not? So they let y o u d o w h a t y o u wish, a n d they d o n ' t punish you o r prevent y o u from doing anything y o u set y o u r heart o n ? Oh but they d o prevent m y doing very m a n y things, Socrates.
  • 144 T H E GREEK MIND W h a t ' s t h a t ? T h e y w a n t y o u to b e h a p p y yet prevent y o u from doing w h a t y o u wish? Let's say you w a n t to ride on one of y o u r father's chariots a n d take the reins when he is c o m p e t i n g in a r a c e , w o u l d n ' t they let you d o it? By Zeus they wouldn't. W h o m d o they let d o it? O h there's a charioteer, a n d father p a y s him to d o it. Y o u m e a n to say they let a hired m a n d o w h a t e v e r h e wishes with the horses, but they won't let y o u ? Certainly. Well, tell me this. D o they let you govern yourself, or d o n ' t they let you d o that, either? Of course not! W h o does govern you? T h i s p e d a g o g u e (attendant) here. Is he a slave? Of course, but he belongs to u s . It's a terrible thing for a free m a n to be governed by a slave. Just what does h e d o in o r d e r i n g you a r o u n d ? H e takes m e to m y teacher's school. A n d these teachers also give o r d e r s to y o u ? T h e y certainly d o . Well, y o u r father certainly has p u t a great m a n y m a s ters over you. But w h e n you g o h o m e to y o u r m o t h e r , I'm sure she lets you d o w h a t e v e r y o u wish, so t h a t you'll be her happy boy. (Lysis proceeds to explain that his mother also prevents him from interfering in her household tasks. "Why don't they let you do what you want?" Socrates asks. The hoy answers, "Because I am not yet old enough." But then Socrates gets him to admit that his father and mother allow him to do many things, such as reading and writing, as he wishes. Lysis works out a new definition: "They let me do what I understand how to do, and prevent me from doing things which I don't understand." The implied conclusion is that people are happy when they do what they can do well, and should not expect to be allowed to do things of which they are ignorant. There is also implied a criticism of the extreme democratic dogma of individual liberty.)
  • T H E RATIONAL MAN 145 D o we call virtue a good thing, M e n o ? Yes, Socrates. Well, if any good exists apart from knowledge, that good might be virtue; but if knowledge includes all good, t h e n we a r e correct in considering virtue to be k n o w l edge? Right. V i r t u e m a k e s us good? Yes. A n d good things profit us? Certainly. T h e n virtue profits us? Obviously. N o w let us e x a m i n e what special things profit us. H e a l t h ? Strength? Beauty? W e a l t h ? Yes. A n d yet these s a m e things m a y at times h a r m u s , m a y they not? Yes. W h a t determines w h e t h e r they a r e profitable or not? D o n ' t they profit us w h e n they are properly used, a n d h a r m us when they are improperly used? Right. N o w let us examine spiritual goods, such as self-cont r o l , justice, c o u r a g e , keenness of m i n d , m e m o r y , generosity a n d so forth. These, too, sometimes profit a n d s o m e t i m e s h a r m us; for e x a m p l e when a m a n lacks good sense he m a y be h a r m e d by c o u r a g e . Quite t r u e . If, t h e n , virtue is a quality of the soul a n d is profitable, it must be wisdom, o r at least c o m m o n - s e n s e , since n o n e of the o t h e r qualities of the soul is in itself either profitable or harmful, but is m a d e so by wisdom or folly. Similarly with the other goods we m e n t i o n e d , such as wealth. Yes. Is n o t this universally true, that all good things d e p e n d o n the soul, a n d the qualities of the soul d e p e n d u p o n wisdom? Yes. But if virtue is knowledge, it m a y be taught. A n d I sometimes d o u b t w h e t h e r it can b e taught, for I have
  • 146 T H E GREEK MIND gone to great efforts to find teachers of it a n d never succeeded in finding any. have C. PLATO T h e good m a n does not let any element in his soul usurp the function of another, but like a musician w h o brings into h a r m o n y all the musical tones, so the good m a n , relating perfectly the three elements within h i m self (appetite, unselfish spirit, r e a s o n ) becomes h a r m o n i o u s . (Republic IV) A musical education is of the greatest i m p o r t a n c e , because r h y t h m and h a r m o n y p e n e t r a t e very deeply to the inward places of the soul a n d affect it most p o w e r fully, imparting grace; and also because one w h o h a s been so educated will perceive most keenly the defects of both art a n d n a t u r e . With fine discrimination he will a p p r o v e and enjoy beautiful objects, and thus grow h i m self to be beautiful and good. But shameful things he will censure and hate, even in his y o u t h before he is able to u n d e r s t a n d the reason w h y ; a n d w h e n reason c o m e s he will recognize and welcome her in the most friendly way because of this early training. (Republic III) Poets should be compelled to express in their p r o d u c tions the likeness of a good c h a r a c t e r , a n d other artists m u s t be restrained from expressing an evil n a t u r e , int e m p e r a n c e , meanness, a n d ungracefulness, w h e t h e r in the likeness of living c r e a t u r e s , or buildings, o r any other craftsmanship. H e w h o c a n n o t d o otherwise shall be forbidden to w o r k in o u r city, so that o u r g u a r d i a n s m a y not be reared a m o n g images of evil, as u p o n u n w h o l e s o m e pastures. W e o u g h t r a t h e r to seek artists w h o desire to track d o w n what is beautiful and graceful, so that o u r y o u t h , living in a healthful climate, m a y derive good from every side, w h e n c e a n y e m a n a t i o n from beautiful w o r k s m a y strike u p o n their sight like a breeze wafting health from kindly lands, a n d from childhood
  • 147 T H E RATIONAL M A N win t h e m into resemblance, friendship, with intellectual b e a u t y . (Republic III) and harmony H e w h o is eager to love rightly should begin when he is y o u n g to seek the c o m p a n i o n s h i p of beautiful objects; and first he should learn to love one such object only, a n d out of that to c r e a t e beautiful thoughts. Soon h e will realize that the beauty of any one object is closely related to the beauty of a n o t h e r , a n d then, if beauty of form is his pursuit, he will be very foolish not to recognize that the beauty in all objects is one and the same thing. W h e n h e perceives this he will b e c o m e a lover of all beautiful objects. N e x t he will consider that the beauty of the soul is m o r e excellent than the beauty of the o u t w a r d form, a n d will be led to see the beauty of institutions a n d laws, a n d after that of the various fields of knowledge. T h e n n o longer will h e meanly and u n reasonably enslave himself to the attractions of any o n e person or institution, but drawing near the wide sea of b e a u t y he will grow in understanding, until at last, strong and m a t u r e , h e contemplates one c o m p r e h e n s i v e science, t h e science of universal b e a u t y . (Symposium) T h e r e is a kind of m a d n e s s which inspires a m a n w h o , w h e n he sees the beauty of this earth, r e m e m b e r s with ecstasy the true Beauty. A n d this is of all inspirations the best. F o r every m a n ' s soul has, by its n a t u r e , formerly c o n t e m p l a t e d reality, but to r e m e m b e r it is n o easy m a t t e r ; there are only a few w h o , when they see the objects of earth, are r e m i n d e d by t h e m of the realities. O n c e , with the rest of the happy b a n d , w e saw radiant beauty, we beheld the beatific vision, we were initiated into mysteries which it is right to call most blessed. W e w e r e admitted to the sight of visions perfect and c o m plete and serene and h a p p y , shining in p u r e light. T h e r e beauty shone with the rest; and when w e c a m e to e a r t h w e found her here, t o o , shining clearly, t h r o u g h the m e d i u m of sight, o u r clearest sense. (Phaedrus) d. ARISTOTLE Every art, investigation, and activity is thought to aim at some good, so the good has been properly defined
  • 148 T H E GREEK MIND as the end toward which everything aims. . . . If there is such an end, will not knowing it be of great value to us? Shall we not, like b o w m e n with a m a r k to shoot at, be m o r e likely to hit u p o n what is right? . . . T o say that happiness is the chief good m a y seem a c o m m o n place. A m o r e precise definition of it is desirable. Perh a p s we can arrive at it if we first consider the n a t u r e of m a n . F o r just as for a flute player, a sculptor, or any artist, in fact for everything that has a function, the good is regarded as residing in the function, so with m a n . if h e has a special function. . . . W h a t can that function be? N o t merely life, for life is c o m m o n even to vegetation, so we m a y exclude the experience of nutrition and growth. Perception? N o , for that is c o m m o n to animals. T h e r e remains the active experience of t h e rational faculty. . . . N o w if the function of m a n is an activity of the soul in a c c o r d a n c e with a rational principle, h u m a n good is an activity of the soul in a c c o r d a n c e with virtue, a n d if there are several virtues, in a c c o r d a n c e with the best and most complete virtue. But to this we must add "in a c o m p l e t e life." F o r as o n e swallow on a single fine day does not m a k e the s u m m e r , so a single day or short period of time d o e s not m a k e a m a n really h a p p y . . . . A n d happiness also requires external g o o d s ; for it is, if not impossible, at least difficult to act nobly without suitable possessions. In m a n y activities w e need to m a k e use of friends, wealth, a n d political p o w e r . A n d happiness is lessened if one lacks good birth, fine children, personal beauty; for a m a n w h o is very ugly or low-born or alone and childless is not apt to be very h a p p y . Since happiness is an activity of the soul in a c c o r d a n c e with perfect virtue, w e must next consider the n a t u r e of virtue. . . . S o m e of the virtues are intellectual in character, others are m o r a l ; philosophic wisdom a n d insight and wisdom of a practical sort are intellectual, generosity a n d t e m p e r a n c e are m o r a l . . . . Intellectual virtue owes in general both its existence and growth to teaching, while m o r a l virtue results from habit. . . . It is obvious that n o n e of the moral virtues is inherent in us, for nothing that exists by n a t u r e can form a habit
  • T H E RATIONAL MAN 149 c o n t r a r y to its n a t u r e . F o r example, a stone which naturally falls d o w n w a r d cannot be m a d e to move itself u p w a r d even if one tries to train it to d o so by throwing it u p countless times. . . . N a t u r e merely makes us able to receive such virtues, which are perfected by habit. If happiness is activity in accordance with the highest virtue, this virtue will be the best of our faculties— either reason, or something else in us which rules and guides us, which m a k e s us think of noble and divine things. . . . F o r m a n , living in a c c o r d a n c e with reason seems best, since the function of m a n is essentially the exercise of reason. W e a c q u i r e virtues by exercising t h e m , as is true of any art. W e learn by doing. As m e n b e c o m e carpenters by building houses and lyre players by playing the lyre, we b e c o m e just by acting justly, m o d e r a t e by doing things in m o d e r a t i o n , c o u r a g e o u s by showing courage. F u r t h e r evidence is seen in the experience of cities; legislators habituate the citizens to civic virtue. V i r t u e is a condition of c h a r a c t e r involving choice a n d lying in a m e a n , the m e a n being d e t e r m i n e d by the rational principle which a m a n of practical wisdom would m a k e use of. It is a m e a n between two evils, o n e of which is of excess, the o t h e r of defect. . . . As far as fear a n d overconfidence are c o n c e r n e d , c o u r a g e is the m e a n . . . . A s far as giving a n d taking m o n e y is c o n c e r n e d , the m e a n is generosity, whereas the excess is prodigality a n d the defect is stinginess. . . . As far as h o n o r a n d d i s h o n o r are c o n c e r n e d , the m e a n is legitim a t e pride, w h e r e a s the excess is vanity a n d the defect is self-abasement. . . . Justice is the p r o p o r t i o n a l , and injustice is c o n t r a r y to the p r o p e r p r o p o r t i o n . T h e m a n w h o acts unjustly h a s too m u c h of a good thing; the m a n unjustly treated h a s too little of it.
  • 150 T H E GREEK MIND N o t every type of experience, however, admits a m e a n . Some are essentially b a d ; such attitudes as malice, s h a m e lessness, and jealousy, a n d such actions as adultery, theft, and m u r d e r . . . . T o achieve the m e a n is often not easy. H o w , for instance, should o n e b e angry, at w h o m , u n d e r what circumstances, for h o w long? It is nonetheless clear that the effort to attain the m e a n is praiseworthy. F r i e n d s h i p is a most necessary virtue, for n o o n e would w a n t to live without friends, even if he h a d every o t h e r possession. M e n of wealth and political office especially need friends, for of w h a t avail is their p r o s perity if they have no c h a n c e to use it in praiseworthy generosity toward friends? H o w , in fact, can prosperity be protected without friends? A n d in poverty and other disasters friends often seem one's sole refuge. . . . But in addition to being necessary, friendship is a noble thing; we c o m m e n d those who have m a n y friends a n d love t h e m . Perfect happiness consists in the activity of c o n t e m plation. (Nicomachean Ethics) Obviously people in the p r i m e of life will b e intermediate between the y o u n g and the old. T h e y will not be subject to the excess of either. T h e y will be neither foolhardy n o r excessively cautious, but will preserve a good balance of confidence and fear. T h e y will be neither overtrustful n o r generally distrustful, but will c o m e to conclusions o n the basis of the facts. T h e y will govern their c o n d u c t by motives of neither prestige n o r expediency alone, but by both, a n d they will preserve the m e a n between stinginess a n d extravagance. Similarly with passion a n d desire: they will c o m b i n e t e m p e r a n c e a n d vital spirit, w h e r e a s t h e y o u n g are b r a v e a n d int e m p e r a t e , a n d the old a r e t e m p e r a t e but o v e r c a u t i o u s . I n conclusion it m a y be claimed that the separate advantages of y o u t h a n d age are b o t h enjoyed by m e n in the p r i m e of life, a n d the disadvantages of excess o r defect c o m m o n to y o u t h a n d age are avoided by m e n in
  • TRAGEDY: EURIPIDES' Medea 151 the p r i m e of life, which is physically from the ages of 3 0 to 3 5 , mentally about the age of 49. {Rhetoric) T r a g e d y is an artistic representation of experience that is serious, complete (i.e., the tragic error leading to the tragic c o n c l u s i o n ) , and of adequate magnitude; it is acted, not merely recited; it is expressed in speech m a d e beautiful in various suitable ways; and its purpose is to a r o u s e pity a n d fear a n d purge the spectator of such emotions. I n tragedy of the highest type the plot must represent experience which arouses pity and fear. T h e r e are, therefore, three kinds of plot to be a v o i d e d : ( 1 ) a good m a n m u s t not be shown proceeding from happiness to misery; or ( 2 ) a b a d m a n from misery to happiness. I n the first case we are not aroused to fear or pity, but find the situation intolerable; in the second, there is n o appeal to any sympathetic feeling in us. N o r ( 3 ) should a n exceptionally bad m a n be shown proceeding from happiness to misery. T h a t sort of a c c o u n t m a y arouse some sort of feeling in us, but it will not be pity or fear. Pity is aroused by undeserved calamity; fear is aroused by the calamity of some o n e essentially like ourselves. T h e r e r e m a i n s , therefore, the m a n in an interm e d i a t e position, neither extraordinarily good and just n o r vile and depraved, whose calamity is b r o u g h t about by some e r r o r on his p a r t . (Poetics) — Reading No. 1 7 TRAGEDY: EURIPIDES' MEDEA The M e d e a of Euripides, produced in Athens in 431, is an example of the tragic effect of pity and fear described by Aristotle and of other values in Greek drama.
  • 152 THE GREEK M I N D In the following scene Medea's children return after having carried to the Princess the poisoned gifts which are Medea's revenge on the girl who has taken her husband from her. For the sake of her children Medea believes that she must now kill them. i 1 i (Enter Attendant and Children.) A T T E N D A N T . Mistress, the children h a v e w o n release from exile! A n d the royal bride was delighted with y o u r gifts! N o w all's fair sailing for the children! But w h a t ' s this? W h y d o you stand there as if all w e r e lost when you have succeeded so well? W h y a r e n ' t you glad when you h e a r the news I bring? MEDEA. O God! A T T E N D A N T . T h i s isn't the way t o h e a r good news. MEDEA. God! A T T E N D A N T . C a n it be that I've b r o u g h t b a d fortune w i t h o u t knowing it? Shall I get n o credit for bringing good news? M E D E A . Y O U have reported w h a t you reported. I d o n ' t b l a m e you. A T T E N D A N T . T h e n w h y is y o u r face downcast? W h y weep? M E D E A . I h a v e great reason, old m a n . F o r the gods and I have planned and d o n e a terrible thing. A T T E N D A N T . C o u r a g e ! Y o u r children shall o n e day bring you back h o m e . M E D E A . I shall bring t h e m h o m e before that. A T T E N D A N T . Y o u ' r e not the only w o m a n w h o has lost her children. M o r t a l s must learn to be reconciled to misfortune. M E D E A . I shall learn it. But go inside now and a r r a n g e things for the boys. (The Attendant goes in) O children, children, for you there is a city and a h o m e in which, without y o u r wretched m o t h e r , you will live forever. But I a m going to a n o t h e r c o u n t r y for refuge before I a m of any further help to you, before I see you happily g r o w n u p , before I m a k e a r r a n g e m e n t s for y o u r w e d d i n g s — t h e m a r r i a g e b a t h , the bed, the torches, the bride. W h a t agony m y ambition has b r o u g h t me! It was not for this, children, that I labored a n d was
  • TRAGEDY: EURIPIDES' Medea 153 wracked with pain when you were born; it was not for this I b r o u g h t you u p . O h n o , once I had great hopes in you, that you would comfort me in my old age and when I died w o u l d lay m e out tenderly with your own h a n d s . W h a t w o m a n doesn't yearn for that? But now I have n o such lovely d r e a m . W i t h o u t you I shall lead a bitter life a n d a hopeless one. A n d you shall never again look on y o u r m o t h e r with those d e a r eyes, but will be living in an alien land. O G o d , w h y d o you look at m e s o , children? W h y d o you laugh that last l a u g h t e r ? W h a t a m I a b o u t ? M y c o u r a g e has left m e , women, w h e n I see m y children's shining faces. I can never do it. I a b a n d o n the plan I had. I shall take m y children with m e . T o m a k e their father suffer w h y must I suffer twice as m u c h as he? N o , I w o n ' t d o it. Farewell to my w h o l e plan. A n d yet, w h a t a m I d r e a m i n g of? D o I want to bec o m e a laughing stock to m y e n e m i e s by letting t h e m g o u n p u n i s h e d ? T h i s must b e d a r e d ! A w a y with m y c o w a r d i c e a n d t h e tender t h o u g h t s t h a t u n d e r m i n e my resolution. G o into the house, c h i l d r e n . (The children slowly go in.) W h o e v e r is forbidden to attend m y sacrifice, let him b e w a r e . I shall not let m y h a n d swerve. O m y soul, d o not d o it! Let t h e m live, wretched M e d e a , spare y o u r sons! If they live with you in A t h e n s they will give you joy. N o , by the avenging spirits of H a d e s , I shall never let m y sons be h a n d e d to my foes to gloat over. T h e r e is n o way out of it, they must die. A n d since they m u s t die, I, w h o gave t h e m birth, shall kill t h e m . T h e r e is n o w a y to evade it. Already the d i a d e m is on the princess' head, the bride is being eaten by that robe of poison, I k n o w it well. But before I walk the path of utter misery, I must s p e a k again to m y sons. (A servant brings them out to her.) G i v e m o t h e r y o u r h a n d s , children. O dearest h a n d s , dearest lips and bodies, princely faces! M a y y o u b e h a p p y ! But there, not h e r e ! Y o u r father took away a n y happiness you could have here. O lovely look, O soft flesh a n d sweetest b r e a t h of m y c h i l d r e n — G o in the house! G o !
  • 154 T H E GREEK M I N D (The servant takes them in.) I c a n n o longer look at t h e m ; I a m o v e r c o m e by m y w o e . N o w I realize w h a t a terrible thing I a m going to do. But I h a v e m o r e passion t h a n reason, even though I k n o w w h a t disaster passion brings. C H O R U S OF C O R I N T H I A N WOMEN. Often h a v e I d e b a t e d keenly a b o u t life A n d struggled to resolve its m a n y mysteries M o r e t h a n w o m e n are credited with doing. F o r there is the gift of speculation E v e n a m o n g w o m e n , the craving to u n d e r s t a n d , N o t a m o n g all, only a few of t h e m , Y o u might find one in a great n u m b e r , But w o m e n , t o o , a r e lovers of wisdom. A n d I c o n c l u d e t h a t those a m o n g m o r t a l s W h o are childless have the best fortune. F o r being childless a n d u n a w a r e W h e t h e r their loss is w o e o r joy, T h e y live free from m a n y a pain. B u t those w h o h a v e within their h o m e s T h e fragrant flower of t e n d e r y o u t h A r e b u r d e n e d all their days with c a r e . First t o r e a r t h e m properly, A n d then to leave t h e m m e a n s to live. N e v e r s u r e if all their toil Is for good or worthless sons. A n d then there c o m e s a final f e a r — T h e y have found wealth to rear the y o u n g , T h e bodies h a v e g r o w n to m a n h o o d , the mind N o b l e — b u t if a god decrees, D e a t h c o m e s . D o w n to the d a r k of H a d e s H e takes t h e bodies of y o u r sons. H o w then profits a m a n , having suffered All else, to h a v e this pain the m o r e , T h e sharpest p a n g given by the gods, T h e bitterest grief imposed o n m e n ? M E D E A . F r i e n d s , I h a v e waited a long t i m e for this to h a p p e n , and I a m expecting n o w the report of it. I
  • TRAGEDY: EURIPIDES' Medea 155 see o n e of J a s o n ' s servants a p p r o a c h i n g . F r o m his lab o r e d breathing h e shows w h a t sort of n e w s he brings. (Enter Messenger.) M E S S E N G E R . Y O U w h o h a v e d o n e this criminal thing, M e d e a , escape, escape, by any m e a n s y o u c a n , ship o n the sea or w a g g o n rolling over the e a r t h ! M E D E A . W h a t has h a p p e n e d that should force m e to escape? M E S S E N G E R . T h e Royal Princess is d e a d , a n d C r e o n h e r father, slain by y o u r poison. M E D E A . T h a t ' s wonderful news. H e r e a f t e r you shall b e counted a m o n g m y benefactors a n d friends. M E S S E N G E R . W h a t ? A r e y o u sane a n d in y o u r right m i n d , to d o such injury to royalty and t h e n rejoice w h e n y o u h e a r a b o u t it? A r e n ' t you afraid? M E D E A . I shall have something to say to that later. B u t n o w t a k e y o u r time, m y friend, a n d tell m e h o w they died. Y o u will m a k e m e twice as h a p p y if they died horribly. M E S S E N G E R . W h e n y o u r t w o children c a m e with their f a t h e r to the bride's a p a r t m e n t w e w e r e delighted, w e servants w h o shared y o u r troubles. T h e r u m o r spread t h r o u g h the p a l a c e t h a t you a n d y o u r h u s b a n d h a d bec o m e reconciled, a n d o n e of us w o u l d kiss the h a n d , a n o t h e r the golden hair of y o u r children, a n d as for me, in m y happiness I followed t h e m even to the w o m en's quarters. T h e mistress w h o m w e n o w p a y h o m a g e to instead of you did not see the children at first, but was all eagerness w h e n s h e saw J a s o n c o m i n g in. T h e n when she c a u g h t sight of t h e children, she w a s disgusted a n d half closed h e r eyes a n d t u r n e d her h e a d a w a y , but y o u r h u s b a n d soothed h e r a n d c a l m e d her by saying, " D o n ' t be u n k i n d to those w h o love you. Stop being a n g r y ; just look at t h e m a n d t r e a t those w h o are d e a r to y o u r husb a n d as d e a r to y o u , t o o . T a k e these gifts they bring, a n d p e r s u a d e y o u r father to let t h e m stay here for m y sake, w o n ' t y o u ? " A n d she, w h e n she saw t h e box of finery, did not hold back a n y longer, b u t granted her h u s b a n d all he asked. W h e n the children a n d their father h a d just left the r o o m she took out the e m b r o i d e r e d dress a n d tried it
  • 156 T H E GREEK MIND on, a n d fastened t h e golden d i a d e m a b o u t h e r h e a d , fixed her h a i r before a gleaming m i r r o r , a n d laughed gaily at the i m a g e — a l r e a d y as good as d e a d — t h a t she saw t h e r e . T h e n she got u p from her seat a n d walked to a n d fro, treading delicately across the r o o m with w h i t e feet flashing. H o w happy she was over those p r e s ents! Often she would look over her shoulder to see h o w the train fell. . . . But all of a sudden a sickening c h a n g e took place. She b e c a m e deathly pale, she staggered sideways, h e r legs started to t r e m b l e , and she just m a n a g e d to sink into a c h a i r to avoid falling o n the floor. O n e of t h e old servants t h o u g h t she fainted t h r o u g h e m o t i o n sent by P a n o r s o m e o t h e r god, and gave a cry of holy r e joicing—until she saw the white foam oozing o n t h e princess' lips, a n d h e r eyeballs twisted u p w a r d , and h e r face drained of its color. T h e n she raised a cry of ano t h e r sort, a piercing cry of pity. O n e servant r a n to the King's a p a r t m e n t , a n o t h e r to the b r i d e g r o o m ' s , to let t h e m k n o w of the bride's illness, a n d t h e w h o l e p a l a c e r e s o u n d e d with people r u n n i n g . It was a b o u t as long as it takes a swift walker to cover the stadium c o u r s e before she recovered h e r speech a n d o p e n e d h e r eyes a n d began to m o a n terribly. T h e n she w r e n c h e d herself u p , p o o r w o m a n , a n d entered t h e field against t w o merciless foes. T h e golden d i a d e m which encircled h e r h e a d sent forth a terrifying stream of d e vouring fire, a n d the delicate d r e s s — t h o s e gifts y o u r children b r o u g h t h e r — b e g a n to eat a w a y h e r white flesh. She leaped to her feet a n d ran all ablaze, s h a k i n g her h a i r a n d h e a d , trying to t h r o w off the d i a d e m , b u t the golden clasp held firm, and the fire, as she shook h e r head, blazed twice as fiercely. She fell o n the t h r e s h o l d , n o m a t c h for her d o o m , hardly recognizable by a n y o n e except her father. F o r h e r eyes w e r e nearly g o n e , h e r face eaten away, blood d r i p p e d from t h e t o p of h e r h e a d , clotted with fire, a n d the flesh was oozing from her bones like resin from a p i n e tree. Such jaws y o u r secret poison h a d ! She w a s a horrible sight. E v e r y o n e w a s afraid to t o u c h h e r dead b o d y , for w e h a d seen e n o u g h to t e a c h us better. But her father, p o o r m a n , not k n o w i n g w h a t h a d h a p -
  • TRAGEDY: EURIPIDES' Medea 157 pened, suddenly appeared in the r o o m a n d fell o n the corpse, m o a n i n g a n d folding his a r m s a r o u n d her a n d kissing her. " M y p o o r child," he kept saying, " W h a t god has ruined you so cruelly? W h o h a s brought me to death by robbing m e of you? I wish I could die with you, m y d a u g h t e r . " A t last he stopped his m o a n i n g and tried to raise his old body, but he was held as ivy clings to laurel b r a n c h e s . T h e delicate dress clung to him, and gave him a fiendish wrestling m a t c h . W h e n he wanted to lift a k n e e , the cloth gripped it, a n d if he wrenched it away the aged flesh was stripped from his bones. Finally h e gave u p , the ill-fated King, a n d he breathed his last, for he w a s n o longer able to struggle with his d o o m . T h e r e they lie together, a sight for tears, the bodies of the girl and the old father. A s far as I a m c o n c e r n e d — w h a t will h a p p e n to you is y o u r o w n affair; you will p e r h a p s k n o w h o w to find a refuge from p u n i s h m e n t — I have always t h o u g h t that mortal life is only a s h a d o w a n d t h a t m e n w h o seem wise a n d subtle of speech pay the greatest penalty. N o m a n , in fact, is truly h a p p y . In prosperity o n e m a n might be luckier than a n o t h e r ; that's all y o u can say. CHORUS LEADER. It seems as if s o m e divinity h a s heaped up woe for Jason o n this day, and rightly so. O p o o r princess, h o w w e pity you, w h o g o to H a d e s b e cause of having m a r r i e d Jason. M E D E A . F r i e n d s , m y m i n d is m a d e u p to kill m y child r e n at o n c e , a n d then escape from this land. I must not by any delay let m y sons be seized a n d m u r d e r e d by a c r u d e r h a n d than m i n e . T h i s must be; there is n o escape. And since it must be, I w h o b o r e them shall kill t h e m . C o m e m y heart, steel yourself. W h y d o I d e lay doing the terrible thing that m u s t be done? C o m e wretched h a n d , t a k e the dagger, t a k e it, run the tragic race of p a i n , never flinch, never r e m e m b e r they are y o u r children, h o w u n s p e a k a b l y d e a r they are, h o w y o u b o r e t h e m — f o r g e t for this o n e short day that they are y o u r children. T h e n for t h e rest of y o u r life you c a n grieve for t h e m . A n d grieving will be easy, for even if you kill t h e m they w e r e d e a r to y o u , a n d n o w o m a n is s o miserable as I. (Medea goes into the house.)
  • Reading No. 1 8 — STOICS The H y m n to Zeus by Cleanthes (331-232) is an eloquent statement of the Stoic faith. The leading Stoic writer on ethics was Epictetus, a slave at Rome during the reign of Nero. 1 i a. CLEANTHES: Hymn i to Zeus M o s t glorious and o m n i p o t e n t Zeus, ruler of N a t u r e , worshipped u n d e r m a n y n a m e s , by w h o m all things are governed in a c c o r d a n c e with L a w , hail to t h e e ! F r o m thee we are born, a n d alone of all living things on the earth are created in the likeness of G o d . So I shall forever praise thy p o w e r , by which the heaven is m o v e d a n d directed in its course a r o u n d the earth, rejoicing in thy control. F o r thou hast as thy servant in thy victorious h a n d s heaven's double-edged t h u n d e r b o l t of imperishable fire, pulsing its way t h r o u g h every c r e a t u r e which obeys t h e e ; a n d with it t h o u dost direct Universal Reason w h i c h m o v e s t h r o u g h all creation, mingling with the s u n a n d with the hosts of stars. All things on earth, in the sea, or in the air above confess thee as their a u t h o r , except the deeds of evil and foolish m e n ; but even such discords t h o u knowest h o w to weave into a total h a r m o n y , m a k i n g what is disorderly orderly, w h a t is hostile friendly, in a c c o r d a n c e with the L a w of R e a s o n which blind m e n c a n n o t u n d e r s t a n d . Instead they suffer loss when they seek happiness in their o w n fashion, k n o w i n g not the Divine L a w . S o m e of t h e m p u r s u e prestige, s o m e wealth, some sensual delight. F o o l s they a r e , w h o strive in vain. But do t h o u , Zeus, giver of all, cloud-gatherer and lord of the lightning, save m e n from their bitter i g n o r a n c e , dispel their s o r r o w a n d grief, and g r a n t t h e m w i s d o m , f-ox by w i s d o m t h o u dost rule with p o w e r a n d justice. J a r e t u r n for thy blessing w e give thee and thy w o r k 158
  • 159 STOICS o u r everlasting praise. A n d there is n o greater glory for m e n or for gods t h a n to praise forever Universal R e a s o n . b. EPICTETUS: Discourses T h e m a n is free w h o m nothing h i n d e r s , w h o deals with things as h e wishes. But the m a n w h o c a n be h i n d e r e d or driven into anything against his will is a slave. A n d w h o lives w i t h o u t h i n d r a n c e ? H e w h o aims at nothing which is not his own. A n d w h a t things are not o u r o w n ? W h a t e v e r we are powerless to h a v e or not to h a v e , o r to h a v e of a certain quality or u n d e r certain c o n d i tions. T h e b o d y , t h e n , is not o u r o w n ; p r o p e r t y is not o u r o w n . If you c r a v e one of these things as if it w e r e y o u r o w n , you will p a y the price merited by the m a n w h o desires w h a t is not his. T h e road leading to freedom, the only release from slavery, is to be able to say cheerfully Lead m e on, O Zeus a n d Destiny, W h e r e I was once assigned by T h y decree. M a n has been b r o u g h t into the world to be a spectator of G o d a n d his w o r k s , a n d not only a spectator but also an interpreter. So it is shameful for m a n to begin a n d e n d w h e r e irrational animals d o ; r a t h e r h e should begin like t h e m b u t end w h e r e n a t u r e h a s ended c o n c e r n i n g us; and n a t u r e ended with c o n t e m p l a t i o n a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d a w a y of life h a r m o n i o u s with her. See to it, therefore, that you d o not die before witnessing these things. Y o u t a k e a trip to O l y m p i a to see t h e s t a t u e by Phidias, a n d each of you thinks it a misfortune to die before seeing such sights; but w h e n there is n o need of journeying, w h e n G o d is already present in his w o r k s , will y o u not desire to see those works a n d u n d e r stand t h e m ? Will you not perceive w h o y o u are, for w h a t you w e r e born, a n d what this p u r p o s e is for w h i c h y o u h a v e received y o u r sight? "But t h e r e are disagreeable a n d difficult things in life." A r e n ' t t h e r e also in O l y m p i a ? D o n ' t y o u suffer from the heat? A r e n ' t you c r a m m e d into c r o w d e d seats? D o n ' t
  • 160 T H E GREEK MIND you have trouble in getting a b a t h ? A r e n ' t you d r e n c h e d w h e n it rains? D o n ' t you h a v e the dubious a d v a n t a g e of t u m u l t a n d shouting a n d o t h e r discomforts? But I imagine you e n d u r e and p u t u p with all these things, so u n i m p o r t a n t are they c o m p a r e d with the glory of the spectacle. C o m e n o w , haven't y o u received faculties which e n a b l e y o u to e n d u r e every h a p p e n i n g ? H a v e n ' t y o u courage? A n d w h a t c o n c e r n of m i n e is a n y t h i n g t h a t h a p p e n s if I a m m a g n a n i m o u s ? W h a t shall upset m e or confound m e o r seem to m e painful? A n y o n e w h o has carefully studied the administration of the universe a n d h a s learned that " t h e greatest a n d m o s t powerful a n d most c o m p r e h e n s i v e of all governm e n t s is this o n e which is c o m p o s e d of m e n a n d G o d , a n d t h a t from G o d h a v e c o m e the seeds of existence to all things begotten and growing o n the earth, a n d most of all to rational creatures, since they alone by n a t u r e share in the society of G o d , w o v e n together with him t h r o u g h the faculty of r e a s o n " — w h y will not such a m a n call himself a citizen of the universe, a son of G o d , a n d why shall h e fear anything that h a p p e n s a m o n g m e n ? W h a t language is a d e q u a t e to praise all the w o r k s of P r o v i d e n c e in us or to give t h e m their p r o p e r place? If w e were intelligent o u g h t w e d o anything else b u t publicly a n d in private to h y m n a n d magnify G o d and tell of H i s g r a c e to us? O u g h t w e not while digging and ploughing a n d eating to sing this h y m n to G o d ? " G r e a t is G o d , w h o has given us these i n s t r u m e n t s w h e r e w i t h w e shall w o r k the earth. G r e a t is G o d , w h o h a s given us h a n d s , the ability to swallow food, a belly, the p o w e r to g r o w w i t h o u t conscious effort, and to b r e a t h while sleeping." T h i s we should sing in every situation, a n d in addition the greatest and most divine h y m n , that G o d h a s given us the faculty to u n d e r s t a n d these things a n d follow the road of R e a s o n . W h a t then? Since most of you h a v e b e c o m e blind, should not s o m e o n e fulfill this duty for you, singing o n behalf of all this h y m n to G o d ? W h a t
  • 161 EPICURUS else can I, a lame old m a n , d o but sing G o d ' s praise? If I w e r e a nightingale I would sing as a nightingale; if I w e r e a swan, I would sing as a swan. But, being a rational m a n , I must sing G o d ' s praise. T h i s is m y task; I d o it, I shall not desert this post as long as it is assigned to m e , a n d I e x h o r t you to sing with m e this s a m e song. — Reading No. 19 — EPICURUS Founding their philosophy on the teachings of Epicurus (342-270) of Athens, the Epicureans adopted atomistic materialism in their cosmology, and denied that there was any interference of the gods in human affairs or any existence for men after death. The following excerpts are from Epicurus' Golden Maxims, preserved in Diogenes Laertius' Lives of E m i n e n t Philosophers. 1 1 i Pleasure is an original a n d natural good, but we d o n o t choose every pleasure. Sometimes w e eschew pleasures when a greater pain follows t h e m ; a n d m a n y pains w e consider preferable to pleasure w h e n they lead eventually to a greater pleasure. Self-sufficiency is to b e sought. Luxuries are h a r d to get, but n a t u r a l things are easy a n d give us m u c h pleasure. W h e n w e say that pleasure is the p u r p o s e of life, w e d o not m e a n the pleasures of the sensually self-indulgent, as s o m e assert, b u t r a t h e r freedom from bodily pain a n d m e n t a l d i s t u r b a n c e . T h e life of pleasure does not c o m e from d r i n k i n g or revels, or other sensual pleasures.
  • 162 T H E GREEK MIND It comes from sober thinking, the sensible investigation of what to choose a n d to avoid, and getting rid of ideas which agitate the soul. C o m m o n sense is o u r best guide. It tells us that we c a n n o t live happily unless we live wisely, nobly, and justly; n o r can w e live wisely, nobly, and justly without being h a p p y . T h e virtues are inseparably linked with pleasure. F o r w h o m d o you r a t e higher than the m a n w h o has correct beliefs about G o d , who has no fear of d e a t h , w h o has u n d e r s t o o d the p u r pose of N a t u r e , w h o realizes t h a t pain does not last long, and that Necessity, which some people consider the directing force of the world, is partly a m a t t e r of luck and partly in o u r p o w e r ? G o d s exist, but they are not as they are popularly thought to be. T o destroy the gods as they are c o m monly thought to be is not impious; actually it is impious to have such distorted notions. T h e divine powers, blessed and incorruptible, neither are troubled themselves n o r d o they feel anger or gratitude toward m e n . A c c u s t o m yourself to think that death m e a n s nothing to us. F o r w h a t is good a n d b a d is a m a t t e r of sensation, a n d death is an end of sensation. G r a s p i n g this principle m a k e s h u m a n life pleasant, not by giving us any promise of immortality, but by freeing us from a n y desire for immortality. F o r there is nothing in life to b e afraid of for a m a n w h o u n d e r s t a n d s that h e need not be afraid of its extinction. So d e a t h , usually regarded as the greatest of calamities, is actually nothing to us; for while we are, d e a t h is not, and when d e a t h is here, w e are not. So death m e a n s nothing to either the living or the dead, for it h a s n o t h i n g to d o with the living a n d the dead d o not exist. Justice is a bargain based o n self-interest, which w e m a k e so as to avoid being injured by others or injuring them.
  • — Redding No. 20 SKEPTICS During the Hellenistic period there was a development of skepticism directed at traditional religious beliefs and human pretension. The Cynic philosopher, Diogenes (c. 400-325) had set the pattern. Lucian ( c . 150 A . D . ) , a merciless debunker, ridiculed alike the traditional gods and hypocritical men. i i a. i DIOGENES Diogenes walked a b o u t in the d a y t i m e with a lighted l a m p , saying, "It's a good m a n I'm trying to find." A s k e d w h e r e h e had met such m e n , h e said, " M e n ? N o w h e r e . But I have met some children in S p a r t a . " Diogenes saw servants of A n a x i m e n e s carrying a great lot of furniture, and asked to w h o m it belonged. " T o A n a x i m e n e s , " was the reply. " I s n ' t h e a s h a m e d , " said D i o g e n e s , "to m a n a g e all this but not himself?" Asked h o w a m a n c a n b e c o m e m a s t e r of himself, Diogenes replied, "By applying to himself the criticisms h e m a k e s of o t h e r p e o p l e . " Diogenes said that love should be a m a t t e r of free consent, a n d he did not believe in m a r r i a g e . Asked at w h a t age o n e should m a r r y , h e said, " W h e n y o u n g , not yet. L a t e r — n e v e r . " Diogenes said that when h e saw pilots, doctors, a n d philosophers he c o n c l u d e d that m e n were the wisest of c r e a t u r e s , but w h e n he saw p r o p h e t s a n d dream-interpreters and people paying heed to t h e m , a n d m e n p r o u d of their prestige or wealth, he t h o u g h t n o c r e a t u r e s w e r e so ridiculous as m e n . I n S a m o t h r a c e when a m a n marveled at the n u m b e r of votive offerings dedicated by people w h o h a d been saved from shipwreck, Diogenes said, " T h e r e would be m a n y m o r e if w e h a d the offerings of those w h o w e r e not saved." 163
  • 164 T H E GREEK MIND Asked what wine h e liked best, he said, " O t h e r p e o ple's." Seeing a y o u n g m a n playing cottabos h e said, " T h e better (he p l a y s ) , the worse ( h e i s ) . " Asked w h a t was his country, Diogenes replied, "I a m a citizen of the w o r l d . " b. LUCIAN: Zeus us Tragedian (Zeus has heard that there is to be a debate on earth between a Stoic and Epicurean on the subject "Does Divine Providence Exist?" and that the Epicurean, maintaining the negative, is much the better speaker. If the negative wins, men may well cease offering sacrifices to the gods. So Zeus calls an assembly of all gods, foreign as well as Greek, to decide what to do about this critical situation. In the course of the debate, Momus, god of Criticism, speaks as follows:) Listen to m e , G o d s . I k n e w this would h a p p e n , t h a t there would be agitators like this E p i c u r e a n , a n d I say we ourselves a r e to b l a m e for it. W h y b l a m e E p i c u r u s and his crowd for the spread of such ideas? W h a t can we expect m e n to believe when everything a m o n g t h e m is so u n f a i r — g o o d people suffer poverty, disease a n d slavery, scoundrels win prestige, wealth, a n d p o w e r , temple-robbers are u n p u n i s h e d , and it is t h e i n n o c e n t who know best w h a t t o r t u r e m e a n s . T h e n w e say it's a shame w h e n a handful of sensible people declare t h a t there isn't any P r o v i d e n c e . W e o u g h t to be pleased t h a t a few m e n will r e n d e r sacrifices to us fools. Give m e a straight a n s w e r to this, Z e u s . H a v e y o u ever been interested e n o u g h in m a n k i n d to separate the sheep from the goats? I'll answer for y o u — o f c o u r s e not. Providence has never b o t h e r e d itself with e x t e r m i n ating scoundrels. Let's face the fact that w e have b e e n interested in only o n e thing, the size of sacrifices. I say this reckoning is just w h a t we deserve, a n d m e n will soon realize that sacrifices a n d religious festivals are of no real value to t h e m .
  • — Reading No. 21 EUCLID AND ARCHIMEDES The Hellenistic period saw a steady development in both theoretical and practical science. Euclid (c. 300) formulated in Alexandria geometric principles and demworthy onstrations; here are given his axioms ("things of belief") and an elementary proposition. The greatest of the scientists was Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287212). His writings are for the most part too technical to be given here, but the picturesque accounts by Plutarch (c. 46-c. 120 A . D . ) and Vitruvius (first century) will indicate his interests and his personality. i i a. i EUCLID A x i o m s . — E q u a l s of the same thing are equal to each other. If equals be a d d e d to equals, the wholes are equal. If equals be t a k e n a w a y from equals, the remainders are e q u a l . If equals be added to u n e q u a l s , the wholes are u n e q u a l . If equals be taken a w a y from u n e q u a l s , the r e m a i n d e r s are u n e q u a l . Doubles of the same thing are equal to e a c h other. H a l v e s of the s a m e thing are equal to each other. T h e whole is greater than the p a r t . A Proposition ( B o o k I, 3 0 ) . — P a r a l l e l s to the same straight line are also parallel to each other. Let there b e A B and C D , e a c h parallel to E F . I say t h a t A B is also parallel to C D . F o r let a straight line G H I intersect t h e m . W h e n G H I intersects the parallels A B a n d E F , the angle A G I is e q u a l to the angle G H F . Again, when G H I intersects the parallels E F and C D , the angle G H F is equal to the angle G I D . It has been shown that the angle A G I is e q u a l to the angle G H F . T h e r e f o r e the angle A G I is also equal to the angle G I D , and they are interchangeable. T h e r e f o r e A B is parallel to C D . T h e r e fore parallels to the same straight line are also parallel to each other. W h i c h is precisely what h a d to be d e m o n strated. 165
  • 166 THE GREEK b. MIND ARCHIMEDES* N o w all the siege m a c h i n e r y which Marcellus h a d brought against Syracuse was worthless against A r c h i medes and the devices he invented, yet A r c h i m e d e s set no great s t o r e by his m e c h a n i c a l contrivances, a n d , indeed, regarded t h e m as m e r e gadgets whittled out by geometry in a leisure m o m e n t . But finally King H i e r o , who m a d e m u c h of A r c h i m e d e s , p e r s u a d e d him to leave his theoretical reasoning for a while a n d t u r n to everyday m a t t e r s : if, said he, A r c h i m e d e s would apply the abstract deductions of reason to the material things perceived by the senses, h e w o u l d accomplish s o m e t h i n g of great a n d universal value. It was in the schools of A r c h y t a s a n d E u d o x u s that men first began to practise this highly prized and renowned art of m e c h a n i c s , which they used to lend a certain g l a m o u r a n d attractiveness to g e o m e t r y . M o r e over, some p r o b l e m s which could not be solved by p u r e reason could, at least, be illuminated by e x p e r i m e n t and the use of m e c h a n i c a l devices. So, for e x a m p l e , with the problem of dividing a line with two m e a n p r o p o r tionals, a construction necessary for the solution of m a n y problems. T o this they found a m e c h a n i c a l solution by constructing an i n s t r u m e n t which derived the required proportions from the ratios of sections of c u r v e s . But Plato d e n o u n c e d these m e n angrily a n d asserted that they were apt to c o r r u p t a n d destroy the valuable part of g e o m e t r y , for, h e said, they w e r e seducing this science from the immaterial and spiritual to the material and bodily, things which require m u c h menial a n d brutish toil. T h e art of m e c h a n i c s was therefore separated from the science of geometry, a n d for a long time was looked down o n by philosophers, w h o regarded it as a b r a n c h of the training useful to a soldier, but nothing more. ( P l u t a r c h : Marcellus, 14, tr. by H . M. H o w e ) T h e discoveries of A r c h i m e d e s were m a n y and ingenious, in widely different fields, but of t h e m all that * Herbert M. Howe, Classics in Translation, Wisconsin Press. University of
  • EUCLID AND ARCHIMEDES 167 which I am now going to describe seems to m e best to display his unlimited cleverness. Since the affairs of King H i e r o of Syracuse had prospered and his p o w e r had been m u c h increased, he decided to offer a golden c r o w n in a certain temple in t h a n k s to the i m m o r t a l gods. H e therefore let out a contract to a goldsmith, to w h o m he paid a fee for m a k ing the c r o w n a n d e n o u g h beside for the exact weight of the gold that would be necessary. A t the p r o p e r t i m e the goldsmith presented a beautifully m a d e c r o w n to t h e king, having, to judge by the weight of the crown, used all the gold that had been issued to him. But a little later the king got wind of a story that the goldsmith had abstracted some of the gold a n d replaced it with an equal weight of silver. H i e r o was furious at having b e e n tricked, but h e saw n o way to prove the theft; he therefore asked A r c h i m e d e s to think over his problem. W h i l e A r c h i m e d e s was considering the matter, he went o n e d a y to the city b a t h s . T h e r e h e went into a small pool (with an overflow p i p e ) , a n d while in it h e reflected that the submerged p a r t of his body m a d e its o w n v o l u m e of w a t e r overflow. Realization of this showed him the principle o n which his whole p r o b l e m hinged, a n d in his delight he leaped from the pool and ran h o m e without bothering about his clothes, a n o u n c i n g in a loud voice that h e h a d found what he was looking for. F o r as h e h u r r i e d along he kept shouting in G r e e k , "I've got it! I've got it!" ( E u r e k a ! E u r e k a ! ) T h e story goes on that after he h a d m a d e this start h e took a slab of silver and a n o t h e r of gold, each weighing t h e same as the c r o w n . H e then filled a large pot to the brim with w a t e r and d r o p p e d in the silver. W a t e r e q u a l in bulk to the silver ran o v e r the edge of the pot; after r e m o v i n g the slab he measured the a m o u n t of w a t e r it t o o k to refill the pot. T h u s h e found w h a t weight of silver equaled that of a k n o w n bulk of w a t e r . N e x t he d r o p p e d in his slab of gold, removed it, a n d m e a s u r e d t h e a m o u n t of w a t e r needed to replace the overflow; it was m u c h less t h a n h a d been the case with t h e silver—a difference c o r r e s p o n d i n g to the smaller bulk of the gold, c o m p a r e d with the same weight of silver. Finally, he lowered in the crown, and found that
  • 168 THE GREEK MIND more water r a n over than h a d d o n e for the p u r e gold, although their weights were the same. F r o m the difference in overflows of the c r o w n and the p u r e gold Archimedes calculated the a m o u n t of silver alloyed with the gold in the crown, and thus proved the guilt of the goldsmith. ( V i t r u v i u s : On Architecture, I X , 9-12, tr. by H . M . H o w e ) L e t us postulate the n a t u r e of a liquid to be such that ( 1 ) it is m a d e up of equally distributed particles, each i n c o n t a c t with its neighbors; ( 2 ) particles u n d e r less pressure are driven aside by those u n d e r greater; ( 3 ) each particle would be driven straight d o w n by the weight of the particles directly above it were it not for the vessel which contains the liquid, o r some outside force. Propositions I. If a n y surface is c u t by planes which all pass t h r o u g h o n e fixed point, a n d the intersection of the surface a n d any p l a n e forms a circle, the surface is that of a sphere whose c e n t e r is the point c o m m o n to all the planes. . . . (Archimedes gives a proof of all these propositions, omitted here.) II. T h e surface of a liquid which i s at rest is part of the surface of a sphere whose c e n t e r is the same as that of the e a r t h . . . . III. If an object of the same weight as its o w n v o l u m e of a liquid is lowered into the liquid until nothing p r o trudes, it will m o v e neither u p n o r d o w n . . . . I V . A n object lighter than its o w n bulk of liquid will not be completely s u b m e r g e d if it is lowered into the liquid, but p a r t will p r o t r u d e above the surface. . . . V . If an object lighter t h a n its o w n bulk of a liquid is lowered into the liquid, it will sink until the liquid w h o s e v o l u m e equals that of the s u b m e r g e d p a r t of the object weighs as m u c h as the entire object. . . . V I . If an object lighter t h a n its o w n bulk of a liquid is forced down u n d e r the liquid, it will be buoyed up by
  • EUCLID AND ARCHIMEDES 169 a force equal to the difference in the weights of t h e object a n d its v o l u m e of liquid. . . . V I I . If a n object heavier t h a n its o w n v o l u m e of liquid is lowered into t h e liquid, it will sink to the bott o m ; and it will then weigh less t h a n it did in air by an a m o u n t equal to the weight of its o w n v o l u m e of liquid. T h a t it will sink to the b o t t o m is a p p a r e n t , for the particles of liquid u n d e r n e a t h the object will b e pressed h a r d e r t h a n those at the sides, since w e have described the object as weighing m o r e t h a n its o w n v o l u m e of liquid (i.e., t h e object "presses d o w n " h a r d e r than the l i q u i d ) . N o w we shall s h o w that the object b e c o m e s lighter as indicated. Let the rectangle with A written on it represent an o b ject heavier t h a n its o w n bulk of liquid. Let the line m a r k e d B a n d C represent the weight of A , B being the weight of liquid equal in bulk to A . W e want to prove that when A is lowered into the liquid, its weight will equal only C. Let us take a n o t h e r object D , lighter than its o w n bulk of liquid, a n d whose weight equals B, while its volume of liquid weighs as m u c h as B a n d C together. N o w let A a n d D be fastened together. T h e y will n o w weigh as m u c h as their c o m b i n e d v o l u m e of liquid, for their weights together will equal the sum of their separ a t e w e i g h t s — t h a t is, B and C a d d e d to B ; a n d the weight of the liquid equal in bulk to the two joined o b jects will e q u a l the sum of their weights. Accordingly, if the joined objects are lowered into the liquid, they will float in equilibrium, m o v i n g neither up n o r d o w n ( P r o p . I I I ) . It follows that A , which by itself w o u l d sink, is being d r a w n up by D with a force e q u a l to its o w n force d o w n w a r d . N o w since D is lighter t h a n its o w n bulk of liquid, it will b e buoyed u p by a force e q u a l to C , for we have shown that bodies lighter t h a n a liquid will, if s u b m e r g e d , be b o r n e u p by a force equal t o the difference between their o w n weights a n d that of their volumes of liquid ( P r o p . V I ) . But D's v o l u m e of liquid is heavier than D by the weight of C. It therefore follows that A is being driven d o w n by a force equal to C (i.e., in w a t e r A apparently loses weight B and
  • 170 THE GREEK MIND weighs only as m u c h as C ) . ( A r c h i m e d e s : On Bodies, 318-336, tr. by H . M . H o w e ) Floating 1 — Reading No. 22 — DEFENSE AGAINST (384-322) tried to arouse DICTATORSHIP The orator Demosthenes the Athenians to organize resistance against Philip of Macedon, hut they did too little and acted too late. The following excerpts are from his Philippics. ' Archimedes rarely uses the term force; he thinks in terms of gain or loss in weight. The term is used here to keep the language from being too incomprehensible. Notice, too, that he does not express the notion that every substance has its own specific gravity, although it is implied. Archimedes' proof rests on his use of substances of reciprocal specific gravities. Suppose that we use aluminum (sp. gr. 2.7) and white pine (sp. gr. .37). Let A be a block of aluminum 100 cubic inches in volume. It will weigh about 9.7 pounds. One hundred cubic inches of water (B) will weigh about 3.6 pounds; the difference between A and B will be 6.1 pounds ( C ) . Now let D be a block of pine weighing the same as B (3.6 pounds). It will occupy about 270 cubic inches; this much water will weigh 9.7 pounds. If the two blocks are fastened together they will weigh 13.3 pounds; the water equal to their volume will also weigh 13.3 pounds, and they will float in equilibrium. The buoyancy of the pine, then, is equal to the apparent weight of the aluminum in water; but this in turn is equal to the weight of the aluminum in air minus the weight of its own volume of water. H.M.H.
  • D E F E N S E AGAINST DICTATORSHIP 171 If any m a n supposes this to be peace, when Philip is c o n q u e r i n g every one else and will ultimately attack you, h e is m a d . If we wait for him actually to declare war o n us we are na'ive indeed, for he would not d o that even though he m a r c h e d right into Attica, if we m a y judge from what he has d o n e to others. In m y opinion it would be better for us to be at w a r with all the states of G r e e c e , if they enjoyed d e m o c r a t i c g o v e r n m e n t s , than to b e friends with t h e m all if they were ruled by small cliques; for with free states it would not be difficult to m a k e peace w h e n e v e r y o u wished, but with oligarchical g o v e r n m e n t s w e could not even form a u n i o n o n which w e could rely; for it is not possible for those w h o exercise a r b i t r a r y p o w e r to be t r u s t w o r t h y friends of m e n w h o choose to live o n t e r m s of freedom a n d equality. If you analyze it correctly you will c o n c l u d e that o u r critical situation is chiefly d u e to m e n w h o try to please the citizens r a t h e r than to tell t h e m w h a t they need to h e a r . S o m e of these speakers, a t t e m p t i n g to m a i n t a i n their o w n popularity and power, t a k e n o t h o u g h t for the future a n d think it is unnecessary for you to d o so. Others, by accusing a n d slandering m e n w h o utter in public their convictions, keep the city in a state of internal strife so that Philip m a y be free to c o n t i n u e his aggressive tactics. U n d e r such c i r c u m s t a n c e s , m e n of A t h e n s , d o not b e angry with m e if I speak to you frankly. F r e e d o m of speech is, as y o u well k n o w , the basic right of all people in A t h e n s , even of foreigners a n d slaves; yet now you want to curtail it when advice on the most urgent m a t ters is offered you. Y o u are being ruined by yielding to flattery in meetings of the Assembly while the utmost d a n g e r is confronting you. I beg of y o u to hear what I h a v e to say. I shall speak without flattery, but with y o u r welfare m y only c o n c e r n .
  • 172 T H E GREEK MIND W h a t is t h e cause of this situation? T h e r e are good reasons why, w h e r e a s G r e e k s in former times were eager to defend their freedom, they are n o w willing to b e slaves. M y fellow c o u n t r y m e n , in those days the people h a d m o r a l e which is lacking now, m o r a l e which conquered even Persian gold a n d kept G r e e c e i n d e p e n d e n t , m o r a l e which refused to admit defeat on either land or sea. T h e n a m a n w h o was convicted of taking bribes w a s severely punished. But n o w o u r most precious possessions are sold like goods in the m a r k e t p l a c e , and in exchange we have received things which spell ruin for G r e e c e . W e have, to be sure, o u r battleships, soldiers, a large military budget a n d plenty of e q u i p m e n t , all of these m o r e t h a n in those earlier times; but n o w everything is m a d e ineffective because the motive of personal gain has supplanted that of patriotic devotion. While a ship is still safe is the time for the pilot a n d sailors to be alert to m a k e sure that n o o n e intentionally o r unintentionally capsizes it. O n c e the sea s w a m p s it, effort will b e wasted. So with us, m e n of A t h e n s , while o u r city is still safe, powerful, wealthy, a n d glorious, w e must d o t w o things: ( 1 ) provide for o u r defense, with a d e q u a t e e q u i p m e n t of ships and m e n , for although all other people are willing to be slaves w e c a n n o t fail to fight to remain free; ( 2 ) call u p o n other states to b e o u r allies, to share the expense and the perils of p r e venting Philip from becoming m a s t e r of the world. If you expect o t h e r states are going to save G r e e c e while you fail to face the issue, you are m a k i n g a tragic mist a k e . T h i s is y o u r task. Y o u r ancestors, w h o did their duty in spite of m a n y d a n g e r s , b e q u e a t h e d this obligation to you.
  • — Reading No. 23 — FEDERAL UNION A valiant attempt in interstate cooperation, the Achaean League, was successful within its limited sphere. The historian Polybius ( c . 203-c. 120) described its constitution and paid tribute to its ablest administrator, King Aratus of Sicyon, in his Universal History. i 1 i H o w did it h a p p e n that these states of the P e l o p o n nesus were willing to a d o p t this constitution a n d be called A c h a e a n s ? T o say it was just a m a t t e r of c h a n c e would not be an a d e q u a t e explanation; it would be evading the issue. O n e m u s t look for a cause, for without a c a u s e n o t h i n g c a n be b r o u g h t a b o u t . I believe this was the c a u s e : n o w h e r e could o n e find a m o r e objectively fair a n d carefully planned constitution of equality and freedom, t h a t is, of d e m o c r a c y , t h a n a m o n g t h e A c h a e a n s . M a n y o t h e r P e l o p o n n e s i a n states welcomed the o p p o r t u n i t y of a d o p t i n g it; m a n y w e r e persuaded to s h a r e in it; s o m e , forced to join, soon realized its b e n e fits. N o n e of the original m e m b e r s h a d any special privileges, but all m e m b e r s had equal rights. This c o n stitution must be regarded as the s o u r c e of P e l o p o n nesian unity a n d prosperity. A R A T U S . T h a t w a r is terrible I grant, but it is not so terrible t h a t w e should submit to anything in o r d e r to avoid it. W h y d o we boast of o u r civic equality a n d freedom of speech and all that w e m e a n by the word liberty, if n o t h i n g is preferable to peace? Peace with justice a n d h o n o r is the most beautiful a n d profitable of possessions, b u t if it is allied with baseness a n d c o w a r d i c e nothing is m o r e shameful and disastrous. 173
  • — Redding No. 24 — REFUGE IN SENTIMENT The prevailing mood of the Hellenistic world was individualism, which included a refuge in pastoral and sentimental poetry. Following are excerpts from the Idylls of Theocritus (c. 270) and lesser lyric poets such as Meleager (c. 140-c. 70), who compiled the first anthology ("bouquet") of verse. Some of the poets represented in the complete G r e e k Anthology were much later in date, but carried on the Hellenistic tradition. i i a. THEOCRITUS: Idyll i I (In the Sicilian sunshine the shepherd Thyrsis describes how herdsman Daphnis died of love and all nature mourned him.) Begin, d e a r M u s e s , begin y o u r c o u n t r y song. T h i s is Thyrsis from M o u n t A e t n a w h o sings so sweetly. W h e r e were you when D a p h n i s fell sick, w h e r e were you, N y m p h s ? W a s it in the lovely vale of Peneus, or the glens of M o u n t Pindus or by A n a p u s ' stream or A e t n a ' s peak or the sacred river of Acis? Begin, dear Muses, begin your country song. W h e n D a p h n i s died the foxes and wolves wailed for h i m , and the forest lion m o u r n e d . M a n y were the cattle a n d m a n y the bulls, m a n y the heifers a n d calves w h o m o a n e d for h i m . Begin, dear Muses, begin your country song. T h e n H e r m e s c a m e from the hills and asked, " W h o m are you pining for, D a p h n i s , w h o m are you so in love w i t h ? " Begin, dear Muses, begin your country song. T h e c o w h e r d s , the shepherds, a n d the g o a t h e r d s c a m e and asked w h a t troubled him. A n d the god P r i a p u s c a m e and said, " M y poor D a p h n i s , w h o m a r e you pining for? T h e girl is w a n d e r i n g along the glens looking for you, so lovesick a n d so helpless." 174
  • 175 REFUGE IN S E N T I M E N T T h e h e r d s m a n m a d e n o reply, but endured to the end his bitter love. Begin, dear Muses, begin your country song. T h e n A p h r o d i t e c a m e with a smile concealing her anger, a n d said, " Y o u boasted that you would overc o m e Love, D a p h n i s , but has he not o v e r c o m e you?" Begin, dear Muses, begin your country song. D a p h n i s replied, "Cruel C y p r i a n , e n e m y of all m a n kind, so you think m y life e n d e d ? I shall b e Love's plague even in H a d e s . • • • Cease your country song. Muses, cease your country song. C o m e , P a n , a n d take this pipe of m i n e , well fitted to m y lip and fragrant of wax, for Love is taking m e to H a d e s . Cease your country song, Muses, cease your country song. Violets, bear briars henceforth, thistles bear violets, iris grow on the juniper tree and figs on the pine, and everything go awry, now that D a p h n i s is dying. Let the hind rend the h o u n d s a n d the screech owls o n the m o u n t a i n s rival the nightingales. Cease your country song, Muses, cease your country song. W h e n D a p h n i s had said this he spoke no m o r e . A p h r o dite would have revived him, but the t h r e a d of the F a t e s was utterly spun and D a p h n i s went d o w n the river. D r o w n e d by the flood was he w h o m the Muses loved and the N y m p h s did not disdain. b. THEOCRITUS: Idyll X (The scene is a field where middle-aged Milon and Bucaeus, a love-sick youth, are reaping.) M I L O N . F a r m h a n d Bucaeus, what ails y o u ? It's pitiful t h e way you can't cut y o u r swath straight as you used to, a n d you can't keep up with the m a n next you. Y o u ' r e being left behind like a sheep with a thorn in her foot. If y o u ' r e lagging this early, w h e r e will you b e w h e n afternoon comes a n d when the day is ending?
  • 176 THE GREEK MIND BUCAEUS. Milon, you day-long reaper a n d h a r d as a rock, have you never h a p p e n e d to want s o m e o n e w h o is away? M I L O N . N e v e r ! W h a t use is w a n t i n g to a hired h a n d like m e ? BUCAEUS. H a v e you never lain a w a k e at night because of love? M I L O N . N O , a n d I hope I never will. It's a bad business for a dog to taste meat p u d d i n g . BUCAEUS. But I, O Milon, h a v e been in love for nearly a week and a half. M I L O N . A n y b o d y can see you d r a w wine from a hogshead while I d o n ' t have even e n o u g h vinegar. BUCAEUS. S O the land in front of m y house hasn't been hoed since the time I p u t the seed in. M I L O N . W h i c h of the girls is plaguing you? BUCAEUS. Polybota's d a u g h t e r . Just the other d a y she was piping to the reapers at H i p p o c i o n ' s farm. M I L O N . A god has found you out. N o w you've got what you w a n t e d so long, a n d a locust will cling to you all night. BUCAEUS. S O y o u ' r e blaming m e . But W e a l t h isn't t h e only blind o n e , heedless Love is a n o t h e r . D o n ' t y o u boast. M I L O N . I'm not boasting. Y o u just k e e p on laying d o w n the field, a n d practice a s e r e n a d e to y o u r girl. T h a t will help you w o r k better. I k n o w you used to be quite a singer. BUCAEUS. Pierian Muses, join me in singing a b o u t m y slender darling, for everything you take hold of y o u m a k e beautiful. C h a r m i n g B o m b y c a , all the people call you G i p s y , skinny and s u n b u r n e d , but I call you honey-colored. T h e violet's d a r k , too, and so is the iris, but when people m a k e b o u q u e t s those are the flowers they c h o o s e first. T h e goat p u r s u e s the clover, the wolf goes after the goat, the stork follows the plough, and I — I ' m crazy about you! If only I o w n e d the m o n e y they say belonged to King Croesus we'd both have gold statues of ourselves dedicated to A p h r o d i t e — y o u holding pipes o r a rose, or p e r h a p s a n apple, I in m y best clothes a n d with n e w shoes on my feet. C h a r m i n g B o m b y c a , y o u r feet go
  • REFUGE IN S E N T I M E N T 177 tripping along like k n u c k l e b o n e dice, a n d y o u r voice is husky-sweet, but as for y o u r pretty ways, I can't begin to describe t h e m . M I L O N . Well, Boukos never let us k n o w what a fine singer h e is, and what a job h e can d o with h a r m o n y ! W h y was I fool e n o u g h to grow a beard? But n o w listen to this harvest-song of m i n e — D e m e t e r , giver of b o u n t e o u s fruit a n d grain, m a k e o u r field yield as m u c h as honest work deserves. H o l d y o u r sheaves tight, binders, o r a passerby will say, " T h e s e are fig-wood weaklings, not w o r t h their w a g e s . " Between the north and west winds place the straws, to let the breeze fatten the ears. F o r threshers, my lads, there's n o n a p p i n g at n o o n , for that's the best t i m e for beating out the grain. But reapers get up with the lark a n d go to bed when he does, so it's right for t h e m to rest in the n o o n d a y heat. If only I were a frog, lads! H e leads a fine life, without a w o r r y in the world. H e needs nobody to d r a w his drink, there's always plenty of it right beside him. S h a m e on y o u , mess steward! Give us better beans, a n d d o n ' t c u t y o u r finger chopping c a r a w a y seeds in half. T h a t ' s the sort of song that m e n w h o w o r k in the sun o u g h t to sing. But y o u r spindly serenade, Bucaeus, would be a fine thing to let y o u r m o t h e r h e a r when she's lying in bed in the m o r n i n g . C. GREEK ANTHOLOGY T h e y told m e , Heraclitus, of y o u r d e a t h , a n d I wept as I r e m e m b e r e d how often the t w o of us used to put the sun to rest with o u r talking. A n d n o w that you are dust, still y o u r nightingales keep singing, for death which takes everything away can never take t h e m . ( C a l limachus) Philip laid to rest here his twelve-year old son, Nicoteles, in w h o m he had such h o p e . ( C a l l i m a c h u s )
  • 178 T H E GREEK MIND T h e garland withers a b o u t H e l i o d o r a ' s head, but h e r radiant beauty o u t g a r l a n d s the garland. ( M e l e a g e r ) Within m y h e a r t the sculptor Love himself h a s modeled sweetly prattling H e l i o d o r a , soul of m y very soul. ( M e l e a g e r ) I send you sweet perfume, giving grace to the perfume, not to y o u , for y o u o u t p e r f u m e the p e r f u m e . (Anon.)
  • — Reading No. 25 — REFUGE IN SATIRE AND PESSIMISM Another form which Hellenistic individualism took was a refuge in satire and the sense of futility. Theophrastus (c. 372—c. 285), noted chiefly for his pioneering treatise on botany, satirized types of pests in his C h a r a c t e r s ; and Lucian, in T i m o n the M i s a n t h r o p e , criticized the greed and hypocrisy of both gods and men. In the G r e e k A n t h o l o g y there were many satirical and pessimistic poems. 1 i a. THEOPHRASTUS: 1 Characters T h e grumbler, w h e n a friend has sent him some food left over from a dinner, says to the bearer, " H e begrudged me his thin soup a n d c h e a p wine, since he didn't invite m e to the p a r t y . " H e is irritated with Zeus, not because it rains, but because it rains later t h a n he wished. After finding a p u r s e in t h e street he says, "I have never found a t r e a s u r e . " A n d to the person telling him "It's a b o y ! " he replies, " A d d to that, 'Half of y o u r property is n o w as good as gone,' and it's t h e truth you'll be saying." T h e flatterer, when h e is walking with s o m e o n e , likes t o say, " D o you see h o w admiringly m e n are looking at y o u ? Y o u are the only person in the city that this h a p p e n s to. Yesterday in the m a r k e t p l a c e y o u were highly praised. M o r e than thirty people were talking a b o u t w h o is the best m a n here, and they all agieed it was y o u . " W h e n the m a n says something the flatterer orders others t o be silent; h e praises him, while the m a n is listening; a n d when the m a n m a k e s a joke the flatterer stuffs his cloak i n t o his m o u t h as if he c o u l d n ' t control his laughter. W h e n the m a n walks d o w n the street the flat179
  • 180 THE GREEK M I N D terer o r d e r s those they meet to stand until the m a n passes by. H e gives apples to the m a n ' s c h i l d r e n — w h i l e their father is watching, of course; and gives t h e m a kiss a n d says, " C h i c k s of a noble father." W h e n being entertained at d i n n e r he praises the wine, and w h e n e v e r h e takes anything from the table he says, " H o w good this is!" A n d he praises the m a n ' s h o u s e as surpassingly beautiful and the m a n ' s idealized p o r t r a i t as a perfect likeness. b. LUCIAN: Timon the Misanthrope (Timon of Athens was once wealthy and generous and had a host of friends. Now in poverty he is trying to make a living as a laborer on a mean little farm, and all his friends have deserted him. He yells his criticism of Zeus for not punishing them.) T I M O N . O Zeus, w h e r e n o w are y o u r lightning and t h u n d e r ? W h e n you were y o u n g you t o o k plenty of a c tion against unjust people, a n d y o u r t h u n d e r b o l t w a s always at w o r k , and with floods and e a r t h q u a k e s you used to punish t h e m . But now you are easygoing, a n d m e n d i s h o n o r you a n d p l u n d e r y o u r t e m p l e , they d o n ' t sacrifice to y o u a n y m o r e , or c r o w n y o u r statues. A n d before long, oh noblest of gods, they'll t h r o w you o u t , like C r o n o s , from y o u r position of power. Just look at w h a t h a p p e n e d to m e . I m a d e m a n y wretchedly p o o r A t h e n i a n s rich, by p o u r i n g out m y wealth o n t h e m , but n o w that I've b e c o m e p o o r because of m y generosity, I'm not even recognized by those fellows. So I have t a k e n a leather a p r o n a n d spade a n d w o r k as a h i r e d h a n d . C o m e on now, son of C r o n o s , be m a n l y a n d vigorous again! (Zeus hears him, and asks Hermes about him.) Z E U S . W h o is this person, H e r m e s , w h o is bawling so from Attica? A p p a r e n t l y he's a p o o r tiller of the soil. A n d a talkative c h a p , to boot, and, it seems, s o m e t h i n g of a philosopher. F o r h e keeps saying the most impious things a b o u t us. H E R M E S . W h a t are you saying, father? D o n ' t y o u k n o w T i m o n ? H e is that recently rich m a n w h o used to
  • R E F U G E IN SATIRE A N D P E S S I M I S M 181 w o r s h i p us by sacrificing whole hecatombs. W e used to celebrate y o u r festival at his h o m e in splendid fashion. Z E U S . W h a t a sorry c h a n g e of affairs! T h a t fine man, that wealthy o n e ? H o w did h e c o m e to this condition? H E R M E S . H e p o u r e d out his wealth, so now he has b e c o m e a p o o r hired h a n d o n a farm. His previous friends pass by him without giving him a glance or k n o w i n g his n a m e . (Zeus decides to send Wealth down to Timon with Hermes to guide him, since Wealth is blind. He also instructs Hermes to stop by Mount Aetna and order a Cyclops blacksmith to come to Olympus to repair Zeus' thunderbolt, which was damaged when Zeus aimed it at the atheist Anaxagoras but hit a rock instead. Hermes discovers Timon digging on his rocky farm surrounded by Poverty, Toil, Wisdom, and Manliness.) POVERTY. W h e r e a r e you leading this fellow, H e r m e s ? H E R M E S . W e ' v e been sent to T i m o n by Zeus. POVERTY. S O n o w W e a l t h h a s been sent to T i m o n ? T i m o n , t h e m a n w h o , after h e h a d been ruined by L u x u r y I took over, a n d along with W i s d o m and Toil m a d e him a noble a n d really w o r t h y m a n . I'm leaving, and y o u , Toil a n d W i s d o m a n d the rest, follow m e . T i m o n will soon k n o w that h e has cast off a good felloww o r k e r a n d a t e a c h e r of the best things in life. F o r while h e associated with me h e was healthy in body a n d vigorous in m i n d , h e lived a m a n ' s life and scorned superficial things. H E R M E S . T h e y are leaving. Let's go to T i m o n . T I M O N . W h o are y o u , you accursed ones? W h a t are y o u after in c o m i n g here, bothering a w o r k i n g m a n and wage e a r n e r ? G o a w a y ! A n d you w o n ' t b e happy as you go, for I'll pelt you with rocks. H E R M E S . N e v e r d o that, T i m o n ! Please d o n ' t t h r o w t h e m ! F o r it isn't m e n you are t h r o w i n g at. I a m H e r m e s , a n d this is W e a l t h , a n d Zeus sent us when h e heard your prayers. T I M O N . Y o u ' l l b e sorry y o u c a m e , even though y o u are gods. F o r I h a t e everybody, gods a n d m e n . A n d as for this blind fellow, I'll smash his h e a d with m y s p a d e . W E A L T H . Let's go, H e r m e s . I think t h e m a n ' s crazy. H E R M E S . Please don't d o any such thing, T i m o n . But
  • 182 THE GREEK M I N D stretch o u t y o u r h a n d s a n d receive good fortune a n d welcome W e a l t h . T I M O N . I have n o need of you. M y spade is e n o u g h wealth for m e , a n d I a m the happiest m a n alive w h e n there's nobody n e a r m e . A n d n o w Poverty is m y dearest friend. So go away, H e r m e s , a n d take W e a l t h a w a y with you. (At last Timon agrees to accept Wealth, and proceeds to dig up a treasure. Then his old friends promptly reappear with pious expressions of affection. Timon pelts them with rocks, and declares that henceforth he will live as a misanthrope—hater of mankind. Here is the encounter with one of the "friends.") D E M E A S . Greetings, T i m o n ! F o r a long time I've been a d m i r i n g a n d liking you, a n d n o w I've been wishing m y son to meet you. I've n a m e d him T i m o n , after you. T I M O N . H o w ' s that, D e m e a s ? Y o u ' r e not m a r r i e d . D E M E A S . But I'm going to get m a r r i e d , a n d the boy that's going to b e b o r n — f o r it will be a b o y — I a m already calling T i m o n . T I M O N . I ' m not so sure y o u ever will m a r r y after I beat you u p . c. GREEK ANTHOLOGY T h e night raven sings as a h a r b i n g e r of d e a t h , b u t when the c r o o n e r D e m o p h i l u s sings, even the night raven dies. ( N i c a r c h u s ) T h e p o r t r a i t p a i n t e r E u t y c h u s h a d twenty sons, but even a m o n g t h e m h e never got a likeness. (Lucilius) Yesterday D r . M a r c u s merely touched a statue of Zeus, a n d although it is stone, a n d Zeus, its funeral is being held today. ( N i c h a r c h u s ) Hail, seven pupils of Aristides, professor of r h e t o r i c — four walls, three b e n c h e s . ( A n o n . )
  • R E F U G E IN SATIRE AND PESSIMISM 183 A l o n g with five others C h a r m u s ran the distance r a c e , and, strange to relate, c a m e in seventh. W h e n there w e r e only six, you will say, h o w did h e c o m e in seventh? Well, a friend of his w e a r i n g a heavy mantle ran alongside yelling, " C o m e on, C h a r m u s ! " So C h a r m u s c a m e in seventh. If h e h a d h a d five m o r e such friends he would have c o m e in twelfth. ( N i c a r c h u s ) All Cilicians are scoundrels. But a m o n g the Cilicians there is o n e upright m a n , Cinyras, a n d Cinyras is a Cilician. ( D e m o d o c u s ) T h e rose blooms only a little while. If you c o m e by later looking for it, y o u will find, not a rose, b u t a thorn. (Anon.) I did not exist, I was b o r n , n o w I a m not. T h a t ' s all. If a n y o n e shall say m o r e he'll be lying—I shall not exist. ( A n o n . ) Life is a stage a n d a p l a y g r o u n d . E i t h e r learn to play y o u r p a r t gaily, or e n d u r e the suffering. ( P a l l a d a s ) H e r e I lie, sixty-year-old Dionysius of T a r s u s . I never m a r r i e d , and I wish m y father never h a d . ( A n o n . ) E v e r y t h i n g is absurdity, dust, nothingness. T h e r e is n o m e a n i n g to existence. ( G l y c o n )
  • A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY GREEK AUTHORS In the L o e b Classical Library ( C a m b r i d g e : H a r v a r d University Press) there are scholarly texts a n d translations of all the a u t h o r s w h o have been cited. A c o m prehensive anthology of c o n t e m p o r a r y translations is P . M a c K e n d r i c k and H . M . H o w e , Classics in Translation, V o l . 1 ( M a d i s o n : University of Wisconsin Press, 1 9 5 2 ) . Translations m o r e traditional in c h a r a c t e r will be found in T . J. Oates a n d C . T . M u r p h y , Greek Literature in Translation (New York: Longmans, Green, 1 9 4 6 ) , a n d W . H . A u d e n , The Portable Greek Reader ( N e w Y o r k : Viking, 1 9 4 8 ) . Epic Poetry. A m o n g the m a n y m o d e r n translations of the Iliad a n d the Odyssey are the spirited o n e s by Samuel Butler ( P r i n c e t o n , N . J.: V a n N o s t r a n d ) . Lyric Poetry. T h e best anthology is T. F . H i g h a m a n d C . M . Bowra, Eds., Oxford Book of Greek Verse in Translation (Oxford University Press, 1 9 3 8 ) . Pindar's Odes h a v e been well translated by Richard L a t t i m o r e ( C h i c a g o University Press, 1 9 4 7 ) , a n d R. C. Trevelyan's Theocritus' Idylls ( C a m b r i d g e University Press, 1947) is r e c o m m e n d e d . Drama. Excellent collections are G . M u r r a y , etc., Fifteen Greek Plays Translated into English (Oxford University Press, 1943) a n d D . Fitts, etc., Greek Plays in Modern Translation ( N e w Y o r k : Dial, 1 9 4 7 ) . T h e C h i c a g o University Press is completing translations of all the tragedies, u n d e r the editorship of Richard Lattim o r e a n d David G r e n e . History. T h e E v e r y m a n Library ( N e w Y o r k : D u t t o n ) translations of H e r o d o t u s (by G e o r g e Rawlinson, 2 vols.) a n d T h u c y d i d e s (by Richard C r a w l e y ) are satisfactory. Philosophy. C . M . Bakewell, Source Book in Ancient Philosophy ( N e w Y o r k : Scribner, 1907) gives a con185
  • 186 THE GREEK MIND venient s u m m a r y . A standard w o r k is J . Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy ( L o n d o n : Black, 1 9 4 5 ) . In t h e Everym a n Library a r e Socralic Dialogues of Plato and Xenophon, Five Dialogues of Plato on Poetic Inspiration, a n d Plato's Republic. Aristotle Selections ( N e w Y o r k : Scribner, 1 9 2 7 ) , edited by W . D . Ross, gives k e y portions of Aristotle's major works. GREEK HISTORY A N D INSTITUTIONS AGARD, W . R., What Democracy Meant to the Greeks, Chapel Hill: University of N o r t h Carolina Press, 1942. BARKER, E . , Greek Political Theory: Plato and His Predecessors, L o n d o n : M e t h u e n , 1 9 4 7 . BOTSFORD, G . W . a n d R O B I N S O N , C . A . , Hellenic History, New York: Macmillan, 1 9 4 8 . B U R Y , J . B . , A History of Greece, N e w Y o r k : M o d e r n Library, 1 9 3 7 . D O D D S , E . R., The Greeks and the Irrational, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1 9 5 1 . GARDINER, E . A . , The Art of Greece, London: T h e Studio, 1 9 2 5 . G L O T Z , G . , The Greek City and Its Institutions, New Y o r k : Knopf, 1 9 3 0 . JAEGER, W . , Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture ( 3 vols.) N e w Y o r k : Oxford University Press, 1 9 3 9 44. LIVINGSTONE, R. W . ( E d . ) , The Legacy of Greece, Oxford University Press, 1 9 4 2 (excellent chapters on science a n d politics). MURRAY, G . , Five Stages of Greek Religion, Boston: Beacon Press, 1 9 5 1 . N I L S S O N , M . P . , History of Greek Religion, Oxford U n i versity Press, 1 9 4 9 . NORWOOD, G . , Greek Comedy, B o s t o n : L u c e , 1 9 4 9 . NORWOOD, G . , Greek Tragedy, L o n d o n : M e t h u e n , 1 9 2 0 . TAYLOR, A . E., Socrates, the Man and His Thought, N e w York: Doubleday, 1 9 5 3 . ZELLER, E . , Outline of the History of Greek Philosophy, N e w Y o r k : H a r c o u r t Brace, 1 9 3 1 . Z I M M E R N , A . E . , The Greek Commonwealth, Oxford University Press, 1 9 3 1 .