By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: History Of Ancient Civilization
Author: Seignobos, Charles, 1854-1942
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History Of Ancient Civilization" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

       *       *       *       *       *

   |                                                              |
   | Transcriber's Note:                                          |
   |                                                              |
   | Bolded text is distinguished by ='s at start and finish.     |
   | Italicized text is distinguished by _'s at start and finish. |
   |                                                              |







(_All rights reserved_)


In preparing this volume, the Editor has used both the three-volume
edition and the two-volume edition of the "Histoire de la
Civilisation." He has usually preferred the order of topics of the
two-volume edition, but has supplemented the material therein with
other matter drawn from the three-volume edition.

A few corrections to the text have been given in foot-notes. These
notes are always clearly distinguished from the elucidations of the




PREHISTORIC TIMES. Prehistoric archæology--Prehistoric remains; their
    antiquity--Prehistoric science--The four ages.

  THE ROUGH STONE AGE. Remains found in the gravels--The cave-men.

  THE POLISHED STONE AGE. Lake-villages--Megalithic monuments.

  THE BRONZE AGE. Bronze--Bronze objects.

  THE IRON AGE. Iron--Iron weapons--Epochs of the Iron Age.

  Conclusions: How the four ages are to be conceived; uncertainties;
    solved questions.


HISTORY AND THE DOCUMENTS. History--Legends--History in general--Great
    divisions of history--Ancient history--Modern history--The Middle


RACES AND PEOPLES. Anthropology--The races--Civilized peoples--Aryans
    and Semites.


THE EGYPTIANS. Egypt--The country--The Nile--Fertility of the soil--The
    accounts of Herodotus--Champollion--Egyptologists--Discoveries.

THE EGYPTIAN EMPIRE. Antiquity of the Egyptian people--Memphis and the
    pyramids--Egyptian civilization--Thebes--The Pharaoh--The
    subjects--Despotism--Isolation of the Egyptians.

RELIGION OF THE EGYPTIANS. The gods--Osiris--Ammon-râ--Gods with animal
    heads--Sacred animals--The bull Apis--Worship of the dead--Judgment
    of the soul--Mummies--Book of the Dead--The arts--Industry--
    Destinies of the Egyptian civilization.


THE ASSYRIANS AND BABYLONIANS. Chaldea--The land--The people--The

THE ASSYRIANS--Assyria--Origins--Ancient accounts--Modern discoveries--
    Inscriptions on bricks--Cuneiform writing--The Assyrian people--The
    king--Fall of the Assyrian Empire.

THE BABYLONIANS. The second Chaldean empire--Babylon--The Tower of

CUSTOMS AND RELIGION. Customs--Religion--The gods--Astrology--
    Sorcery--The sciences.

THE ARTS. Architecture--Palaces--Sculpture.


THE ARYANS OF INDIA. The Aryans--Aryan languages--The Aryan people.

    Vedas--The gods--Indra--Agni--The cult--Worship of ancestors.

BRAHMANIC SOCIETY. The Hindoos on the Ganges--Castes--The Impure--The
    Brahmans--The new religion of Brahma--Transmigration of souls--
    Character of this religion--The rites--Purity--Penances--The monks.

BUDDHISM. Buddha--Nirvana--Charity--Fraternity--Tolerance--Later
    history of Buddhism--Changes in Buddhism--Buddha transformed into a
    god--Mechanical prayer--Amelioration of manners.


THE PERSIANS. The religion of Zoroaster--Iran--The Iranians--
    Zoroaster--The Zend-Avesta--Ormuzd and Ahriman--Angels and demons--
    Creatures of Ormuzd and Ahriman--The cult--Morality--Funerals--
    Destiny of the soul--Character of Mazdeism.

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE. The Medes--The Persians--Cyrus--The inscription of
    Behistun--The Persian empire--The satrapies--Revenues of the
    empire--The Great King--Services rendered by the Persians--Susa and
    Persepolis--Persian architecture.


THE PHŒNICIANS. The Phœnician people--The land--The cities--Phœnician
    ruins--Organization of the Phœnician--Tyre--Carthage--Carthaginian
    army--The Carthaginians--The Phœnician religion.

PHŒNICIAN COMMERCE. Occupations of the Phœnicians--Caravans--Marine
    commerce--Commodities--Secret kept by the Phœnicians--Colonies--
    Influence of the Phœnicians--The alphabet.


THE HEBREWS. Origin of the Hebrew people--The Bible--The Hebrews--The
    patriarchs--The Israelites--The call of Moses--Israel in the
    desert--The Promised Land.

THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL. One God--The people of God--The covenant--The
    Ten Commandments--The Law--Religion constituted the Jewish people.

THE EMPIRE OF ISRAEL. The Judges--The Hangs--Jerusalem--The
    tabernacle--The temple.

THE PROPHETS. Disasters of Israel--Sentiments of the Israelites--The
    prophets--The new teaching--The Messiah.

THE JEWISH PEOPLE. Return to Jerusalem--The Jews--The synagogues--
    Destruction of the temple--The Jews after the dispersion.


GREECE AND THE GREEKS. The country--The sea--The climate--Simplicity of
    Greek life--The people--Origin of the Greeks--Legends--The Trojan
    War--The Homeric Poems--The Greeks at the time of Homer--The
    Dorians--The Ionians--The Hellenes--The cities.

THE HELLENES BEYOND THE SEA. Colonization--Character of the colonies--
    Traditions touching the colonies--Importance of the Greek colonies.


    gods--Polytheism--Anthropomorphism--Mythology--Local gods--The
    great gods--Attributes of the gods--Olympus and Zeus--Morality of
    the Greek mythology.

THE HEROES. Various sorts of heroes--Presence of the heroes--
    Intervention of the heroes.

WORSHIP. Principle of the cult of the gods--The great Feasts--the sacred


SPARTA. The People--Laconia--The Helots--The Periœci--Condition of the

EDUCATION. The children--The girls--The discipline--Laconism--Music--
    The dance--Heroism of the women.

INSTITUTIONS. The kings and the council--The ephors--The army--The
    hoplites--The phalanx--Gymnastics--Athletes--Rôle of the Spartiates.


ATHENS. Origins of the Athenian people--Attica--Athens--The revolutions
    in Athens--Reforms of Cleisthenes.

THE ATHENIAN PEOPLE. The slaves--The foreigners--The citizens.

THE GOVERNMENT. The assembly--The courts--The magistrates--Character of
    the government--The demagogues.

PRIVATE LIFE. Children--Marriage--Women.


WARS. The Persian wars--Origin of these wars--Comparison of the two
    adversaries--First Persian war--Second Persian war--Reasons for the
    victory of the Greeks--Results of the wars.

WARS OF THE GREEKS AMONG THEMSELVES. The Peloponnesian war--War with
    Sparta--Savage character of the wars--Effects of these wars.


THE ARTS IN GREECE. Athens in the time of Pericles--Pericles--Athens
    and her monuments--Importance of Athens.

LETTERS. Orators--Sages--Sophists--Socrates and the philosophers--The
    chorus--Tragedy and comedy--Theatre.

ARTS. The Grecian temples--Characteristics of Grecian


THE GREEKS IN THE ORIENT. Asia before Alexander--Decadence of the
    Persian empire--Expedition of the Ten Thousand--Agesilaus.

CONQUEST OF ASIA BY ALEXANDER. Macedon--Philip--Demosthenes--The
    Macedonian supremacy--Alexander--The phalanx--Departure of
    Alexander--Victories of Granicus, Issus, and Arbela--Death of
    Alexander--Projects of Alexander.

THE HELLENES IN THE ORIENT. Dismemberment of the empire of Alexander--
    The Hellenistic kingdoms--Alexandria--Museum--Pergamum.


LATER PERIOD OF GREEK HISTORY. Decadence of the cities--Rich and
    poor--Strife between rich and poor--Democracy and oligarchy--The
    tyrants--Exhaustion of Greece.

THE ROMAN CONQUEST. The leagues--The allies of the Romans--The last

THE HELLENES IN THE OCCIDENT. Influence of Greece on Rome--
    Architecture--Sculpture--Literature--Epicureans and Stoics.


ANCIENT PEOPLES OF ITALY. The Etruscans--Etruria--The Etruscan people--
    The Etruscan tombs--Industry and commerce--Religion--The augurs--
    Influence of the Etruscans.

THE ITALIAN PEOPLE. Umbrians and Oscans--The Sacred Spring--The
    Samnites--The Greeks of Italy.

LATINS AND ROMANS. The Latins--Rome--Roma Quadrata and the Capitol.


RELIGION AND THE FAMILY. Religion--The Roman gods--Form of the
    gods--Principle of the Roman religion--Worship--Formalism--
    Prayer--Omens--The priests.

WORSHIP OF ANCESTORS. The dead--Worship of the dead--Cult of the hearth.

THE FAMILY. Religion of the family--Marriage--Women--Children--Father of
    the family.


THE ROMAN CITY. Formation of the Roman people--The kings--The Roman
    people--The plebeians--Strife between patricians and plebeians--
    The tribunes of the plebs--Triumph of the plebs.

THE ROMAN PEOPLE. Right of citizenship--The nobles--The knights--The

THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC. The comitia--Magistrates--Censors--
    Senate--The course of offices.


ROMAN CONQUEST. The Roman army--Military service--The levy--Legions and
    allies--Military exercises--Camp--Order of battle--Discipline--
    Colonies &ad military roads.

CHARACTER OF THE CONQUESTS. War--Conquest of Italy--Punic
    wars--Hannibal--Conquest of the Orient--Conquest of barbarian
    lands--The triumph--Booty--Allies of Rome--Motives of conquest.

RESULTS OF THE CONQUESTS. Empire of the Roman people--The public
    domain--Agrarian laws.


THE CONQUERED PEOPLES. The provincials--Provinces--The proconsuls--
    Tyranny and oppression of the proconsuls--The publicans--Bankers--
    Defencelessness of the provincials.

SLAVERY. Sale of slaves--Condition of slaves--Number of slaves--Urban
    slaves--Rural slaves--Treatment of slaves--Ergastulum and mill--
    Character of the slaves--Revolts--Admission to citizenship.


TRANSFORMATION OF LIFE IN ROME. Influence of Greece and the Orient.

CHANGES IN RELIGION. Greek gods--The Bacchanals--Superstitions of the

CHANGES IN MANNERS. The old customs--Cato the Elder--The new manners--
    Oriental luxury--Greek humanity--Lucullus--The new education--New
    status of women--Divorce.


FALL OF THE REPUBLIC. Causes of the decadence--Destruction of the
    peasant class--The city plebs--Electoral corruption--Corruption of
    the Senate--Corruption of the army.

THE REVOLUTION. Necessity of the revolution--Civil wars--The Gracchi--
    Marius and Sulla--Pompey and Cæsar--End of the Republic--Need of
    peace--Power of the individual.


THE EMPIRE AT ITS HEIGHT. The twelve Cæsars--The emperor--Apotheosis--
    Senate and people--The prætorians--Freedmen of the emperors--
    Despotism and disorder.

THE CENTURY OF THE ANTONINES. Marcus Aurelius--Conquests of the

IMPERIAL INSTITUTIONS. Extent of the empire in the second century--
    Permanent army--Deputies and agents of the emperor--Municipal
    life--Imperial regime.

SOCIAL LIFE UNDER THE EMPIRE. The continued decadence at Rome--The
    shows--Theatre--Circus--Amphitheatre--Gladiators--The Roman
    peace--Fusion of the peoples--Superstitions.


ARTS AND SCIENCES IN ROME. Letters--Imitation of the Greeks--The
    Augustan Age--Orators and rhetoricians--Importance of the Latin
    literature and language--Arts--Sculpture and painting--
    Architecture--Characteristics of Roman architecture--Rome and its

ROMAN LAW. The Twelve Tables--Symbolic process--Formalism--
    Jurisprudence--The prætor's edict--Civil law and the law of
    nations--Written reason.


THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. Origin of Christianity--Christ--Charity--
    Equality--Poverty and humility--The kingdom of God.

FIRST CENTURIES OF THE CHURCH. Disciples and apostles--The church--
    Sacred books--Persecutions--Martyrs--Catacombs.

THE MONKS OF THE THIRD CENTURY. Solitaries--Asceticism--Cenobites.


THE LATER EMPIRE. The revolutions of the third century--Military
    anarchy--Worship of Mithra--Taurobolia--Confusion of religions.

REGIME OF THE LATER EMPIRE. Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine--
    Constantinople--The palace--The officials--Society of the later

CHURCH AND STATE. Triumph of Christianity--Organization of the




=Prehistoric Remains.=--One often finds buried in the earth, weapons,
implements, human skeletons, débris of every kind left by men of whom
we have no direct knowledge. These are dug up by the thousand in all
the provinces of France, in Switzerland, in England, in all Europe;
they are found even in Asia and Africa. It is probable that they exist
in all parts of the world.

These remains are called prehistoric because they are more ancient
than written history. For about fifty years men have been engaged in
recovering and studying them. Today most museums have a hall, or at
least, some cases filled with these relics. A museum at
Saint-German-en-Laye, near Paris, is entirely given up to prehistoric
remains. In Denmark is a collection of more than 30,000 objects. Every
day adds to the discoveries as excavations are made, houses built, and
cuts made for railroads.

These objects are not found on the surface of the ground, but
ordinarily buried deeply where the earth has not been disturbed. They
are recovered from a stratum of gravel or clay which has been
deposited gradually and has fixed them in place safe from the air, a
sure proof that they have been there for a long time.

=Prehistoric Science.=--Scholars have examined the débris and have
asked themselves what men have left them. From their skeletons, they
have tried to construct their physical appearance; from their tools,
the kind of life they led. They have determined that these instruments
resemble those used by certain savages today. The study of all these
objects constitutes a new science, Prehistoric Archæology.[1]

=The Four Ages.=--Prehistoric remains come down to us from very
diverse races of men; they have been deposited in the soil at widely
different epochs since the time when the mammoth lived in western
Europe, a sort of gigantic elephant with woolly hide and curved tusks.
This long lapse of time may be divided into four periods, called Ages:

  1. The Rough Stone Age.

  2. The Polished Stone Age.

  3. The Bronze Age.

  4. The Iron Age.

The periods take their names from the materials used in the
manufacture of the tools,--stone, bronze, iron. These epochs, however,
are of very unequal length. It may be that the Rough Stone Age was ten
times as long as the Age of Iron.


=Gravel Débris.=--The oldest remains of the Stone Age have been found
in the gravels. A French scholar found between 1841 and 1853, in the
valley of the Somme, certain sharp instruments made of flint. They
were buried to a depth of six metres in gravel under three layers of
clay, gravel, and marl which had never been broken up. In the same
place they discovered bones of cattle, deer, and elephants. For a long
time people made light of this discovery. They said that the chipping
of the flints was due to chance. At last, in 1860, several scholars
came to study the remains in the valley of the Somme and recognized
that the flints had certainly been cut by men. Since then there have
been found more than 5,000 similar flints in strata of the same order
either in the valley of the Seine or in England, and some of them by
the side of human bones. There is no longer any doubt that men were
living at the epoch when the gravel strata were in process of
formation. If the strata that cover these remains have always been
deposited as slowly as they are today, these men whose bones and tools
we unearth must have lived more than 200,000 years ago.

=The Cave Men.=--Remains are also found in caverns cut in rock, often
above a river. The most noted are those on the banks of the Vézère,
but they exist in many other places. Sometimes they have been used as
habitations and even as graves for men. Skeletons, weapons, and tools
are found here together. There are axes, knives, scrapers,
lance-points of flint; arrows, harpoon-points, needles of bone like
those used by certain savages to this day. The soil is strewn with the
bones of animals which these men, untidy like all savages, threw into
a corner after they had eaten the meat; they even split the bones to
extract the marrow just as savages do now. Among the animals are found
not only the hare, the deer, the ox, the horse, the salmon, but also
the rhinoceros, the cave-bear, the mammoth, the elk, the bison, the
reindeer, which are all extinct or have long disappeared from France.
Some designs have been discovered engraved on the bone of a reindeer
or on the tusk of a mammoth. One of these represents a combat of
reindeer; another a mammoth with woolly hide and curved tusks.
Doubtless these men were the contemporaries of the mammoth and the
reindeer. They were, like the Esquimaux of our day, a race of hunters
and fishermen, knowing how to work in flint and to kindle fires.


=Lake Dwellings.=--In 1854, Lake Zurich being very low on account of
the unusual dryness of the summer, dwellers on the shore of the lake
found, in the mud, wooden piles which had been much eaten away, also
some rude utensils. These were the remains of an ancient village built
over the water. Since this time more than 200 similar villages have
been found in the lakes of Switzerland. They have been called Lake
Villages. The piles on which they rest are trunks of trees, pointed
and driven into the lake-bottom to a depth of several yards. Every
village required 30,000 to 40,000 of these.

A wooden platform was supported by the pile work and on this were
built wooden houses covered with turf. Objects found by the hundred
among the piles reveal the character of the life of the former
inhabitants. They ate animals killed in the chase--the deer, the boar,
and the elk. But they were already acquainted with such domestic
animals as the ox, the goat, the sheep, and the dog. They knew how to
till the ground, to reap, and to grind their grain; for in the ruins
of their villages are to be found grains of wheat and even fragments
of bread, or rather unleavend cakes. They wore coarse cloths of hemp
and sewed them into garments with needles of bone. They made pottery
but were very awkward in its manufacture. Their vases were poorly
burned, turned by hand, and adorned with but few lines. Like the
cave-men, they used knives and arrows of flint; but they made their
axes of a very hard stone which they had learned to polish. This is
why we call their epoch the Polished Stone Age. They are much later
than the cave-men, for they know neither the mammoth nor the
rhinoceros, but still are acquainted with the elk and the reindeer.[2]

=Megalithic Monuments.=--Megalith is the name given to a monument
formed of enormous blocks of rough stone. Sometimes the rock is bare,
sometimes covered with a mass of earth. The buried monument is called
a _Tumulus_ on account of its resemblance to a hill. When it is
opened, one finds within a chamber of rock, sometimes paved with
flag-stones. The monuments whose stone is above ground are of various
sorts. The _Dolmen_, or table of rock, is formed of a long stone laid
flat over other stones set in the ground. The _Cromlech_, or
stone-circle, consists of massive rocks arranged in a circle. The
_Menhir_ is a block of stone standing on its end. Frequently several
menhirs are ranged in line. At Carnac in Brittany four thousand
menhirs in eleven rows are still standing. Probably there were once
ten thousand of these in this locality. Megalithic monuments appear by
hundreds in western France, especially in Brittany; almost every hill
in England has them; the Orkney Islands alone contain more than two
thousand. Denmark and North Germany are studded with them; the people
of the country call the tumuli the tombs of the giants.

Megalithic monuments are encountered outside of Europe--in India, and
on the African coast. No one knows what people possessed the power to
quarry such masses and then transport and erect them. For a long time
it was believed that the people were the ancient Gauls, or Celts,
whence the name Celtic Monuments. But why are like remains found in
Africa and in India?

When one of these tumuli still intact is opened, one always sees a
skeleton, often several, either sitting or reclining; these monuments,
therefore, were used as tombs. Arms, vases, and ornaments are placed
at the side of the dead. In the oldest of these tombs the weapons are
axes of polished stone; the ornaments are shells, pearls, necklaces of
bone or ivory; the vases are very simple, without handle or neck,
decorated only with lines or with points. Calcined bones of animals
lie about on the ground, the relics of a funeral repast laid in the
tomb by the friends of the dead. Amidst these bones we no longer find
those of the reindeer, a fact which proves that these monuments were
constructed after the disappearance of this animal from western
Europe, and therefore at a time subsequent to that of the lake


=Bronze Age.=--As soon as men learned to smelt metals, they preferred
these to stone in the manufacture of weapons. The metal first to be
used was copper, easier to extract because found free, and easier to
manipulate since it is malleable without the application of heat. Pure
copper, however, was not employed, as weapons made of it were too
fragile; but a little tin was mixed with it to give it more
resistance. It is this alloy of copper and tin that we call bronze.

=Bronze Utensils.=--Bronze was used in the manufacture of ordinary
tools--knives, hammers, saws, needles, fish-hooks; in the fabrication
of ornaments--bracelets, brooches, ear-rings; and especially in the
making of arms--daggers, lance-points, axes, and swords. These objects
are found by thousands throughout Europe in the mounds, under the more
recent dolmens, in the turf-pits of Denmark, and in rock-tombs. Near
these objects of bronze, ornaments of gold are often seen and, now and
then, the remains of a woollen garment. It cannot be due to chance
that all implements of bronze are similar and all are made according
to the same alloy. Doubtless they revert to the same period of time
and are anterior to the coming of the Romans into Gaul, for they are
never discovered in the midst of débris of the Roman period. But what
men used them? What people invented bronze? Nobody knows.


=Iron.=--As iron was harder to smelt and work than bronze, it was
later that men learned how to use it. As soon as it was appreciated
that iron was harder and cut better than bronze, men preferred it in
the manufacture of arms. In Homer's time iron is still a precious
metal reserved for swords, bronze being retained for other purposes.
It is for this reason that many tombs contain confused remains of
utensils of bronze and weapons of iron.

=Iron Weapons.=--These arms are axes, swords, daggers, and bucklers.
They are ordinarily found by the side of a skeleton in a coffin of
stone or wood, for warriors had their arms buried with them. But they
are found also scattered on ancient battle-fields or lost at the
bottom of a marsh which later became a turf-pit. There were found in a
turf-pit in Schleswig in one day 100 swords, 500 lances, 30 axes, 460
daggers, 80 knives, 40 stilettos--and all of iron. Not far from there
in the bed of an ancient lake was discovered a great boat 66 feet
long, fully equipped with axes, swords, lances, and knives.

It is impossible to enumerate the iron implements thus found. They
have not been so well preserved as the bronze, as iron is rapidly
eaten away by rust. At the first glance, therefore, they appear the
older, but in reality are more recent.

=Epoch of the Iron Age.=--The inhabitants of northern Europe knew iron
before the coming of the Romans, the first century before Christ. In
an old cemetery near the salt mines of Hallstadt in Austria they have
opened 980 tombs filled with instruments of iron and bronze without
finding a single piece of Roman money. But the Iron Age continued
under the Romans. Almost always iron objects are found accompanied by
ornaments of gold and silver, by Roman pottery, funeral urns,
inscriptions, and Roman coins bearing the effigy of the emperor. The
warriors whom we find lying near their sword and their buckler lived
for the most part in a period quite close to ours, many under the
Merovingians, some even at the time of Charlemagne. The Iron Age is no
longer a prehistoric age.


=How the Four Ages are to be Conceived.=--The inhabitants of one and
the same country have successively made use of rough stone, polished
stone, bronze, and iron. But all countries have not lived in the same
age at the same time. Iron was employed by the Egyptians while yet the
Greeks were in their bronze age and the barbarians of Denmark were
using stone. The conclusion of the polished stone age in America came
only with the arrival of Europeans. In our own time the savages of
Australia are still in the rough stone age. In their settlements may
be found only implements of bone and stone similar to those used by
the cave-men. The four ages, therefore, do not mark periods in the
life of humanity, but only epochs in the civilization of each country.

=Uncertainties.=--Prehistoric archæology is yet a very young science.
We have learned something of primitive men through certain remains
preserved and discovered by chance. A recent accident, a trench, a
landslip, a drought may effect a new discovery any day. Who knows what
is still under ground? The finds are already innumerable. But these
rarely tell us what we wish to know. How long was each of the four
ages? When did each begin and end in the various parts of the world?
Who planned the caverns, the lake villages, the mounds, the dolmens?
When a country passes from polished stone to bronze, is it the same
people changing implements, or is it a new people come on the scene?
When one thinks one has found the solution, a new discovery often
confounds the archæologists. It was thought that the Celts originated
the dolmens, but these have been found in sections which could never
have been traversed by Celts.

=What has been determined.=--Three conclusions, however, seem certain:

  1.--Man has lived long on the earth, familiar as he was with the
  mammoth and the cave-bear; he lived at least as early as the
  geological period known as the Quaternary.

  2.--Man has emerged from the savage state to civilized life; he
  has gradually perfected his tools and his ornaments from the
  awkward axe of flint and the necklace of bears' teeth to iron
  swords and jewels of gold. The roughest instruments are the

  3.--Man has made more and more rapid progress. Each age has been
  shorter than its predecessor.


[1] It originated especially with French, Swiss, and scholars.

[2] According to Lubbock (Prehistoric Times, N.Y., 1890, p. 212) the
reindeer was not known to the Second Stone Age.--ED.




=Legends.=--The most ancient records of people and their doings are
transmitted by oral tradition. They are recited long before they are
written down and are much mixed with fable. The Greeks told how their
heroes of the oldest times had exterminated monsters, fought with
giants, and battled against the gods. The Romans had Romulus nourished
by a wolf and raised to heaven. Almost all peoples relate such stories
of their infancy. But no confidence is to be placed in these legends.

=History.=--History has its true beginning only with authentic
accounts, that is to say, accounts written by men who were well
informed. This moment is not the same with all peoples. The history of
Egypt commences more than 3,000 years before Christ; that of the
Greeks ascends scarcely to 800 years before Christ; Germany has had a
history only since the first century of our era; Russia dates back
only to the ninth century; certain savage tribes even yet have no

=Great Divisions of History.=--The history of civilization begins with
the oldest civilized people and continues to the present time.
Antiquity is the most remote period, Modern Times the era in which we

=Ancient History.=--Ancient History begins with the oldest known
nations, the Egyptians and Chaldeans (about 3,000 years before our
era), and surveys the peoples of the Orient, the Hindoos, Persians,
Phœnicians, Jews, Greeks, and last of all the Romans. It terminates
about the fifth century A.D., when the Roman empire of the west is

=Modern History.=--Modern History starts with the end of the fifteenth
century, with the invention of printing, the discovery of America and
of the Indies, the Renaissance of the sciences and arts. It concerns
itself especially with peoples of the West, of Spain, Italy, France,
Germany, Russia, and America.

=The Middle Age.=--Between Antiquity and Modern Times about ten
centuries elapse which belong neither to ancient times (for the
civilization of Antiquity has perished) nor to modern (since modern
civilization does not yet exist). This period we call the Middle Age.


=The Sources.=--The Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans are no longer with
us; all the peoples of antiquity have passed away. To know their
religion, their customs, and arts we have to seek for instruction in
the remains they have left us. These are books, monuments,
inscriptions, and languages, and these are our means for the study of
ancient civilizations. We term these _sources_ because we draw our
knowledge from them. Ancient History flows from these sources.

=Books.=--Ancient peoples have left written records behind them. Some
of these peoples had sacred books--for example, the Hindoos, the
Persians, and the Jews; the Greeks and Romans have handed down to us
histories, poems, speeches, philosophical treatises. But books are
very far from furnishing all the information that we require. We do
not possess a single Assyrian or Phœnician book. Other peoples have
transmitted very few books to us. The ancients wrote less than we, and
so they had a smaller literature to leave behind them; and as it was
necessary to transcribe all of this by hand, there was but a small
number of copies of books. Further, most of these manuscripts have
been destroyed or have been lost, and those which remain to us are
difficult to read. The art of deciphering them is called Palæography.

=The Monuments.=--Ancient peoples, like ourselves, built monuments of
different sorts: palaces for their kings, tombs for the dead,
fortresses, bridges, aqueducts, triumphal arches. Of these monuments
many have fallen into ruin, have been razed, shattered by the enemy or
by the people themselves. But some of them survive, either because
there was no desire to destroy them, or because men could not. They
still stand in ruins like the old castles, for repairs are no longer
made; but enough is preserved to enable us to comprehend their former
condition. Some of them are still above ground, like the pyramids, the
temples of Thebes and of the island of Philæ, the palace of Persepolis
in Persia, the Parthenon in Greece, the Colosseum in Rome, and the
Maison Carrée and Pont du Gard in France. Like any modern monument,
these are visible to the traveller. But the majority of these
monuments have been recovered from the earth, from sand, from river
deposits, and from débris. One must disengage them from this thick
covering, and excavate the soil, often to a great depth. Assyrian
palaces may be reached only by cutting into the hills. A trench of
forty feet is necessary to penetrate to the tombs of the kings of
Mycenæ. Time is not the only agency for covering these ruins; men have
aided it. When the ancients wished to build, they did not, as we do,
take the trouble to level off the space, nor to clear the site.
Instead of removing the débris, they heaped it together and built
above it. The new edifice in turn fell into ruins and its débris was
added to that of more remote time; thus there were formed several
strata of remains. When Schliemann excavated the site of Troy, he had
passed through five beds of débris; these were five ruined villages
one above another, the oldest at a depth of fifty feet.

By accident one town has been preserved to us in its entirety. In 79
A.D. the volcano of Vesuvius belched forth a torrent of liquid lava
and a rain of ashes, and two Roman cities were suddenly buried,
Herculaneum by lava, and Pompeii by ashes; the lava burnt the objects
it touched, while the ashes enveloped them, preserving them from the
air and keeping them intact. As we remove the ashes, Pompeii reappears
to us just as it was eighteen centuries ago. One still sees the
wheel-ruts in the pavement, the designs traced on the walls with
charcoal; in the houses, the pictures, the utensils, the furniture,
even the bread, the nuts, and olives, and here and there the skeleton
of an inhabitant surprised by the catastrophe. Monuments teach us
much about the ancient peoples. The science of monuments is called

=Inscriptions.=--By inscriptions one means all writings other than
books. Inscriptions are for the most part cut in stone, but some are
on plates of bronze. At Pompeii they have been found traced on the
walls in colors or with charcoal. Some have the character of
commemorative inscriptions just as these are now attached to our
statues and edifices; thus in the monument of Ancyra the emperor
Augustus publishes the story of his life.

The greatest number of inscriptions are epitaphs graven on tombs.
Certain others fill the function of our placards, containing, as they
do, a law or a regulation that was to be made public. The science of
inscriptions is called Epigraphy.

=Languages.=--The languages also which ancient peoples spoke throw
light on their history. Comparing the words of two different
languages, we perceive that the two have a common origin--an evidence
that the peoples who spoke them were descended from the same stock.
The science of languages is called Linguistics.

=Lacunæ.=--It is not to be supposed that books, monuments,
inscriptions, and languages are sufficient to give complete knowledge
of the history of antiquity. They present many details which we could
well afford to lose, but often what we care most to know escapes us.
Scholars continue to dig and to decipher; each year new discoveries of
inscriptions and monuments are made; but there remain still many gaps
in our knowledge and probably some of these will always exist.


=Anthropology.=--The men who people the earth do not possess exact
resemblances, some differing from others in stature, the form of the
limbs and the head, the features of the face, the color of the hair and
eyes. Other differences are found in language, intelligence, and
sentiments. These variations permit us to separate the inhabitants of
the earth into several groups which we call races. A _race_ is the
aggregate of those men who resemble one another and are distinguished from
all others. The common traits of a race--its characteristics--constitute
the type of the race. For example, the type of the negro race is marked
by black skin, frizzly hair, white teeth, flat nose, projecting lips, and
prominent jaw. That part of Anthropology which concerns itself with races
and their sub-divisions is called Ethnology.[3] This science is yet in
its early development on account of its complete novelty, and is very
complex since types of men are very numerous and often very difficult to

=The Races.=--The principal races are:

  1.--The White race, which inhabits Europe, the north of Africa,
  and western Asia.

  2.--The Yellow race in eastern Asia to which belong the Chinese,
  the Mongols, Turks, and Hungarians, who invaded Europe as
  conquerors. They have yellow skin, small regular eyes, prominent
  cheek-bones, and thin beard.

  3.--The Black race, in central Africa. These are the Negroes, of
  black skin, flat nose, woolly hair.

  4.--The Red race, in America. These are the Indians, with
  copper-colored skin and flat heads.

=Civilized Peoples.=--Almost all civilized peoples belong to the white
race. The peoples of the other races have remained savage or
barbarian, like the men of prehistoric times.[4]

It is within the limits of Asia and Africa that the first civilized
peoples had their development--the Egyptians in the Nile valley, the
Chaldeans in the plain of the Euphrates. They were peoples of
sedentary and peaceful pursuits. Their skin was dark, the hair short
and thick, the lips strong. Nobody knows their origin with exactness
and scholars are not agreed on the name to give them (some terming
them Cushites, others Hamites). Later, between the twentieth and
twenty-fifth centuries B.C. came bands of martial shepherds who had
spread over all Europe and the west of Asia--the Aryans and the

=The Aryans and the Semites.=--There is no clearly marked external
difference between the Aryans and the Semites. Both are of the white
race, having the oval face, regular features, clear skin, abundant
hair, large eyes, thin lips, and straight nose. Both peoples were
originally nomad shepherds, fond of war. We do not know whence they
came, nor is there agreement whether the Aryans came from the mountain
region in the northwest of the Himalayas or from the plains of
Russia. What distinguishes them is their spiritual bent and especially
their language, sometimes also their religion. Scholars by common
consent call those peoples Aryan who speak an Aryan language: in Asia,
the Hindoos and Persians; in Europe, the Greeks, Italians, Spaniards,
Germans, Scandinavians, Slavs (Russians, Poles, Serfs), and Celts.[5]

Similarly, we call Semites those peoples who speak a Semitic language:
Arabs, Jews and Syrians. But a people may speak an Aryan or a Semitic
language and yet not be of Aryan or Semitic race; a negro may speak
English without being of English stock. Many of the Europeans whom we
classify among the Aryans are perhaps the descendants of an ancient
race conquered by the Aryans and who have adopted their language, just
as the Egyptians received the language of the Arabs, their conquerors.

These two names (Aryan and Semite), then, signify today rather two
groups of peoples than two distinct races. But even if we use the
terms in this sense, one may say that all the greater peoples of the
world have been Semites or Aryans. The Semitic family included the
Phœnicians, the people of commerce; the Jews, the people of religion;
the Arabs, the people of war. The Aryans, some finding their homes in
India, others in Europe, have produced the nations which have been,
and still are, foremost in the world--in antiquity, the Hindoos, a
people of great philosophical and religious ideas; the Greeks,
creators of art and of science; the Persians and Romans, the
founders, the former in the East, the latter in the West, of the
greatest empires of antiquity; in modern times, the Italians, French,
Germans, Dutch, Russians, English and Americans.

The history of civilization begins with the Egyptians and the
Chaldeans; but from the fifteenth century before our era, history
concerns itself only with the Aryan and Semitic peoples.


[3] Ethnography is the study of races from the point of view of their
objects and customs.

[4] The Chinese only of the yellow race have elaborated among themselves
an industry, a regular government, a polite society. But placed at the
extremity of Asia they have had no influence on other civilized peoples.
[The Japanese should be included.--ED.]

[5] The English and French are mixtures of Celtic and German blood.




=The Land of Egypt.=--Egypt is only the valley of the Nile, a narrow
strip of fertile soil stretching along both banks of the stream and
shut in by mountains on either side, somewhat over 700[6] miles in
length and 15 in width. Where the hills fall away, the Delta begins, a
vast plain cut by the arms of the Nile and by canals. As Herodotus
says, Egypt is wholly the gift of the Nile.

=The Nile.=--Every year at the summer solstice the Nile, swollen by
the melted snows of Abyssinia, overflows the parched soil of Egypt. It
rises to a height of twenty-six or twenty-seven feet, sometimes even
to thirty-three feet.[7] The whole country becomes a lake from which
the villages, built on eminences, emerge like little islands. The
water recedes in September; by December it has returned to its proper
channel. Everywhere has been left a fertile, alluvial bed which serves
the purpose of fertilization. On the softened earth the peasant sows
his crop with almost no labor. The Nile, then, brings both water and
soil to Egypt; if the river should fail, Egypt would revert, like the
land on either side of it, to a desert of sterile sand where the rain
never falls. The Egyptians are conscious of their debt to their
stream. A song in its honor runs as follows: "Greeting to thee, O
Nile, who hast revealed thyself throughout the land, who comest in
peace to give life to Egypt. Does it rise? The land is filled with
joy, every heart exults, every being receives its food, every mouth is
full. It brings bounties that are full of delight, it creates all good
things, it makes the grass to spring up for the beasts."

=Fertility of the Country.=--Egypt is truly an oasis in the midst of
the desert of Africa. It produces in abundance wheat, beans, lentils,
and all leguminous foods; palms rear themselves in forests. On the
pastures irrigated by the Nile graze herds of cattle and goats, and
flocks of geese. With a territory hardly equal to that of Belgium,
Egypt still supports 5,500,000 inhabitants. No country in Europe is so
thickly populated, and Egypt in antiquity was more densely thronged
than it is today.

=The Accounts of Herodotus.=--Egypt was better known to the Greeks
than the rest of the Orient. Herodotus had visited it in the fifth
century B.C. He describes in his History the inundations of the Nile,
the manners, costume, and religion of the people; he recounts events
of their history and tales which his guides had told him. Diodorus and
Strabo also speak of Egypt. But all had seen the country in its
decadence and had no knowledge of the ancient Egyptians.

=Champollion.=--The French expedition to Egypt (1798-1801) opened the
country to scholars. They made a close examination of the Pyramids
and ruins of Thebes, and collected drawings and inscriptions. But no
one could decipher the hieroglyphs, the Egyptian writing. It was an
erroneous impression that every sign in this writing must each
represent a word. In 1821 a French scholar, Champollion, experimented
with another system. An official had reported that there was an
inscription at Rosetta in three forms of writing--parallel with the
hieroglyphs was a translation in Greek. The name of King Ptolemy, was
surrounded with a cartouche.[8] Champollion succeeded in finding in
this name the letters P, T, O, L, M, I, S. Comparing these with other
names of kings similarly enclosed, he found the whole alphabet. He
then read the hieroglyphs and found that they were written in a
language like the Coptic, the language spoken in Egypt at the time of
the Romans, and which was already known to scholars.

=Egyptologists.=--Since Champollion, many scholars have travelled over
Egypt and have ransacked it thoroughly. We call these students
Egyptologists, and they are to be found in every country of Europe. A
French Egyptologist, Mariette (1821-1881), made some excavations for
the Viceroy of Egypt and created the museum of Boulak. France has
established in Cairo a school of Egyptology, directed by Maspero.

=Discoveries.=--Not every country yields such rich discoveries as does
Egypt. The Egyptians constructed their tombs like houses, and laid in
them objects of every kind for the use of the dead--furniture,
garments, arms, and edibles. The whole country was filled with tombs
similarly furnished. Under this extraordinarily dry climate everything
has been preserved; objects come to light intact after a burial of
4,000 or 5,000 years. No people of antiquity have left so many traces
of themselves as the Egyptians; none is better known to us.


=Antiquity of the Egyptian People.=--An Egyptian priest said to
Herodotus, "You Greeks are only children." The Egyptians considered
themselves the oldest people of the world. Down to the Persian
conquest (520[9] B.C.) there were twenty-six dynasties of kings. The
first ran back 4,000 years,[10] and during these forty centuries Egypt
had been an empire. The capital down to the tenth dynasty (the period
of the Old Empire) was at Memphis in Lower Egypt, later, in the New
Empire, at Thebes in Upper Egypt.

=Memphis and the Pyramids.=--Memphis, built by the first king of
Egypt, was protected by an enormous dike. The village has existed for
more than five thousand years; but since the thirteenth century the
inhabitants have taken the stones of its ruins to build the houses of
Cairo; what these people left the Nile recaptured. The Pyramids, not
far from Memphis, are contemporaneous with the old empire; they are
the tombs of three kings of the fourth dynasty. The greatest of the
pyramids, 480 feet high, required the labor of 100,000 men for thirty
years.[11] To raise the stones for it they built gradually ascending
platforms which were removed when the structure was completed.

=Egyptian Civilization.=--The statues, paintings, and instruments
which are taken from the tombs of this epoch give evidence of an
already civilized people. When all the other eminent nations of
antiquity--the Hindoos, Persians, Jews, Greeks, Romans--were still in
a savage state, 3,500 years before our era, the Egyptians had known
for a long time how to cultivate the soil, to weave cloths, to work
metals, to paint, sculpture, and to write; they had an organized
religion, a king, and an administration.

=Thebes.=--At the eleventh dynasty Thebes succeeds Memphis as capital.
The ruins of Thebes are still standing. They are marvellous, extending
as they do on both banks of the Nile, with a circuit of about seven
miles. On the left bank there is a series of palaces and temples which
lead to vast cemeteries. On the right bank two villages, Luxor and
Karnak, distant a half-hour one from the other, are built in the midst
of the ruins. They are united by a double row of sphinxes, which must
have once included more than 1,000 of these monuments. Among these
temples in ruins the greatest was the temple of Ammon at Karnak. It
was surrounded by a wall of over one and one-third miles in length;
the famous Hall of Columns, the greatest in the world, had a length
of 334 feet, a width of 174 feet,[12] and was supported by 134
columns; twelve of these are over 65 feet high. Thebes was for 1,500
years the capital and sacred city, the residence of kings and the
dwelling-place of the priests.

=The Pharaoh.=--The king of Egypt, called Pharaoh, was esteemed as the
son of the Sun-god and his incarnation on earth; divinity was ascribed
to him also. We may see in a picture King Rameses II standing in
adoration before the divine Rameses who is sitting between two gods.
The king as man adores himself as god. Being god, the Pharaoh has
absolute power over men; as master, he gives his orders to his great
nobles at court, to his warriors, to all his subjects. But the
priests, though adoring him, surround and watch him; their head, the
high priest of the god Ammon, at last becomes more powerful than the
king; he often governs under the name of the king and in his stead.

=The Subjects of Pharaoh.=--The king, the priests, the warriors, the
nobles, are proprietors of all Egypt; all the other people are simply
their peasants who cultivate the land for them. Scribes in the service
of the king watch them and collect the farm-dues, often with blows of
the staff. One of these functionaries writes as follows to a friend,
"Have you ever pictured to yourself the existence of the peasant who
tills the soil. The tax-collector is on the platform busily seizing
the tithe of the harvest. He has his men with him armed with staves,
his negroes provided with strips of palm. All cry, 'Come, give us
grain,' If the peasant hasn't it, they throw him full length on the
earth, bind him, draw him to the canal, and hurl him in head

=Despotism.=--The Egyptian people has always been, and still is, gay,
careless, gentle, docile as an infant, always ready to submit to
tyranny. In this country the cudgel was the instrument of education
and of government. "The young man," said the scribes, "has a back to
be beaten; he hears when he is struck." "One day," says a French
traveller, "finding myself before the ruins of Thebes, I exclaimed,
'But how did they do all this?' My guide burst out laughing, touched
me on the arm and, showing me a palm, said to me, 'Here is what they
used to accomplish all this. You know, sir, with 100,000 branches of
palms split on the backs of those who always have their shoulders
bare, you can build many a palace and some temples to boot.'"

=Isolation of the Egyptians.=--The Egyptians moved but little beyond
their borders. As the sea inspired them with terror, they had no
commerce and did not trade with other peoples. They were not at all a
military nation. Their kings, it is true, often went on expeditions at
the head of mercenaries either against the negroes of Ethiopia or
against the tribes of Syria. They gained victories which they had
painted on the walls of their palaces, they brought back troops of
captives whom they used in building monuments; but they never made
great conquests. Foreigners came more to Egypt than Egyptians went

=Religion of the Egyptians.=--"The Egyptians," said Herodotus, "are
the most religious of all men." We do not know any people so devout;
almost all their paintings represent men in prayer before a god;
almost all their manuscripts are religious books.

=Egyptian Gods.=--The principal deity is a Sun-god, creator,
beneficent, "who knows all things, who exists from the beginning."
This god has a divine wife and son. All the Egyptians adored this
trinity; but not all gave it the same name. Each region gave a
different name to these three gods. At Memphis they called the father
Phtah, the mother Sekhet, the son Imouthes; at Abydos they called them
Osiris, Isis, and Horus; at Thebes, Ammon, Mouth, and Chons. Then,
too, the people of one province adopted the gods of other provinces.
Further, they made other gods emanate from each god of the trinity.
Thus the number of gods was increased and religion was complicated.

=Osiris.=--These gods have their history; it is that of the sun; for
the sun appeared to the Egyptians, as to most of the primitive
peoples, the mightiest of beings, and consequently a god. Osiris, the
sun, is slain by Set, god of the night; Isis, the moon, his wife,
bewails and buries him; Horus, his son, the rising sun, avenges him by
killing his murderer.

=Ammon-râ.=--Ammon-râ, god of Thebes, is represented as traversing
heaven each day in a bark ("the good bark of millions of years"); the
shades of the dead propel it with long oars; the god stands at the
prow to strike the enemy with his lance. The hymn which they chanted
in his honor is as follows: "Homage to thee; thou watchest favoringly,
thou watchest truly, O master of the two horizons.... Thou treadest
the heavens on high, thine enemies are laid low. The heaven is glad,
the earth is joyful, the gods unite in festal cheer to render glory
to Râ when they see him rising in his bark after he has overwhelmed
his enemies. O Râ, give abounding life to Pharaoh, bestow bread for
his hunger (belly), water for his throat, perfumes for his hair."

=Animal-Headed Gods.=--The Egyptians often represented their gods with
human form, but more frequently under the form of a beast. Each god
has his animal: Phtah incarnates himself in the beetle, Horus in the
hawk, Osiris in the bull. The two figures often unite in a man with
the head of an animal or an animal with the head of a man. Every god
may be figured in four forms: Horus, for example, as a man, a hawk, as
man with the head of a hawk, as a hawk with the head of a man.

=Sacred Animals.=--What did the Egyptians wish to designate by this
symbol? One hardly knows. They, themselves, came to regard as sacred
the animals which served to represent the gods to them: the bull, the
beetle, the ibis, the hawk, the cat, the crocodile. They cared for
them and protected them. A century before the Christian era a Roman
citizen killed a cat at Alexandria; the people rose in riot, seized
him, and, notwithstanding the entreaties of the king, murdered him,
although at the same time they had great fear of the Romans. There was
in each temple a sacred animal which was adored. The traveller Strabo
records a visit to a sacred crocodile of Thebes: "The beast," said he,
"lay on the edge of a pond, the priests drew near, two of them opened
his mouth, a third thrust in cakes, grilled fish, and a drink made
with meal."

=The Bull Apis.=--Of these animal gods the most venerated was the bull
Apis. It represented at once Osiris and Phtah and lived at Memphis in
a chapel served by the priests. After its death it became an Osiris
(Osar-hapi), it was embalmed, and its mummy deposited in a vault. The
sepulchres of the "Osar-hapi" constituted a gigantic monument, the
Serapeum, discovered in 1851 by Marietta.

=Cult of the Dead.=--The Egyptians adored also the spirits of the
dead. They seem to have believed at first that every man had a
"double" (Kâ), and that when the man was dead his double still
survived. Many savage peoples believe this to this day. The Egyptian
tomb in the time of the Old Empire was termed "House of the Double."
It was a low room arranged like a chamber, where for the service of
the double there were placed all that he required, chairs, tables,
beds, chests, linen, closets, garments, toilet utensils, weapons,
sometimes a war-chariot; for the entertainment of the double, statues,
paintings, books; for his sustenance, grain and foods. And then they
set there a double of the dead in the form of a statue in wood or
stone carved in his likeness. At last the opening to the vault was
sealed; the double was enclosed, but the living still provided for
him. They brought him foods or they might beseech a god that he supply
them to the spirit, as in this inscription, "An offering to Osiris
that he may confer on the Kâ of the deceased N. bread, drink, meat,
geese, milk, wine, beer, clothing, perfumes--all good things and pure
on which the god (_i.e._ the Kâ) subsists."

=Judgment of the Soul.=--Later, originating with the eleventh
dynasty, the Egyptians believed that the soul flew away from the body
and sought Osiris under the earth, the realm into which the sun seemed
every day to sink. There Osiris sits on his tribunal, surrounded by
forty-two judges; the soul appears before these to give account of his
past life. His actions are weighed in the balance of truth, his
"heart" is called to witness. "O heart," cries the dead, "O heart, the
issue of my mother, my heart when I was on earth, offer not thyself as
witness, charge me not before the great god." The soul found on
examination to be bad is tormented for centuries and at last
annihilated. The good soul springs up across the firmament; after many
tests it rejoins the company of the gods and is absorbed into them.

=Mummies.=--During this pilgrimage the soul may wish to re-enter the
body to rest there. The body must therefore be kept intact, and so the
Egyptians learned to embalm it. The corpse was filled with spices,
drenched in a bath of natron, wound with bandages and thus transformed
into a mummy. The mummy encased in a coffin of wood or plaster was
laid in the tomb with every provision necessary to its life.

=Book of the Dead.=--A book was deposited with the mummy, the Book of
the Dead, which explains what the soul ought to say in the other world
when it makes its defence before the tribunal of Osiris: "I have never
committed fraud; ... I have never vexed the widow; ... I have never
committed any forbidden act; ... I have never been an idler; ... I
have never taken the slave from his master; ... I never stole the
bread from the temples; ... I never removed the provisions or the
bandages of the dead; I never altered the grain measure; ... I never
hunted sacred beasts; I never caught sacred fish; ... I am pure; ... I
have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to the
naked; I have sacrificed to the gods, and offered funeral feasts to
dead." Here we see Egyptian morality: observance of ceremonies,
respect for everything pertaining to the gods, sincerity, honesty, and


=Industry.=--The Egyptians were the first to practice the arts
necessary to a civilized people. From the first dynasty, 3,000[13]
years B.C., paintings on the tomb exhibit men working, sowing,
harvesting, beating and winnowing grain; we have representations of
herds of cattle, sheep, geese, swine; of persons richly clothed,
processions, feasts where the harp is played--almost the same life
that we behold 3,000 years later. As early as this time the Egyptians
knew how to manipulate gold, silver, bronze; to manufacture arms and
jewels, glass, pottery, and enamel; they wove garments of linen and
wool, and cloths, transparent or embroidered with gold.

=Architecture.=--They were the oldest artists of the world. They
constructed enormous monuments which appear to be eternal, for down to
the present, time has not been able to destroy them. They never built,
as we do, for the living, but for the gods and for the dead, _i.e._,
temples and tombs. Only a slight amount of débris is left of their
houses, and even the palaces of their kings in comparison with the
tombs appear, in the language of the Greeks, to be only inns. The
house was to serve only for a lifetime, the tomb for eternity.

=Tombs.=--The Great Pyramid is a royal tomb. Ancient tombs ordinarily
had this form. In Lower Egypt there still remain pyramids arranged in
rows or scattered about, some larger, others smaller. These are the
tombs of kings and nobles. Later the tombs are constructed
underground, some under earth, others cut into the granite of the
hills. Each generation needs new ones, and therefore near the town of
living people is built the richer and greater city of the dead

=Temples.=--The gods also required eternal and splendid habitations.
Their temples include a magnificent sanctuary, the dwelling of the
god, surrounded with courts, gardens, chambers where the priests
lodge, wardrobes for his jewels, utensils, and vestments. This
combination of edifices, the work of many generations, is encircled
with a wall. The temple of Ammon at Thebes had the labors of the kings
of all the dynasties from the twelfth to the last. Ordinarily in front
of the temple a great gate-way is erected, with inclined faces--the
pylone. On either side of the entrance is an obelisk, a needle of rock
with gilded point, or perhaps a colossus in stone representing a
sitting giant. Often the approach to the temple is by a long avenue
rimmed with sphinxes.

Pyramids, pylones, colossi, sphinxes, and obelisks characterize this
architecture. Everything is massive, compact, and, above all, immense.
Hence these monuments appear clumsy but indestructible.

=Sculpture.=--Egyptian sculptors began with imitating nature. The
oldest statues are impressive for their life and freshness, and are
doubtless portraits of the dead. Of this sort is the famous squatting
scribe of the Louvre.[14] But beginning with the eleventh dynasty the
sculptor is no longer free to represent the human body as he sees it,
but must follow conventional rules fixed by religion. And so all the
statues resemble one another--parallel legs, the feet joined, arms
crossed on the breast, the figure motionless; the statues are often
majestic, but always stiff and monotonous. Art has ceased to reproduce
nature and is become a conventional symbol.

=Painting.=--The Egyptians used very solid colors; after 5,000 years
they are still fresh and bright. But they were ignorant of coloring
designs; they knew neither tints, shadows, nor perspective. Painting,
like sculpture, was subject to religious rules and was therefore
monotonous. If fifty persons were to be represented, the artist made
them all alike.

=Literature.=--The literature of the Egyptians is found in the
tombs--not only books of medicine, of magic and of piety, but also
poems, letters, accounts of travels, and even romances.

=Destiny of the Egyptian Civilization.=--The Egyptians conserved their
customs, religion, and arts even after the fall of their empire.
Subjects of the Persians, then the Greeks, and at last of the Romans,
they kept their old usages, their hieroglyphics, their mummies and
sacred animals. At last between the third and second centuries A.D.,
Egyptian civilization was slowly extinguished.


[6] Following the curves of the stream.--ED.

[7] In some localities, _e.g._ Thebes, the flood is even higher.--ED.

[8] An enclosing case.

[9] 525 B.C.--ED.

[10] The chronology of early Egyptian history is uncertain. Civilization
existed in this land much earlier than was formerly supposed.--ED.

[11] According to Petrie ("History of Egypt," New York, 1895, i., 40)
_twenty years_ were consumed.--ED.

[12] Perrot and Chipiez ("History of Ancient Egyptian Art," London.
1883, i., 365) give 340 feet by 170.--ED.

[13] Probably much earlier than this.--ED.

[14] The Louvre Museum in Paris has an excellent collection of Egyptian




=The Land.=--From the high and snowy mountains of Armenia flow two
deep and rapid rivers, the Tigris to the east, the Euphrates to the
west. At first in close proximity, they separate as they reach the
plain. The Tigris makes a straight course, the Euphrates a great
détour towards the sandy deserts; then they unite before emptying into
the sea. The country which they embrace is Chaldea. It is an immense
plain of extraordinarily fertile soil; rain is rare and the heat is
overwhelming. But the streams furnish water and this clayey soil when
irrigated by canals becomes the most fertile in the world. Wheat and
barley produce 200-fold; in good years the returns are 300-fold. Palms
constitute the forests and from these the people make their wine, meal
and flour.[15]

=The People.=--For many centuries, perhaps as long as Egypt, Chaldea
has been the abode of civilized peoples. Many races from various lands
have met and mingled in these great plains. There were Turanians of
the yellow race, similar to the Chinese, who came from the north-east;
Cushites, deep brown in color, related to the Egyptians, came from the
east; Semites, of the white race, of the same stock as the Arabs,
descended from the north.[16] The Chaldean people had its origin in
this mixture of races.

=The Cities.=--Chaldean priests related that their kings had ruled for
150,000 years. While this is a fable, they were right in ascribing
great antiquity to the Chaldean empire. The soil of Chaldea is
everywhere studded with hills and each of these is a mass of débris,
the residue of a ruined city. Many of these have been excavated and
many cities brought to view, (Our, Larsam, Bal-ilou), and some
inscriptions recovered. De Sarsec, a Frenchman, has discovered the
ruins of an entire city, overwhelmed by the invader and its palace
destroyed by fire. These ancient peoples are still little known to us;
many sites remain to be excavated when it is hoped new inscriptions
will be found. Their empire was destroyed about 2,300 B.C.; it may
then have been very old.[17]


=Assyria.=--The country back of Chaldea on the Tigris is Assyria. It
also is fertile, but cut with hills and rocks. Situated near the
mountains, it experiences snow in winter and severe storms in summer.

=Origins.=--Chaldea had for a long time been covered with towns while
yet the Assyrians lived an obscure life in their mountains. About the
thirteenth century B.C. their kings leading great armies began to
invade the plains and founded a mighty empire whose capital was

=Ancient Accounts.=--Until about forty years ago we knew almost
nothing of the Assyrians--only a legend recounted by the Greek
Diodorus Siculus. Ninus, according to the story, had founded Nineveh
and conquered all Asia Minor; his wife, Semiramis, daughter of a
goddess, had subjected Egypt, after which she was changed into the
form of a dove. Incapable kings had succeeded this royal pair for the
space of 1,300 years; the last, Sardanapalus, besieged in his capital,
was burnt with his wives. This romance has not a word of truth in it.

=Modern Discoveries.=--In 1843, Botta, the French consul at Mossoul,
discovered under a hillock near the Tigris, at Khorsabad, the palace
of an Assyrian king. Here for the first time one could view the
productions of Assyrian art; the winged bulls cut in stone, placed at
the gate of the palace were found intact and removed to the Louvre
Museum in Paris. The excavations of Botta drew the attention of
Europe, so that many expeditions were sent out, especially by the
English; Place and Layard investigated other mounds and discovered
other palaces. These ruins had been well preserved, protected by the
dryness of the climate and by a covering of earth. They found walls
adorned with bas-reliefs and paintings; statues and inscriptions were
discovered in great number. It was now possible to study on the ground
the plan of the structures and to publish reproductions of the
monuments and inscriptions.

The palace first discovered, that of Khorsabad, had been built by King
Sargon at Nineveh, the site of the capital of the Assyrian kings. The
city was built on several eminences, and was encircled by a wall 25
to 30 miles[18] in length, in the form of a quadrilateral. The wall
was composed of bricks on the exterior and of earth within. The
dwellings of the city have disappeared leaving no traces, but we have
recovered many palaces constructed by various kings of Assyria.
Nineveh remained the residence of the kings down to the time that the
Assyrian empire was destroyed by the Medes and Chaldeans.

=Inscriptions on the Bricks.=--In these inscriptions every character
is formed of a combination of signs shaped like an arrow or wedge, and
this is the reason that this style of writing is termed cuneiform
(Latin _cuneus_ and _forma_). To trace these signs the writer used a
stylus with a triangular point; he pressed it into a tablet of soft
clay which was afterwards baked to harden it and to make the
impression permanent. In the palace of Assurbanipal a complete library
of brick tablets has been found in which brick serves the purpose of

=Cuneiform Writing.=--For many years the cuneiform writing has
occupied the labors of many scholars impatient to decipher it. It has
been exceedingly difficult to read, for, in the first place, it served
as the writing medium of five different languages--Assyrian, Susian,
Mede, Chaldean, and Armenian, without counting the Old Persian--and
there was no knowledge of these five languages. Then, too, it is very
complicated, for several reasons:

  1. It is composed at the same time of symbolic signs, each of
  which represents a word (sun, god, fish), and of syllabic signs,
  each of which represents a syllable.

  2. There are nearly two hundred syllabic signs, much alike and
  easy to confuse.

  3. The same sign is often the representation of a word and a

  4. Often (and this is the hardest condition) the same sign is used
  to represent different syllables. Thus the same sign is sometimes
  read "ilou," and sometimes "an." This writing was difficult even
  for those who executed it. "A good half of the cuneiform monuments
  which we possess comprises guides (grammars, dictionaries,
  pictures), which enable us to decipher the other half, and which
  we consult just as Assyrian scholars did 2,500 years ago."[19]

Cuneiform inscriptions have been solved in the same manner as the
Egyptian hieroglyphics--there was an inscription in three
languages--Assyrian, Mede, and Persian. The last gave the key to the
other two.

=The Assyrian People.=--The Assyrians were a race of hunters and
soldiers. Their bas-reliefs ordinarily represent them armed with bow
and lance, often on horseback. They were good knights--alert, brave,
clever in skirmish and battle; also bombastic, deceitful, and
sanguinary. For six centuries they harassed Asia, issuing from their
mountains to hurl themselves on their neighbors, and returning with
entire peoples reduced to slavery. They apparently made war for the
mere pleasure of slaying, ravaging, and pillaging. No people ever
exhibited greater ferocity.

=The King.=--Following Asiatic usage they regarded their king as the
representative of God on earth and gave him blind obedience. He was
absolute master of all his subjects, he led them in battle, and at
their head fought against other peoples of Asia. On his return he
recorded his exploits on the walls of his palace in a long inscription
in which he told of his victories, the booty which he had taken, the
cities burned, the captives beheaded or flayed alive. We present some
passages from these stories of campaigns:

Assurnazir-hapal in 882 says, "I built a wall before the great gates
of the city; I flayed the chiefs of the revolt and with their skins I
covered this wall. Some were immured alive in the masonry, others were
crucified or impaled along the wall. I had some of them flayed in my
presence and had the wall hung with their skins. I arranged their
heads like crowns and their transfixed bodies in the form of

In 745 Tiglath-Pilezer II writes, "I shut up the king in his royal
city. I raised mountains of bodies before his gates. All his villages
I destroyed, desolated, burnt. I made the country desert, I changed it
into hills and mounds of débris."

In the seventh century Sennacherib wrote: "I passed like a hurricane
of desolation. On the drenched earth the armor and arms swam in the
blood of the enemy as in a river. I heaped up the bodies of their
soldiers like trophies and I cut off their extremities. I mutilated
those whom I took alive like blades of straw; as punishment I cut off
their hands." In a bas-relief which shows the town of Susa
surrendering to Assurbanipal one sees the chiefs of the conquered
tortured by the Assyrians; some have their ears cut off, the eyes of
others are put out, the beard torn out, while some are flayed alive.
Evidently these kings took delight in burnings, massacres, and

=Ruin of the Assyrian Empire.=--The Assyrian régime began with the
capture of Babylon (about 1270). From the ninth century the Assyrians,
always at war, subjected or ravaged Babylonia, Syria, Palestine, and
even Egypt. The conquered always revolted, and the massacres were
repeated. At last the Assyrians were exhausted. The Babylonians and
Medes made an alliance and destroyed their empire. In 625 their
capital, Nineveh, "the lair of lions, the bloody city, the city gorged
with prey," as the Jewish prophets call it, was taken and destroyed
forever. "Nineveh is laid waste," says the prophet Nahum, "who will
bemoan her?"


=The Second Chaldean Empire.=--In the place of the fallen Assyrian
empire there arose a new power--in ancient Chaldea. This has received
the name Babylonian Empire or the Second Chaldean Empire. A Jewish
prophet makes one say to Jehovah, "I raise up the Chaldeans, that
bitter and hasty nation which shall march through the breadth of the
land to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. Their horses are
swifter than leopards. Their horsemen spread themselves; (their
horsemen) shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat." They were a
people of knights, martial and victorious, like the Assyrians. They
subjected Susiana, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Jordan. But their régime
was short: founded in 625, the Babylonian Empire was overthrown by the
Persians in 538 B.C.

=Babylon.=--The mightiest of its kings, Nebuchadrezzar (or
Nebuchadnezzar), 604-561, who destroyed Jerusalem and carried the Jews
into captivity, built many temples and places in Babylon, his capital.
These monuments were in crude brick as the plain of the Euphrates has
no supply of stone; in the process of decay they have left only
enormous masses of earth and débris. And yet it has been possible on
the site of Babylon to recover some inscriptions and to restore the
plan of the city. The Greek Herodotus who had visited Babylon in the
fifth century B.C., describes it in detail. The city was surrounded by
a square wall cut by the Euphrates; it covered about 185 square miles,
or seven times the extent of Paris. This immense space was not filled
with houses; much of it was occupied with fields to be cultivated for
the maintenance of the people in the event of a siege. Babylon was
less a city than a fortified camp. The walls equipped with towers and
pierced by a hundred gates of brass were so thick that a chariot might
be driven on them. All around the wall was a large, deep ditch full of
water, with its sides lined with brick. The houses of the city were
constructed of three or four stories. The streets intersected at right
angles. The bridge and docks of the Euphrates excited admiration; the
fortified palace also, and the hanging gardens, one of the seven
wonders of the world. These gardens were terraces planted with trees,
supported by pillars and rows of arches.

=Tower of Babylon.=--Hard by the city Nebuchadnezzar had aimed to
rebuild the town of Babel. "For the admiration of men," he says in an
inscription: "I rebuilt and renovated the wonder of Borsippa, the
temple of the seven spheres of the world. I laid the foundations and
built it according to its ancient plan." This temple, in the form of a
square, comprised seven square towers raised one above another, each
tower being dedicated to one of the seven planets and painted with the
color attributed by religion to this planet. They were, beginning with
the lowest: Saturn (black), Venus (white), Jupiter (purple), Mercury
(blue), Mars (vermilion), the moon (silver), the sun (gold). The
highest tower contained a chapel with a table of gold and magnificent
couch whereon a priestess kept watch continually.


=Customs.=--We know almost nothing of these peoples apart from the
testimony of their monuments, and nearly all of these refer to the
achievements of their kings. The Assyrians are always represented at
war, hunting, or in the performance of ceremonies; their women never
appear on the bas-reliefs; they were confined in a harem and never
went into public life. The Chaldeans on the contrary, were a race of
laborers and merchants, but of their life we know nothing. Herodotus
relates that once a year in their towns they assembled all the girls
to give them in marriage; they sold the prettiest, and the profits of
the sale of these became a dower for the marriage of the plainest.
"According to my view," he adds, "this is the wisest of all their

=Religion.=--The religion of the Assyrians and Chaldeans was the same,
for the former had adopted that of the latter. It is very obscure to
us, since it originated, like that of the Chaldean people, in a
confusion of religions very differently mingled. The Turanians, like
the present yellow race of Siberia, imagined the world full of demons
(plague, fever, phantoms, vampires), engaged in prowling around men to
do them harm; sorcerers were invoked to banish these demons by magical
formulas. The Cushites adored a pair of gods, the male deity of force
and the female of matter. The Chaldean priests, united in a powerful
guild, confused the two religions into a single one.

=The Gods.=--The supreme god at Babylon is Ilou; in Assyria, Assur. No
temple was raised to him. Three gods proceed from him: Anou, the "lord
of darkness," under the figure of a man with the head of a fish and
the tail of an eagle; Bel, the "sovereign of spirits," represented as
a king on the throne; Nouah, the "master of the visible world," under
the form of a genius with four extended wings. Each has a feminine
counterpart who symbolizes fruitfulness. Below these gods are the Sun,
the Moon, and the five planets, for in the transparent atmosphere of
Chaldea the stars shine with a brilliancy which is strange to us; they
gleam like deities. To these the Chaldeans raised temples, veritable
observatories in which men who adored them could follow all their

=Astrology.=--The priests believed that these stars, being powerful
deities, had determining influence on the lives of men. Every man
comes into the world under the influence of a planet and this moment
decides his destiny; one may foretell one's fortune if the star under
which one is born is known. This is the origin of the horoscope. What
occurs in heaven is indicative of what will come to pass on earth; a
comet, for example, announces a revolution. By observing the heavens
the Chaldean priests believed they could predict events. This is the
origin of Astrology.

=Sorcery.=--The Chaldeans had also magical words; these were uttered
to banish spirits or to cause their appearance. This custom, a relic
of the Turanian religion, is the origin of sorcery. From Chaldea
astrology and sorcery were diffused over the Roman empire, and later
over all Europe. In the formulas of sorcery of the sixteenth century
corrupted Assyrian words may still be detected.[20]

=Sciences.=--On the other hand it is in Chaldea that we have the
beginning of astronomy. From this land have come down to us the
zodiac, the week of seven days in honor of the seven planets; the
division of the year into twelve months, of the day into twenty-four
hours, of the hour into sixty minutes, of the minute into sixty
seconds. Here originated, too, the system of weights and measures
reckoned on the unit of length, a system adopted by all the ancient


=Architecture.=--We do not have direct knowledge of the art of the
Chaldeans, since their monuments have fallen to ruin. But the Assyrian
artists whose works we possess imitated those of Chaldea, and so we
may form a judgment at the same time of the two countries. The
Assyrians like the Chaldeans built with crude, sun-dried brick, but
they faced the exterior of the wall with stone.

=Palaces.=--They constructed their palaces[21] on artificial mounds,
making these low and flat like great terraces. The crude brick was not
adapted to broad and high arches. Halls must therefore be straight and
low, but in compensation they were very long. An Assyrian palace,
then, resembled a succession of galleries; the roofs were flat
terraces provided with battlements. At the gate stood gigantic winged
bulls. Within, the walls were covered now with panelling in precious
woods, now with enamelled bricks, now with plates of sculptural
alabaster. Sometimes the chambers were painted, and even richly
encrusted marbles were used.

=Sculpture.=--The sculpture of the Assyrian palaces is especially
admirable. Statues, truly, are rare and coarse; sculptors preferred to
execute bas-reliefs similar to pictures on great slabs of alabaster.
They represented scenes which were often very complicated--battles,
chases, sieges of towns, ceremonies in which the king appeared with a
great retinue. Every detail is scrupulously done; one sees the files
of servants in charge of the feast of the king, the troops of workmen
who built his palace, the gardens, the fields, the ponds, the fish in
the water, the birds perched over their nests or flitting from tree to
tree. Persons are exhibited in profile, doubtless because the artist
could not depict the face; but they possess dignity and life. Animals
often appeared, especially in hunting scenes; they are ordinarily made
with a startling fidelity. The Assyrians observed nature and
faithfully reproduced it; hence the merit of their art.

The Greeks themselves learned in this school, by imitating the
Assyrian bas-reliefs. They have excelled them, but no people, not even
the Greeks, has better known how to represent animals.


[15] A Persian song enumerates 300 different uses of the palm.

[16] Or perhaps from the east (Arabia).--ED.

[17] Recent discoveries confirm the view of a very ancient

[18] Somewhat exaggerated. See Perrot and Chipiez, "History of Art in
Assyria and Chaldea," ii., 60; and Maspero, "Passing of the Empires," p.

[19] Lenormant, "Ancient History."

[20] For example, hilka, hilka, bescha, bescha (begone! begone! bad!

[21] The temples were pyramidal, of stones or terraces similar to the
tower of Borsippa.




=Aryan Languages.=--The races which in our day inhabit Europe--Greeks
and Italians to the south, Slavs in Russia, Teutons in Germany, Celts
in Ireland--speak very different languages. When, however, one studies
these languages closely, it is perceived that all possess a stock of
common words, or at least certain roots. The same roots occur in
Sanscrit, the ancient language of the Hindoos, and also in Zend, the
ancient tongue of the Persians. Thus,

Father--père (French), pitar (Sanscrit), pater (Greek and Latin). It
is the same word pronounced in various ways. From this (and other such
examples) it has been concluded that all--Hindoos, Persians, Greeks,
Latins, Celts, Germans, Slavs--once spoke the same language, and
consequently were one people.

=The Aryan People.=--These peoples then called themselves Aryans and
lived to the north-west of India, either in the mountains of Pamir, or
in the steppes of Turkestan or Russia; from this centre they dispersed
in all directions. The majority of the people--Greeks, Latins,
Germans, Slavs--forgot their origin; but the sacred books of the
Hindoos and the Persians preserve the tradition. Effort has been
made[22] to reconstruct the life of our Aryan ancestors in their
mountain home before the dispersion. It was a race of shepherds; they
did not till the soil, but subsisted from their herds of cattle and
sheep, though they already had houses and even villages.

It was a fighting race; they knew the lance, the javelin, and shield.
Government was patriarchal; a man had but one wife; as head of the
family he was for his wife, his children, and his servants at once
priest, judge, and king. In all the countries settled by the Aryans
they have followed this type of life--patriarchal, martial, and


=The Aryans on the Indus.=--About 2,000 years before our era some
Aryan tribes traversed the passes of the Hindu-Kush and swarmed into
India. They found the fertile plains of the Indus inhabited by a
people of dark skin, with flat heads, industrious and wealthy; they
called these aborigines Dasyous (the enemy). They made war on them for
centuries and ended by exterminating or subjecting them; they then
gradually took possession of all the Indus valley (the region of the
five rivers).[23] They then called themselves Hindoos.

=The Vedas.=--These people were accustomed in their ceremonies to
chant hymns (vedas) in honor of their gods. These chants constituted
a vast compilation which has been preserved to the present time. They
were collected, perhaps, about the fourteenth century B.C. when the
Aryans had not yet passed the Indus. The hymns present to us the
oldest religion of the Hindoos.

=The Gods.=--The Hindoo calls his gods devas (the resplendent).
Everything that shines is a divinity--the heavens, the dawn, the
clouds, the stars--but especially the sun (Indra) and fire (Agni).

=Indra.=--The sun, Indra, the mighty one, "king of the world and
master of creatures," bright and warm, traverses the heavens on a car
drawn by azure steeds; he it is who hurls the thunderbolt, sends the
rain, and banishes the clouds. India is a country of violent tempests;
the Hindoo struck with this phenomenon explained it in his own
fashion. He conceived the black cloud as an envelope in which were
contained the waters of heaven; these beneficent waters he called the
gleaming cows of Indra. When the storm is gathering, an evil genius,
Vritra, a three-headed serpent, has driven away the cows and enclosed
them in the black cavern whence their bellowings are heard (the
far-away rumblings of thunder). Indra applies himself to the task of
finding them; he strikes the cavern with his club, the strokes of
which are heard (the thunderbolt), and the forked tongue of the
serpent (the lightning) darts forth. At last the serpent is
vanquished, the cave is opened, the waters released fall on the earth,
Indra the victor appears in glory.

=Agni.=--Fire (Agni, the tireless) is regarded as another form of the
sun. The Hindoo, who produces it by rapidly rubbing two pieces of
wood together, imagines that the fire comes from the wood and that the
rain has placed it there. He conceives it then as the fire of heaven
descended to earth; in fact, when one places it on the hearth, it
springs up as if it would ascend toward heaven. Agni dissipates
darkness, warms mankind, and cooks his food; it is the benefactor and
the protector of the house. It is also "the internal fire," the soul
of the world; even the ancestor of the human race is the "son of
lightning." Thus, heat and light, sources of all life, are the deities
of the Hindoo.

=Worship.=--To adore his gods he strives to reproduce what he sees in
heaven. He ignites a terrestrial fire by rubbing sticks, he nourishes
it by depositing on the hearth, butter, milk, and soma, a fermented
drink. To delight the gods he makes offerings to them of fruits and
cakes; he even sacrifices to them cattle, rams and horses; he then
invokes them, chanting hymns to their praise. "When thou art bidden by
us to quaff the soma, come with thy sombre steeds, thou deity whose
darts are stones. Our celebrant is seated according to prescription,
the sacred green is spread, in the morning stones have been gathered
together. Take thy seat on the holy sward; taste, O hero, our offering
to thee. Delight thyself in our libations and our chants, vanquisher
of Vritra, thou who art honored in these ceremonies of ours, O Indra."

The Hindoo thinks that the gods, felicitated by his offerings and
homage, will in their turn make him happy. He says naïvely, "Give
sacrifice to the gods for their profit, and they will requite you.
Just as men traffic by the discussion of prices, let us exchange
force and vigor, O Indra. Give to me and I will give to you; bring to
me and I will bring to you."

=Ancestor Worship.=--At the same time the Hindoo adores his ancestors
who have become gods, and perhaps this cult is the oldest of all. It
is the basis of the family. The father who has transmitted the "fire
of life" to his children makes offering every day at his hearth-fire,
which must never be extinguished, the sacrifice to gods and ancestors,
and utters the prayers. Here it is seen that among Hindoos, as among
other Aryans, the father is at once a priest and a sovereign.


=The Hindoos on the Ganges.=--The Hindoos passing beyond the region of
the Indus, between the fourteenth and tenth century B.C. conquered all
the immense plains of the Ganges. Once settled in this fertile
country, under a burning climate, in the midst of a people of slaves,
they gradually changed customs and religion. And so the Brahmanic
society was established. Many works in Sanscrit are preserved from
this time, which, with the Vedas, form the sacred literature of the
Hindoos. The principal are the great epic poems, the Mahabarata, which
has more than 200,000 verses; the Ramayana with 50,000, and the laws
of Manou, the sacred code of India.

=Caste.=--In this new society there were no longer, as in the time of
the Vedas, poets who chanted hymns to the gods. The men who know the
prayers and the ceremonies are become theologians by profession; the
people revere and obey them. The following is their conception of the
structure of society: the supreme god, Brahma, has produced four kinds
of men to each of whom he has assigned a mission. From his mouth he
drew the Brahmans, who are, of course, the theologians; their mission
is to study, to teach the hymns, to perform the sacrifices. The
Kchatrias have come from his arms; these are the warriors who are
charged with the protection of the people. The Vaïcyas proceed from
the thigh; they must raise cattle, till the earth, loan money at
interest, and engage in commerce. The Soudras issue from his foot;
their only mission is to serve all the others.

There were already in the Aryan people theologians, warriors,
artisans, and below them aborigines reduced to slavery. These were
classes which one could enter and from which one could withdraw. But
the Brahmans determined that every man should be attached to the
condition in which he was born, he and his descendants for all time.
The son of a workman could never become a warrior, nor the son of a
warrior a theologian. Thus each is chained to his own state. Society
is divided into four hereditary and closed castes.

=The Unclean.=--Whoever is not included in one of the four castes is
unclean, excluded from society and religion. The Brahmans reckoned
forty-four grades of outcasts; the last and the lowest is that of the
pariahs; their very name is an insult. The outcasts may not practise
any honorable trade nor approach other men. They may possess only dogs
and asses, for these are unclean beasts. "They must have for their
clothing the garments of the dead; for plates, broken pots; ornaments
of iron; they must be ceaselessly on the move from one place to

=The Brahmans.=--In the organization of society the Brahmans were
assigned the first place. "Men are the first among intelligent beings;
the Brahmans are the first among men. They are higher than warriors,
than kings, even. As between a Brahman of ten years of age and a
Kchatria of one hundred years, the Brahman is to be regarded as the
father." These are not priests as in Egypt and Chaldea, but only men
who know religion, and pass their time in reading and meditating on
the sacred books; they live from presents made to them by other men.
To this day they are the dominating class of India. As they marry only
among themselves, better than the other Hindoos they have preserved
the Aryan type and have a clearer resemblance to Europeans.

=The New Religion of Brahma.=--The Brahmans did not discard the
ancient gods of the Vedas, they continued to adore them. But by sheer
ingenuity they invented a new god. When prayers are addressed to the
gods, the deities are made to comply with the demands made on them, as
if they thought that prayer was more powerful than the gods. And so
prayer (Brahma) has become the highest of all deities. He is invoked
with awe:[24] "O god, I behold in thy body all the gods and the
multitudes of living beings. I am powerless to regard thee in thine
entirety, for thou shinest like the fire and the sun in thine
immensity. Thou art the Invisible, thou art the supreme Intelligence,
thou art the sovereign treasure of the universe, without beginning,
middle, or end; equipped with infinite might. Thine arms are without
limit, thine eyes are like the moon and the sun, thy mouth hath the
brightness of the sacred fire. With thyself alone thou fillest all the
space between heaven and earth, and thou permeatest all the universe."
Brahma is not only supreme god; he is the soul of the universe. All
beings are born from Brahma, all issue naturally from him, not as a
product comes from the hands of an artisan, but "as the tree from the
seed, as the web from the spider." Brahma is not a deity who has
created the world; he is the very substance of the world.

=Transmigration of Souls.=--There is, then, a soul, a part of the soul
of Brahma, in every being, in gods, in men, in animals, in the very
plants and stones. But these souls pass from one body into another;
this is the transmigration of souls. When a man dies, his soul is
tested; if it is good, it passes into the heaven of Indra there to
enjoy felicity; if it is bad, it falls into one of the twenty-eight
hells, where it is devoured by ravens, compelled to swallow burning
cakes, and is tormented by demons. But souls do not remain forever in
heaven or in the hells; they part from these to begin a new life in
another body. The good soul rises, entering the body of a saint,
perhaps that of a god; the evil soul descends, taking its abode in
some impure animal--in a dog, an ass, even in a plant. In this new
state it may rise or fall. And this journey from one body to another
continues until the soul by degrees comes to the highest sphere. From
lowest to highest in the scale, say the Brahmans, twenty-four millions
of years elapse. At last perfect, the soul returns to the level of
Brahma from which it descends and is absorbed into it.

=Character of this Religion.=--The religion of the Aryans, simple and
happy, was that of a young and vigorous people. This is complicated
and barren; it takes shape among men who are not engaged in practical
life; it is enervated by the heat and vexatious of life.

=Rites.=--The practice of the religion is much more complicated. Hymns
and sacrifices are still offered to the gods, but the Brahmans have
gradually invented thousands of minute customs so that one's life is
completely engaged with them. For all the ceremonies of the religious
life there are prayers, offerings, vows, libations, ablutions. Some of
the religious requirements attach themselves to dress, ornaments,
etiquette, drinking, eating, mode of walking, of lying down, of
sleeping, of dressing, of undressing, of bathing. It is ordered: "That
a Brahman shall not step over a rope to which a calf is attached; that
he shall not run when it rains; that he shall not drink water in the
hollow of his hand; that he shall not scratch his head with both his
hands. The man who breaks clods of earth, who cuts grass with his
nails or who bites his nails is, like the outcast, speedily hurried to
his doom." An animal must not be killed, for a human soul may perhaps
be dwelling in the body; one must not eat it on penalty of being
devoured in another life by the animals which one has eaten.

All these rites have a magical virtue; he who observes them all is a
saint; he who neglects any of them is impious and destined to pass
into the body of an animal.

=Purity.=--The principal duty is keeping one's self pure; for every
stain is a sin and opens one to the attack of evil spirits. But the
Brahmans are very scrupulous concerning purity: men outside of the
castes, many animals, the soil, even the utensils which one uses are
so many impure things; whoever touches these is polluted and must at
once purify himself. Life is consumed in purifications.

=Penances.=--For every defect in the rites, a penance is necessary,
often a terrible one. He who involuntarily kills a cow must clothe
himself in its skin, and for three months, day and night, follow and
tend a herd of cows. Whoever has drunk of arrack[25] must swallow a
boiling liquid which burns the internal organs until death results.

=The Monks.=--To escape so many dangers and maintain purity, it is
better to leave the world. Often a Brahman when he has attained to a
considerable age withdraws to the desert, fasts, watches, refrains
from speech, exposes himself naked to the rain, holds himself erect
between four fires under the burning sun. After some years, the
solitary becomes "penitent"; then his only subsistence is from
almsgiving; for whole days he lifts an arm in the air uttering not a
word, holding his breath; or perchance, he gashes himself with
razor-blades; or he may even keep his thumbs closed until the nails
pierce the hands. By these mortifications he destroys passion,
releases himself from this life, and by contemplation rises to Brahma.
And yet, this way of salvation is open only to the Brahman; and even
he has the right to withdraw to the desert only in old age, after
having studied the Vedas all his life, practised all the rites, and
established a family.


=Buddha.=--Millions of men who were not Brahmans, suffered by this
life of minutiæ and anguish. A man then appeared who brought a
doctrine of deliverance. He was not a Brahman, but of the caste of the
Kchatrias, son of a king of the north. To the age of twenty-nine he
had lived in the palace of his father. One day he met an old man with
bald head, of wrinkled features, and trembling limbs; a second time he
met an incurable invalid, covered with ulcers, without a home; again
he fell in with a decaying corpse devoured by worms. And so, thought
he, youth, health, and life are nothing for they offer no resistance
to old age, to sickness, and to death. He had compassion on men and
sought a remedy. Then he met a religious mendicant with grave and
dignified air; following his example he decided to renounce the world.
These four meetings had determined his calling.

Buddha fled to the desert, lived seven years in penitence, undergoing
hunger, thirst, and rain. These mortifications gave him no repose. He
ate, became strong, and found the truth. Then he reëntered the world
to preach it; he made disciples in crowds who called him Buddha (the
scholar); and when he died after forty-five years of preaching,
Buddhism was established.

=Nirvana.=--To live is to be unhappy, taught Buddha. Every man suffers
because he desires the goods of this world, youth, health, life, and
cannot keep them. All life is a suffering; all suffering is born of
desire. To suppress suffering, it is necessary to root out desire; to
destroy it one must cease from wishing to live, "emancipate one's self
from the thirst of being." The wise man is he who casts aside
everything that attaches to this life and makes it unhappy. One must
cease successively from feeling, wishing, thinking. Then, freed from
passion, volition, even from reflection, he no longer suffers, and
can, after his death, come to the supreme good, which consists in
being delivered from all life and from all suffering. The aim of the
wise man is the annihilation of personality: the Buddhists call it

=Charity.=--The Brahmans also considered life as a place of suffering
and annihilation as felicity. Buddha came not with a new doctrine, but
with new sentiments.

The religion of the Brahmans was egoistic. Buddha had compassion on
men, he loved them, and preached love to his disciples. It was just
this word of sympathy of which despairing souls were in need. He bade
to love even those who do us ill. Purna, one of his disciples, went
forth to preach to the barbarians. Buddha said to him to try him,
"There are cruel, passionate, furious men; if they address angry words
to you, what would you think?" "If they addressed angry words to me,"
said Purna, "I should think these are good men, these are gentle men,
these men who attack me with wicked words but who strike me neither
with the hand nor with stones." "But if they strike you, what would
you think?" "I should think that those were good men who did not
strike me with their staves or with their swords." "But if they did
strike you with staff and sword, what would you think then?" "That
those are good men who strike me with staff and sword, but do not take
my life." "But if they should take your life?" "I should think them
good men who delivered me with so little pain from this body filled as
it is with pollution." "Well, well, Purna! You may dwell in the
country of the barbarians. Go, proceed on the way to complete Nirvana
and bring others to the same goal."

=Fraternity.=--The Brahmans, proud of their caste, assert that they
are purer than the others. Buddha loves all men equally, he calls all
to salvation even the pariahs, even the barbarians--all he declares
are equal. "The Brahman," said he, "just like the pariah, is born of
woman; why should he be noble and the other vile?" He receives as
disciples street-sweepers, beggars, cripples, girls who sleep on
dung-hills, even murderers and thieves; he fears no contamination in
touching them. He preaches to them in the street in language simple
with parables.

=Tolerance.=--The Brahmans passed their lives in the practice of
minute rites, regarding as criminal whoever did not observe them.
Buddha demanded neither rites nor exertions. To secure salvation it
was enough to be charitable, chaste, and beneficent. "Benevolence,"
says he, "is the first of virtues. Doing a little good avails more
than the fulfilment of the most arduous religious tasks. The perfect
man is nothing unless he diffuses himself in benefits over creatures,
unless he comforts the afflicted. My doctrine is a doctrine of mercy;
this is why the fortunate in the world find it difficult."

=Later History of Buddhism.=--Thus was established about 500 years
before Christ a religion of an entirely new sort. It is a religion
without a god and without rites; it ordains only that one shall love
his neighbor and become better; annihilation is offered as supreme
recompense. But, for the first time in the history of the world, it
preaches self-renunciation, the love of others, equality of mankind,
charity and tolerance. The Brahmans made bitter war upon it and
extirpated it in India. Missionaries carried it to the barbarians in
Ceylon, in Indo-China, Thibet, China, and Japan. It is today the
religion of about 500,000,000[26] people.

=Changes in Buddhism.=--During these twenty centuries Buddhism has
undergone change. Buddha had himself formed communities of monks.
Those who entered these renounced their family, took the vow of
poverty and chastity; they had to wear filthy rags and beg their
living. These religious rapidly multiplied; they founded convents in
all Eastern Asia, gathered in councils to fix the doctrine, proclaimed
dogmas and rules. As they became powerful they, like the Brahmans,
came to esteem themselves as above the rest of the faithful. "The
layman," they said, "plight to support the religious and consider
himself much honored that the holy man accepts his offering. It is
more commendable to feed one religious than many thousands of laymen."
In Thibet the religious, men and women together, constitute a fifth of
the entire population, and their head, the Grand Lama, is venerated
as an incarnation of God.

At the same time that they transformed themselves into masters, the
Buddhist religious constructed a complicated theology, full of
fantastic figures. They say there is an infinite number of worlds. If
one surrounded with a wall a space capable of holding 100,000 times
ten millions of those worlds, if this wall were raised to heaven, and
if the whole space were filled with grains of mustard, the number of
the grains would not even then equal one-half the number of worlds
which occupy but one division of heaven. All these worlds are full of
creatures, gods, men, beasts, demons, who are born and who die. The
universe itself is annihilated and another takes its place. The
duration of each universe is called _kalpa_; and this is the way we
obtain an impression of a kalpa: if there were a rock twelve miles in
height, breadth, and length, and if once in a century it were only
touched with a piece of the finest linen, this rock would be worn and
reduced to the size of a kernel of mango before a quarter of a kalpa
had elapsed.

=Buddha Transformed into a God.=--It no longer satisfied the Buddhists
to honor their founder as a perfect man; they made him a god, erecting
idols to him, and offering him worship. They adored also the saints,
his disciples; pyramids and shrines were built to preserve their
bones, their teeth, their cloaks. From every quarter the faithful came
to venerate the impression of the foot of Buddha.

=Mechanical Prayer.=--Modern Buddhists regard prayer as a magical
formula which acts of itself. They spend the day reciting prayers as
they walk or eat, often in a language which they do not understand.
They have invented prayer-machines; these are revolving cylinders and
around these are pasted papers on which the prayer is written; every
turn of the cylinder counts for the utterance of the prayer as many
times as it is written on the papers.

=Amelioration of Manners.=--And yet Buddhism remains a religion of
peace and charity. Wherever it reigns, kings refrain from war, and
even from the chase; they establish hospitals, caravansaries, even
asylums for animals. Strangers, even Christian missionaries, are
hospitably received; they permit the women to go out, and to walk
without veiling themselves; they neither fight nor quarrel. At
Bangkok, a city of 400,000 souls, hardly more than one murder a year
is known.

Buddhism has enfeebled the intelligence and sweetened the


[22] The process is as follows: when a word (or rather a root) is found
in several Aryan languages at once, it is admitted that this was in use
before the dispersion occurred, and therefore the people knew the object
designated by the word.

[23] The Punjab.--ED.

[24] Prayer of the Mahabarata cited by Lenormant.

[25] A spirituous liquor made by the natives.--ED.

[26] A high estimate.--ED.

[27] India is for us the country of the Vedas, the Brahmans, and Buddha.
We know the religion of the Hindoos, but of their political history we
are ignorant.




=Iran.=--Between the Tigris and the Indus, the Caspian Sea and the
Persian Gulf rises the land of Iran, five times as great as
France,[28] but partly sterile. It is composed of deserts of burning
sand and of icy plateaux cut by deep and wooded valleys. Mountains
surround it preventing the escape of the rivers which must lose
themselves in the sands or in the salt lakes. The climate is harsh,
very uneven, torrid in summer, frigid in winter; in certain quarters
one passes from 104° above zero to 40° below, from the cold of Siberia
to the heat of Senegal. Violent winds blow which "cut like a sword."
But in the valleys along the rivers the soil is fertile. Here the
peach and cherry are indigenous; the country is a land of fruits and

=The Iranians.=--Aryan tribes inhabited Iran. Like all the Aryans,
they were a race of shepherds, but well armed and warlike. The
Iranians fought on horseback, drew the bow, and, to protect themselves
from the biting wind of their country, wore garments of skin sewed on
the body.

=Zoroaster.=--Like the ancient Aryans, they first adored the forces of
nature, especially the sun (Mithra). Between the tenth and seventh[29]
centuries before our era their religion was reformed by a sage,
Zarathustra (Zoroaster). We know nothing certainly about him except
his name.

=The Zend-Avesta.=--No writing from the hand of Zoroaster is preserved
to us; but his doctrine, reduced to writing long after his death, is
conserved in the Zend-Avesta (law and reform), the sacred books of the
Persians. It was a compilation written in an ancient language (the
Zend) which the faithful themselves no longer understood. It was
divided into twenty-one books, inscribed on 12,000 cow skins, bound by
golden cords. The Mohammedans destroyed it when they invaded Persia.
But some Persian families, faithful to the teaching of Zoroaster, fled
into India. Their posterity, whom we call Parsees, have there
maintained the old religion. An entire book of the Zend-Avesta and
fragments of two others have been found among them.

=Ormuzd and Ahriman.=--The Zend-Avesta is the sacred book of the
religion of Zoroaster. According to these writings Ahura Mazda
(Ormuzd), "the omniscient sovereign," created the world. He is
addressed in prayer in the following language: "I invoke and celebrate
the creator, Ahura Mazda, luminous, glorious, most intelligent and
beautiful, eminent in purity, who possessest the good knowledge,
source of joy, who hast treated us, hast fashioned us, and hast
nourished us." Since he is perfect in his goodness, he can create
only that which is good. Everything bad in the world has been created
by an evil deity, Angra Manyou, (Ahriman), the "spirit of anguish."

=Angels and Demons.=--Over against Ormuzd, the god and the creator, is
Ahriman, wicked and destructive. Each has in his service a legion of
spirits. The soldiers of Ormuzd are the good angels (yazatas), those
of Ahriman the evil demons (devs). The angels dwell in the East in the
light of the rising sun; the demons in the West in the shadows of the
darkness. The two armies wage incessant warfare; the world is their
battleground, for both troops are omnipresent. Ormuzd and his angels
seek to benefit men, to make them good and happy; Ahriman and his
demons gnaw around them to destroy them, to make them unhappy and

=Creatures of Ormuzd and Ahriman.=--Everything good on the earth is
the work of Ormuzd and works for good; the sun and fire that dispel
the night, the stars, fermented drinks that seem to be liquid fire,
the water that satisfies the thirst of man, the cultivated fields that
feed him, the trees that shade him, domestic animals--especially the
dog,[30] the birds (because they live in the air), among all these the
cock since he announces the day. On the other hand everything that is
baneful comes from Ahriman and tends to evil: the night, drought,
cold, the desert, poisonous plants, thorns, beasts of prey, serpents,
parasites (mosquitoes, fleas, bugs) and animals that live in dark
holes--lizards, scorpions, toads, rats, ants. Likewise in the moral
world life, purity, truth, work are good things and come from Ormuzd;
death, filth, falsehood, idleness are bad, and issue from Ahriman.

=Worship.=--From these notions proceed worship and morality. Man ought
to adore the good god[31] and fight for him. According to Herodotus,
"The Persians are not accustomed to erect statues, temples, or altars
to their gods; they esteem those who do this as lacking in sense for
they do not believe, as the Greeks do, that the gods have human
forms."[32] Ormuzd manifests himself only under the form of fire or
the sun. This is why the Persians perform their worship in the open
air on the mountains, before a lighted fire. To worship Ormuzd they
sing hymns to his praise and sacrifice animals in his honor.

=Morality.=--Man fights for Ormuzd in aiding his efforts and in
overcoming Ahriman's. He wars against darkness in supplying the fire
with dry wood and perfumes; against the desert in tilling the soil and
in building houses; against the animals of Ahriman in killing
serpents, lizards, parasites, and beasts of prey. He battles against
impurity in keeping himself clean, in banishing from himself
everything that is dead, especially the nails and hair, for "where
hairs and clipped nails are, demons and unclean animals assemble." He
fights against falsehood by always being truthful. "The Persians,"
says Herodotus,[33] "consider nothing so shameful as lying, and after
falsehood nothing so shameful as contracting debts, for he who has
debts necessarily lies." He wars against death by marrying and having
many children. "Terrible," says the Zend-Avesta, "are the houses void
of posterity."

=Funerals.=--As soon as a man is dead his body belongs to the evil
spirit. It is necessary, then, to remove it from the house. But it
ought not to be burned, for in this way the fire would be polluted; it
should not be buried, for so is the soil defiled; nor is it to be
drowned, and thus contaminate the water. These dispositions of the
corpse would bring permanent pollution. The Persians resorted to a
different method. The body with face toward the sun was exposed in an
elevated place and left uncovered, securely fixed with stones; the
bearers then withdrew to escape the demons, for they assemble "in the
places of sepulture, where reside sickness, fever, filth, cold, and
gray hairs." Dogs and birds, pure animals, then come to purify the
body by devouring it.

=Destiny of the Soul.=--The soul of the dead separates itself from the
body. In the third night after death it is conducted over the "Bridge
of Assembling" (Schinvat) which leads to the paradise above the gulf
of inferno. There Ormuzd questions it on its past life. If it has
practised the good, the pure spirits and the spirits of dogs support
it and aid it in crossing the bridge and give it entrance into the
abode of the blest; the demons flee, for they cannot bear the odor of
virtuous spirits. The soul of the wicked, on the other hand, comes to
the dread bridge, and reeling, with no one to support it, is dragged
by demons to hell, is seized by the evil spirit and chained in the
abyss of darkness.

=Character of Mazdeism.=--This religion originated in a country of
violent contrasts, luxuriant valleys side by side with barren steppes,
cool oases with burning deserts, cultivated fields and stretches of
sand, where the forces of nature seem engaged in an eternal warfare.
This combat which the Iranian saw around him he assumed to be the law
of the universe. Thus a religion of great purity was developed, which
urged man to work and to virtue; but at the same time issued a belief
in the devil and in demons which was to propagate itself in the west
and torment all the peoples of Europe.


=The Medes.=--Many were the tribes dwelling in Iran; two of these have
become noted in history--the Medes and the Persians. The Medes at the
west, nearer the Assyrians, destroyed Nineveh and its empire (625).
But soon they softened their manners, taking the flowing robes, the
indolent life, the superstitious religion of the degenerate Assyrians.
They at last were confused with them.

=The Persians.=--The Persians to the east preserved their manners,
their religion, and their vigor. "For twenty years," says Herodotus,
"the Persians teach their children but three things--to mount a horse,
to draw the bow, and to tell the truth."

=Cyrus.=--About 550 Cyrus, their chief, overthrew the king of the
Medes, reunited all the peoples of Iran, and then conquered Lydia,
Babylon, and all Asia Minor. Herodotus recounts in detail a legend
which became attached to this prince. Cyrus himself in an inscription
says of himself, "I am Cyrus, king of the legions, great king, mighty
king, king of Babylon, king of Sumir and Akkad, king of the four
regions, son of Cambyses, great king of Susiana, grand-son of Cyrus,
king of Susiana."

=The Inscription of Behistun.=--The eldest son of Cyrus, Cambyses, put
to death his brother Smerdis and conquered Egypt. What occurred
afterward is known to us from an inscription. Today one may see on the
frontier of Persia, in the midst of a plain, an enormous rock, cut
perpendicularly, about 1,500 feet high, the rock of Behistun. A
bas-relief carved on the rock represents a crowned king, with left
hand on a bow; he tramples on one captive while nine other prisoners
are presented before him in chains. An inscription in three languages
relates the life of the king: "Darius the king declares, This is what
I did before I became king. Cambyses, son of Cyrus, of our race,
reigned here before me. This Cambyses had a brother Smerdis, of the
same father and the same mother. One day Cambyses killed Smerdis. When
Cambyses had killed Smerdis the people were ignorant that Smerdis was
dead. After this Cambyses made an expedition to Egypt and while he was
there the people became rebellious; falsehood was then rife in the
country, in Persia, in Media and the other provinces. There was at
that time a magus named Gaumata; he deceived the people by saying that
he was Smerdis, the son of Cyrus. Then the whole people rose in
revolt, forsook Cambyses and went over to the pretender. After this
Cambyses died from a wound inflicted by himself.

"After Gaumata had drawn away Persia, Media, and the other countries
from Cambyses, he followed out his purpose: he became king. The people
feared him on account of his cruelty: he would have killed the people
so that no one might learn that he was not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus.
Darius the king declares there was not a man in all Persia or in Media
who dared to snatch the crown from this Gaumata, the magus. Then I
presented myself, I prayed Ormuzd. Ormuzd accorded me his
protection.... Accompanied by faithful men I killed this Gaumata and
his principal accomplices. By the will of Ormuzd I became king. The
empire which had been stolen from our race I restored to it. The
altars that Gaumata, the magus, had thrown down I rebuilt to the
deliverance of the people; I received the chants and the sacred
ceremonials." Having overturned the usurper, Darius had to make war on
many of the revolting princes, "I have," said he, "won nineteen
battles and overcome nine kings."

=The Persian Empire.=--Darius then subjected the peoples in revolt and
reëstablished the empire of the Persians. He enlarged it also by
conquering Thrace and a province of India. This empire reunited all
the peoples of the Orient: Medes and Persians, Assyrians, Chaldeans,
Jews, Phœnicians, Syrians, Lydians, Egyptians, Indians; it covered
all the lands from the Danube on the west to the Indus on the east,
from the Caspian Sea on the north to the cataracts of the Nile on the
south. It was the greatest empire up to this time. One tribe of
mountaineers, the last to come, thus received the heritage of all the
empires of Asia.

=The Satrapies.=--Oriental kings seldom concerned themselves with
their subjects more than to draw money from them, levy soldiers, and
collect presents; they never interfered in their local affairs.
Darius, like the rest, left each of the peoples of his empire to
administer itself according to its own taste, to keep its language,
its religion, its laws, often its ancient princes. But he took care to
regulate the taxes which his subjects paid him. He divided all the
empire into twenty[34] districts called satrapies. There were in the
same satrapy peoples who differed much in language, customs, and
beliefs; but each satrapy was to pay a fixed annual tribute, partly in
gold and silver, partly in natural products (wheat, horses, ivory).
The satrap, or governor, had the tribute collected and sent it to the

=Revenues of the Empire.=--The total revenue of the king amounted to
sixteen millions of dollars and this money was paid by weight. This
sum was in addition to the tributes in kind. These sixteen millions of
dollars, if we estimate them by the value of the metals at this time,
would be equivalent to one hundred and twenty millions in our day.
With this sum the king supported his satraps, his army, his domestic
servants and an extravagant court; there still remained to him every
year enormous ingots of metal which accumulated in his treasuries.
The king of Persia, like all the Orientals, exercised his vanity in
possessing an immense treasure.

=The Great King.=--No king had ever been so powerful and rich. The
Greeks called the Persian king The Great King. Like all the monarchs
of the East, the king had absolute sway over all his subjects, over
the Persians as well as over tributary peoples. From Herodotus one can
see how Cambyses treated the great lords at his court. "What do the
Persians think of me?" said he one day to Prexaspes, whose son was his
cupbearer. "Master, they load you with praises, but they believe that
you have a little too strong desire for wine." "Learn," said Cambyses
in anger, "whether the Persians speak the truth. If I strike in the
middle of the heart of your son who is standing in the vestibule, that
will show that the Persians do not know what they say." He drew his
bow and struck the son of Prexaspes. The youth fell; Cambyses had the
body opened to see where the shot had taken effect The arrow was found
in the middle of the heart. The prince, full of joy said in derision
to the father of the young man, "You see that it is the Persians who
are out of their senses; tell me if you have seen anybody strike the
mark with so great accuracy." "Master," replied Prexaspes, "I do not
believe that even a god could shoot so surely."[35]

=Services Rendered by the Persians.=--The peoples of Asia have always
paid tribute to conquerors and given allegiance to despots. The
Persians, at least, rendered them a great service: in subjecting all
these peoples to one master they prevented them from fighting among
themselves. Under their domination we do not see a ceaseless burning
of cities, devastation of fields, massacre or wholesale enslavement of
inhabitants. It was a period of peace.

=Susa and Persepolis.=--The kings of the Medes and Persians, following
the example of the lords of Assyria, had palaces built for them. Those
best known to us are the palaces at Susa and Persepolis. The ruins of
Susa have been excavated by a French engineer,[36] who has discovered
sculptures, capitals, and friezes in enameled bricks which give
evidence of an advanced stage of art. The palace of Persepolis has
left ruins of considerable mass. The rock of the hill had been
fashioned into an enormous platform on which the palace was built. The
approach to it was by a gently rising staircase so broad that ten
horsemen could ascend riding side by side.

=Persian Architecture.=--Persian architects had copied the palaces of
the Assyrians. At Persepolis and Susa, as in Assyria, are flat-roofed
edifices with terraces, gates guarded by monsters carved in stone,
bas-reliefs and enameled bricks, representing hunting-scenes and
ceremonies. At three points, however, the Persians improved on their

(1) They used marble instead of brick; (2) they made in the halls
painted floors of wood; (3) they erected eight columns in the form of
trunks of trees, the slenderest that we know, twelve times as high as
they were thick.

Thus their architecture is more elegant and lighter than that of

The Persians had made little progress in the arts. But they seem to
have been the most honest, the sanest, and the bravest people of the
time. For two centuries they exercised in Asia a sovereignty the least
cruel and the least unjust that it had ever known.


[28] That is, of about the same area as that part of the United States
east of the Mississippi, with Minnesota and Iowa. Modern Persia is not
two-thirds of this area.--ED.

[29] Most historians place Zoroaster before 1000 B.C.--ED.

[30] "I created the dog," said Ormuzd, "with a delicate scent and strong
teeth, attached to man, biting the enemy to protect the herds. Thieves
and wolves come not near the sheep-fold when the dog is on guard, strong
in voice and defending the flocks."

[31] Certain Persian heretics of our day, on the contrary, adore only
the evil god, for, they say, the principle of the good being in itself
good and indulgent does not require appeasing. They are called Yezidis
(worshippers of the devil).

[32] Herod., i., 131.

[33] i., 138.

[34] Herodotus mentions 20, but we find as many as 31 enumerated in the

[35] Herod., iii., 34, 35. Compare also iii., 78, 79; and the book of

[36] M. Dieulafoi.




=The Land.=--Phœnicia is the narrow strip of country one hundred and
fifty miles long by twenty-four to thirty wide, shut in between the
sea of Syria and the high range of Lebanon. It is a succession of
narrow valleys and ravines confined by abrupt hills which descend
towards the sea; little torrents formed by the snows or rain-storms
course through these in the early spring; in summer no water remains
except in wells and cisterns. The mountains in this quarter were
always covered with trees; at the summit were the renowned cedars of
Lebanon, on the ridges, pines and cypresses; while lower yet palms
grew even to the sea-shore. In the valleys flourished the olive, the
vine, the fig, and the pomegranate.

=The Cities.=--At intervals along the rocky coast promontories or
islands formed natural harbors. On these the Phœnicians had founded
their cities; Tyre and Arad were each built on a small island. The
people housed themselves in dwellings six to eight stories in height.
Fresh water was ferried over in ships. The other cities, Gebel,
Beirut, and Sidon arose on the mainland. The soil was inadequate to
support these swarms of men, and so the Phœnicians were before all
else seamen and traders.

=Phœnician Ruins.=--Not a book of the Phœnicians has come down to us,
not even their sacred book. The sites of their cities have been
excavated. But, in the words of the scholar sent to do this work,
"Ruins are not preserved, especially in countries where people are not
occupied with them," and the Syrians are not much occupied with ruins.
They have violated the tombs to remove the jewels of the dead, have
demolished edifices to secure stone for building purposes, and
Mussulman hatred of chiseled figures has shattered the sculptures.[37]
Very little is found beyond broken marble, cisterns, wine-presses cut
in the rock and some sarcophagi hewn in rock. All this débris gives us
little information and we know very little more of the Phœnicians than
Greek writers and Jewish prophets have taught us.

=Political Organization of the Phœnicians.=--The Phœnicians never
built an empire. Each city had its little independent territory, its
assemblies, its king, and its government. For general state business
each city sent delegates to Tyre, which from the thirteenth century
B.C. was the principal city of Phœnicia. The Phœnicians were not a
military people, and so submitted themselves to all the
conquerors--Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians. They
fulfilled all their obligations to them in paying tribute.

=Tyre.=--From the thirteenth century Tyre was the most notable of the
cities. Its island becoming too small to contain it, a new city was
built on the coast opposite. Tyrian merchants had founded colonies in
every part of the Mediterranean, receiving silver from the mines of
Spain and commodities from the entire ancient world. The prophet
Isaiah[38] calls these traders princes; Ezekiel[39] describes the
caravans which came to them from all quarters. It is Hiram, a king of
Tyre, from whom Solomon asked workmen to build his palace and temple
at Jerusalem.

=Carthage.=--A colony of Tyre surpassed even her in power. In the
ninth century some Tyrians, exiled by a revolution, founded on the
shore of Africa near Tunis the city of Carthage. A woman led them,
Elissar, whom we call Dido (the fugitive). The inhabitants of the
country, says the legend, were willing to sell her only as much land
as could be covered by a bull's hide; but she cut the hide in strips
so narrow that it enclosed a wide territory; and there she constructed
a citadel. Situated at the centre of the Mediterranean, provided with
two harbors, Carthage flourished, sent out colonies in turn, made
conquests, and at last came to reign over all the coasts of Africa,
Spain, and Sardinia. Everywhere she had agencies for her commerce and
subjects who paid her tribute.

=The Carthaginian Army.=--To protect her colonies from the natives, to
hold her subjects in check who were always ready to revolt, a strong
army was necessary. But the life of a Carthaginian was too valuable to
risk it without necessity. Carthage preferred to pay mercenary
soldiers, recruiting them among the barbarians of her empire and among
the adventurers of all countries. Her army was a bizarre aggregation
in which all languages were spoken, all religions practised, and in
which every soldier wore different arms and costume. There were seen
Numidians clothed in lion skins which served them as couch, mounted
bareback on small fleet horses, and drawing the bow with horse at full
gallop; Libyans with black skins, armed with pikes; Iberians from
Spain in white garments adorned with red, armed with a long pointed
sword; Gauls, naked to the girdle, bearing enormous shields and a
rounded sword which they held in both hands; natives of the Balearic
Islands, trained from infancy to sling with stones or balls of lead.
The generals were Carthaginians; the government distrusted them,
watched them closely, and when they were defeated, had them crucified.

=The Carthaginians.=--Carthage had two kings, but the senate was the
real power, being composed of the richest merchants of the city. And
so every state question for this government became a matter of
commerce. The Carthaginians were hated by all other peoples, who found
them cruel, greedy, and faithless. And yet, since they had a good
fleet, had money to purchase soldiers, and possessed an energetic
government, they succeeded in the midst of barbarous and divided
peoples in maintaining their empire over the western Mediterranean for
300 years (from the sixth to the third century B.C.).

=The Phœnician Religion.=--The Phœnicians and the Carthaginians had a
religion similar to that of the Chaldeans. The male god, Baal, is a
sun-god; for the sun and the moon are in the eyes of the Phœnicians
the great forces which create and which destroy. Each of the cities of
Phœnicia has therefore its divine pair: at Sidon it is Baal Sidon (the
sun) and Astoreth (the moon); at Gebel, Baal Tammouz and Baaleth; at
Carthage, Baal-Hamon, and Tanith. But the same god changes his name
according as he is conceived as creator or destroyer; thus Baal as
destroyer is worshipped at Carthage under the name of Moloch. These
gods, represented by idols, have their temples, altars, and priests.
As creators they are honored with orgies, with tumultuous feasts; as
destroyers, by human victims. Astoreth, the great goddess of Sidon,
whom they represented by the crescent of the moon and the dove, had
her cult in the sacred woods. Baal Moloch is figured at Carthage as a
bronze colossus with arms extended and lowered. When they wished to
appease him they laid children in his hands who fell at once into a
pit of fire. During the siege of Carthage by Agathocles the principal
men of the city sacrificed to Moloch as many as two hundred of their

This sensual and sanguinary religion inspired other peoples with
horror, but they imitated it. The Jews sacrificed to Baal on the
mountains; the Greeks adored Astarte of Sidon under the name of
Aphrodite, and Baal Melkhart of Tyre under the name of Herakles.


=Phœnicians Occupations.=--Crowded into a small territory, the
Phœnicians gained their livelihood mainly from commerce. None of the
other peoples of the East--the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the
Assyrians, nor the barbarian tribes of the West (Spaniards, Gauls,
Italians) had a navy. The Phœnicians alone in this time dared to
navigate. They were the commission merchants of the old world; they
went to every people to buy their merchandise and sold them in
exchange the commodities of other countries. This traffic was by
caravan with the East, by sea with the West.

=Caravans.=--On land the Phœnicians sent caravans in three directions:

  1.--Towards Arabia, from which they brought gold, agate, and onyx,
  incense and myrrh, and the perfumes of Arabia; pearls, spices,
  ivory, ebony, ostrich plumes and apes from India.

  2.--Towards Assyria, whence came cotton and linen cloths, asphalt,
  precious stones, perfumery, and silk from China.

  3.--Towards the Black Sea, where they went to receive horses,
  slaves, and copper vases made by the mountaineers of the Caucasus.

=Marine Commerce.=--For their sea commerce they built ships from the
cedars of Lebanon to be propelled by oars and sails. In their sailing
it was not necessary to remain always in sight of the coast, for they
knew how to direct their course by the polar star. Bold mariners, they
pushed in their little boats to the mouth of the Mediterranean; they
ventured even to pass through the strait of Gibraltar or, as the
ancients called it, the Pillars of Hercules, and took the ocean course
to the shores of England, and perhaps to Norway, Phœnicians in the
service of a king of Egypt started in the seventh century B.C. to
circumnavigate Africa, and returned, it is said, at the end of three
years by the Red Sea. An expedition issuing from Carthage skirted the
coast of Africa to the Gulf of Guinea; the commander Hanno wrote an
account of the voyage which is still preserved.

=Commodities.=--To civilized peoples the Phœnicians sold the products
of their industry. In barbarous countries they went to search for what
they could not find in the Orient. On the coast of Greece they
gathered shell-fish from which they extracted a red tint, the purple;
cloths colored with purple were used among all the peoples of ancient
times for garments of kings and great lords.

From Spain and Sardinia they brought the silver which the inhabitants
took from the mines. Tin was necessary to make bronze, an alloy of
copper and tin, but the Orient did not furnish this, and so they
sought it even on the coasts of England, in the Isles of Tin (the
Cassiterides). In every country they procured slaves. Sometimes they
bought them, as lately the slavers bought negroes on the coast of
Africa, for all the peoples of this time made commerce in slaves;
sometimes they swooped down on a coast, threw themselves on the women
and children and carried them off to be retained in their own cities
or to be sold abroad; for on occasion they were pirates and did not
scruple to plunder strangers.

=The Secrets Kept by the Phœnicians.=--The Phœnicians did not care to
have mariners of other peoples come into competition with them. On the
return from these far countries they concealed the road which they had
travelled. No one in antiquity knew where were the famous Isles of the
Cassiterides from which they got their tin. It was by chance that a
Greek ship discovered Spain, with which the Phœnicians had traded for
centuries. Carthage drowned the foreign merchants whom they found in
Sardinia or on the shore of Gibraltar. Once a Carthaginian
merchantman, seeing a strange ship following it, was run aground by
the pilot that the foreigner might not see where he was going.

=Colonies.=--In the countries where they traded, the Phœnicians
founded factories, or branch-houses. They were fortified posts on a
natural harbor. There they landed their merchandise, ordinarily
cloths, pottery, ornaments, and idols.[40] The natives brought down
their commodities and an exchange was made, just as now European
merchants do with the negroes of Africa. There were Phœnician markets
in Cyprus, in Egypt, and in all the then barbarous countries of the
Mediterranean--in Crete, Greece, Sicily, Africa, Malta, Sardinia, on
the coasts of Spain at Malaga and Cadiz, and perhaps in Gaul at
Monaco. Often around these Phœnician buildings the natives set up
their cabins and the mart became a city. The inhabitants adopted the
Phœnician gods, and even after the city had become Greek, the cult of
the dove-goddess was found there (as in Cythera), that of the god
Melkhart (as at Corinth), or of the god with the bull-face that
devours human victims (as in Crete).

=Influence of the Phœnicians.=--It is certain that the Phœnicians in
founding their trading stations cared only for their own interest. But
it came to pass that their colonies contributed to civilization. The
barbarians of the West received the cloths, the jewels, the utensils
of the peoples of the East who were more civilized, and, receiving
them, learned to imitate them. For a long time the Greeks had only
vases, jewels, and idols brought by the Phœnicians, and these served
them as models. The Phœnicians brought simultaneously from Egypt and
from Assyria industry and commodities.

=The Alphabet.=--At the same time they exported their alphabet. The
Phœnicians did not invent writing. The Egyptians knew how to write many
centuries before them, they even made use of letters each of which
expressed its own sound, as in our alphabet. But their alphabet was
still encumbered with ancient signs which represented, some a syllable,
others an entire word. Doubtless the Phœnicians had need of a simpler
system for their books of commerce. They rejected all the syllabic signs
and ideographs, preserving only twenty-two letters, each of which marks
a sound (or rather an articulation of the language). The other peoples
imitated this alphabet of twenty-two letters. Some, like the Jews, wrote
from right to left just as the Phœnicians themselves did; others, like
the Greeks, from left to right. All have slightly changed the form of
the letters, but the Phœnician alphabet is found at the basis of all
the alphabets--Hebrew, Lycian, Greek, Italian, Etruscan, Iberian,
perhaps even in the runes of the Norse. It is the Phœnicians that taught
the world how to write.


[37] Renan ("Mission de Phénicio," p. 818) says, "I noticed at Tripolis
a sarcophagus serving as a public fountain and the sculptured face of it
was turned to the wall. I was told that a governor had placed it thus so
as not to provide distractions for the inhabitants."

[38] See ch. xxiii.

[39] See chs. xxvi., xxvii., xxviii.

[40] These idols, one of their principal exports, are found wherever the
Phœnicians traded.




=The Bible.=--The Jews united all their sacred books into a single
aggregation which we call by a Greek name the Bible, that is to say,
the Book. It is the Book par excellence. The sacred book of the Jews
became also the sacred book of the Christians. The Bible is at the
same time the history of the Jewish nation, and all that we know of
the sacred people we owe to the sacred books.

=The Hebrews.=--When the Semites had descended from the mountains of
Armenia into the plains of the Euphrates, one of their tribes, at the
time of the first Chaldean empire, withdrew to the west, crossed the
Euphrates, the desert, and Syria and came to the country of the Jordan
beyond Phœnicia. This tribe was called the Hebrews, that is to say,
the people from beyond the river. Like the majority of the Semites
they were a race of nomadic shepherds. They did not till the soil and
had no houses; they moved from place to place with their herds of
cattle, sheep, and camels, seeking pasturage and living in tents as
the Arabs of the desert do to this day. In the book of Genesis one has
a glimpse of this nomad life.

=The Patriarchs.=--The tribe was like a great family; it was composed
of the chief, his wives, his children, and his servants. The chief had
absolute authority over all; for the tribe he was father, priest,
judge, and king. We call these tribal chiefs patriarchs. The principal
ones were Abraham and Jacob; the former the father of the Hebrews, the
latter of the Israelites. The Bible represents both of them as
designed by God to be the scions of a sacred people. Abraham made a
covenant with God that he and his descendants would obey him; God
promised to Abraham a posterity more numerous than the stars of
heaven. Jacob received from God the assurance that a great nation
should issue from himself.

=The Israelites.=--Moved by a vision Jacob took the name of Israel
(contender with God). His tribe was called Beni-Israel (sons of
Israel) or Israelites. The Bible records that, driven by famine, Jacob
abandoned the Jordan country to settle with all his house on the
eastern frontier of Egypt, to which Joseph, one of his sons who had
become minister of a Pharaoh, invited him. There the sons of Israel
abode for several centuries. Coming hither but seventy in number, they
multiplied, according to the Bible, until they became six hundred
thousand men, without counting women and children.

=The Call of Moses.=--The king of Egypt began to oppress them,
compelling them to make mortar and bricks for the construction of his
strong cities. It was then that one of them, Moses, received from God
the mission to deliver them. One day while he was keeping his herds on
the mountain, an angel appeared to him in the midst of a burning
bush, and he heard these words: "I am the God of Abraham, the God of
Isaac, the God of Jacob. I have seen the affliction of my people which
is in Egypt, I have heard their cry against their oppressors, I know
their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of
the Egyptians and to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey,
to the place of the Canaanites.... Come now therefore and I will send
thee unto Pharaoh that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children
of Israel, out of Egypt."[41] The Israelites under the guidance of
Moses fled from Egypt (the Exodus); they journeyed to the foot of
Mount Sinai, where they received the law of God, and for an entire
generation wandered in the deserts to the south of Syria.

=Israel in the Desert.=--Often the Israelites wished to turn back. "We
remember," said they, "the fish which we ate in Egypt, the cucumbers,
melons, leeks, and onions. Let us appoint a chief who will lead us
back to Egypt." Moses, however, held them to obedience. At last they
reached the land promised by God to their race.

=The Promised Land.=--It was called the land of Canaan or Palestine;
the Jews named it the land of Israel, later Judea. Christians have
termed it =the= Holy Land. It is an arid country, burning with heat in
the summer, but a country of mountains. The Bible describes it thus:
"Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of
water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills, a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive and honey, wherein thou shalt eat
bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it." The
Israelites according to their estimate were then 601,700 men capable
of bearing arms, divided among twelve tribes, ten descended from
Jacob, two from Joseph; this enumeration does not include the Levites
or priests to the number of 23,000. The land was occupied by several
small peoples who were called Canaanites. The Israelites exterminated
them and at last occupied their territory.


=One God.=--The other ancient peoples adored many gods; the Israelites
believed in but one God, immaterial, who made the world and governs
it. "In the beginning," says the book of Genesis, "God created the
heavens and the earth." He created plants and animals, he "created man
in his own image." All men are the handiwork of God.

=The People of God.=--But among all mankind God has chosen the
children of Israel to make of them "his people." He called Abraham and
said to him, "I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy
seed after me ... to be a God unto thee and to thy seed." He appeared
to Jacob: "I am God," said he to him, "the God of thy father; fear not
to go down into Egypt, for I will make of thee there a great nation."
When Moses asks his name, he replies, "Thou shalt say to the children
of Israel, The Lord, the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the
God of Isaac, the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you. This is my name

=The Covenant.=--There is, then, a covenant between the Israelites and
God. Jehovah (the Eternal) loves and protects the Israelites, they are
"a holy nation," "his most precious jewel among all the nations." He
promises to make them mighty and happy. In return, the Israelites
swear to worship him, to serve him, to obey him in everything as a
lawgiver, a judge, and a sovereign.

=The Ten Commandments.=--Jehovah, lawgiver of the Israelites, dictated
his precepts to Moses on Mount Sinai amidst lightnings and
thunderings. They were inscribed on two tables, the Tables of the Law,
in these terms:

"Hear, O Israel, I am Jehovah, thy God, who brought you out of the
land of Egypt, from the land of bondage." (Then follow the ten
commandments to be found in the twentieth chapter of the book of

=The Law.=--Beside the ten commandments, the Israelites are required
to obey many other divine ordinances. These are all delivered to them
in the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, and constitute
the Law of Israel. The Law regulates the ceremonies of religion,
establishes the feasts--including the Sabbath every seven days, the
Passover in memory of the escape from Egypt, the week of harvest, the
feast of Tabernacles during the vintage; it organizes marriage, the
family, property, government, fixes the penalty of crimes, indicates
even foods and remedies. It is a code at once religious, political,
civil and penal. God the ruler of the Israelites has the right to
regulate all the details of their lives.

=Religion has made the Jewish People.=--The Israelites did not receive
with docility the government of God. Moses on his death-bed could say
to the Levites in delivering to them the book of the law, "Take this
book that it may be a witness against you, Israel, for I know thy
rebellion and thy stiff neck" (Deut. xxxi. 27). "During my life you
have been rebellious against the Lord, and how much more after my
death." During these centuries some of the Israelites, often the
majority of the nation, had been idolaters. They became similar to the
other Semites of Syria. Only the Israelites who remained faithful to
God formed the Jewish people. It is the religion of Jehovah which has
transformed an obscure tribe into the holy nation, a small nation, but
one of the most significant in the history of the world.


=The Judges.=--Once established in Palestine the Hebrews remained
divided for several centuries. "In those days," says the Bible, "there
was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own
eyes." Often the Israelites forgot Jehovah and served the gods of
neighboring tribes. Then "the anger of the Lord was kindled against
the Israelites, and he delivered them into the hands of their
enemies." When they had repented and had humbled themselves, "the Lord
raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those that
spoiled them." "But it came to pass that at the death of the judge
they corrupted themselves anew ... bowing themselves to other gods."
These judges--Gideon, Jephthah, Samson--were warriors who came in the
name of Jehovah to free the people. Then they fell at once into
idolatry again and their servitude was repeated.

=The Kings.=--At last the Israelites were wearied and asked of Samuel,
the high-priest, that he would give them a king. Samuel unwillingly
placed Saul at their head. This king should have been the ready
servant of the will of God; he dared to disobey him, upon which the
high-priest said to him, "Thou hast rejected the word of the Lord and
the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel." A war-chief,
David, was set in his place. He defeated all the enemies of Israel,
captured from them Mount Zion, and transferred his capital thither.
This was Jerusalem.

=Jerusalem.=--Compared with Babylon or Thebes, Jerusalem was a poor
capital. The Hebrews were not builders; their religion prevented them
from raising temples; the houses of individuals were shaped like cubes
of rock which may be seen today on the sides of Lebanon in the midst
of vines and fig-trees. But Jerusalem was the holy city of the
Hebrews. The king had his palace there--the palace of Solomon, who
astonished the Hebrews with his throne of ivory; Jehovah had his
temple there, the first Hebrew temple.

=The Tabernacle.=--The emblem of the covenant between God and Israel
was a great chest of cedar-wood furnished with rings of gold, which
contained the tables of the Law. This was borne before the people on
high feast-days; it was the Ark of the Covenant. To preserve this ark
and necessary objects of worship, Moses is said to have made the
Tabernacle--a pavilion of wood covered with skins and hangings. It was
a portable temple which the Hebrews carried with them until they could
erect a true temple in the promised land.

=The Temple.=--The Temple of Jerusalem, built at last under Solomon,
was divided into three parts:

  1.--To the rear, the Holy of Holies, in which rested the ark of
  the covenant; the high-priest only had the right to enter here,
  and that but once a year.

  2.--In the middle, the Holy Place, in which were kept the altar of
  incense, the candle-stick with the seven arms, the table of
  shew-bread; the priests entered to burn incense and to present the

  3.--At the front, the Court open to the people, where the victims
  were sacrificed on the great altar.

The Temple of Jerusalem was from the first the centre of the nation;
from all Palestine the people came to be present at the ceremonies.
The high-priest who directed the worship was a person sometimes of
greater power than the king.


=Disasters of Israel.=--Solomon was the last king who enjoyed great
power. After him ten tribes separated themselves and constituted the
kingdom of Israel, whose inhabitants worshipped the golden calves and
the gods of the Phœnicians. Two tribes only remained faithful to
Jehovah and to the king at Jerusalem; these formed the kingdom of
Judah (977).[42] The two kingdoms exhausted their energies in making
war on each other. Then came the armies of the Eastern conquerors;
Israel was destroyed by Sargon, king of Assyria (722); Judah, by
Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadrezzar), king of Chaldea (586).

=Sentiments of the Israelites.=--Faithful Israelites regarded these
woes as a chastisement: God was punishing his people for their
disobedience; as before, he delivered them from their conquerors. "The
children of Israel had sinned against Jehovah, their God, they had
built them high places in every city, they imitated the nations around
them, although the Lord had forbidden them to do like them; they made
them idols of brass; they bowed themselves before all the host of
heaven [the stars], they worshipped Baal. It is for this that Jehovah
rejected all the race of Israel, he afflicted them and delivered them
into the hands of those that plundered them."

=The Prophets.=--Then appeared the prophets, or as they were called,
the Seers: Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel. Usually they came from
the desert where they had fasted, prayed, and given themselves to
meditation. They came in the name of Jehovah, not as warriors in
judgment, but as preachers. They called the Israelites to repent, to
overthrow their idols, to return to Jehovah; they foretold all the
woes that would come upon them if they did not reconcile themselves to
him. They preached and uttered prophecies at the same time.

=The New Teaching.=--These men on fire with the divine spirit found
the official religion at Jerusalem mean and cold. Why should they,
like the idolaters, slaughter cattle and burn incense to the honor of
God? "Hear the word of Jehovah," says Isaiah: "To what purpose is the
multitude of your sacrifices? I am full of the burnt offerings of rams
and of the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.... Bring no more vain
oblations, your incense is an abomination to me.... When ye spread
forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ... for your hands
are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean ... cease to do evil,
learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the
fatherless, plead for the widow.... Though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow." In place of sacrifices, the prophets
would set justice and good works.

=The Messiah.=--Israel deserved its afflictions, but there would be a
limit to the chastisement. "O my people," says Isaiah in the name of
Jehovah, "be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a
rod ... after the manner of Egypt ... for yet a very little while and
the indignation shall cease ... and the burden shall be taken away
from off thy shoulder." The prophets taught the people to look for the
coming of Him who should deliver them; they prepared the way for the


=Return to Jerusalem.=--The children of Judah, removed to the plain of
the Euphrates, did not forget their country, but sang of it in their
chants: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept
when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the
midst thereof, for there they that carried us away required a song ...
saying, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.' How shall we sing the
Lord's song in a strange land?" After seventy years of captivity,
Cyrus, victor over Babylon, allowed the Israelites to return to
Palestine. They rebuilt Jerusalem, reconstructed the temple, restored
the feasts, and recovered the sacred books. As a sign that they were
again the people of Jehovah they renewed the covenant with him; it was
a formal treaty, written and signed by the chiefs of the people.

=The Jews.=--The little kingdom of Jerusalem maintained itself for
seven centuries, governed now by a king, now by the high-priest, but
always paying tribute to the masters of Syria--to the Persians first,
later to the Macedonians and the Syrians, and last of all to the
Romans. Faithful to the end to Jehovah, the Jews (their proper name
since the return) continued to live the law of Moses, to celebrate at
Jerusalem the feasts and the sacrifices. The high-priest, assisted by
a council of the elders, preserved the law; scribes copied it and
doctors expounded it to the people. The faithful obliged themselves to
observe it in the smallest details. The Pharisees were eminent among
them for their zeal in fulfilling all its requirements.

=The Synagogues.=--Meanwhile the Jews for the sake of trade were
pushing beyond the borders of Judæa into Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and
even to Italy. Some of them were to be found in all the great
cities--Alexandria, Damascus, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth and Rome.
Dispersed among the Gentiles, the Jews were strenuous to preserve
their religion. They raised no temples, for the law prevented this;
there could be but one Jewish temple, that at Jerusalem, where they
celebrated the solemn feasts. But they joined themselves together to
read and comment on the word of God. These places of assembling were
called Synagogues, from a Greek word signifying meetings.

=Destruction of the Temple.=--The Christ appeared at this moment. The
Jews crucified him and persecuted his disciples not only in Judæa but
in every city where they found them in any number. In the year 70 A.D.
Jerusalem, in revolt against the Romans, was taken by assault, and all
the inhabitants were massacred or sold into slavery. The Romans burnt
the temple and carried away the sacred utensils. From that time there
was no longer a centre of the Jewish religion.

=Fortunes of the Jews after the Dispersion.=--The Jewish nation
survived the ruin of its capital. The Jews, scattered throughout the
world, learned to dispense with the temple. They preserved their
sacred books in the Hebrew tongue. Hebrew is the primitive language of
Israel; the Jews since the return from Babylon no longer spoke it, but
adopted the languages of the neighboring peoples--the Syriac, the
Chaldean, and especially the Greek. The Rabbis, however, instructed in
the religion, still learned the Hebrew, explained it, and commented on
the Scripture.[43] Thus the Jewish religion was preserved, and,
thanks to it, the Jewish people. It made converts even among the
Gentiles; there were in the empire proselytes, that is, people who
practised the religion of Jehovah without being of the Jewish race.

The Christian Church, powerful since the fourth century, commenced to
persecute the Jews. This persecution has endured to this day in all
Christian countries. Usually the Jews were tolerated on account of
their wealth and because they transacted all banking operations; but
they were kept apart, not being permitted to hold any office. In the
majority of cities they were compelled to wear a special costume, to
live in a special quarter,[44] gloomy, filthy, unhealthy, and
sometimes at Easter time to send one of their number to suffer insult.
The people suspected them of poisoning fountains, of killing children,
of profaning the consecrated host; often the people rose against them,
massacred them, and pillaged their houses. Judges under the least
pretext had them imprisoned, tortured, and burned. Sometimes the
church tried to convert them by force; sometimes the government exiled
them _en masse_ from the country and confiscated their goods. The Jews
at last disappeared from France,[45] from Spain, England, and Italy.
In Portugal, Germany, and Poland, and in the Mohammedan lands they
maintained themselves. From these countries after the cessation of
persecution they returned to the rest of Europe.


[41] Exodus iii, 1-10.

[42] There is much uncertainty regarding the chronology of this

[43] The Talmud is the accumulation of these commentaries.

[44] The Jewish Quarter at Rome was called the Ghetto. This name has
since been applied to all Jewish quarters.

[45] Except at Avignon, on the domains of the Pope, and in



=The Country.=--Greece is a very little country (about 20,000 square
miles), hardly larger than Switzerland; but it is a country of great
variety, bristling with mountains, indented with gulfs--a country
originally constituted to influence mightily the character of the men
who inhabited it.

A central chain, the Pindus, traverses Greece through the centre and
covers it with its rocky system. Toward the isthmus of Corinth it
becomes lower; but the Peloponnesus, on the other side of the isthmus,
is elevated about 2,000 feet above the sea level, like a citadel
crowned with lofty chains, abrupt and snowy, which fall
perpendicularly into the sea. The islands themselves scattered along
the coast are only submerged mountains whose summits rise above the
surface of the sea. In this diverse land there is little tillable
ground, but almost everywhere bare rock. The streams, like brooks,
leave between their half-dried channel and the sterile rock of the
mountain only a narrow strip of fertile soil. In this beautiful
country are found some forests, cypresses, laurels, palms, here and
there vines scattered on the rocky hillsides; but there are no rich
harvests and no green pasturages. Such a country produces wiry
mountaineers, active and sober.

=The Sea.=--Greece is a land of shores: smaller than Portugal, it has
as great a coast-line as Spain. The sea penetrates it to a great
number of gulfs, coves, and indentations; it is ordinarily surrounded
with projecting rocks, or with approaching islands that form a natural
port. This sea is like a lake; it has not, like the ocean, a pale and
sombre color; usually it is calm, lustrous, and, as Homer says, "of
the color of violets."

No sea lends itself better to navigation with small ships. Every
morning the north wind rises to conduct the barques of Athens to Asia;
in the evening the south wind brings them back to port. From Greece to
Asia Minor the islands are placed like stepping-stones; on a clear day
the mariner always has land in view. Such a sea beckons people to
cross it.

And so the Greeks have been sailors, traders, travellers, pirates, and
adventurers; like the Phœnicians, they have spread over all the
ancient world, carrying with them the merchandise and the inventions
of Egypt, of Chaldea, and of Asia.

=The Climate.=--The climate of Greece is mild. In Athens it freezes
hardly once in twenty years; in summer the heat is moderated by the
breeze from the sea.[46] Today the people still lie in the streets
from the month of May to September. The air is cool and transparent;
for many leagues could once be seen the crest of the statue of Pallas.
The contours of distant mountains are not, as with us, enveloped in
haze, but show a clear line against the clear sky. It is a beautiful
country which urges man to take life as a feast, for everything is
happy about him. "Walking at night in the gardens, listening to the
grasshoppers, playing the lute in the clear of the moon, going to
drink at the spring at the mountain, carrying with him some wine that
he may drink while he sings, spending the days in dancing--these are
Greek pleasures, the joys of a race poor, economical, and eternally

=Simplicity of Greek Life.=--In this country men are not melted with
the heat nor stiffened with cold; they live in the open air gay and at
slight expense. Food in great quantity is not required, nor warm
clothing, nor a comfortable house. The Greek could live on a handful
of olives and a sardine. His entire clothing consisted of sandals, a
tunic, a large mantle; very often he went bare-footed and bare-headed.
His house was a meagre and unsubstantial building; the air easily
entered through the walls. A couch with some coverings, a coffer, some
beautiful vases, a lamp,--this was his furniture. The walls were bare
and whitened with lime. This house was only a sleeping place.


=Origin of the Greeks.=--The people who inhabited this charming little
land were an Aryan people, related to the Hindoos and the Persians,
and like them come from the mountains of Asia or the steppes beyond
the Caspian Sea. The Greeks had forgotten the long journey made by
their ancestors; they said that they, like the grasshoppers, were the
children of the soil.[47] But their language and the names of their
gods leave no doubt of their origin.... Like all the Aryans, the
primitive Greeks nourished themselves with milk and with the flesh of
their herds; they moved about under arms, always ready to fight, and
grouped themselves in tribes governed by patriarchs.

=The Legends.=--The Greeks like all the other ancient peoples were
ignorant of their origin. They neither knew whence their ancestors had
come nor when they had established themselves in Greece, nor what they
had done there. To preserve the exact memory of things as they occur,
there is need of some means of fixing them; but the Greeks did not
know how to write; they did not employ writing until about the eighth
century B.C. They had no way of calculating the number of years. Later
they adopted the usage of counting the years according to the great
feast which was celebrated every four years at Olympia; a period of
four years was called an olympiad. But the first olympiad was placed
in 776 B.C., and the chronology of the Greeks does not rise beyond
this date.

And yet they used to tell in Greece a great number of legends about
this primitive period. These were especially the exploits of ancient
kings and of heroes who were adored as demi-gods. These stories were
so mingled with fable that it is impossible to know how much truth
they may contain. They said at Athens that the first king, Cecrops,
was half man and half serpent; at Thebes, that Cadmus, founder of the
city, had come from Phœnicia to seek his sister Europa who had been
stolen by a bull; that he had killed a dragon and had sowed his teeth,
from which was sprung a race of warriors, and that the noble families
of Thebes descended from these warriors. At Argos it was said that the
royal family was the issue of Pelops to whom Zeus had given a shoulder
of ivory to replace the one devoured by a goddess. Thus each country
had its legends and the Greeks continued to the end to relate them and
to offer worship to their ancient heroes--Perseus, Bellerophon,
Herakles, Theseus, Minos, Castor and Pollux, Meleager, Œdipus. The
majority of the Greeks, even among the better educated, admitted, at
least in part, the truth of these traditions. They accepted as
historical facts the war between the two sons of Œdipus, king of
Thebes, and the expedition of the Argonauts, sailing forth in quest of
the Golden Fleece, which was guarded by two brazen-footed bulls
vomiting flames.

=The Trojan War.=--Of all these legends the most fully developed and
the most celebrated was the legend of the Trojan War. It recounted
that about the twelfth century, Troy, a rich and powerful city, held
sway over the coast of Asia. Paris, a Trojan prince, having come to
Greece, had abducted Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta.
Agamemnon, king of Argos, made a league of the kings of Greece; a
Greek army went in a fleet of two hundred galleys to besiege Troy. The
siege endured ten years because the supreme god, Zeus, had taken the
side of the Trojans. All the Greek chiefs participated in this
adventure. Achilles, the bravest and the most beautiful of these,
killed Hector, the principal defender of Troy, and dragged his corpse
around the city; he fought clad in divine armor which had been
presented him by his mother, a goddess of the sea; in turn he died,
shot by an arrow in the heel. The Greeks, despairing of taking the
city by force, employed a trick: they pretended to depart, and left an
immense horse of wood in which were concealed the chiefs of the army.
The Trojans drew this horse into the city; during the night the chiefs
came forth and opened the city to the Greeks. Troy was burnt, the men
slaughtered, the women led away as slaves. But the chiefs of the
Greeks on their return were beset by tempest. Some perished in the
sea, others were cast on foreign shores. Odysseus, the most crafty of
the chiefs, was for ten years buffeted from one land to another,
losing successively all his ships, himself the sole survivor of the

All antiquity had steadfast faith in the Trojan War. 1184 B.C. was set
as the date of the ending of the siege, and men pointed out the site
of the city. In 1874 Schliemann purposed to excavate this site; it was
necessary to traverse the débris of many cities which lay over it; at
last at a depth of about fifty feet he found in the deepest bed of
débris the traces of a mighty city reduced to ashes, and in the ruins
of the principal edifice a casket filled with gems of gold which he
called the Treasury of Priam. There was no inscription, and the city,
the whole wall of which we have been able to bring to light, was a
very small one. A large number of small, very rude idols have been
found, which represent an owl-headed goddess (the Greeks thus
represented the goddess Pallas). Beyond this no proof has been found
that this city was called Troy.

=The Homeric Poems.=--It is the two poems attributed to Homer which
have made the taking of Troy renowned throughout the world--the
Iliad, which related the combats of the Greeks and the exploits of
Achilles before Troy; and the Odyssey, which recounts the adventures
of Odysseus (Ulysses) after the capture of Troy.

These two poems were handed down for centuries without being committed
to writing; the rhapsodists, wandering singers, knew long passages
from them by heart and recited them at feasts. It is not till the
sixth century that Pisistratus, a prince of Athens, had them collected
and edited.[48] The two poems became from that time and always
remained the most admired works of Greek literature.

The Greeks said that the author of these poems was Homer, a Greek of
Ionia, who lived about the tenth or the ninth century B.C. They
represented him as a blind old man, poor and a wanderer. Seven towns
disputed the honor of being his birth-place. This tradition was
received without hesitation. But at the end of the eighteenth century
a German scholar, Wolf, noticed certain contradictions in these poems,
and at last asserted that they were not the work of a single poet, but
a collection of fragments from several different poets. This theory
has been attacked and supported with great energy: for a half century
men have flown into a passion for or against the existence of Homer.
Today we begin to think the problem insoluble. What is certain is that
these poems are very old, probably of the ninth century. The Iliad was
composed in Asia Minor and is perhaps the result of the union of two
poems--one dedicated to the combats of the Trojans, and the other to
the adventures of Achilles. The Odyssey appears to be the work of one
author; but it cannot be affirmed that it is of the same author as the

=The Greeks at the Time of Homer.=--We are not able to go back very
far in the history of the Greeks; the Homeric poems are their oldest
historical document. When these were composed, about the ninth century
B.C., there was not yet any general name to designate all the
inhabitants of Greece: Homer mentions them under the names of their
principal tribes. From his description it appears that they have made
some progress since their departure from Asia. They know how to till
the ground, how to construct strong cities and to organize themselves
into little peoples. They obey kings; they have a council of old men
and an assembly of the people. They are proud of their institutions,
they despise their less advanced neighbors, the Barbarians, as they
call them. Odysseus, to show how rude the Cyclops were, says, "They
have no rules of justice nor places where they deliberate; each one
governs himself, his wife, and children, and has no association with
others." But these Greeks themselves are half barbarians; they do not
know how to write, to coin money, nor the art of working in iron. They
hardly dare to trust themselves on the sea and they imagine that
Sicily is peopled with monsters.

=The Dorians.=--Dorians was the name given to those sons of the
mountaineers who had come from the north and had expelled or subjected
those dwelling in the plains and on the shore of the Peloponnesus;
the latter, crowded into too narrow limits, sent colonies into Asia.
Of these mountain bands the most renowned came from a little canton
called Doris and preserved the name Dorians. These invaders told how
certain kings of Sparta, the posterity of Herakles, having been thrust
out by their subjects, had come to seek the Dorians in their
mountains. These people of the mountains, moved by their love for
Herakles, had followed his descendants and had replaced them on their
throne. By the same stroke they dispossessed the inhabitants and took
their place. They were a martial, robust, and healthy race, accustomed
to cold, to meagre food, to a scant existence. Men and women wore a
short tunic which did not reach to the knee. They spoke a rude and
primitive dialect. The Dorians were a race of soldiers, always obliged
to keep themselves under arms; they were the least cultivated in
Greece, since, situated far from the sea, they preserved the customs
of the barbarous age; they were the most Greek because, being
isolated, they could neither mingle with strangers nor imitate their

=The Ionians.=--The peoples of Attica, the isles, and the coast of
Asia were called Ionians; no one knows the origin of the name. Unlike
the Dorians, they were a race of sailors or traders, the most cultured
of Greece, gaining instruction from contact with the most civilized
peoples of the Orient; the least Greek, because they associated with
Asiatics and had in part adopted their dress. They were peaceful and
industrious, living luxuriously, speaking a smooth dialect, and
wearing long flowing garments like the Orientals.

=The Hellenes.=--Dorians and Ionians--these are the two opposing
races, the most remarkable of Greece, and the most powerful: Sparta is
Dorian, Athens is Ionian. But the majority of the Greeks are neither
Dorians nor Ionians: they are called Æolians, a vague name which
covers very different peoples.

All the Greeks from early times take the name "Hellenes" which they
have kept to this day. What is the origin of the term? They did not
know any more than we: they said only that Dorus and Æolus were sons
of Hellen, and Ion was his grandson.

=Cities.=--The Hellenes were still in little peoples as at the time of
Homer. The land of Greece, cut by mountains and sea, breaks naturally
into a large number of small cantons, each isolated from its neighbor
by an arm of the sea or by a wall of rocks, so that it is easy to
defend the land and difficult to communicate with other parts. Each
canton constituted a separate state which was called a city. There
were more than a hundred of these; counting the colonies, more than a
thousand. To us a Greek state seems a miniature. The whole of Attica
was but little larger than the state of Delaware, and Corinth or
Megara was much smaller. Usually the state was only a city with a
strip of shore and a harbor, or some villages scattered in the plain
around a citadel. From one state one sees the citadel, mountains, or
harbor of the next state. Many of them count their citizens only by
thousands; the largest included hardly 200,000 or 300,000.

The Hellenes never formed one nation; they never ceased to fight and
destroy one another. And yet all spoke the same language, worshipped
the same gods, and lived the same sort of a life. In these respects
they recognized the bonds of a common race and distinguished
themselves from all other peoples whom they called barbarians and
regarded with disdain.


=Colonization.=--The Hellenes did not inhabit Greece alone. Colonists
from the Greek cities had gone forth to found new cities in all the
neighboring countries. There were little states in all the islands of
the Archipelago, over all the coast of Asia Minor, in Crete and
Cyprus, on the whole circumference of the Black Sea as far as the
Caucasus and the Crimea, along the shore of Turkey in Europe (then
called Thrace), on the shore of Africa, in Sicily, in south Italy, and
even on the coasts of France and Spain.

=Character of These Colonies.=--Greek colonies were being founded all
the time from the twelfth century to the fifth; they issued from
various cities and represented all the Greek races--Dorian, Ionian,
and Æolian. They were established in the wilderness, in an inhabited
land, by conquest, or by an agreement with the natives. Mariners,
merchants, exiles, or adventurers were their founders. But with all
this diversity of time, place, race, and origin, the colonies had
common characteristics: they were established at one stroke and
according to certain fixed rules. The colonists did not arrive one by
one or in small bands; nor did they settle at random, building houses
which little by little became a city, as is the case now with European
colonists in America. All the colonists started at once under a
leader, and the new city was founded in one day. The foundation was a
religious ceremony; the "founder" traced a sacred enclosure,
constructed a sacred hearth, and lighted there the holy fire.

=Traditions Concerning the Colonists.=--The old stories about the
founding of some of these colonies enable us to see how they differed
from modern colonies. The account of the settlement of Marseilles runs
as follows: Euxenus, a citizen of Phocæa, coming to Gaul in a merchant
galley, was invited by a Gallic chief to the marriage of his daughter;
according to the custom of this people, the young girl about the time
of the feast entered bearing a cup which she was to present to the one
whom she would choose for a husband; she stopped before the Greek and
offered him the cup. This unpremeditated act appeared to have been
inspired from heaven; the Gallic chief gave his daughter to Euxenus
and permitted him and his companions to found a city on the gulf of
Marseilles. Later the Phocæans, seeing their city blockaded by the
Persian army, loaded on their ships their families, their movables,
the statues and treasures of their temple and went to sea, abandoning
their city. As they started, they threw into the sea a mass of red-hot
iron and swore never to return to Phocæa until the iron should rise to
the surface of the water. Many violated this oath and returned; but
the rest continued the voyage and after many adventures came to

At Miletus the Ionians who founded the city had brought no wives with
them; they seized a city inhabited by the natives of Asia, slaughtered
all the men, and forcibly married the women and girls of the families
of their victims. It was said that the women, affronted in this
manner, swore never to eat food with their captors and never to call
them by the name of husband; this custom was for centuries preserved
among the women of Miletus.[49]

The colony at Cyrene in Africa was founded according to the express
command of the oracle of Apollo. The inhabitants of Thera, who had
received this order, did not care to go to an unknown country. They
yielded only at the end of seven years since their island was
afflicted with dearth; they believed that Apollo had sent misfortune
on them as a penalty. Nevertheless the citizens who were sent out
attempted to abandon the enterprise, but their fellow-citizens
attacked them and forced them to return. After having spent two years
on an island where no success came to them, they at last came to
settle at Cyrene, which soon became a prosperous city.[50]

=Importance of the Colonies.=--Wherever they settled, the colonists
constituted a new state which in no respect obeyed the mother town
from which they had come out. And so the whole Mediterranean found
itself surrounded by Greek cities independent one of the others. Of
these cities many became richer and more powerful than their mother
towns; they had a territory which was larger and more fertile, and in
consequence a greater population. Sybaris, it was said, had 300,000
men who were capable of bearing arms. Croton could place in the field
an infantry force of 120,000 men. Syracuse in Sicily, Miletus in Asia
had greater armies than even Sparta and Athens. South Italy was termed
Great Greece. In comparison with this great country fully peopled with
Greek colonies the home country was, in fact, only a little Greece.
And so it happened that the Greeks were much more numerous in the
neighboring countries than in Greece proper; and among these people of
the colonies figure a good share of the most celebrated names: Homer,
Alcæus, Sappho, Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Democritus,
Empedocles, Aristotle, Archimedes, Theocritus, and many others.


[46] "Balmy and clement," says Euripides, "is our atmosphere. The cold
of winter has no extremes for us, and the shafts of the sun do not

[47] Autochthones.

[48] The story of the collection of the Homeric poems by Pisistratus is
without foundation--"eine blosse Fabel." Busolt, "Griechische
Geschichte." Gotha, 1893, i., 127.--ED.

[49] Probably this custom has another origin the recollection of which
was lost.--ED.

[50] Herodotus, iv., 150-158.



=The Gods. Polytheism.=--The Greeks, like the ancient Aryans, believed
in many gods. They had neither the sentiment of infinity nor that of
eternity; they did not conceive of God as one for whom the heavens are
only a tent and the earth a foot-stool. To the Greeks every force of
nature--the air, the sun, the sea--was divine, and as they did not
conceive of all these phenomena as produced by one cause, they
assigned each to a particular god. This is the reason that they
believed in many gods. They were polytheists.

=Anthropomorphism.=--Each god was a force in nature and carried a
distinct name. The Greeks, having a lively imagination, figured under
this name a living being, of beautiful form and human characteristics.
A god or goddess was represented as a beautiful man or woman. When
Odysseus or Telemachus met a person peculiarly great and beautiful,
they began by asking him if he were not a god. Homer in describing the
army pictured on the shield of Achilles adds, "Ares and Athena led the
army, both clad in gold, beautiful and great, as becomes the gods, for
men were smaller." Greek gods are men; they have clothing, palaces,
bodies similar to ours; if they cannot die, they can at least be
wounded. Homer relates how Ares, the god of war, struck by a warrior,
fled howling with pain. This fashion of making gods like men is what
is called _Anthropomorphism_.

=Mythology.=--The gods, being men, have parents, children, property.
Their mothers were goddesses, their brothers were gods, and their
children other gods or men who were half divine. This genealogy of the
gods is what is called the _Theogony_. The gods have also a history;
we are told the story of their birth, the adventures of their youth,
their exploits. Apollo, for example, was born on the island of Delos
to which his mother Latona had fled; he slew a monster which was
desolating the country at the foot of Parnassus. Each canton of Greece
had thus its tales of the gods. These are called myths; the sum of
them is termed _Mythology_, or the history of the gods.

=The Local Gods.=--The Greek gods, even under their human form,
remained what they were at first, phenomena of nature. They were
thought of both as men and as forces of nature. The Naiad is a young
woman, but at the same time a bubbling fountain. Homer represents the
river Xanthus as a god, and yet he says, "The Xanthus threw itself on
Achilles, boiling with fury, full of tumult, foam, and the bodies of
the dead." The people itself continued to say "Zeus rains" or "Zeus
thunders." To the Greek the god was first of all rain, storm, heaven,
or sun, and not the heaven, sun, or earth in general, but that corner
of the heaven under which he lived, the land of his canton, the river
which traversed it. Each city, then, had its divinities, its sun-god,
its earth-goddess, its sea-god, and these are not to be confounded
with the sun, the earth, and the sea of the neighboring city. The
Zeus of Sparta is not the same as the Zeus of Athens; in the same oath
one sometimes invokes two Athenas or two Apollos. A traveller who
would journey through Greece[51] would therefore meet thousands of
local gods (they called them Poliades, or gods of the city). No
torrent, no wood, no mountain was without its own deity,[52] although
often a minor divinity, adored only by the people of the vicinity and
whose sanctuary was only a grotto in the rock.

=The Great Gods.=--Above the innumerable legion of local gods of each
canton the Greeks imagined certain great divinities--the heaven, the
sun, the earth, and the sea--and these everywhere had the same name,
and had their temple or sanctuary in every place. Each represented one
of the principal forces of nature. These gods common to all the Greeks
were never numerous; if all are included, we have hardly twenty.[53]
We have the bad habit of calling them by the name of a Latin god. The
following are their true names: Zeus (Jupiter), Hera (Juno), Athena
(Minerva), Apollo, Artemis (Diana), Hermes (Mercury), Hephaistos
(Vulcan), Hestia (Vesta), Ares (Mars), Aphrodite (Venus), Poseidon
(Neptune), Amphitrite, Proteus, Kronos (Saturn), Rhea (Cybele),
Demeter (Ceres), Persephone (Proserpina), Hades (Pluto), Dionysos
(Bacchus). It is this little group of gods that men worshipped in all
the temples, that men ordinarily invoked in their prayers.

=Attributes of the Gods.=--Each of these great gods had his form, his
costume, his instruments (which we call his attributes); it is thus
that the faithful imagined him and that the sculptors represented him.
Each has his character which is well known to his worshippers. Each
has his rôle in the world, performing his determined functions,
ordinarily with the aid of secondary divinities who obey him.

Athena, virgin of clear eye, is represented standing, armed with a
lance, a helmet on the head, and gleaming armor on the breast. She is
the goddess of the clear air, of wisdom, and of invention, a goddess
of dignity and majesty.

Hephaistos, the god of fire, is figured with a hammer and in the form
of a lame and ugly blacksmith. It is he who forges the thunderbolt.

Artemis, shy maiden, armed with bow and quiver, courses the forests
hunting with a troop of nymphs. She is the goddess of the woods, of
the chase, and of death.

Hermes, represented with winged sandals, is the god of the fertile
showers. But he has other offices; he is the god of streets and
squares, the god of commerce, of theft, and of eloquence. He it is who
guides the souls of the dead, the messenger of the gods, the deity
presiding over the breeding of cattle.

Almost always a Greek god has several functions, quite dissimilar to
our eyes, but to the Greeks bearing some relation to one another.

=Olympus and Zeus.=--Each one of these gods is like a king in his own
domain. Still the Greeks had remarked that all the forces of nature do
not operate by chance and that they act in harmony; the same word
served them for the idea of order and of universe. They supposed,
then, that the gods were in accord for the administration of the
world, and that they, like men, had laws and government among them.

In the north of Greece there was a mountain to whose snowy summit no
man had ever climbed. This was Olympus. On this summit, which was
hidden by clouds from the eyes of men, it was imagined the gods
assembled. Meeting under the light of heaven, they conferred on the
affairs of the world. Zeus, the mightiest of them, presided over the
gathering: he was god of the heavens and of the light, the god "who
masses the clouds," who launches the thunderbolt--an old man of
majestic mien, with long beard, sitting on a throne of gold. It is he
who commands and the other gods bow before him. Should they essay to
resist, Zeus menaces them; Homer makes him say,[54] "Bind to heaven a
chain of gold, and all of you, gods or goddesses, throw your weight
upon it; all your united efforts cannot draw Zeus, the sovereign
ordainer, to the earth. On the contrary, if I wished to draw the chain
to myself, I should bring with it the earth and the very sea. Then I
would attach it to the summit of Olympus and all the universe would be
suspended. By so much am I superior to gods and men."

=Morality of the Greek Mythology.=--The greater part of their gods
were conceived by the Greeks as violent, sanguinary, deceitful,
dissolute. They ascribed to them scandalous adventures or dishonest
acts. Hermes was notorious for his thieving, Aphrodite for her
coquetry, Ares for his ferocity. All were so vain as to persecute
those who neglected to offer sacrifices to them. Niobe had seen all
her children pierced with arrows by Apollo because she herself had
boasted of her numerous family. The gods were so jealous that they
could not endure seeing a man thoroughly happy; prosperity for the
Greeks was the greatest of dangers, for it never failed to draw the
anger of the gods, and this anger became a goddess (Nemesis) about
whom were told such anecdotes as the following: Once Polycrates of
Samos, become very powerful, feared the jealousy of the gods; and so a
ring of gold which he still retained was cast into the sea that his
good fortune might not be unmixed with evil. Some time after, a
fisherman brought to Polycrates an enormous fish and in its belly was
found the ring. This was a certain presage of evil. Polycrates was
besieged in his city, taken, and crucified. The gods punished him for
his good fortune.

Greek mythology was immoral in that the gods gave bad examples to men.
The Greek philosophers were already saying this and were inveighing
against the poets who had published these stories. A disciple of
Pythagoras affirmed that his master, descending to hell, had seen the
soul of Homer hanging to a tree and that of Hesiod bound to a column
to punish them for calumniating the gods. "Homer and Hesiod," Said
Xenophanes, "attribute to the gods all the acts which among men are
culpable and shameful; there is but one god who neither in body nor in
soul resembles men." And he added this profound remark: "If oxen and
lions had hands and could manipulate like men, they would have made
gods with bodies similar to their own, horses would have framed gods
with horses' bodies, and cattle with cattle's.... Men think that the
gods have their feelings, their voice, and their body." Xenophanes was
right; the primitive Greeks had created their gods in their own image.
As they were then sanguinary, dissolute, jealous, and vain, their gods
were the same. Later, as the people became better, their descendants
were shocked with all these vices; but the history and the character
of the gods were fixed by the ancient traditions, and later
generations, without daring to change them, had received the gross and
dishonest gods of their ancestors.


=The Hero.=--The hero in Greece is a man who has become illustrious,
and after death a mighty spirit--not a god, but a demi-god. The heroes
do not live on Olympus in the heaven of the gods, they do not direct
the life of the world. And yet they, too, possess a power higher than
that of any human, and this permits them to aid their friends and
destroy their enemies. For this reason the Greeks rendered them
worship as to the gods and implored their protection. There was not a
city, not a tribe, not a family but had its hero, a protecting spirit
which it adored.

=Different Kinds of Heroes.=--Of these heroes many are legendary
persons (Achilles, Odysseus, Agamemnon); some without doubt never
existed (Herakles, Œdipus); others like Hellen, Dorus, Æolus are only
names. But their worshippers regarded them as men of the olden time;
and, in fact, the most of the heroes lived at one time. Many are
historical personages: generals like Leonidas, Lysander; philosophers
like Democritus and Aristotle; legislators like Lycurgus and Solon.
The people of Croton adored even one of their fellow-citizens, Philip
by name, because he had been in his time the most beautiful man in
Greece. The leader who had guided a band of colonists and founded a
city became for the inhabitants the Founder; a temple was raised to
him and every year sacrifices were offered to him. The Athenian
Miltiades was thus worshipped in a city of Thrace. The Spartiate
Brasidas, killed in the defence of Amphipolis, had divine honors paid
to him in that city, for the inhabitants had come to regard him as
their Founder.

=Presence of the Heroes.=--The hero continued to reside in the place
where his body was interred, either in his tomb or in the
neighborhood. A story told by Herodotus (v. 67) depicts this belief in
a lively way. The city of Sicyon adored the hero Adrastus and in a
public place was a chapel dedicated to his honor. Cleisthenes, the
tyrant of Sicyon, took a fancy to rid himself of this hero. He went to
the oracle at Delphi to ask if it would aid him in expelling Adrastus.
The oracle replied to his question that Adrastus was king of the
Sicyonians and Cleisthenes was a brigand. The tyrant, not daring to
evict the hero, adopted a ruse; he sent to Thebes to seek the bones
of Melanippus, another hero, and installed them with great pomp in the
sanctuary of the city. "He did this," says Herodotus, "because
Melanippus during his life had been the greatest enemy of Adrastus and
had killed his brother and his son-in-law." Then he transferred to
Melanippus the festivals and the sacrifices formerly paid to the honor
of Adrastus. He was persuaded, and all the Greeks with him, that the
hero would be irritated and would flee.

=Intervention of the Heroes.=--The heroes have divine power; like the
gods, they can according to their whim send good or evil. The poet
Stesichorus had spoken ill of the famous Helen (that Helen who the
legend states was carried away to Troy); he suddenly became blind;
when he retracted what he had said, the heroine restored his sight.

The protecting heroes of a city kept it from plagues and famine and
even fought against its enemies. At the battle of the Marathon the
Athenian soldiers saw in the midst of them Theseus, the mythical
founder of Athens, clad in shining armor. During the battle of Salamis
the heroes Ajax and Telamon, once kings of Salamis, appeared on the
highest point of the island extending their hands to the Greek fleet.
"It is not we," said Themistocles, "that have vanquished the Persians;
it is the gods and heroes." In "Œdipus at Colonus," a tragedy of
Sophocles, Œdipus at the point of death receives the visit of the king
of Athens and of the king of Thebes, both of whom as gods request him
to have his body interred in their territory, and to become a
protecting hero. Œdipus at last consents to be buried in the soil of
the Athenians, and says to the king, "Dead, I shall not be a useless
inhabitant of this country, I shall be a rampart for you, stronger
than millions of warriors." In himself alone a hero was as efficient
as a whole army; his spirit was mightier than all living men.


=Principles of Worship of the Gods.=--Gods and heroes, potent as they
were, bestowed on men all good or evil fortune according to their
will. It was dangerous to have them against you, wise to have them on
your side. They were conceived as like men, irritated if they were
neglected, contented if they were venerated. On this principle worship
was based. It consisted in doing things agreeable to the gods to
obtain their favor. Plato expresses as follows[55] the thought of the
common man, "To know how to say and do those things that are pleasing
to the gods, either in prayers or in offerings, this is piety which
brings prosperity to individuals and to states. The reverse is impiety
which ruins everything." "It is natural," says Xenophon at the end of
his treatise on Cavalry, "that the gods should favor those especially
who not only consult them in need, but honor them in the day of
prosperity." Religion was first of all a contract; the Greek sought to
delight the gods and in return required their services. "For a long
time," says a priest of Apollo to his god, "I have burned fat
bullocks for you; now grant my petitions and discharge your arrows
against my enemies."

=The Great Festivals.=--Since the gods had the feelings of men they
were to be pleased in the same way as men. Wine, cakes, fruits, food
were brought to them. Palaces were built for them. Festivals were
given in their honor, for they were "joyous gods" who loved pleasure
and beautiful spectacles. A festival was not, as with us, purely an
occasion of rejoicing, but a religious ceremony. On those days free
from the daily toil men were required to rejoice in public before the
god. The Greek, without doubt, delighted in these fêtes; but it is for
the god and not for himself that he celebrates them. "The Ionians,"
says an ancient hymn to Apollo, "delight thee with trial of strength,
the hymn, and the dance."

=The Sacred Games.=--From these diversions offered to the gods
originated the solemn games. Each city had them to the honor of its
gods; ordinarily only its citizens were admitted to them; but in four
districts of Greece were celebrated games at which all Greeks could be
present and participate. These are called the Four Great Games.

The principal of these four festivals was that at Olympia. This was
given every four years in honor of Zeus and continued five or six
days. The multitude coming from all parts of Greece filled the
amphitheatre. They commenced by sacrificing victims and addressing
prayers to Zeus and the other gods. Then came the contests; they were:

The foot-race around the stadion.

The Pentathlon, so called because it comprised five exercises. The
competitors were to leap, run from one end of the stadion to the
other, make a long throw of the metal discus, hurl the javelin, and

Boxing, in which one fought with arms bound with thongs of hide.

The chariot races, which were held in the hippodrome; the cars were
light and were drawn by four horses.

The judges of the games were clothed in purple, crowned with laurel.
After the combat a herald proclaimed before the whole assembly the
name of the victor and of his city. A crown of olive was the only
reward given him; but his fellow-citizens on his return received him
as a conquering hero; sometimes they threw down a section of the city
wall to give him entrance. He arrived in a chariot drawn by four
horses, clothed in purple, escorted by all the people. "These
victories which we leave today to the athletes of the public shows
appeared then the greatest of all. Poets of greatest renown celebrated
them; Pindar, the most illustrious lyric poet of antiquity, has hardly
done more than sing of chariot races. It is related that a certain
Diagoras, who had seen his two sons crowned on the same day, was borne
in triumph by them in the sight of the spectators. The people, holding
such an honor too great for a mortal, cried out, 'Perish, Diagoras,
for after all you cannot become a god.' Diagoras, suffocated with
emotion, died in the arms of his sons. In his eyes and the eyes of the
Greeks the fact that his sons possessed the stoutest fists and the
nimblest limbs in Greece was the acme of earthly happiness."[56] The
Greeks had their reasons for thus admiring physical prowess: in their
wars in which they fought hand to hand the most vigorous athletes were
the best soldiers.

=Omens.=--In return for so much homage, so many festivals and
offerings, the Greeks expected no small amount of service from their
gods. The gods protected their worshippers, gave them health, riches,
victory. They preserved them from the evils that menaced them, sending
signs which men interpreted. These are called Omens. "When a city,"
says Herodotus,[57] "is about to suffer some great misfortune, this is
usually anticipated by signs. The people of Chios had omens of their
defeat: of a band of one hundred youths sent to Delphi but two
returned; the others had died of the plague. About the same time the
roof of a school of the city fell on the children who were learning to
read; but one escaped of the one hundred and twenty. Such were the
anticipating signs sent them by the deity."

The Greeks regarded as supernatural signs, dreams, the flight of birds
in the heavens, the entrails of animals sacrificed--in a word,
everything that they saw, from the tremblings of the earth and
eclipses to a simple sneeze. In the expedition to Sicily, Nicias, the
general of the Athenians, at the moment of embarking his army for the
retreat, was arrested by an eclipse of the moon; the gods, thought he,
had sent this prodigy to warn the Athenians not to continue their
enterprise. And so Nicias waited; he waited twenty-seven days offering
sacrifices to appease the gods. During this inactivity the enemy
closed the port, destroyed the fleet, and exterminated his army. The
Athenians on learning this news found but one thing with which to
reproach Nicias: he should have known that for an army in retreat the
eclipse of the moon was a favorable sign. During the retreat of the
Ten Thousand, Xenophon, the general, making an address to his
soldiers, uttered this sentiment: "With the help of the gods we have
the surest hope that we shall save ourselves with glory." At this
point a soldier sneezed. At once all adored the god who had sent this
omen. "Since at the very instant when we are deliberating concerning
our safety," exclaimed Xenophon, "Zeus the savior has sent us an omen,
let us with one consent offer sacrifices to him."[58]

=The Oracles.=--Often the god replies to the faithful who consult him
not by a mute sign, but by the mouth of an inspired person. The
faithful enter the sanctuary of the god seeking responses and counsel.
These are Oracles.

There were oracles in many places in Greece and Asia. The most noted
were at Dodona in Epirus, and at Delphi, at the foot of Mount
Parnassus. At Dodona it was Zeus who spoke by the rustling of the
sacred oaks. At Delphi it was Apollo who was consulted. Below his
temple, in a grotto, a current of cool air issued from a rift in the
ground. This air the Greeks thought[59] was sent by the god, for he
threw into a frenzy those who inhaled it. A tripod was placed over the
orifice, a woman (the Pythia), prepared by a bath in the sacred
spring, took her seat on the tripod, and received the inspiration. At
once, seized with a nervous frenzy, she uttered cries and broken
sentences. Priests sitting about her caught these expressions, set
them to verse, and brought them to him who sought advice of the god.

The oracles of the Pythia were often obscure and ambiguous. When
Crœsus asked if he should make war on the Persians, the reply was,
"Crœsus will destroy a great empire." In fact, a great empire was
destroyed, but it was that of Crœsus.

The Spartans had great confidence in the Pythia, and never initiated
an expedition without consulting her. The other Greeks imitated them,
and Delphi thus became a sort of national oracle.

=Amphictyonies.=--To protect the sanctuary of Delphi twelve of the
principal peoples of Greece had formed an association called an
Amphictyony.[60] Every year deputies from these peoples assembled at
Delphi to celebrate the festival of Apollo and see that the temple was
not threatened; for this temple contained immense wealth, a temptation
to pillage it. In the sixth century the people of Cirrha, a
neighboring city of Delphi, appropriated these treasures.[61] The
Amphictyons declared war against them for sacrilege. Cirrha was taken
and destroyed, the inhabitants sold as slaves, the territory left
fallow. In the fourth century the Amphictyons made war on the
Phocidians also who had seized the treasury of Delphi, and on the
people of Amphissa who had tilled a field dedicated to Apollo.

Still it is not necessary to believe that the assembly of the
Amphictyons ever resembled a Greek senate. It was concerned only with
the temple of Apollo, not at all with political affairs. It did not
even prevent members of the Amphictyony fighting one another. The
oracle and the Amphictyony of Delphi were more potent than the other
oracles and the other amphictyonies; but they never united the Greeks
into a single nation.


[51] See the account of the traveller Pausanias.

[52] "There are," says Hesiod, "30,000 gods on the fruitful earth."

[53] Greek scholars formed a select society of twelve gods and
goddesses, but their choice was arbitrary, and all did not agree on the
same series. The Greeks of different countries and of different epochs
often represented the same god under different forms. Further, the
majority of the gods seem to us to have vague and undetermined
attributes; this is because they were not the same everywhere.

[54] Iliad, viii., 18.

[55] In the dialogue "Eutyphron."

[56] Taine, "Philosophy of Art."

[57] Herodotus, vi., 27

[58] Xenophon, "Anabasis," iii, 2.

[59] This idea gained currency only in the later periods of Grecian

[60] There were similar amphictyonies at Delos, Calauria, and Onchestus.

[61] The special charge against Cirrha was the levying of toll on
pilgrims coming to Delphi.--ED.




=Laconia.=--When the Dorian mountaineers invaded the Peloponnesus, the
main body of them settled at Sparta in Laconia. Laconia is a narrow
valley traversed by a considerable stream (the Eurotas) flowing
between two massive mountain ranges with snowy summits. A poet
describes the country as follows: "A land rich in tillable soil, but
hard to cultivate, deep set among perpendicular mountains, rough in
aspect, inaccessible to invasion." In this enclosed country lived the
Dorians of Sparta in the midst of the ancient inhabitants who had
become, some their subjects, others their serfs. There were, then, in
Laconia three classes: Helots, Periœci, Spartiates.

=The Helots.=--The Helots dwelt in the cottages scattered in the plain
and cultivated the soil. But the land did not belong to them--indeed,
they were not even free to leave it. They were, like the serfs of the
Middle Ages, peasants attached to the soil, from father to son. They
labored for a Spartiate proprietor who took from them the greater part
of the harvest. The Spartiates instructed them, feared them, and ill
treated them. They compelled them to wear rude garments, beat them
unreasonably to remind them of their servile condition, and sometimes
made them intoxicated to disgust their children with the sight of
drunkenness. A Spartiate poet compares the Helots to "loaded asses
stumbling under their burdens and the blows inflicted."

=The Periœci.=--The Periœci (those who live around) inhabited a
hundred villages in the mountains or on the coast. They were sailors,
they engaged in commerce, and manufactured the objects necessary to
life. They were free and administered the business of their village,
but they paid tribute to the magistrates of Sparta and obeyed them.

=Condition of the Spartiates.=--Helots and Periœci despised the
Spartiates, their masters. "Whenever one speaks to them of the
Spartiates," says Xenophon,[62] "there isn't one of them who can
conceal the pleasure he would feel in eating them alive." Once an
earthquake nearly destroyed Sparta: the Helots at once rushed from all
sides of the plain to massacre those of the Spartiates who had escaped
the catastrophe. At the same time the Periœci rose and refused
obedience. The Spartiates' bearing toward the Periœci was certain to
exasperate them. At the end of a war in which many of the Helots had
fought in their army, they bade them choose those who had especially
distinguished themselves for bravery, with the promise of freeing
them. It was a ruse to discover the most energetic and those most
capable of revolting. Two thousand were chosen; they were conducted
about the temples with heads crowned as an evidence of their
manumission; then the Spartiates put them out of the way, but how it
was done no one ever knew.[63]

And yet the oppressed classes were ten times more, numerous than their
masters. While there were more than 200,000 Helots and 120,000
Periœci, there were never more than 9,000 Spartiate heads of families.
In a matter of life and death, then, it was necessary that a Spartiate
be as good as ten Helots. As the form of battle was hand-to-hand, they
needed agile and robust men. Sparta was like a camp without walls; its
people was an army always in readiness.


=The Children.=--They began to make soldiers of them at birth. The
newly-born infant was brought before a council; if it was found
deformed, it was exposed on the mountain to die; for an army has use
only for strong men. The children who were permitted to grow up were
taken from their parents at the age of seven years and were trained
together as members of a group. Both summer and winter they went
bare-foot and had but a single mantle. They lay on a heap of reeds and
bathed in the cold waters of the Eurotas. They ate little and that
quickly and had a rude diet. This was to teach them not to satiate the
stomach. They were grouped by hundreds, each under a chief. Often they
had to contend together with blows of feet and fists. At the feast of
Artemis they were beaten before the statue of the goddess till the
blood flowed; some died under this ordeal, but their honor required
them not to weep. They were taught to fight and suffer.

Often they were given nothing to eat; provision must be found by
foraging. If they were captured on these predatory expeditions, they
were roughly beaten. A Spartiate boy who had stolen a little fox and
had hidden it under his mantle, rather than betray himself let the
animal gnaw out his vitals. They were to learn how to escape from
perplexing situations when they were in the field.

They walked with lowered glance, silent, hands under the mantle,
without turning the head and "making no more noise than statues." They
were not to speak at table and were to obey all men that they
encountered. This was to accustom them to discipline.

=The Girls.=--The other Greeks kept their daughters secluded in the
house, spinning flax. The Spartiates would have robust women capable
of bearing vigorous children. The girls, therefore, were trained in
much the same manner as the boys. In their gymnasia they practised
running, leaping, throwing the disc and Javelin. A poet describes a
play in which Spartiate girls "like colts with flowing manes make the
dust fly about them." They were reputed the healthiest and bravest
women in Greece.

=The Discipline.=--The men, too, have their regular life and this a
soldier's life. The presence of many enemies requires that no one
shall weaken. At seventeen years the Spartiate becomes a soldier and
this he until he is sixty. The costume, hour of rising and retiring,
meals, exercise--everything is fixed by regulations as in barracks.

Since the Spartiate engages only in war, he is to prepare himself for
that; he exercises himself in running, leaping, and wielding his arms;
he disciplines all the members of the body--the neck, the arms, the
shoulders, the legs, and that too, every day. He has no right to
engage in trade, to pursue an industry, nor to cultivate the earth; he
is a soldier and is not to allow himself to be diverted to any other
occupation. He cannot live at his pleasure with his own family; the
men eat together in squads; they cannot leave the country without
permission. It is the discipline of a regiment in the enemy's

=Laconism.=--These warriors had a rude life, with clean-cut aims and
proud disposition. They spoke in short phrases--or as we say,
laconically--the word has still persisted. The Greeks cited many
examples of these expressions. To a garrison in danger of being
surprised the government sent this message, "Attention!" A Spartan
army was summoned by the king of Persia to lay down his arms; the
general replied, "Come and take them." When Lysander captured Athens,
he wrote simply, "Athens is fallen."

=Music. The Dance.=--The arts of Sparta were those that pertained to
an army. The Dorian conquerors brought with them a peculiar sort of
music--the Dorian style, serious, strong, even harsh. It was military
music; the Spartiates went into battle to the sound of the flute so
that the step might be regular.

Their dance was a military movement. In the "Pyrrhic" the dancers were
armed and imitated all the movements of a battle; they made the
gestures of striking, of parrying, of retreating, and of throwing the

=Heroism of the Women.=--The women stimulated the men to combat; their
exhibitions of courage were celebrated in Greece, so much so that
collections of stories of them were made.[64] A Spartan mother, seeing
her son fleeing from battle, killed him with her own hand, saying;
"The Eurotas does not flow for deer." Another, learning that her five
sons had perished, said, "This is not what I wish to know; does
victory belong to Sparta?" "Yes." "Then let us render thanks to the


=The Kings and the Council.=--The Spartiates had at first, like the
other Greeks, an assembly of the people. All these institutions were
preserved, but only in form. The kings, descendants of the god
Herakles, were loaded with honors; they were given the first place at
the feasts and were served with a double portion; when they died all
the inhabitants made lamentation for them. But no power was left to
them and they were closely watched.

The Senate was composed of twenty-eight old men taken from the rich
and ancient families, appointed for life; but it did not govern.

=The Ephors.=--The real masters of Sparta were the Ephors (the name
signifies overseers), five magistrates who were renewed every year.
They decided peace and war, and had judicial functions; when the king
commanded the army, they accompanied him, directed the operations, and
sometimes made him return. Usually they consulted the senators and
took action in harmony with them. Then they assembled the Spartiates
in one place, announced to them what had been decided and asked their
approbation. The people without discussing the matter approved the
action by acclamation. No one knew whether he had the right to refuse
assent; accustomed to obey, the Spartiate never refused. It was,
therefore, an aristocracy of governing families. Sparta was not a
country of equality. There were some men who were called Equals, but
only because they were equal among themselves. The others were termed
Inferiors and had no part in the government.

=The Army.=--Thanks to this régime, the Spartiates preserved the rude
customs of mountaineers; they had no sculptors, no architects, no
orators, no philosophers. They had sacrificed everything to war; they
became "adepts in the military art,"[65] and instructors of the other
Greeks. They introduced two innovations especially: a better method of
combat, a better method of athletic exercise.

=The Hoplites.=--Before them the Greeks marched into battle in
disorder; the chiefs, on horseback or in a light chair, rushed ahead,
the men following on foot, armed each in his own fashion,
helter-skelter, incapable of acting together or of resisting. A
battle reduced itself to a series of duels and to a massacre. At
Sparta all the soldiers had the same arms; for defence, the
breastplate covering the chest, the casque which protected the head,
the greaves over the legs, the buckler held before the body. For
offence the soldier had a short sword and a long lance. The man thus
armed was called a hoplite. The Spartan hoplites were drawn up in
regiments, battalions, companies, squads, almost like our armies. An
officer commanded each of these groups and transmitted to his men the
orders of his superior officer, so that the general in chief might
have the same movement executed throughout the whole army. This
organization which appears so simple to us was to the Greeks an
astonishing novelty.

=The Phalanx.=--Come into the presence of the enemy, the soldiers
arrange themselves in line, ordinarily eight ranks deep, each man
close to his neighbor, forming a compact mass which we call a Phalanx.
The king, who directs the army, sacrifices a goat to the gods; if the
entrails of the victim are propitious, he raises a chant which all the
army takes up in unison. Then they advance. With rapid and measured
step, to the sound of the flute, with lance couched and buckler before
the body, they meet the enemy in dense array, overwhelm him by their
mass and momentum, throw him into rout, and only check themselves to
avoid breaking the phalanx. So long as they remain together each is
protected by his neighbor and all form an impenetrable mass on which
the enemy could secure no hold. These were rude tactics, but
sufficient to overcome a disorderly troop. Isolated men could not
resist such a body. The other Greeks understood this, and all, as far
as they were able, imitated the Spartans; everywhere men were armed
as hoplites and fought in phalanx.

=Gymnastics.=--To rush in orderly array on the enemy and stand the
shock of battle there was need of agile and robust men; every man had
to be an athlete. The Spartans therefore organized athletic exercises,
and in this the other Greeks imitated them; gymnastics became for all
a national art, the highest esteemed of all the arts, the crowning
feature of the great festivals.

In the most remote countries, in the midst of the barbarians of Gaul
or of the Black Sea, a Greek city was recognized by its gymnasium.
There was a great square surrounded by porticoes or walks, usually
near a spring, with baths and halls for exercise. The citizens came
hither to walk and chat: it was a place of association. All the young
men entered the gymnasium; for two years or less they came here every
day; they learned to leap, to run, to throw the disc and the javelin,
to wrestle by seizing about the waist. To harden the muscles and
strengthen the skin they plunged into cold water, dispensed with oil
for the body, and rubbed the flesh with a scraper (the strigil).

=Athletes.=--Many continued these exercises all their lives as a point
of honor and became Athletes. Some became marvels of skill. Milo of
Croton in Italy, it was said, would carry a bull on his shoulders; he
stopped a chariot in its course by seizing it from behind. These
athletes served sometimes in combats as soldiers, or as generals.
Gymnastics were the school of war.

=Rôle of the Spartiates.=--The Spartans taught the other Greeks to
exercise and to fight. They always remained the most vigorous
wrestlers and the best soldiers, and were recognized as such by the
rest of Greece. Everywhere they were respected. When the rest of the
Greeks had to fight together against the Persians, they unhesitatingly
took the Spartans as chiefs--and with justice, said an Athenian


[62] "Hellenica," iii., 3, 6.

[63] See Thucydides, iv., 80.

[64] A collection by Plutarch is still preserved.

[65] A phrase of Xenophon.




=Attica.=--The Athenians boasted of having always lived in the same
country; their ancestors, according to their story, originated from
the soil itself. The mountaineers who conquered the south land passed
by the country without invading it; Attica was hardly a temptation to

Attica is composed of a mass of rocks which in the form of a triangle
advances into the sea. These rocks, renowned for their blocks of
marble and for the honey of their bees,[66] are bare and sterile.
Between them and the sea are left three small plains with meagre soil,
meanly watered (the streams are dry in summer) and incapable of
supporting a numerous population.

=Athens.=--In the largest of these plains, a league from the sea,
rises a massive isolated rock: Athens was built at its foot. The old
city, called the Acropolis, occupied the summit of the rock.

The inhabitants of Attica commenced, not by forming a single state,
but by founding scattered villages, each of which had its own king and
its own government. Later all these villages united under one
king,[67] the king of Athens, and established a single city. This
does not mean that all the people came to dwell in one town. They
continued to have their own villages and to cultivate their lands; but
all adored one and the same protecting goddess, Athena, divinity of
Athens, and all obeyed the same king.

=Athenian Revolutions.=--Later still the kings were suppressed. In
their place Athens had nine chiefs (the archons) who changed every
year. This whole history is little known to us for no writing of the
time is preserved. They used to say that for centuries the Athenians
had lived in discord; the nobles (Eupatrids) who were proprietors of
the soil oppressed the peasants on their estates; creditors held their
debtors as slaves. To reëstablish order the Athenians commissioned
Solon, a sage, to draft a code of laws for them (594).

Solon made three reforms:

  1. He lessened the value of the money, which allowed the debtors
  to release themselves more easily.

  2. He made the peasants proprietors of the land that they
  cultivated. From this time there were in Attica more small
  proprietors than in any other part of Greece.

  3. He grouped all the citizens into four classes according to
  their incomes. Each had to pay taxes and to render military
  service according to his wealth, the poor being exempt from
  taxation and military service.

After Solon the Athenians were subject to Pisistratus, one of their
powerful and clever citizens; but in 510 the dissensions revived.

=Reforms of Cleisthenes.=--Cleisthenes, leader of one of the parties,
used the occasion to make a thoroughgoing revolution.

There were many strangers in Athens, especially seamen and traders who
lived in Piræus near the harbor. Cleisthenes gave them the rights of
citizenship and made them equal[68] to the older inhabitants. From
this time there were two populations side by side--the people of
Attica and those of Piræus. A difference of physical features was
apparent for three centuries afterward: the people of Attica resembled
the rest of the Greeks; those in Piræus resembled Asiatics. The
Athenian people thus augmented was a new people, the most active in


In the fifth century the society of Athens was definitely formed:
three classes inhabited the district of Attica--slaves, foreigners,
and citizens.

=The Slaves.=--The slaves constituted the great majority of the
population; there was no man so poor that he did not have at least one
slave; the rich owned a multitude of them, some as many as five
hundred. The larger part of the slaves lived in the house occupied
with grinding grain, kneading bread, spinning and weaving cloth,
performing the service of the kitchens, and in attendance on their
masters. Others labored in the shops as blacksmiths, as dyers, or in
stone quarries or silver mines. Their master fed them but sold at a
profit everything which they produced, giving them in return nothing
but their living. All the domestic servants, all the miners, and the
greater part of the artisans were slaves. These men lived in society
but without any part in it; they had not even the disposition of their
own bodies, being wholly the property of other men. They were thought
of only as objects of property; they were often referred to as "a
body" (σωμα). There was no other law for them than the will of their
master, and he had all power over them--to make them work, to imprison
them, to deprive them of their sustenance, to beat them. When a
citizen went to law, his adversary had the right to require that the
former's slaves should be put to the torture to tell what they knew.
Many Athenian orators commend this usage as an ingenious means for
obtaining true testimony. "Torture," says the orator Isæus, "is the
surest means of proof; and so when you wish to clear up a contested
question, you do not address yourselves to freemen, but, placing the
slaves to the torture, you seek to discover the truth."

=Foreigners.=--The name Metics was applied to people of foreign origin
who were established in Athens. To become a citizen of Athens it was
not enough, as with us, to be born in the country; one must be the son
of a citizen. It might be that some aliens had resided in Attica for
several generations and yet their family not become Athenian. The
metics could take no part in the government, could not marry a
citizen, nor acquire land. But they were personally free, they had the
right of commerce by sea, of banking and of trade on condition that
they take a patron to represent them in the courts. There were in
Athens more than ten thousand families of metics, the majority of them
bankers or merchants.

=The Citizens.=--To be a citizen of Athens it was necessary that both
parents should be citizens. The young Athenian, come to maturity at
about eighteen years of age, appeared before the popular assembly,
received the arms which he was to bear and took the following oath: "I
swear never to dishonor these sacred arms, not to quit my post, to
obey the magistrates and the laws, to honor the religion of my
country." He became simultaneously citizen and soldier. Thereafter he
owed military service until he was sixty years of age. With this he
had the right to sit in the assembly and to fulfil the functions of
the state.

Once in a while the Athenians consented to receive into the
citizenship a man who was not the son of a citizen, but this was rare
and a sign of great favor. The assembly had to vote the stranger into
its membership, and then nine days after six thousand citizens had to
vote for him on a secret ballot. The Athenian people was like a closed
circle; no new members were admitted except those pleasing to the old
members, and they admitted few beside their sons.


=The Assembly.=--The Athenians called their government a democracy (a
government by the people). But this people was not, as with us, the
mass of inhabitants, but the body of citizens, a true aristocracy of
15,000 to 20,000 men who governed the whole nation as masters. This
body had absolute power, and was the true sovereign of Athens. It
assembled at least three times a month to deliberate and to vote. The
assembly was held in the open air on the Pnyx; the citizens sat on
stone benches arranged in an amphitheatre; the magistrates before them
on a platform opened the session with a religious ceremony and a
prayer, then a herald proclaimed in a loud voice the business which
was to occupy the assembly, and said, "Who wishes to speak?" Every
citizen had the right to this privilege; the orators mounted the
tribune according to age. When all had spoken, the president put the
question; the assembly voted by a show of hands, and then dissolved.

=The Courts.=--The people itself, being sovereign, passed judgment in
the courts. Every citizen of thirty years of age could participate in
the judicial assembly (the Heliæa). The heliasts sat in the great
halls in sections of five hundred; the tribunal was, then, composed of
one thousand to fifteen hundred judges. The Athenians had no
prosecuting officer as we have; a citizen took upon himself to make
the accusation. The accused and the accuser appeared before the court;
each delivered a plea which was not to exceed the time marked off by a
water-clock. Then the judges voted by depositing a black or white
stone. If the accuser did not obtain a certain number of votes, he
himself was condemned.

=The Magistrates.=--The sovereign people needed a council to prepare
the business for discussion and magistrates to execute their
decisions. The council was composed of five hundred citizens drawn by
lot for one year. The magistrates were very numerous: ten generals to
command the army, thirty officials for financial administration, sixty
police officials to superintend the streets, the markets, weights and
measures, etc.[69]

=Character of This Government.=--The power in Athens did not pertain
to the rich and the noble, as in Sparta. In the assembly everything
was decided by a majority of votes and all the votes were equal. All
the jurors, all the members of the council, all the magistrates except
the generals were chosen by lot. The citizens were equal not only in
theory, but also in practice. Socrates said[70] to a well-informed
Athenian who did not dare to speak before the people: "Of what are you
afraid? Is it of the fullers, the shoe-makers, the masons, the
artisans, or the merchants? for the assembly is composed of all these

Many of these people had to ply their trade in order to make a living,
and could not serve the state gratuitously; and so a salary was
instituted: every citizen who sat in the assembly or in the courts
received for every day of session three obols (about eight cents of
our money), a sum just sufficient to maintain life at that time. From
this day the poor administered the government.

=The Demagogues.=--Since all important affairs whether in the assembly
or in the courts were decided by discussion and discourse, the
influential men were those who knew how to speak best. The people
accustomed themselves to listen to the orators, to follow their
counsels, to charge them with embassies, and even to appoint them
generals. These men were called Demagogues (leaders of the people).
The party of the rich scoffed at them: in a comedy Aristophanes
represents the people (Demos) under the form of an old man who has
lost his wits: "You are foolishly credulous, you let flatterers and
intriguers pull you around by the nose and you are enraptured when
they harangue you." And the chorus, addressing a charlatan, says to
him, "You are rude, vicious; you have a strong voice, an impudent
eloquence, and violent gestures; believe me, you have all that is
necessary to govern Athens."


The Athenians created so many political functions that a part of the
citizens was engaged in fulfilling them. The citizen of Athens, like
the functionary or soldier of our days, was absorbed in public
affairs. Warring and governing were the whole of his life. He spent
his days in the assembly, in the courts, in the army, at the
gymnasium, or at the market. Almost always he had a wife and children,
for his religion commanded this, but he did not live at home.

=The Children.=--When a child came into the world, the father had the
right to reject it. In this case it was laid outside the house where
it died from neglect, unless a passer-by took it and brought it up as
a slave. In this custom Athens followed all the Greeks. It was
especially the girls that were exposed to death. "A son," says a
writer of comedy, "is always raised even if the parents are in the
last stage of misery; a daughter is exposed even though the parents
are rich."

If the father accepted the child, the latter entered the family. He
was left at first in the women's apartments with the mother. The girls
remained there until the day of their marriage; the boys came out when
they were seven years old. The boy was then entrusted to a preceptor
(pedagogue), whose business it was to teach him to conduct himself
well and to obey. The pedagogue was often a slave, but the father gave
him the right to beat his son. This was the general usage in

Later the boy went to school, where he learned to read, write, cipher,
recite poetry, and to sing in the chorus or to the sound of the flute.
At last came gymnastics. This was the whole of the instruction; it
made men sound in body and calm in spirit--what the Greeks called
"good and beautiful."

To the young girl, secluded with her mother, nothing of the liberal
arts was taught; it was thought sufficient if she learned to obey.
Xenophon represents a rich and well-educated Athenian speaking thus of
his wife with Socrates: "She was hardly twenty years old when I
married her, and up to that time she had been subjected to an exacting
surveillance; they had no desire that she should live, and she learned
almost nothing. Was it not enough that one should find in her a woman
who could spin the flax to make garments, and who had learned how to
distribute duties to the slaves?" When her husband proposed that she
become his assistant, she replied with great surprise, "In what can I
aid you? Of what am I capable? My mother has always taught me that my
business was to be prudent." Prudence or obedience was the virtue
which was required of the Greek woman.

=Marriage.=--At the age of fifteen the girl married. The parents had
chosen the husband; it might be a man from a neighboring family, or a
man who had been a long-time friend of the father, but always a
citizen of Athens. It was rare that the young girl knew him; she was
never consulted in the case. Herodotus, speaking of a Greek, adds:
"This Callias deserves mention for his conduct toward his daughters;
for when they were of marriageable age he gave them a rich dowry,
permitted them to choose husbands from all the people, and he then
married them to the men of their choice."

=Athenian Women.=--In the inner recess of the Athenian house there was
a retired apartment reserved for the women--the Gynecæum. Husband and
relatives were the only visitors; the mistress of the household
remained here all day with her slaves; she directed them,
superintended the house-keeping, and distributed to them the flax for
them to spin. She herself was engaged with weaving garments. She left
the house seldom save for the religious festivals. She never appeared
in the society of men: "No one certainly would venture," says the
orator Isæus, "to dine with a married woman; married women do not go
out to dine with men or permit themselves to eat with strangers." An
Athenian woman who frequented society could not maintain a good

The wife, thus secluded and ignorant, was not an agreeable companion.
The husband had taken her not for his life-long companion, but to
keep his house in order, to be the mother of his children, and because
Greek custom and religion required that he should marry. Plato says
that one does not marry because he wants to, but "because the law
constrains him." And the comic poet Menander had found this saying:
"Marriage, to tell the truth, is an evil, but a necessary evil." And
so the women in Athens, as in most of the other states of Greece,
always held but little place in society.


[66] The marble of Pentelicus and the honey of Hymettus.

[67] This legendary king was called Theseus.

[68] Certain limitations, however, are referred to below, under

[69] Not to mention the Archons, whom they had not ventured to suppress.

[70] Xenophon, "Memorabilia," iii., 7, 6.




=Origin of the Persian Wars.=--While the Greeks were completing the
organization of their cities, the Persian king was uniting all the
nations of the East in a single empire. Greeks and Orientals at length
found themselves face to face. It is in Asia Minor that they first

On the coast of Asia Minor there were rich and populous colonies of
the Greeks;[71] Cyrus, the king of Persia, desired to subject them.
These cities sent for help to the Spartans, who were reputed the
bravest of the Greeks, and this action was reported to Cyrus; he
replied,[72] "I have never feared this sort of people that has in the
midst of the city a place where the people assemble to deceive one
another with false oaths." (He was thinking of the market-place.) The
Greeks of Asia were subdued and made subject to the Great King.

Thirty years later King Darius found himself in the presence of the
Greeks of Europe. But this time it was the Greeks that attacked the
Great King. The Athenians sent twenty galleys to aid the revolting
Ionians; their soldiers entered Lydia, took Sardis by surprise and
burned it. Darius revenged himself by destroying the Greek cities of
Asia, but he did not forget the Greeks of Europe. He had decreed, they
say, that at every meal an officer should repeat to him: "Master,
remember the Athenians." He sent to the Greek cities to demand earth
and water, a symbol in use among the Persians to indicate submission
to the Great King. Most of the Greeks were afraid and yielded. But the
Spartans cast the envoys into a pit, bidding them take thence earth
and water to carry to the king. This was the beginning of the Median

=Comparison of the Two Adversaries.=--The contrast between the two
worlds which now entered into conflict is well marked by Herodotus[73]
in the form of a conversation of King Xerxes with Demaratus, a Spartan
exile: "'I venture to assure you,' said Demaratus, 'that the Spartans
will offer you battle even if all the rest of the Greeks fight on your
side, and if their army should not amount to more than one thousand
men.' 'What!' said Xerxes, 'one thousand men attack so immense an army
as mine! I fear your words are only boasting; for although they be
five thousand, we are more than one thousand to one. If they had a
master like us, fear would inspire them with courage; they would march
under the lash against a larger army; but being free and independent,
they will have no more courage than that with which nature has endowed
them.' 'The Spartans,' replied Demaratus, 'are not inferior to anybody
in a hand-to-hand contest, and united in a phalanx they are the
bravest of all men. Yet, though free, they have an absolute master,
the Law, which they dread more than all your subjects do you; they
obey it, and this law requires them to stand fast to their post and
conquer or die.'" This is the difference between the two parties to
the conflict: on the one side, a multitude of subjects united by force
under a capricious master; on the other, little martial republics
whose citizens govern themselves according to laws which they respect.

=First Persian War.=--There were two Persian wars. The first was
simply an expedition against Athens; six hundred galleys sent by
Darius disembarked a Persian army on the little plain of Marathon,
seven hours distant from Athens.

Religious sentiment prevented the Spartans from taking the field
before the full moon, and it was still only the first quarter; the
Athenians had to fight alone.[74] Ten thousand citizens armed as
hoplites camped before the Persians. The Athenians had ten generals,
having the command on successive days; of these Miltiades, when his
turn came, drew up the army for battle. The Athenians charged the
enemy in serried ranks, but the Persians seeing them advancing without
cavalry and without archers, thought them fools. It was the first time
that the Greeks had dared to face the Persians in battle array. The
Athenians began by turning both flanks, and then engaged the centre,
driving the Persians in disorder to the sea and forcing them to
reëmbark on their ships.

The victory of Marathon delivered the Athenians and made them famous
in all Greece (490).

=Second Persian War.=--The second war began ten years later with an
invasion. Xerxes united all the peoples of the empire, so that the
land force amounted, as some say, to 1,700,000 men.[75] There were
Medes and Persians clad in sleeved tunics, armed with cuirasses of
iron, bucklers, bows and arrows; Assyrians with cuirass of linen,
armed with clubs pointed with iron; Indians clad in cotton with bows
and arrows of bamboo; savages of Ethiopia with leopard skins for
clothing; nomads armed only with lassos; Phrygians armed with short
pikes; Lydians equipped like Greeks; Thracians carrying javelins and
daggers. The enumeration of these fills twenty chapters in
Herodotus.[76] These warriors brought with them a crowd equally
numerous of non-combatants, of servants, slaves, women, together with
a mass of mules, horses, camels, and baggage wagons.

This horde crossed the Hellespont by a bridge of boats in the spring
of 480. For seven days and nights it defiled under the lash. Then
traversing Thrace, it marched on Greece, conquering the peoples whom
it met.

The Persian fleet, 1,200 galleys strong, coasted the shores of Thrace,
passing through the canal at Mount Athos which Xerxes had had built
for this very purpose.

The Greeks, terrified, submitted for the most part to the Great King
and joined their armies to the Persian force. The Athenians sent to
consult the oracle of Delphi, but received only the reply; "Athens
will be destroyed from base to summit." The god being asked to give a
more favorable response, replied, "Zeus accords to Pallas [protectress
of Athens] a wall of wood which alone shall not be taken; in that
shall you and your children find safety." The priests of whom they
asked the interpretation of this oracle bade the Athenians quit Attica
and go to establish themselves elsewhere. But Themistocles explained
the "wall of wood" as meaning the ships; they should retire to the
fleet and fight the Persians on sea.

Athens and Sparta, having decided on resistance, endeavored to form a
league of the Greeks against the Persians. Few cities had the courage
to enter it, and these placed themselves under the command of the
Spartans. Four battles in one year settled the war. At Thermopylæ,
Leonidas, king of Sparta, who tried to bar the entrance to a defile
was outflanked and overwhelmed. At Salamis, the Persian fleet, crowded
into a narrow space where the ships embarrassed one another, was
defeated by the Greek navy (480). At Platæa the rest of the Persian
army left in Greece was annihilated by the Greek hoplites; of 300,000
men but 40,000 escaped. The same day at Mycale, on the coast of Asia,
an army of the Greeks landed and routed the Persians (479). The Greeks
had conquered the Great King.

=Reasons for the Greek Victory.=--The Median war was not a national
war between Greeks and barbarians. All the Greeks of Asia and half the
Greeks of Europe fought on the Persian side. Many of the other Greeks
gave no assistance. In reality it was a fight of the Great King and
his subjects against Sparta, Athens, and their allies.

The conquest of this great horde by two small peoples appeared at that
time as a prodigy. The gods, said the Greeks, had fought for them. But
there is less wonder when we examine the two antagonists more closely:
the Persian army was innumerable, and Xerxes had thought that victory
was a matter of numbers. But this multitude was an embarrassment to
itself. It did not know where to secure food for itself, it advanced
but slowly, and it choked itself on the day of combat. Likewise the
ships arranged in too close order drove their prows into neighboring
ships and shattered their oars. Then in this immense crowd there were,
according to Herodotus, many men but few soldiers. Only the Persians
and Medes, the flower of the army, fought with energy; the rest
advanced only under the lash, they had come under pressure to a war
which had no interest for them, ill-armed and without discipline,
ready to desert as soon as no one was watching them. At Platæa the
Medes and Persians were the only ones to do any fighting; the subjects
kept aloof.

The Persian soldiers were ill-equipped; they were embarrassed by their
long robes, the head was poorly protected by a felt hat, the body
ill-defended by a shield of wicker-work. For arms they had a bow, a
dagger, and a very short pike; they could fight only at a great
distance or hand-to-hand. The Spartans and their allies, on the
contrary, secure in the protection of great buckler, helmet and
greaves, marched in solid line and were irresistible; they broke the
enemy with their long pikes and at once the battle became a massacre.

=Results of the Persian Wars.=--Sparta had commanded the troops, but
as Herodotus says,[77] it was Athens who had delivered Greece by
setting an example of resistance and constituting the fleet of
Salamis. It was Athens who profited by the victory. All the Ionian
cities of the Archipelago and of the coast of Asia revolted and formed
a league against the Persians. The Spartans, men of the mountains,
could not conduct a maritime war, and so withdrew; the Athenians
immediately became chiefs of the league. In 476[78] Aristides,
commanding the fleet, assembled the delegates of the confederate
cities. They decided to continue the war against the Great King, and
engaged to provide ships and warriors and to pay each year a
contribution of 460 talents ($350,000). The treasure was deposited at
Delos in the temple of Apollo, god of the Ionians. Athens was charged
with the leadership of the military force and with collecting the tax.
To make the agreement irrevocable Aristides had a mass of hot iron
cast into the sea, and all swore to maintain the oaths until the day
that the iron should mount to the surface.

A day came, however, when the war ceased, and the Greeks, always the
victors, concluded a peace, or at least a truce,[79] with the Great
King. He surrendered his claim on the Asiatic Greeks (about 449).

What was to become of the treaty of Aristides? Were the confederate
cities still to pay their contribution now that there was no more
fighting? Some refused it even before the war was done. Athens
asserted that the cities had made their engagements in perpetuity and
forced them to pay them.

The war finished, the treasury at Delos had no further use; the
Athenians transferred the money to Athens and used it in building
their monuments. They maintained that the allies paid for deliverance
from the Persians; they, therefore, had no claim against Athens so
long as she defended them from the Great King. The allies had now
become the tributaries of Athens: they were now her subjects. Athens
increased the tax on them, and required their citizens to bring their
cases before the Athenian courts; she even sent colonists to seize a
part of their lands. Athens, mistress of the league, was sovereign
over more than three hundred cities spread over the islands and the
coasts of the Archipelago, and the tribute paid her amounted to six
hundred talents a year.


=The Peloponnesian War.=--After the foundation of the Athenian empire
in the Archipelago the Greeks found themselves divided between two
leagues--the maritime cities were subject to Athens; the cities of the
interior remained under the domination of Sparta. After much
preliminary friction war arose between Sparta and her continental
allies on the one side and Athens and her maritime subjects on the
other. This was the _Peloponnesian War_. It continued twenty-seven
years (431-404), and when it ceased, it was revived under other names
down to 360.

These wars were complicated affairs. They were fought simultaneously
on land and sea, in Greece, Asia, Thrace, and Sicily, ordinarily at
several points at once. The Spartans had a better army and ravaged
Attica; the Athenians had a superior fleet and made descents on the
coasts of the Peloponnesus. Then Athens sent its army to Sicily where
it perished to the last man (413); Lysander, a Spartan general,
secured a fleet from the Persians and destroyed the Athenian fleet in
Asia (405). The Athenian allies who fought only under compulsion
abandoned her. Lysander took Athens, demolished its walls, and burnt
its ships.

=Wars against Sparta.=--Sparta was for a time mistress on both land
and sea. "In those days," says Xenophon, "all cities obeyed when a
Spartan issued his orders." But soon the allies of Sparta, wearied of
her domination, formed a league against her. The Spartans, driven at
first from Asia, still maintained their power in Greece for some years
by virtue of their alliance with the king of the Persians (387). But
the Thebans, having developed a strong army under the command of
Epaminondas, fought them at Leuctra (371) and at Mantinea (362). The
allies of Sparta detached themselves from her, but the Thebans could
not secure from the rest of the Greeks the recognition of their
supremacy. From this time no Greek city was sovereign over the others.

=Savage Character of These Wars.=--These wars between the Greek cities
were ferocious. A few incidents suffice to show their character. At
the opening of the war the allies of Sparta threw into the sea all the
merchants from cities hostile to them. The Athenians in return put to
death the ambassadors of Sparta without allowing them to speak a word.
The town of Platæa was taken by capitulation, and the Spartans had
promised that no one should be punished without a trial; but the
Spartan judges demanded of every prisoner if during the war he had
rendered any service to the Peloponnesians; when the prisoner replied
in the negative, he was condemned to death. The women were sold as
slaves. The city of Mitylene having revolted from Athens was retaken
by her. The Athenians in an assembly deliberated and decreed that all
the people of Mitylene should be put to death. It is true that the
next day the Athenians revised the decree and sent a second ship to
carry a more favorable commission, but still more than one thousand
Mityleneans were executed.

After the Syracusan disaster all the Athenian army was taken captive.
The conquerors began by slaughtering all the generals and many of the
soldiers. The remainder were consigned to the quarries which served as
prison. They were left there crowded together for seventy days,
exposed without protection to the burning sun of summer, and then to
the chilly nights of autumn. Many died from sickness, from cold and
hunger--for they were hardly fed at all; their corpses remained on the
ground and infected the air. At last the Syracusans drew out the
survivors sold them into slavery.

Ordinarily when an army invaded a hostile state it levelled the
houses, felled the trees, burned the crops and killed the laborers.
After battle it made short shrift of the wounded and killed prisoners
in cold blood. In a captured city everything belonged to the captor:
men, women, children were sold as slaves. Such was at this time the
right of war. Thucydides sums up the case as follows:[80] "Business is
regulated between men by the laws of justice when there is obligation
on both sides; but the stronger does whatever is in his power, and the
weaker yields. The gods rule by a necessity of their nature because
they are strongest; men do likewise."

=Results of These Wars.=--These wars did not result in uniting the
Greeks into one body. No city, Sparta more than Athens, was able to
force the others to obey her. They only exhausted themselves by
fighting one another. It was the king of Persia who profited by the
strife. Not only did the Greek cities not unite against him, but all
in succession allied themselves with him against the other Greeks. In
the notorious Peace of Antalcidas (387) the Great King declared that
all the Greek cities of Asia belonged to him, and Sparta recognized
this claim. Athens and Thebes did as much some years later. An
Athenian orator said, "It is the king of Persia who governs Greece; he
needs only to establish governors in our cities. Is it not he who
directs everything among us? Do we not summon the Great King as if we
were his slaves?" The Greeks by their strife had lost the vantage that
the Median war had gained for them.


[71] Twelve Ionian colonies, twelve Æolian, four Dorian.

[72] Herod., i., 153.

[73] Herod., vii., 103, 104.

[74] 1,000 Platæans came to the assistance of the Athenians.--ED.

[75] Herodotus's statements of the numbers in Xerxes' army are

[76] Herod., vii., 61-80.

[77] vii., 139.

[78] The chronology of these events is uncertain.--ED.

[79] Called the Peace of Cimon, but it is very doubtful whether Cimon
really concluded a treaty. [With more right may it be called the Peace
of Callias, who was probably principal ambassador.--ED.]

[80] In his chapters on the Mityleneans.




=Pericles.=--In the middle of the fifth century Athens found herself
the most powerful city in Greece. Pericles, descended from one of the
noble families, was then the director of the affairs of the state. He
wasted neither speech nor personality, and never sought to flatter the
vanity of the people. But the Athenians respected him and acted only
in accordance with his counsels; they had faith in his knowledge of
all the details of administration, of the resources of the state, and
so they permitted him to govern. For forty years Pericles was the soul
of the politics of Athens; as Thucydides his contemporary said, "The
democracy existed in name; in reality it was the government of the
first citizen."

=Athens and Her Monuments.=--In Athens, as in the majority of Greek
cities, the houses of individuals were small, low, packed closely
together, forming narrow streets, tortuous and ill paved. The
Athenians reserved their display for their public monuments. Ever
after they levied heavy war taxes on their allies they had large sums
of money to expend, and these were employed in erecting beautiful
edifices. In the market-place they built a portico adorned with
paintings (the Poikile), in the city a theatre, a temple in honor of
Theseus, and the Odeon for the contests in music. But the most
beautiful monuments rose on the rock of the Acropolis as on a gigantic
pedestal. There were two temples of which the principal, the
Parthenon, was dedicated to Athena, protecting goddess of the city; a
colossal statue of bronze which represented Athena; and a staircase of
ornamental character leading up to the Propylæa. Athens was from this
time the most beautiful of the Greek cities.[81]

=Importance of Athens.=--Athens became at the same time the city of
artists. Poets, orators, architects, painters, sculptors--some
Athenians by birth, others come from all corners of the Greek
world--met here and produced their masterpieces. There were without
doubt many Greek artists elsewhere than at Athens; there had been
before the fifth century, and there were a long time afterward; but
never were so many assembled at one time in the same city. Most of the
Greeks had fine sensibilities in matters of art; but the Athenians
more than all others had a refined taste, a cultivated spirit and love
of the beautiful. If the Greeks have gained renown in the history of
civilization, it is that they have been a people of artists; neither
their little states nor their small armies have played a great rôle in
the world. This is why the fifth century is the most beautiful moment
in the history of Greece; this is why Athens has remained renowned
above all the rest of the Greek cities.


=The Orators.=--Athens is above all the city of eloquence. Speeches in
the assembly determine war, peace, taxes, all state business of
importance; speeches before the courts condemn or acquit citizens and
subjects. Power is in the hands of the orators; the people follow
their counsels and often commit to them important public functions:
Cleon is appointed general; Demosthenes directs the war against

The orators have influence; they employ their talents in eloquence to
accuse their political enemies. Often they possess riches, for they
are paid for supporting one party or the other: Æschines is retained
by the king of Macedon; Demosthenes accepts fees from the king of

Some of the orators, instead of delivering their own orations, wrote
speeches for others. When an Athenian citizen had a case at court, he
did not desire, as we do, that an advocate plead his case for him; the
law required that each speak in person. He therefore sought an orator
and had him compose a speech which he learned by heart and recited
before the tribunal.

Other orators travelled through the cities of Greece speaking on
subjects which pleased their fancy. Sometimes they gave lectures, as
we should say.

The oldest orators spoke simply, limiting themselves to an account of
the facts without oratorical flourishes; on the platform they were
almost rigid without loud speaking or gesticulation. Pericles
delivered his orations with a calm air, so quietly, indeed, that no
fold of his mantle was disturbed. When he appeared at the tribune,
his head, according to custom, crowned with leaves, he might have been
taken, said the people, "for a god of Olympus." But the orators who
followed wished to move the public. They assumed an animated style,
pacing the tribune in a declamatory and agitated manner. The people
became accustomed to this form of eloquence. The first time that
Demosthenes came to the tribune the assembly shouted with laughter;
the orator could not enunciate, he carried himself ill. He disciplined
himself in declamation and gesture and became the favorite of the
people. Later when he was asked what was the first quality of the
orator, he replied, "Action, and the second, action, and the third,
action." Action, that is delivery, was more to the Greeks than the
sense of the discourse.

=The Sages.=--For some centuries there had been, especially among the
Greeks of Asia, men who observed and reflected on things. They were
called by a name which signifies at once wise men and scholars. They
busied themselves with physics, astronomy, natural history, for as yet
science was not separated from philosophy. Such were in the seventh
century the celebrated Seven Sages of Greece.

=The Sophists.=--About the time of Pericles there came to Athens men
who professed to teach wisdom. They gathered many pupils and charged
fees for their lessons. Ordinarily they attacked the religion,
customs, and institutions of Greek cities, showing that they were not
founded on reason. They concluded that men could not know anything
with certainty (which was quite true for their time), that men can
know nothing at all, and that nothing is true or false: "Nothing
exists," said one of them, "and if it did exist, we could not know
it." These professors of scepticism were called sophists. Some of them
were at the same time orators.

=Socrates and the Philosophers.=--Socrates, an old man of Athens,
undertook to combat the sophists. He was a poor man, ugly, and without
eloquence. He opened no school like the sophists but contented himself
with going about the city, conversing with those he met, and leading
them by the force of his questions to discover what he himself had in
mind. He sought especially the young men and gave them instruction and
counsel. Socrates made no pretensions as a scholar: "All my
knowledge," said he, "is to know that I know nothing." He would call
himself no longer a sage, like the others, but a philosopher, that is
to say, a lover of wisdom. He did not meditate on the nature of the
world nor on the sciences; man was his only interest. His motto was,
"Know thyself." He was before all a preacher of virtue.

As he always spoke of morals and religion, the Athenians took him for
a sophist.[82] In 399 he was brought before the court, accused "of not
worshipping the gods of the city, of introducing new gods, and of
corrupting the youth." He made no attempt to defend himself, and was
condemned to death. He was then seventy years old.

Xenophon, one of his disciples, wrote out his conversations and an
apology for him.[83] Another disciple, Plato, composed dialogues in
which Socrates is always the principal personage. Since this time
Socrates has been regarded as the "father of philosophy." Plato
himself was the head of a school (429-348); Aristotle (384-322), a
disciple of Plato, summarized in his books all the science of his
time. The philosophers that followed attached themselves to one or the
other of these two masters: the disciples of Plato called themselves
Academicians,[84] those of Aristotle, Peripatetics.[85]

=The Chorus.=--It was an ancient custom of the Greeks to dance in
their religious ceremonies. Around the altar dedicated to the god a
group of young men passed and repassed, assuming noble and expressive
attitudes, for the ancients danced with the whole body. Their dance,
very different from ours, was a sort of animated procession, something
like a solemn pantomime. Almost always this religious dance was
accompanied by chants in honor of the god. The group singing and
dancing at the same time was called the Chorus. All the cities had
their festival choruses in which the children of the noblest families
participated after long time of preparation. The god required the
service of a troop worthy of him.

=Tragedy and Comedy.=--In the level country about Athens the young men
celebrated in this manner each year religious dances in honor of
Dionysos, the god of the vintage. One of these dances was grave; it
represented the actions of the god. The leader of the chorus played
Dionysos, the chorus itself the satyrs, his companions. Little by
little they came to represent also the life of the other gods and the
ancient heroes. Then some one (the Greeks call him Thespis) conceived
the idea of setting up a stage on which the actor could play while the
chorus rested. The spectacle thus perfected was transferred to the
city near the black poplar tree in the market. Thus originated

The other dance was comic. The masked dancers chanted the praises of
Dionysos mingled with jeers addressed to the spectators or with
humorous reflections on the events of the day. The same was done for
the comic chorus as for the tragic chorus: actors were introduced, a
dialogue, all of a piece, and the spectacle was transferred to Athens.
This was the origin of Comedy. This is the reason that from this time
tragedy has been engaged with heroes, and comedy with every-day life.

Tragedy and comedy preserved some traces of their origin. Even when
they were represented in the theatre, they continued to be played
before the altar of the god. Even after the actors mounted on the
platform had become the most important personages of the spectacle,
the choir continued to dance and to chant around the altar. In the
comedies, like the masques in other days, sarcastic remarks on the
government came to be made; this was the Parabasis.

=The Theatre.=--That all the Athenians might be present at these
spectacles there was built on the side of the Acropolis the theatre of
Dionysos which could hold 30,000 spectators. Like all the Greek
theatres, it was open to heaven and was composed of tiers of rock
ranged in a half-circle about the orchestra where the chorus performed
and before the stage where the play was given.

Plays were produced only at the time of the festivals of the god, but
then they continued for several days in succession. They began in the
morning at sunrise and occupied all the time till torch-light with the
production of a series of three tragedies (a trilogy) followed by a
satirical drama. Each trilogy was the work of one author. Other
trilogies were presented on succeeding days, so that the spectacle was
a competition between poets, the public determining the victor. The
most celebrated of these competitors were Æschylus, Sophocles, and
Euripides. There were also contests in comedy, but there remain to us
only the works of one comic poet, Aristophanes.


=Greek Temples.=--In Greece the most beautiful edifices were
constructed to the honor of the gods, and when we speak of Greek
architecture it is their temples that we have in mind.

A Greek temple is not, like a Christian church, designed to receive
the faithful who come thither to pray. It is the palace[86] where the
god lives, represented by his idol, a palace which men feel under
compulsion to make splendid. The mass of the faithful do not enter the
interior of the temple; they remain without, surrounding the altar in
the open air.

At the centre of the temple is the "chamber" of the god, a mysterious
sanctuary without windows, dimly lighted from above.[87] On the
pavement rises the idol of wood, of marble, or of ivory, clad in gold
and adorned with garments and jewels. The statue is often of colossal
size; in the temple of Olympia Zeus is represented sitting and his
head almost touches the summit of the temple. "If the god should
rise," they said, "his head would shatter the roof." This sanctuary, a
sort of reliquary for the idol, is concealed on every side from the
eyes. To enter, it is necessary to pass through a porch formed by a
row of columns.

Behind the "chamber" is the "rear-chamber" in which are kept the
valuable property of the god--his riches,[88] and often the gold and
silver of the city. The temple is therefore storehouse, treasury, and

Rows of columns surround the building on four sides, like a second
wall protecting the god and his treasures. There are three orders of
columns which differ in base and capital, each bearing the name of the
people that invented it or most frequently used it. They are, in the
order of age, the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. The temple is
named from the style of the columns supporting it.

Above the columns, around the edifice are sculptured surfaces of
marble (the metopes) which alternate with plain blocks of marble (the
triglyphs). Metopes and triglyphs constitute the frieze.

The temple is surmounted with a triangular pediment adorned with

Greek temples were polychrome, that is to say, were painted in several
colors, yellow, blue, and red. For a long time the moderns refused to
believe this; it was thought that the Greeks possessed too sober taste
to add color to an edifice. But traces of painting have been
discovered on several temples, which cannot leave the matter in doubt.
It has at last been concluded, on reflection, that these bright colors
were to give a clearer setting to the lines.

=Characteristics of Greek Architecture.=--A Greek temple appears at
first a simple, bare edifice; it is only a long box of stone set upon
a rock; the façade is a square surmounted by a triangle. At first
glance one sees only straight lines and cylinders. But on nearer
inspection "it is discovered[89] that not a single one of these lines
is truly straight." The columns swell at the middle, vertical lines
are slightly inclined to the centre, and horizontal lines bulge a
little at the middle. And all this is so fine that exact measurements
are necessary to detect the artifice. Greek architects discovered
that, to produce a harmonious whole, it is necessary to avoid
geometrical lines which would appear stiff, and take account of
illusions in perspective. "The aim of the architect," says a Greek
writer, "is to invent processes for deluding the sight."

Greek artists wrought conscientiously for they worked for the gods.
And so their monuments are elaborated in all their parts, even in
those that are least in view, and are constructed so solidly that
they exist to this day if they have not been violently destroyed. The
Parthenon was still intact in the seventeenth century. An explosion of
gunpowder wrecked it.

The architecture of the Greeks was at once solid and elegant, simple
and scientific. Their temples have almost all disappeared; here and
there are a very few,[90] wholly useless, in ruins, with roofs fallen
in, often nothing left but rows of columns. And yet, even in this
state, they enrapture those who behold them.

=Sculpture.=--Among the Egyptians and the Assyrians sculpture was
hardly more than an accessory ornament of their edifices; the Greeks
made it the principal art. Their most renowned artists, Phidias,
Praxiteles, and Lysippus, were sculptors.

They executed bas-reliefs to adorn the walls of a temple, its façade
or its pediment. Of this style of work is the famous frieze of the
Panathenaic procession which was carved around the Parthenon,
representing young Athenian women on the day of the great festival of
the goddess.[91]

They sculptured statues for the most part, of which some represented
gods and served as idols; others represented athletes victorious in
the great games, and these were the recompense of his victory.

The most ancient statues of the Greeks are stiff and rude, quite
similar to the Assyrian sculptures. They are often colored. Little by
little they become graceful and elegant. The greatest works are those
of Phidias in the fifth century and of Praxiteles in the fourth. The
statues of the following centuries are more graceful, but less noble
and less powerful.

There were thousands of statues in Greece,[92] for every city had its
own, and the sculptors produced without cessation for five centuries.
Of all this multitude there remain to us hardly fifteen complete
statues. Not a single example of the masterpieces celebrated among the
Greeks has come down to us. Our most famous Greek statues are either
copies, like the Venus of Milo, or works of the period of the
decadence, like the Apollo of the Belvidere.[93] Still there remains
enough, uniting the fragments of statues and of bas-reliefs which are
continually being discovered,[94] to give us a general conception of
Greek sculpture.

Greek sculptors sought above everything else to represent the most
beautiful bodies in a calm and noble attitude. They had a thousand
occasions for viewing beautiful bodies of men in beautiful poses, at
the gymnasium, in the army, in the sacred dances and choruses. They
studied them and learned to reproduce them; no one has ever better
executed the human body.

Usually in a Greek statue the head is small, the face without emotion
and dull. The Greeks did not seek, as we do, the expression of the
face; they strove for beauty of line and did not sacrifice the limbs
for the head. In a Greek statue it is the whole body that is

=Pottery.=--The Greeks came to make pottery a real art. They called it
Ceramics (the potter's art), and this name is still preserved. Pottery
had not the same esteem in Greece as the other arts, but for us it has
the great advantage of being better known than the others. While
temples and statues fell into ruin, the achievements of Greek potters
are preserved in the tombs. This is where they are found today.
Already more than 20,000 specimens have been collected in all the
museums of Europe. They are of two sorts:

  1. Painted vases, with black or red figures, of all sizes and
  every form;

  2. Statuettes of baked earth; hardly known twenty years ago, they
  have now attained almost to celebrity since the discovery of the
  charming figurines of Tanagra in Bœotia. The most of them are
  little idols, but some represent children or women.

=Painting.=--There were illustrious painters in Greece--Zeuxis,
Parrhasius, and Apelles. We know little of them beyond some anecdotes,
often doubtful, and some descriptions of pictures. To obtain an
impression of Greek painting we are limited to the frescoes found in
the houses of Pompeii, an Italian city of the first century of our
era. This amounts to the same as saying we know nothing of it.


[81] The moderns have called this time the Age of Pericles, because
Pericles was then governing and was the friend of many of these artists;
but the ancients never employed the phrase.

[82] See Aristophanes' "Clouds."

[83] The "Memorabilia" and "Apologia."

[84] Because Plato had lectured in the gardens of a certain Academus.

[85] Because Aristotle had given instruction while moving about. [Or
rather from a favorite walk (Peripatus) in the Lyceum.--ED.]

[86] The Greek word for temple signifies "dwelling."

[87] But not by a square opening in the roof as formerly supposed.--ED.
See Gardner, "Ancient Athens," N.Y., 1902, p. 268.

[88] The Parthenon contained vases of gold and silver, a crown of gold,
shields, helmets, swords, serpents of gold, an ivory table, eighteen
couches, and quivers of ivory.

[89] Boutmy, "Philosophie de l'Architecture en Grèce."

[90] The most noted are the Parthenon at Athens and the temple of
Poseidon at Pæstum, in south Italy.

[91] Knights and other subjects were also shown.--ED.

[92] Even in the second century after the Romans had pillaged Greece to
adorn their palaces, there were many thousands of statues in the Greek

[93] It is not certain that the Apollo Belvidere was not a Roman copy.

[94] In the ruins of Olympia has been found a statue of Hermes, the work
of Praxiteles.




=Decadence of the Persian Empire.=--The Greeks, engaged in strife,
ceased to attack the Great King; they even received their orders from
him. But the Persian empire still continued to become enfeebled. The
satraps no longer obeyed the government; each had his court, his
treasure, his army, made war according to his fancy, and in short,
became a little king in his province. When the Great King desired to
remove a satrap, he had scarcely any way of doing it except by
assassinating him. The Persians themselves were no longer that nation
before which all the Asiatic peoples were wont to tremble. Xenophon, a
Greek captain, who had been in their pay, describes them as follows:
"They recline on tapestries wearing gloves and furs. The nobles, for
the sake of the pay, transform their porters, their bakers, and cooks
into knights--even the valets who served them at table, dressed them
or perfumed them. And so, although their armies were large, they were
of no service, as is apparent from the fact that their enemies
traversed the empire more freely than their friends. They no longer
dared to fight. The infantry as formerly was equipped with buckler,
sword, and axe, but they had no courage to use them. The drivers of
chariots before facing the enemy basely allowed themselves to be
overthrown at once or leaped down from the cars, so that these being
no longer under control injured the Persians more than the enemy. For
the rest, the Persians do not disguise their military weakness, they
concede their inferiority and do not dare to take the field except
there are Greeks in their army. They have for their maxim 'never to
fight Greeks without Greek auxiliaries on their side.'"

=Expedition of the Ten Thousand.=--This weakness was very apparent
when in 400 Cyrus, brother of the Great King Artaxerxes, marched
against him to secure his throne. There were then some thousands of
adventurers or Greek exiles who hired themselves as mercenaries. Cyrus
retained ten thousand of them. Xenophon, one of their number, has
written the story of their expedition.

This army crossed the whole of Asia even to the Euphrates without
resistance from any one.[95] They at last came to battle near Babylon.
The Greeks according to their habit broke into a run, raising the
war-cry. The barbarians took flight before the Greeks had come even
within bow-shot. The Greeks followed in pursuit urging one another to
keep ranks.

When the war-chariots attacked them, they opened their ranks and let
them through. Not a Greek received the least stroke with the exception
of one only who was wounded with an arrow. Cyrus was killed; his army
disbanded without fighting, and the Greeks remained alone in the heart
of a hostile country threatened by a large army. And yet the Persians
did not dare to attack them, but treacherously killed their five
generals, twenty captains, and two hundred soldiers who had come to
conclude a truce.

The friendless mercenaries elected new chiefs, burned their tents and
their chariots, and began their retreat. They broke into the rugged
mountains of Armenia, and notwithstanding famine, snow, and the arrows
of the natives who did not wish to let them pass, they came to the
Black Sea and returned to Greece after traversing the whole Persian
empire. At their return (399) their number amounted still to 8,000.

=Agesilaus.=--Three years after, Agesilaus, king of Sparta, with a
small army invaded the rich country of Asia Minor, Lydia, and Phrygia.
He fought the satraps and was about to invade Asia when the Spartans
ordered his return to fight the armies of Thebes and Athens. Agesilaus
was the first of the Greeks to dream of conquering Persia. He was
distressed to see the Greeks fighting among themselves. When they
announced to him the victory at Corinth where but eight Spartans had
perished and 10,000 of the enemy, instead of rejoicing he sighed and
said, "Alas, unhappy Greece, to have lost enough men to have
subjugated all the barbarians!" He refused one day to destroy a Greek
city. "If we exterminate all the Greeks who fail of their duty," said
he, "where shall we find the men to vanquish the barbarians?" This
feeling was rare at that time. In relating these words of Agesilaus
Xenophon, his biographer, exclaims, "Who else regarded it as a
misfortune to conquer when he was making war on peoples of his own


=Macedon.=--Sparta and Athens, exhausted by a century of wars, had
abandoned the contest against the king of Persia. A new people resumed
it and brought it to an end; these were the Macedonians. They were a
very rude people, crude, similar to the ancient Dorians, a people of
shepherds and soldiers. They lived far to the north of Greece in two
great valleys that opened to the sea. The Greeks had little regard for
them, rating them as half barbarians; but since the kings of Macedon
called themselves sons of Herakles they had been permitted to run
their horses in the races of the Olympian games. This gave them
standing as Greeks.

=Philip of Macedon.=--These kings ruling in the interior, remote from
the sea, had had but little part in the wars of the Greeks. But in 359
B.C. Philip ascended the throne of Macedon, a man young, active, bold,
and ambitious. Philip had three aims:

  1. To develop a strong army;

  2. To conquer all the ports on the coast of Macedon;

  3. To force all the other Greeks to unite under his command
  against the Persians.

He consumed twenty-four years in fulfilling these purposes and
succeeded in all. The Greeks let him alone, often even aided him; in
every city he bribed partisans who spoke in his favor. "No fortress is
impregnable," said he, "if only one can introduce within it a mule
laden with gold." And by these means he took one after another all the
cities of northern Greece.

=Demosthenes.=--The most illustrious opponent of Philip was the orator
Demosthenes. The son of an armorer, he was left an orphan at the age
of seven, and his guardians had embezzled a part of his fortune. As
soon as he gained his majority he entered a case against them and
compelled them to restore the property. He studied the orations of
Isæus and the history of Thucydides which he knew by heart. But when
he spoke at the public tribune he was received with shouts of
laughter; his voice was too feeble and his breath too short. For
several years he labored to discipline his voice. It is said that he
shut himself up for months with head half shaved that he might not be
tempted to go out, that he declaimed with pebbles in his mouth, and on
the sea-shore, in order that his voice might rise above the uproar of
the crowd. When he reappeared on the tribune, he was master of his
voice, and, as he preserved the habit of carefully preparing all his
orations, he became the most finished and most potent orator of

The party that then governed Athens, whose chief was Phocion, wished
to maintain the peace: Athens had neither soldiers nor money enough to
withstand the king of Macedon. "I should counsel you to make war,"
said Phocion, "when you are ready for it." Demosthenes, however,
misunderstood Philip, whom he regarded as a barbarian; he placed
himself at the service of the party that wished to make war on him and
employed all his eloquence to move the Athenians from their policy of
peace. For fifteen years he seized every occasion to incite them to
war; many of his speeches have no other object than an attack on
Philip. He himself called these Philippics, and there are three of
them. (The name Olynthiacs has been applied to the orations delivered
with the purpose of enlisting the Athenians in the aid of Olynthus
when it was besieged by Philip.) The first Philippic is in 352. "When,
then, O Athenians, will you be about your duty? Will you always roam
about the public places asking one of another: What is the news? Ah!
How can there be anything newer than the sight of a Macedonian
conquering Athens and dominating Greece? I say, then, that you ought
to equip fifty galleys and resolve, if necessary, to man them
yourselves. Do not talk to me of an army of 10,000 or of 20,000 aliens
that exists only on paper. I would have only citizen soldiers."

In the third Philippic (341) Demosthenes calls to the minds of the
Athenians the progress made by Philip, thanks to their inaction. "When
the Greeks once abused their power to oppress others, all Greece rose
to prevent this injustice; and yet today we suffer an unworthy
Macedonian, a barbarian of a hated race, to destroy Greek cities,
celebrate the Pythian games, or have them celebrated by his slaves.
And the Greeks look on without doing anything, just as one sees hail
falling while he prays that it may not touch him. You let increase his
power without taking a step to stop it, each regarding it as so much
time gained when he is destroying another, instead of planning and
working for the safety of Greece, when everybody knows that the
disaster will end with the inclusion of the most remote."

At last, when Philip had taken Elatea on the borders of Bœotia, the
Athenians, on the advice of Demosthenes, determined to make war and to
send envoys to Thebes. Demosthenes was at the head of the embassy; he
met at Thebes an envoy come from Philip; the Thebans hesitated.
Demosthenes besought them to bury the old enmities and to think only
of the safety of Greece, to defend its honor and its history. He
persuaded them to an alliance with Athens and to undertake the war. A
battle was fought at Chæronea in Bœotia, Demosthenes, then at the age
of forty-eight, serving as a private hostile. But the army of the
Athenians and Thebans, levied in haste, was not equal to the veterans
of Philip and was thrown into rout.

=The Macedonian Supremacy.=--Philip, victorious at Chæronea, placed a
garrison in Thebes and offered peace to Athens. He then entered the
Peloponnesus and was received as a liberator among the peoples whom
Sparta had oppressed. From this time he met with no resistance. He
came to Corinth and assembled delegates from all the Greek states
(337)[96] except Sparta.

Here Philip published his project of leading a Greek army to the
invasion of Persia. The delegates approved the proposition and made a
general confederation of all the Greek states. Each city was to govern
itself and to live at peace with its neighbors. A general council was
initiated to prevent wars, civil dissensions, proscriptions, and

This confederacy made an alliance with the king of Macedon and
conferred on him the command of all the Greek troops and navies. Every
Greek was prohibited making war on Philip on pain of banishment.

=Alexander.=--Philip of Macedon was assassinated in 336. His son
Alexander was then twenty years old. Like all the Greeks of good
family he was accustomed to athletic exercises, a vigorous fighter, an
excellent horseman (he alone had been able to master Bucephalus, his
war-horse). But at the same time he was informed in politics, in
eloquence, and in natural history, having had as teacher from his
thirteenth to his seventeenth year Aristotle, the greatest scholar of
Greece. He read the Iliad with avidity, called this the guide to the
military art, and desired to imitate its heroes. He was truly born to
conquer, for he loved to fight and was ambitious to distinguish
himself. His father said to him, "Macedon is too small to contain

=The Phalanx.=--Philip left a powerful instrument of conquest, the
Macedonian army, the best that Greece had seen. It comprised the
phalanx of infantry and a corps of cavalry.

The phalanx of Macedonians was formed of 16,000 men ranged with 1,000
in front and 16 men deep. Each had a sarissa, a spear about twenty
feet in length. On the field of battle the Macedonians, instead of
marching on the enemy facing all in the same direction, held
themselves in position and presented their pikes to the enemy on all
sides, those in the rear couching their spears above the heads of the
men of the forward ranks. The phalanx resembled "a monstrous beast
bristling with iron," against which the enemy was to throw itself.
While the phalanx guarded the field of battle, Alexander charged the
enemy at the head of his cavalry. This Macedonian cavalry was a
distinguished body formed of young nobles.

=Departure of Alexander.=--Alexander started in the spring of 334 with
30,000 infantry (the greater part of these Macedonians) and 4,500
knights; he carried only seventy talents (less than eighty thousand
dollars) and supplies for forty days. He had to combat not only the
crowd of ill-armed peoples such as Xerxes had brought together, but an
army of 50,000 Greeks enrolled in the service of the Great King under
a competent general, Memnon of Rhodes. These Greeks might have
withstood the invasion of Alexander, but Memnon died and his army
dispersed. Alexander, delivered from his only dangerous opponent,
conquered the Persian empire in two years.

=Victories of Granicus, Issus, and Arbela.=--Three victories gave the
empire to Alexander. In Asia Minor he overthrew the Persian troops
stationed behind the river Granicus (May, 333). At Issus, in the
ravines of Cilicia, he routed King Darius and his army of 600,000 men
(November, 333). At Arbela, near the Tigris, he scattered and
massacred a still more numerous army (331).

This was a repetition of the Median wars. The Persian army was ill
equipped and knew nothing of manœuvring; it was embarrassed with its
mass of soldiers, valets, and baggage. The picked troops alone gave
battle, the rest were scattered and massacred. Between the battles the
conquest was only a triumphal progress. Nobody resisted (except the
city of Tyre, commercial rival of the Greeks); what cared the peoples
of the empire whether they were subject to Darius or Alexander? Each
victory gave Alexander the whole of the country: the Granicus opened
Asia Minor, Issus Syria and Egypt, Arbela the rest of the empire.

=Death of Alexander.=--Master now of the Persian empire Alexander
regarded himself as the heir of the Great King. He assumed Persian
dress, adopted the ceremonies of the Persian court and compelled his
Greek generals to prostrate themselves before him according to Persian
usage. He married a woman of the land and united eighty of his
officers to daughters of the Persian nobles. He aimed to extend his
empire to the farthest limits of the ancient kings and advanced even
to India, warring with the combative natives. After his return with
his army to Babylon (324), he died at the age of thirty-three,
succumbing to a fever of brief duration (323).

=Projects of Alexander.=--It is very difficult to know exactly what
Alexander's purposes were. Did he conquer for the mere pleasure of it?
Or did he have a plan? Did he wish to fuse into one all the peoples of
his empire? Was he following the example already set him by Persia? Or
did he, perhaps, imitate the Great King simply for vain-glory? And so
of his intentions we know nothing. But his acts had great results. He
founded seventy cities--many Alexandrias in Egypt, in Tartary, and
even in India. He distributed to his subjects the treasures that had
been uselessly hoarded in the chests of the Great King. He stimulated
Greek scholars to study the plants, the animals, and the geography of
Asia. But what is of special importance, he prepared the peoples of
the Orient to receive the language and customs of the Greeks. This is
why the title "Great" has been assigned to Alexander.


=Dissolution of the Empire of Alexander.=--Alexander had united under
one master all the ancient world from the Adriatic to the Indus, from
Egypt to the Caucasus. This vast empire endured only while he lived.
Soon after his death his generals disputed as to who should succeed
him; they made war on one another for twenty years, at first under the
pretext of supporting some one of the house of Alexander--his brother,
his son, his mother, his sisters or one of his wives, later openly in
their own names.

Each had on his side a part of the Macedonian army or some of the
Greek mercenary soldiers. The Greeks were thus contending among
themselves who should possess Asia. The inhabitants were indifferent
in these wars as they had been in the strife between the Greeks and
the Persians. When the war ceased, there remained but three generals;
from the empire of Alexander each of them had carved for himself a
great kingdom: Ptolemy had Egypt, Seleucus Syria, Lysimachus
Macedonia. Other smaller kingdoms were already separated or detached
themselves later: in Europe Epirus; in Asia Minor, Pontus, Bithynia,
Galatia, Cappadocia, Pergamos; in Persia, Bactriana and Parthia. Thus
the empire of Alexander was dismembered.

=The Hellenistic Kingdoms.=--In these new kingdoms the king was a
Greek; accustomed to speak Greek, to adore the Greek gods, and to live
in Greek fashion, he preserved his language, his religion, and his
customs. His subjects were Asiatics, that is to say, barbarians; but
he sought to maintain a Greek court about him; he recruited his army
with Greek mercenaries, his administrative officers were Greeks, he
invited to his court Greek poets, scholars, and artists.

Already in the time of the Persian kings there were many Greeks in the
empire as colonists, merchants, and especially soldiers. The Greek
kings attracted still more of these. They came in such numbers that at
last the natives adopted the costume, the religion, the manners, and
even the language of the Greeks. The Orient ceased to be Asiatic, and
became Hellenic. The Romans found here in the first century B.C. only
peoples like the Greeks and who spoke Greek.[97]

=Alexandria.=--The Greek kings of Egypt, descendants of Ptolemy,[98]
accepted the title of Pharaoh held by the ancient kings, wore the
diadem, and, like the earlier sovereigns, had themselves worshipped
as children of the Sun. But they surrounded themselves with Greeks
and founded their capital on the edge of the sea in a Greek city,
Alexandria, a new city established by the order of Alexander.

Built on a simple plan, Alexandria was more regular than other Greek
cities. The streets intersected at right angles; a great highway 100
feet broad and three and one-half miles in length traversed the whole
length of the city. It was bordered with great monuments--the Stadium
where the public games were presented, the Gymnasium, the Museum, and
the Arsineum. The harbor was enclosed with a dike nearly a mile long
which united the mainland to the island of Pharos. At the very
extremity of this island a tower of marble was erected, on the summit
of which was maintained a fire always burning to guide the mariners
who wished to enter the port. Alexandria superseded the Phœnician
cities and became the great port of the entire world.

=The Museum.=--The Museum was an immense edifice of marble connected
with the royal palace. The kings of Egypt purposed to make of it a
great scientific institution.

The Museum contained a great library.[99] The chief librarian had a
commission to buy all the books that he could find. Every book that
entered Egypt was brought to the library; copyists transcribed the
manuscript and a copy was rendered the owner to indemnify him. Thus
they collected 400,000 volumes, an unheard-of number before the
invention of printing. Until then the manuscripts of celebrated books
were scarce, always in danger of being lost; now it was known where to
find them. In the Museum were also a botanical and zoölogical garden,
an astronomical observatory, a dissecting room established
notwithstanding the prejudices of the Egyptians, and even a chemical

The Museum provided lodgings for scholars, mathematicians,
astronomers, physicians, and grammarians. They were supported at the
expense of the state; often to show his esteem for them the king dined
with them. These scholars held conferences and gave lectures. Auditors
came from all parts of the Greek world; it was to Alexandria that the
youth were sent for instruction. In the city were nearly 14,000

The Museum was at once a library, an academy, and a school--something
like a university. This sort of institution, common enough among us,
was before that time completely unheard of. Alexandria, thanks to its
Museum, became the rendezvous for all the Orientals--Greeks,
Egyptians, Jews, and Syrians; each brought there his religion, his
philosophy, his science, and all were mingled together. Alexandria
became and remained for several centuries the scientific and
philosophical capital of the world.

=Pergamum.=--The kingdom of Pergamum in Asia Minor was small and weak.
But Pergamum, its capital, was, like Alexandria, a city of artists and
of letters. The sculptors of Pergamum constituted a celebrated school
in the third century before our era.[101] Pergamum, like Alexandria,
possessed a great library where King Attalus had assembled all the
manuscripts of the ancient authors.

It was at Pergamum that, to replace the papyrus on which down to that
time they used to write, they invented the art of preparing skins.
This new paper of Pergamum was the parchment on which the manuscripts
of antiquity have been preserved.


[95] An episode told by Xenophon shows what fear the Greeks inspired.
One day, to make a display before the queen of Cilicia, Cyrus had his
Greeks drawn up in battle array. "They all had their brazen helmets,
their tunics of purple, their gleaming shields and greaves. The trumpet
sounded, and the soldiers, with arms in action, began the charge;
hastening their steps and raising the war-cry, they broke into a run.
The barbarians were terrified; the Cilician queen fled from her chariot,
the merchants of the market abandoning their goods took to flight, and
the Greeks returned with laughter to their tents."

[96] There were two assemblies in Corinth--the first in, 338, the second
in 337.--ED.

[97] The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles composed in Asia Minor
were written in Greek.

[98] They were called Lagidæ from the father of Ptolemy I.

[99] The library of the Museum was burnt during the siege of Alexandria
by Cæsar. But it had a successor in the Serapeum which contained 300,000
volumes. This is said to have been burnt in the seventh century by the
Arabs. [The tale of the destruction of the library under orders of Omar
is doubtful.--ED.]

[100] King Ptolemy Philadelphus who had great fear of death passed many
years searching for an elixir of life.

[101] There still remain to us some of the statues executed by the
orders of King Attalus to commemorate his victory over the Gauls of




=Rich and Poor.=--In almost all the Greek cities the domains, the
shops of trade, the merchant ships, in short, all the sources of
financial profit were in the hands of certain rich families. The other
families, that is to say, the majority of the citizens,[102] had
neither lands nor money. What, then, could a poor citizen do to gain a
livelihood? Hire himself as a farmer, an artisan, or a sailor? But the
proprietors already had their estates, their workshops, their
merchantmen manned by slaves who served them much more cheaply than
free laborers, for they fed them ill and did not pay them. Could he
work on his own account? But money was very scarce; he could not
borrow, since interest was at the rate of ten per cent. Then, too,
custom did not permit a citizen to become an artisan. "Trade," said
the philosophers, "injures the body, enfeebles the soul and leaves no
leisure to engage in public affairs." "And so," says Aristotle, "a
well-constituted city ought not to receive the artisan into
citizenship." The citizens in Greece constituted a noble class whose
only honorable functions, like the nobles of ancient France, were to
govern and go to war; working with the hands was degrading. Thus by
the competition of slaves and their exalted situation the greater part
of the citizens were reduced to extreme misery.

=Social Strife.=--The poor governed the cities and had no means of
living. The idea occurred to them to despoil the rich, and the latter,
to resist them, organized associations. Then every Greek city was
divided into two parties: the rich, called the minority, and the poor,
called the majority or the people. Rich and poor hated one another and
fought one another. When the poor got the upper hand, they exiled the
rich and confiscated their goods; often they even adopted these two
radical measures:

  1. The abolition of debts;

  2. A new partition of lands.

The rich, when they returned to power, exiled the poor. In many cities
they took this oath among themselves: "I swear always to be an enemy
to the people and to do them all the injury I can."

No means were found of reconciling the two parties: the rich could not
persuade themselves to surrender their property; the poor were
unwilling to die of hunger. According to Aristotle all revolutions
have their origin in the distribution of wealth. "Every civil war,"
says Polybius, "is initiated to subvert wealth."

They fought savagely, as is always the case between neighbors. "At
Miletus the poor were at first predominant and forced the rich to flee
the city. But afterwards, regretting that they had not killed them
all, they took the children of the exiles, assembled them in barns
and had them trodden under the feet of cattle. The rich reëntered the
city and became masters of it. In their turn they seized the children
of the poor, coated them with pitch, and burned them alive."

=Democracy and Oligarchy.=--Each of the two parties--rich and
poor--had its favorite form of government and set it in operation when
the party held the city. The party of the rich was the Oligarchy which
gave the government into the hands of a few people. That of the poor
was the Democracy which gave the power to an assembly of the people.
Each of the two parties maintained an understanding with the similar
party in the other cities. Thus were formed two leagues which divided
all the Greek cities: the league of the rich, or Oligarchy, the league
of the poor, or Democracy. This régime began during the Peloponnesian
War. Athens supported the democratic party, Sparta the oligarchic. The
cities in which the poor had the sovereignty allied themselves with
Athens; the cities where the rich governed, with Sparta. Thus at Samos
when the poor gained supremacy they slew two hundred of the rich,
exiled four hundred of them, and confiscated their lands and houses.
Samos then adopted a democratic government and allied itself with
Athens. The Spartan army came to besiege Samos, bringing with it the
rich exiles of Samos who wished to return to the city by force. The
city was captured, set up an oligarchy, and joined the league of

=The Tyrants.=--At length, the poor perceived that the democratic form
of government did not give them strength enough to maintain the
contest. In most of the cities they consented to receive a chief. This
chief was called Tyrant. He governed as master without obeying any
law, condemning to death, and confiscating property at will.
Mercenaries defended him against his enemies. The following anecdote
represents the policy of the tyrants: "Periander, tyrant of Corinth,
sent one day to Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, to ask what conduct he
ought to follow in order to govern with safety. Thrasybulus led the
envoy into the field end walked with him through the wheat, striking
off with his staff all heads that were higher than the others. He sent
off the envoy without further advice." The messenger took him for a
fool, but Periander understood: Thrasybulus was counselling him to
slay the principal citizens.

Everywhere the rich were killed by the tyrant and their goods
confiscated; often the wealth was distributed among the poor. This is
why the populace always sustained the tyrant.

There were tyrants in Greece from the sixth century; some, like
Pisistratus, Polycrates, and Pittacus, were respected for their
wisdom. At that time every man was called tyrant who exercised
absolute power outside the limits of the constitution; it was not a
title of reproach.

But when the tyrants made incessant warfare on the rich they became
sanguinary and so were detested. Their situation is depicted in the
famous story of Damocles. This Damocles said to Dionysius, tyrant of
Syracuse, "You are the happiest of men." "I will show you the delight
of being a tyrant," replied Dionysius. He had Damocles served with a
sumptuous feast and ordered his servants to show the guest the same
honors as to himself. During the feast Damocles raised his eyes and
perceived a sword suspended to the ceiling held only by a horse hair,
and hanging directly over his head. The comparison was a striking
one--the tyrant's life hung only by a thread. The rich, his enemies,
watched for an opportunity to cut it, for it was regarded as
praiseworthy to assassinate a tyrant. This danger irritated him and
made him suspicious and cruel. He dared not trust anybody, believed
himself secure only after the massacre of all his enemies, and
condemned the citizens to death on the slightest suspicion. Thus the
name tyrant became a synonym of injustice.

=Exhaustion of Greece.=--The civil wars between rich and poor
continued for nearly three centuries (430-150 B.C.). Many citizens
were massacred, a greater number exiled. These exiles wandered about
in poverty. Knowing no trade but that of a soldier, they entered as
mercenaries into the armies of Sparta, Athens, the Great King, the
Persian satraps--in short, of anybody who would hire them. There were
50,000 Greeks in the service of Darius against Alexander. It was
seldom that such men returned to their own country.

Thus the cities lost their people. At the same time families became
smaller, many men preferring not to marry or raise children, others
having but one or two. "Is not this," says Polybius, "the root of the
evil, that of these two children war or sickness removes one, then the
home becomes deserted and the city enfeebled?" A time came when there
were no longer enough citizens in the towns to resist a conqueror.


=The Greek Leagues.=--The most discerning of the Greeks commenced to
see the danger during the second war of Rome with Carthage. In an
assembly held at Naupactus in 207 B.C. a Greek orator said, "Turn your
eyes to the Occident; the Romans and Carthaginians are disputing
something else than the possession of Italy. A cloud is forming on
that coast, it increases, and impends over Greece."[103]

The Greek cities at this time grouped themselves in two leagues
hostile to each other. Two little peoples, the Ætolians and Achæans,
had the direction of them; they commanded the armies and determined on
peace and war, just as Athens and Sparta once did. Each league
supported in the Greek states one of the two political parties--the
Ætolian League the democratic, the Achæan League[104] the

=The Roman Allies.=--Neither of the two leagues was strong enough to
unite all the Greek states. The Romans then appeared. Philip, the king
of Macedon (197), and later Antiochus,[105] the king of Syria
(193-169), made war on them. Both were beaten. Rome destroyed their
armies and made them surrender their fleets.

Perseus, the new king of Macedon, was conquered, made prisoner, and
his kingdom overthrown (167).[106] The Greeks made no effort to unite
for the common defence; rich and poor persisted in their strife, and
each hated the other more than the foreigner. The democratic party
allied itself with Macedon, the oligarchical party called in the
Romans.[107] While the Theban democrats were fighting in the army of
Philip, the Theban oligarchs opened the town to the Roman general. At
Rhodes all were condemned to death who had acted or spoken against
Rome. Even among the Achæans, Callicrates, a partisan of the Romans,
prepared a list of a thousand citizens whom he accused of having been
favorable to Perseus; these suspects were sent to Rome where they were
held twenty years without trial.

=The Last Fight.=--The Romans were not at first introduced as enemies.
In 197 the consul Flamininus, after conquering the king of Macedon,
betook himself to the Isthmus of Corinth and before the Greeks
assembled to celebrate the games, proclaimed that "all the Greek
peoples were free." The crowd in transports of joy approached
Flamininus to thank him; they wished to salute their liberator, see
his form, touch his hand; crowns and garlands were cast upon him. The
pressure upon him was so great that he was nearly suffocated.

The Romans seeing themselves in control soon wished to command. The
rich freely recognized their sovereignty; Rome served them by
shattering the party of the poor. This endured for forty years. At
last in 147, Rome being engaged with Carthage, the democratic party
gained the mastery in Greece and declared war on the Romans. A part of
the Greeks were panic-stricken; many came before the Roman soldiers
denouncing their compatriots and themselves; others betook themselves
to a safe distance from the cities; some hurled themselves into wells
or over precipices. The leaders of the opposition confiscated the
property of the rich, abolished debts, and gave arms to the slaves. It
was a desperate contest. Once overcome, the Achæans reassembled an
army and marched to the combat with their wives and children. The
general Diœus shut himself in his house with his whole family and set
fire to the building. Corinth had been the centre of the resistance;
the Romans entered it, massacred the men, and sold the women and
children as slaves. The city full of masterpieces of art was pillaged
and burnt; pictures of the great painters were thrown into the dust,
Roman soldiers lying on them and playing at dice.


=Influence of Greece on Rome.=--The Romans at the time of their
conquest of the Greeks were still only soldiers, peasants, and
merchants; they had no statues, monuments, literature, science, or
philosophy. All this was found among the Greeks. Rome sought to
imitate these, as the Assyrian conquerors imitated the Chaldeans, as
the Persians did the Assyrians. The Romans kept their costume, tongue,
and religion, and never confused these with those of the Greeks. But
thousands of Greek scholars and artists came to establish themselves
in Rome and to open schools of literature and of eloquence. Later it
was the fashion for the youth of the great Roman families to go as
students to the schools of Athens and Alexandria. Thus the arts and
science of the Greeks were gradually introduced into Rome. "Vanquished
Greece overcame her savage conqueror," says Horace, the Roman poet;
"she brought the arts to uncultured Latium."

=Architecture.=--The Romans had a national architecture. But they
borrowed the column from the Greeks and often imitated their
buildings. Many Roman temples resemble a Greek temple.

A wealthy Roman's house is composed ordinarily of two parts: the
first, the ancient Roman house; the other is only a Greek house added
to the first.

=Sculpture.=--The Greeks had thousands of statues, in temples, squares
of the city, gymnasia, and in their dwellings. The Romans regarded
themselves as the owners of everything that had belonged to the
vanquished people. Their generals, therefore, removed a great number
of statues, transporting them to the temples and the porticos of Rome.
In the triumph of Æmilius Paullus, victor over the king of Macedon
(Perseus), a notable spectacle was two hundred and fifty cars full of
statues and paintings.

Soon the Romans became accustomed to adorn with statues their
theatres, council-halls, and private villas; every great noble wished
to have some of them and gave commissions for them to Greek artists.
Thus a Roman school of sculpture was developed which continued to
imitate ancient Greek models. And so it was Greek sculpture, a little
blunted and disfigured, which was spread over all the world subject to
the Romans.

=Literature.=--The oldest Latin writer was a Greek, Livius Andronicus,
a freedman, a schoolmaster, and later an actor. The first works in
Latin were translations from the Greek. Livius Andronicus had
translated the Odyssey and several tragedies. The Roman people took
pleasure in Greek pieces and would have no others. Even the Roman
authors who wrote for the theatre did nothing but translate or arrange
Greek tragedies and comedies. Thus the celebrated works of Plautus and
of Terence are imitations of the comedies of Menander and of Diphilus,
now lost to us.

The Romans imitated also the Greek historians. For a long time it was
the fashion to write history, even Roman history, in Greek.

The only great Roman poets declare themselves pupils of the Greeks.
Lucretius writes only to expound the philosophy of Epicurus; Catullus
imitates the poets of Alexander; Vergil, Theocritus and Homer; Horace
translates the odes of the Greek lyrics.

=Epicureans and Stoics.=--The Romans had a practical and literal
spirit, very indifferent to pure science and metaphysics. They took
interest in Greek philosophy only so far as they believed it had a
bearing on morals.

Epicureans and Stoics were two sects of Greek philosophers. The
Epicureans maintained that pleasure is the supreme good, not sensual
pleasure, but the calm and reasonable pleasure of the temperate man;
happiness consists in the quiet enjoyment of a peaceful life,
surrounded with friends and without concern for imaginary goods. For
the Stoics the supreme good is virtue, which consists in conducting
one's self according to reason, with a view to the good of the whole
universe. Riches, honor, health, beauty, all the goods of earth are
nothing for the wise man; even if one torture him, he remains happy in
the possession of the true good.

The Romans took sides for one or the other philosophy, usually without
thoroughly comprehending either. Those who passed for Epicureans spent
their lives in eating and drinking and even compared themselves to
swine. Those calling themselves Stoics, like Cato and Brutus, affected
a rude language, a solemn demeanor and emphasized the evils of life.
Nevertheless these doctrines, spreading gradually, aided in destroying
certain prejudices of the Romans. Epicureans and Stoics were in
harmony on two points: they disdained the ancient religion and taught
that all men are equal, slaves or citizens, Greeks or barbarians.
Their Roman disciples renounced in their school certain old
superstitions, and learned to show themselves less cruel to their
slaves, less insolent toward other peoples.

The conquest of Greece by the Romans gave the arts, letters, and
morals of the Greeks currency in the west, just as the conquest of the
Persian empire by the Greeks had carried their language, customs, and
religion into the Orient.


[102] In almost all the Greek cities there was no middle class. In this
regard Athens with its thirteen thousand small proprietors is a
remarkable exception.

[103] Polybius, v., 104.

[104] The Achæan league had illustrious leaders. In the third century,
Aratus, who for twenty-seven years (251-224) traversed Greece, expelling
tyrants, recalling the rich and returning to them their property and the
government; in the second century Philopœmen, who fought the tyrants of
Sparta and died by poison.

[105] There were two kings of Syria by the name of Antiochus, between
193 and 169.--ED.

[106] The decisive battle (Pydna) was fought in 168. Perseus walked in
the triumph of Paullus the next year.--ED.

[107] The party policies of the Greeks of this period were hardly so
clearly drawn as the above would seem to indicate. Thus the Achæan
League allied itself with Macedon against the Ætolians and against
Sparta. The Ætolians leagued with the Romans against Macedon.--ED.





=Etruria.=--The word Italy never signified for the ancients the same
as for us: the Po Valley (Piedmont and Lombardy) was a part of Gaul.
The frontier country at the north was Tuscany. The Etruscans who dwelt
there have left it their name (Tusci).

Etruria was a country at once warm and humid; the atmosphere hung
heavily over the inhabitants. The region on the shore of the sea where
the Etruscans had most of their cities is the famous Maremma, a
wonderfully fertile area, covered with beautiful forests, but where
the water having no outlet forms marshes that poison the air. "In the
Maremma," says an Italian proverb, "one gets rich in a year, but dies
in six months."

=The Etruscan People.=--The Etruscans were for the ancients, and are
still for us, a mysterious people. They had no resemblance to their
neighbor's, and doubtless they came from a distance--from Germany,
Asia, or from Egypt; all these opinions have been maintained, but no
one of them is demonstrated.

We are ignorant even of the language that they spoke. Their alphabet
resembles that of the Greeks, but the Etruscan inscriptions present
only proper names, and these are too short to furnish a key to the

The Etruscans established twelve cities in Tuscany, united in a
confederation, each with its own fortress, its king, and its
government. They had colonies on both coasts, twelve in Campania in
the vicinity of Naples, and twelve more in the valley of the Po.

=Etruscan Tombs.=--There remain to us from the Etruscans only city
walls and tombs.

When an Etruscan tomb is opened, one perceives a porch supported by
columns and behind this chambers with couches, and bodies laid on
these. Round about are ornaments of gold, ivory, and amber; purple
cloths, utensils, and especially large painted vases. On the walls are
paintings of combats, games, banquets, and fantastic scenes.

=Industry and Commerce.=--The Etruscans knew how to turn their fertile
soil to some account, but they were for the most part mariners and
traders. Like the Phœnicians they made long journeys to seek the ivory
of India, amber from the Baltic, tin, the Phœnician purple, Egyptian
jewels adorned with hieroglyphics, and even ostrich eggs. All these
objects are found in their tombs. Their navies sailed to the south as
far as Sicily. The Greeks hated them and called them "savage
Tyrrhenians" or "Etruscan pirates." At this time every mariner on
occasion was a pirate, and the Etruscans were especially interested to
exclude the Greeks so that they might keep for themselves the trade of
the west coast of Italy.

The famous Etruscan vases, which have been taken from the tombs by
the thousand to enrich our museums, were imitations of Greek vases,
but manufactured by the Etruscans. They represent scenes from Greek
mythology, especially the combats about Troy; the human figures are in
red on a black ground.

=Religion.=--The Etruscans were a sombre people. Their gods were
stern, often malevolent. The two most exalted gods were "the veiled
deities," of whom we know nothing. Below these were the gods who
hurled the lightning and these form a council of twelve gods. Under
the earth, in the abode of the dead, were gods of evil omen. These are
represented on the Etruscan vases. The king of the lower world,
Mantus, a winged genius, sits with crown on his head and torch in his
hand. Other demons armed with sword or club with serpents in their
hands receive the souls of the dead; the principal of these under the
name Charun (the Charon of the Greeks), an old man of hideous form,
bears a heavy mallet to strike his victims. The souls of the dead (the
Manes) issue from the lower world three days in the year, wandering
about the earth, terrifying the living and doing them evil. Human
victims are offered to appease their lust for blood. The famous
gladiatorial combats which the Romans adopted had their origin in
bloody sacrifices in honor of the dead.

=The Augurs.=--The Etruscans used to say that a little evil spirit
named Tages issued one day from a furrow and revealed to the people
assembled the secrets of divination. The Etruscan priests who called
themselves haruspices or augurs had rules for predicting the future.
They observed the entrails of victims, the thunderbolt, but
especially the flight of birds (whence their name "augurs"). The augur
at first with face turned to the north, holding a crooked staff in his
hand, describes a line which cuts the heavens in two sections; the
part to the right is favorable, to the left unfavorable. A second line
cutting the first at right angles, and others parallel to these form
in the heavens a square which was called the Temple. The augur
regarded the birds that flew in this square: some like the eagle have
a lucky significance; others like the owl presage evil.

The Etruscans predicted the future destiny of their own people. They
are the only people of antiquity who did not expect that they were to
persist forever. Etruria, they said, was to endure ten centuries.
These centuries were not of exactly one hundred years each, but
certain signs marked the end of each period. In the year 44, the year
of the death of Cæsar, a comet appeared; an Etruscan haruspex stated
to the Romans in an assembly of the people that this comet announced
the end of the ninth century and the beginning of the tenth, the last
of the Etruscan people.

=Influence of the Etruscans.=--The Romans, a semi-barbarous people,
always imitated their more civilized neighbors, the Etruscans. They
drew from them especially the forms of their religion: the costume of
the priests and of the magistrates, the religious rites, and the art
of divining the future from birds (the auspices). When the Romans
found a city, they observe the Etruscan rites: the founder traces a
square enclosure with a plough with share of bronze, drawn by a white
bull and a white heifer. Men follow the founder and carefully cast
the clods of earth from the side of the furrow. The whole ditch left
by the plough is sacred and is not to be crossed. To allow entrance to
the enclosure, it is necessary that the founder break the ditch at
certain points, and he does this by lifting the plough and carrying it
an instant; the interval made in this manner remains profane and it
becomes the gate by which one enters. Rome itself was founded
according to these rites. It was called Roma Quadrata, and it was said
that the founder had killed his brother to punish him for crossing the
sacred furrow. Later the limits of Roman colonies and of camps, and
even the bounds of domains were always traced in conformity with
religious rules and with geometrical lines.

The Roman religion was half Etruscan. The Fathers of the church were
right, therefore, in calling Etruria the "Mother of Superstitions."


=Umbrians and Oscans.=--In the rugged mountains of the Apennines, to
the east and south of the Roman plain, resided numerous tribes. These
peoples did not bear the same name and did not constitute a single
nation. They were Umbrians, Sabines, Volscians, Æquians, Hernicans,
Marsians, and Samnites. But all spoke almost the same language,
worshipped the same gods, and had similar customs. Like the Persians,
Hindoos, and Greeks, they were of Aryan race; secluded in their
mountains, remote from strangers, they remained like the Aryans of the
ancient period; they lived in groups with their herds scattered in the
plains; they had no villages nor cities. Fortresses erected on the
mountains defended them in time of war. They were brave martial
people, of simple and substantial manners. They later constituted the
strength of the Roman armies. A proverb ran: "Who could vanquish the
Marsians without the Marsians?"

=The Sacred Spring.=--In the midst of a pressing danger, the Sabines,
according to a legend, believing their gods to be angry, decided to
appease their displeasure by sacrificing to the god of war and of
death everything that was born during a certain spring. This sacrifice
was called a "Sacred Spring." All the children born in this year
belonged to the god. Arrived at the age of manhood, they left the
country and journeyed abroad. These exiles formed several groups, each
taking for guide one of the sacred animals of Italy, a woodpecker, a
wolf, or a bull, and followed it as a messenger of the god. Where the
animal halted the band settled itself. Many peoples of Italy, it was
said, had originated in these colonies of emigrants and still
preserved the name of the animal which had led their ancestors. Such
were, the Hirpines (people of the wolf), the Picentines (people of the
woodpecker), and the Samnites whose capital was named Bovianum (city
of the ox).

=The Samnites.=--The Samnites were the most powerful of all. Settled
in the Abruzzi, a paradise for brigands, they descended into the
fertile plains of Naples and of Apulia and put Etruscan and Greek
towns to ransom.

The Samnites fought against the Romans for two centuries; although
always beaten because they had no central administration and no
discipline they yet reopened the war. Their last fight was heroic. An
old man brought to the chiefs of the army a sacred book written on
linen. They formed in the interior of the camp a wall of linen, raised
an altar in the midst of it, and around this stood soldiers with
unsheathed swords. One by one the bravest of the warriors entered the
precinct. They swore not to flee before the enemy and to kill the
fugitives. Those who took the oath, to the number of 16,000, donned
linen garments. This was the "linen legion"; it engaged in battle, and
was slaughtered to the last man.

=The Greeks of Italy.=--All south Italy was covered with Greek
colonies, some, like Sybaris, Croton, and Tarentum, very populous and
powerful. But the Greeks did not venture on the Roman coast for fear
of the Etruscans. Except the city of Cumæ the Greek colonies down to
the third century had almost no relations with the Romans.

=The Latins.=--The Latins dwelt in the country of hills and ravines to
the south of the Tiber, called today the Roman Campagna. They were a
small people, their territory comprising no more than one hundred
square miles. They were of the same race as the other Italians,
similar to them in language, religion, and manners, but slightly more
advanced in civilization. They cultivated the soil and built strong
cities. They separated themselves into little independent peoples.
Each people had its little territory, its city, and its government.
This miniature state was called a city. Thirty Latin cities had formed
among themselves a religious association analogous to the Greek
amphictyonies. Every year they celebrated a common festival, when
their delegates, assembled at Alba, sacrificed a bull in honor of
their common god, the Latin Jupiter.

=Rome.=--On the frontier of Latium, on the borders of Etruria, in the
marshy plain studded with hills that followed the Tiber, rose the city
of Rome, the centre of the Roman people scattered in the plain. The
land was malarial and dreary; but the situation was good. The Tiber
served as a barrier against the enemy from Etruria, the hills were
fortresses. The sea was but six leagues away, far enough to escape
fear of pirates, and near enough to permit the transportation of
merchandise. The port of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber was a suburb
of Rome, as Piræus was of Athens. The locality was therefore agreeable
to a people of soldiers and merchants.

=Roma Quadrata and the Capitol.=--Of the first centuries of Rome we
know only some legends, and the Romans knew no more than we. Rome,
they said, was a little square town, limited to the Palatine Hill. The
founder whom they called Romulus had according to the Etruscan forms
traced the circuit with the plough. Every year, on the 21st of April,
the Romans celebrated the anniversary of these ceremonies: a
procession marched about the primitive enclosure and a priest fixed a
nail in a temple in commemoration of it. It was calculated that the
founding had occurred in the year 754[108] B.C.

On the other hills facing the Palatine other small cities rose. A band
of Sabine mountaineers established themselves on the Capitoline, a
group of Etruscan adventurers[109] on Mount Cœlius; perhaps there
were still other peoples. All these small settlements ended with
uniting with Rome on the Palatine. A new wall was built to include the
seven hills. The Capitol was then for Rome what the Acropolis was for
Athens: here rose the temples of the three protecting deities of the
city--Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and the citadel that contained the
treasure and the archives of the people. In laying the foundations, it
was said there was found a human head recently cleft from the body;
this head was a presage that Rome should become the head of the world.


[108] Rather 753 B.C.--ED.

[109] There were three tribes in old Rome, the Ramnes on the Palatine,
the Tities or Sabines on the Capitoline, and the Luceres; but whether
the last were Etruscans or Ramnians or neither is uncertain.--ED.



=The Roman Gods.=--The Romans, like the Greeks, believed that
everything that occurs in the world was the work of a deity. But in
place of a God who directs the whole universe, they had a deity for
every phenomenon which they saw. There was a divinity to make the seed
sprout, another to protect the bounds of the fields, another to guard
the fruits. Each had its name, its sex, and its functions.

The principal gods were Jupiter, god of the heaven; Janus, the
two-faced god (the deity who opens); Mars, god of war; Mercury, god of
trade; Vulcan, god of fire; Neptune, god of the sea; Ceres, goddess of
grains, the Earth, the Moon, Juno, and Minerva.

Below these were secondary deities. Some personified a quality--for
example, Youth, Concord, Health, Peace. Others presided over a certain
act in life: when the infant came into the world there were a god to
teach him to speak, a goddess to teach him to drink, another charged
with knitting his bones, two to accompany him to school, two to take
him home again. In short, there was a veritable legion of minor
special deities.

Other gods protected a city, a certain section of a mountain, a
forest; every river, every fountain, every tree had its little local
divinity. It is this that makes an old woman in a Latin romance
exclaim, "Our country is so full of gods that it is much easier to
find a god than a man."

=Form of the Gods.=--The Romans, unlike the Greeks, did not give their
gods a precise form. For a long time there was no idol in Rome; they
worshipped Jupiter under the form of a rock, Mars under that of a
sword. It was later that they imitated the wooden statues of the
Etruscans and the marbles of the Greeks. Perhaps they did not at first
conceive of the gods as having human forms.

Unlike the Greeks they did not imagine marriage and kinship among
their gods; they had no legends to tell of these relationships; they
knew of no Olympus where the gods met together. The Latin language had
a very significant word for designating the gods: they were called
Manifestations. They were the manifestations of a mysterious divine
power. This is why they were formless, without family relationship,
without legends. Everything that was known of the gods was that each
controlled a natural force and could benefit or injure men.

=Principles of the Roman Religion.=--The Roman was no lover of these
pale and frigid abstractions; he even seemed to fear them. When he
invoked them, he covered his face, perhaps that he might not see them.
But he thought that they were potent and that they would render him
service, if he knew how to please them. "The man whom the gods favor,"
says Plautus, "they cause to gain wealth."

The Roman conceives of religion as an exchange of good offices; the
worshipper brings offerings and homage; the god in return confers some
advantage.[110] If after having made a present to the god the man
receives nothing, he considers himself cheated. During the illness of
Germanicus the people offered sacrifices for his restoration. When it
was announced that Germanicus was dead, the people in their anger
overturned the altars and cast the statues of the gods into the
streets, because they had not done what was expected of them. And so
in our day the Italian peasant abuses the saint who does not give him
what he asks.

=Worship.=--Worship, therefore, consists in doing those things that
please the gods. They are presented with fruits, milk, wine, or animal
sacrifices. Sometimes the statues of the gods are brought from their
temples, laid on couches, and served with a feast. As in Greece,
magnificent homes (temples[111]) were built for them, and diversions
were arranged for them.

=Formalism.=--But it is not enough that one make a costly offering to
the gods. The Roman gods are punctilious as to form; they require that
all the acts of worship, the sacrifices, games, dedications, shall
proceed according to the ancient rules (the rites). When one desires
to offer a victim to Jupiter, one must select a white beast, sprinkle
salted meal on its head, and strike it with an axe; one must stand
erect with hands raised to heaven, the abode of Jupiter, and
pronounce a sacred formula. If any part of the ceremonial fails, the
sacrifice is of no avail; the god, it is thought, will have no
pleasure in it. A magistrate may be celebrating games in honor of the
protecting deities of Rome; "if he alters a word in his formula, if a
flute-player rests, if the actor stops short, the games do not conform
to the rites; they must be recommenced."[112]

And so the prudent man secures the assistance of two priests, one to
pronounce the formula, the other to follow the ritual accurately.

Every year the Arval Brothers, a college of priests, assemble in a
temple in the environs of Rome where they perform a sacred dance and
recite a prayer; this is written in an archaic language which no one
any longer comprehends, so much so that at the beginning of the
ceremony a written formulary must be given to each of the priests. And
yet, ever since the time that they ceased to comprehend it, they
continued to chant it without change. This is because the Romans hold
before all to the letter of the law in dealing with their gods. This
exactness in performing the prescribed ritual is for them their
religion. And so they regarded themselves as "the most religious of
men." "On all other points we are the inferiors or only the equals of
other peoples, but we excel all in religion, that is, the worship we
pay the gods."

=Prayer.=--When the Roman prays, it is not to lift his soul and feel
himself in communion with a god, but to ask of him a service. He is
concerned, then, first to find the god who can render it. "It is as
important," says Varro, "to know what god can aid us in a special case
as to know where the carpenter and baker live." Thus one must address
Ceres if one wants rich harvests, Mercury to make a fortune, Neptune
to have a happy voyage. Then the suppliant dons the proper garments,
for the gods love neatness; he brings an offering, for the gods love
not that one should come with empty hands. Then, erect, the head
veiled, the worshipper invokes the god. But he does not know the exact
name of the god, for, say the Romans, "no one knows the true names of
the gods." He says, then, for example, "Jupiter, greatest and best, or
whatever is the name that thou preferrest...." Then he proposes his
request, taking care to use always the clearest expressions so that
the god may make no mistake. If a libation is offered, one says,
"Receive the homage of this wine that I am pouring"; for the god might
think that one would present other wine and keep this back. The
prayers, too, are long, verbose, and full of repetitions.

=Omens.=--The Romans, like the Greeks, believe in omens. The gods,
they think, know the future, and they send signs that permit men to
divine them. Before undertaking any act, the Roman consults the gods.
The general about to engage in battle examines the entrails of
victims; the magistrates before holding an assembly regards the
passing birds (called "taking the auspices"). If the signs are
favorable, the gods are thought to approve the enterprise; if not,
they are against it. The gods often send a sign that had not been
requested. Every unexpected phenomenon is the presage of an event. A
comet appeared before the death of Cæsar and was thought to have
announced it.

When the assembly of the people deliberates and it thunders, it is
because Jupiter does not wish that anything shall be decided on that
day and the assembly must dissolve. The most insignificant fact may be
interpreted as a sign--a flash of lightning, a word overheard, a rat
crossing the road, a diviner met on the way. And so when Marcellus had
determined on an enterprise, he had himself carried in a closed litter
that he might be sure of not seeing anything which could impose itself
on him as a portent.

These were not the superstitions of the populace; the republic
supported six augurs charged with predicting the future. It carefully
preserved a collection of prophecies, the Sibylline Books. It had
sacred chickens guarded by priests. No public act--assembly, election,
deliberation--could be done without the taking of the auspices, that
is to say, observation of the flight of birds. In the year 195 it was
learned that lightning had struck a temple of Jupiter and that it had
hit a hair on the head of the statue of Hercules; a governor wrote
that a chicken with three feet had been hatched; the senate assembled
to discuss these portents.

=The Priests.=--The priest in Rome, as in Greece, is not charged with
the care of souls, he exists only for the service of the god. He
guards his temple, administers his property, and performs the
ceremonies in his honor. Thus the guild of the Salii (the leapers)
watches over a shield which fell from heaven, they said, and which
was adored as an idol; every year they perform a dance in arms, and
this is their sole function.

The augurs predict the future. The pontiffs superintend the ceremonies
of worship; they regulate the calendar and fix the festivals to be
celebrated on the various days of the year.

Neither the priests, the augurs, nor the pontiffs form a separate
class. They are chosen from among the great families and continue to
exercise all the functions of state--judging, presiding over
assemblies, and commanding armies. This is the reason that the Roman
priests, potent as they were, did not constitute, as in Egypt, a
sacerdotal caste. At Rome it was a state religion, but not a
government by the priests.

=The Dead.=--The Romans, like the Hindoos and the Greeks, believed
that the soul survived the body. If care were taken to bury the body
according to the proper rites, the soul went to the lower world and
became a god; otherwise the soul could not enter the abode of the
dead, but returned to the earth terrifying the living and tormenting
them until suitable burial was performed. Pliny the Younger[113]
relates the story of a ghost which haunted a house and terrified to
death all the inhabitants of the dwelling; a philosopher who was brave
enough to follow it discovered at the place where the spectre stopped
some bones which had not been buried in the proper manner. The shade
of the Emperor Caligula wandered in the gardens of the palace; it was
necessary to disinter the body and bury it anew in regular form.

=Cult of the Dead.=--It was of importance, therefore, to both the
living and the dead that the rites should be observed. The family of
the deceased erected a funeral pile, burned the body on it, and placed
the ashes in an urn which was deposited in the tomb, a little chapel
dedicated to the Manes,[114] _i.e._, the souls that had become gods.
On fixed days of the year the relatives came to the tomb to bring
food; doubtless they believed that the soul was in need of
nourishment, for wine and milk were poured on the earth, flesh of
victims was burned, and vessels of milk and cakes were left behind.
These funeral ceremonies were perpetuated for an indefinite period; a
family could not abandon the souls of its ancestors, but continued to
maintain their tomb and the funeral feasts. In return, these souls
which had become gods loved and protected their posterity. Each
family, therefore, had its guardian deities which they called Lares.

=Cult of the Hearth.=--Each family had a hearth, also, that it adored.
For the Romans, as for the Hindoos, fire was a god and the hearth an
altar. The flame was to be maintained day and night, and offerings
made on the hearth of oil, fat, wine, and incense; the fire then
became brilliant and rose higher as if nourished by the offering.

Before beginning his meal the Roman thanked the god of the hearth,
gave him a part of the food, and poured out for him a little wine
(this was the libation). Even the sceptical Horace supped with his
slaves before the hearth and offered libation and prayer.

Every Roman family had in its house a sanctuary where were to be found
the Lares, the souls of the ancestors, and the altar of the hearth.
Rome also had its sacred hearth, called Vesta, an ancient word
signifying the hearth itself. Four virgins of the noblest families,
the Vestals, were charged with keeping the hearth, for it was
necessary that the flame should never be extinguished, and the care of
it could be confided only to pure beings. If a Vestal broke her vow,
she was buried alive in a cave, for she had committed sacrilege and
had endangered the whole Roman people.


=Religion of the Family.=--All the members of a family render worship
to the same ancestors and unite about the same hearth. They have
therefore the same gods, and these are their peculiar possession. The
sanctuary where the Lares[115] were kept was concealed in the house
and no stranger was to approach it. Thus the Roman family was a little
church; it had its religion and its worship to which no others than
its members had access. The ancient family was very different from the
modern, having its basis in the principles of religion.

=Marriage.=--The first rule of this religion is that one should be the
issue of a regular marriage if one is to have the right of adoring the
ancestors of the family. Roman marriage, therefore, is at the start a
religious ceremony. The father of the bride gives her away outside the
house when a procession conducts her to the house of the groom
chanting an ancient sacred refrain, "Hymen, O Hymen!" The bride is
then led before the altar of the husband where water and fire are
presented, and there in the presence of the gods of the family the
bride and groom divide between them a cake of meal. Marriage at this
period was called confarreatio (communion through the cake). Later
another form of marriage was invented. A relative of the bride in the
presence of witnesses sells her to the husband who declares that he
buys her for his wife. This is marriage by sale (coemptio).

For the Romans as for the Greeks marriage is a religious duty;
religion ordains that the family should not become extinct. The Roman,
therefore, declares when he marries that he takes his wife to
perpetuate the family through their children. A noble Roman who
sincerely loved his wife repudiated her because she brought him no

=The Roman Woman.=--The Roman woman is never free. As a young girl,
she belongs to her father who chooses her husband for her; married,
she comes under the power of her husband--the jurisconsults say she is
under his "manus," _i.e._, she is in the same position as his
daughter. The woman always has a master who has the right of life and
death over her. And yet, she is never treated like a slave. She is the
equal in dignity of her husband; she is called the mother of the
family (materfamilias) just as her husband is called the father of the
family (paterfamilias). She is the mistress in the house, as he is the
master. She gives orders to the slaves whom she charges with all the
heavy tasks--the grinding of the grain, the making of bread, and the
cooking. She sits in the seat of honor (the atrium), spins and weaves,
apportions work to the slaves, watches the children, and directs the
house. She is not excluded from association with the men, like the
Greek woman; she eats at the table with her husband, receives
visitors, goes into town to dinner, appears at the public ceremonies,
at the theatre, and even at the courts. And still she is ordinarily
uncultured; the Romans do not care to instruct their daughters; the
quality which they most admire in woman is gravity, and on her tomb
they write by way of eulogy, "She kept the house and spun linen."

=The Children.=--The Roman child belongs to the father like a piece of
property. The father has the right of exposing him in the street. If
he accepts the child, the latter is brought up at first in the house.
Girls remain here until marriage; they spin and weave under the
supervision of their mother. The boys walk to the fields with their
father and exercise themselves in arms. The Romans are not an artistic
people; they require no more of their children than that they know how
to read, write, and reckon; neither music nor poetry is taught them.
They are brought up to be sober, silent, modest in their demeanor, and

=The Father of the Family.=--The master of the house was called by the
Romans the father of the family. The paterfamilias is at once the
proprietor of the domain, the priest of the cult of the ancestors, and
the sovereign of the family. He reigns as master in his house. He has
the right of repudiating his wife, of rejecting his children, of
selling them, and marrying them at his pleasure. He can take for
himself all that belongs to them, everything that his wife brings to
him, and everything that his children gain; for neither the wife nor
the children may be proprietors. Finally he has over them all[116] the
"right of life and death," that is to say, he is their only judge. If
they commit crime, it is not the magistrate who punishes them, but the
father of the family who condemns them. One day (186 B.C.) the Roman
Senate decreed the penalty of death for all those who had participated
in the orgies of the cult of Bacchus. The men were executed, but for
all the women who were discovered among the guilty, it was necessary
that the Senate should address itself to the fathers of families, and
it was these who condemned to death their wives or their daughters.
"The husband," said the elder Cato, "is the judge of the wife, he can
do with her as he will; if she has committed any fault, he chastises
her; if she has drunk wine, he condemns her; if she has been
unfaithful to him, he kills her." When Catiline conspired against the
Senate, a senator perceived that his own son had taken part in the
conspiracy; he had him arrested, judged him, and condemned him to

The power of the father of the family endured as long as life; the son
was never freed from it. Even if he became consul, he remained subject
to the power of his father. When the father died, the sons became in
turn fathers of families. As for the wife, she could never attain
freedom; she fell under the power of the heir of her husband; she
could, then, become subject to her own son.


[110] A legend represents King Numa debating with Jupiter the terms of a
contract: "You will sacrifice a head to me?" says Jupiter. "Very well,"
says Numa, "the head of an onion that I shall take in my garden." "No,"
replies Jupiter, "but I want something that pertains to a man." "We will
give you then the tip of the hair." "But it must be alive." "Then we
will add to this a little fish." Jupiter laughed and consented to this.

[111] In Rome, as in Greece, the temple was called a house.

[112] The remark is Cicero's.

[113] Pliny, Epistles, vii, 27. See another story in Plautus's

[114] The letters D.M. found on Roman tombs are the initials of Dei

[115] They were called the Penates, that is to say, the gods of the

[116] In the language of the Roman law the wife, children, and slaves
"are not their own masters."




=The Kings.=--Tradition relates that Rome for two centuries and a half
was governed by kings. They told not only the names of these kings and
the date of their death, but the life of each.

They said there were seven kings. Romulus, the first king, came from
the Latin city of Alba, founded the hamlet on the Palatine, and killed
his brother who committed the sacrilege of leaping over the sacred
furrow encircling the settlement; he then allied himself with Tatius,
a Sabine king. (A legend of later origin added that he had founded at
the foot of the hill-city a quarter surrounded with a palisade where
he received all the adventurers who wished to come to him.)

Numa Pompilius, the second king, was a Sabine. It was he who organized
the Roman religion, taking counsel with a goddess, the nymph Egeria
who dwelt in a wood.

The third king, Tullus Hostilius, was a warrior. He made war on Alba,
the capital of the Latin confederation, took and destroyed it.

Ancus Martius, the fourth king, was the grandson of Numa and built the
wooden bridge over the Tiber and founded the port of Ostia through
which commerce passed up the river to Rome.

The last three kings were Etruscans. Tarquin the Elder enlarged the
territory of Rome and introduced religious ceremonies from Etruria.
Servius Tullius organized the Roman army, admitting all the citizens
without distinction of birth and separating them into centuries
(companies) according to wealth. The last king, Tarquinius Superbus,
oppressed the great families of Rome; some of the nobles conspired
against him and succeeded in expelling him. Since this time there were
no longer any kings. The Roman state, or as they said, the
commonwealth (res publica) was governed by the consuls, two
magistrates elected each year.

It is impossible to know how much truth there is in this tradition,
for it took shape a long time after the Romans began to write their
history, and it includes so many legends that we cannot accept it in
its entirety.

Attempt has been made to explain these names of kings as symbols of a
race or class. The early history of Rome has been reconstructed in a
variety of ways, but the greater the labor applied to it, the less the
agreement among students with regard to it.

=The Roman People.=--About the fifth century before Christ there were
in Rome two classes of people, the patricians and the plebeians. The
patricians were the descendants of the old families who had lived from
remote antiquity on the little territory in the vicinity of the city;
they alone had the right to appear in the assembly of the people, to
assist in religious ceremonies, and to hold office. Their ancestors
had founded the Roman state, or as they called it, the Roman city
(Civitas), and these had bequeathed it to them. And so they were the
true people of Rome.

=The Plebs.=--The plebeians were descended from the foreigners[117]
established in the city, and especially from the conquered peoples of
the neighboring cities; for Rome had gradually subjected all the Latin
cities and had forcibly annexed their inhabitants. Subjects and yet
aliens, they obeyed the government of Rome, but they could have no
part in it. They did not possess the Roman religion and could not
participate in its ceremonies. They had not even the right of
intermarrying with the patrician families. They were called the plebs
(the multitude) and were not considered a part of the Roman people. In
the old prayers we still find this formula: "For the welfare of the
people and the plebs of Rome."

=Strife between Patricians and Plebeians.=--The people and the plebs
were like two distinct peoples, one of masters, the other of subjects.
And yet the plebeians were much like the patricians. Soldiers, like
them, they served in the army at their own cost and suffered death in
the service of the Roman people; peasants like them, they lived on
their domains. Many of the plebeians were rich and of ancient family.
The only difference was that they were descended from a great family
of some conquered Latin city, while the patricians were the scions of
an old family in the conquering city.

=Tribunes of the Plebs.=--One day, says the legend, the plebeians,
finding themselves mistreated, withdrew under arms to a mountain,
determined to break with the Roman people. The patricians in
consternation sent to them Menenius Agrippa who told them the fable of
the members and the stomach. The plebs consented to return but they
made a treaty with the people. It was agreed that their chiefs (they
called them tribunes of the plebs) should have the right of protecting
the plebeians against the magistrates of the people and of prohibiting
any measure against them. All that was necessary was to pronounce the
word "Veto" (I forbid); this single word stopped everything; for
religion prevented attacks on a tribune under penalty of being devoted
to the infernal gods.

=Triumph of the Plebs.=--The strife between the two orders beginning
at the end of the fifth century continued for two centuries (494 B.C.
to about 300 B.C.).[118]

The plebeians, much more numerous and wealthy, ended by gaining the
victory. They first secured the adoption of laws common to the two
orders; afterward that marriage should be permitted between the
patricians and the plebeians. The hardest task was to obtain the high
magistracies, or, as it was said, "secure the honors." Religious
scruple ordained, indeed, that before one could be named as a
magistrate, the gods must be asked for their approval of the choice.
This was determined by inspecting the flight of birds ("taking the
auspices"). But the old Roman religion allowed the auspices to be
taken only on the name of a patrician; it was not believed that the
gods could accept a plebeian magistrate. But there were great plebeian
families who were bent on being the equals of the patrician families
in dignity, as they were in riches and in importance. They gradually
forced the patricians to open to them all the offices, beginning with
the consulship, and ending with the great pontifical office (Pontifex
Maximus). The first plebeian consul was named in 366 B.C., the first
plebeian pontifex maximus in 302 B.C.[119] Patricians and plebeians
then coalesced and henceforth formed but one people.


=The Right of Citizenship.=--The _people_ in Rome, as in Greece, is
not the whole of the inhabitants, but the body of citizens. Not every
man who lives in the territory is a citizen, but only he who has the
right of citizenship. The citizen has numerous privileges:

  1. He alone is a member of the body politic; he alone has the
  right of voting in the assemblies of the Roman people, of serving
  in the army, of being present at the religious ceremonials at
  Rome, of being elected a Roman magistrate. These are what were
  called public rights.

  2. The citizen alone is protected by the Roman law; he only has
  the right of marrying legally, of becoming the father of a family,
  that is to say, of being master of his wife and his children, of
  making his will, of buying or selling. These were the private

Those who were not citizens were not only excluded from the army and
the assembly, but they could not marry, could not possess the absolute
power of the father, could not hold property legally, could not invoke
the Roman law, nor demand justice at a Roman tribunal. Thus the
citizens constituted an aristocracy amidst the other inhabitants of
the city. But they were not equal among themselves; there were class
differences, or, as the Romans said, ranks.

=The Nobles.=--In the first rank are the nobles. A citizen is noble
when one of his ancestors has held a magistracy, for the magisterial
office in Rome is an honor, it ennobles the occupant and also his

When a citizen becomes ædile, prætor, or consul, he receives a
purple-bordered toga, a sort of throne (the curule chair), and the
right of having an image made of himself. These images are statuettes,
at first in wax, later in silver. They are placed in the atrium, the
sanctuary of the house, near the hearth and the gods of the family;
there they stand in niches like idols, venerated by posterity. When
any one of the family dies, the images are brought forth and carried
in the funeral procession, and a relative pronounces the oration for
the dead. It is these images that ennoble a family that preserves
them. The more images there are in a family, the nobler it is. The
Romans spoke of those who were "noble by one image" and those who were
"noble by many images."

The noble families of Rome were very few (they would not amount to
300), for the magistracies which conferred nobility were usually given
to men who were already noble.

=The Knights.=--Below the nobles were the knights. They were the rich
who were not noble. Their fortune as inscribed on the registers of the
treasury must amount to at least 400,000[120] sesterces. They were
merchants, bankers, and contractors; they did not govern, but they
grew rich. At the theatre they had places reserved for them behind the

If a knight were elected to a magistracy, the nobles called him a "new
man" and his son became noble.

=The Plebs.=--Those who were neither nobles nor knights formed the
mass of the people, the plebs. The majority of them were peasants,
cultivating a little plat in Latium or in the Sabine country. They
were the descendants of the Latins or the Italians who were subjugated
by the Romans. Cato the Elder in his book on Agriculture gives us an
idea of their manners: "Our ancestors, when they wished to eulogize a
man, said 'a good workman,' 'a good farmer'; this encomium seemed the
greatest of all."[121]

Hardened to work, eager for the harvest, steady and economical, these
laborers constituted the strength of the Roman armies. For a long time
they formed the assembly too, and dictated the elections. The nobles
who wished to be elected magistrates came to the parade-ground to
grasp the hand of these peasants ("prensare manus," was the common
expression). A candidate, finding the hand of a laborer callous,
ventured to ask him, "Is it because you walk on your hands?" He was a
noble of great family, but he was not elected.

=The Freedmen.=--The last of all the citizens are the freedmen, once
slaves, or the sons of slaves. The taint of their origin remains on
them; they are not admitted to service in the Roman army and they vote
after all the rest.


=The Comitia.=--The government of Rome called itself a republic
(Respublica), that is to say, a thing of the people. The body of
citizens called the people was regarded as absolute master in the
state. It is this body that elects the magistrates, votes on peace and
war, and that makes the laws. "The law," say the jurisconsults, "is
what the Roman people ordains." At Rome, as in Greece, the people do
not appoint deputies, they pass on the business itself. Even after
more than 500,000 men scattered over all Italy were admitted into the
citizenship, the citizens had to go in person to Rome to exercise
their rights. The people, therefore, meet at but one place; the
assembly is called the Comitia.

A magistrate convokes the people and presides over the body. Sometimes
the people are convoked by the blast of the trumpet and come to the
parade-ground (the Campus Martius), ranging themselves by companies
under their standards. This is the Comitia by centuries. Sometimes
they assemble in the market-place (the forum) and separate themselves
into thirty-five groups, called tribes. Each tribe in turn enters an
enclosed space where it does its voting. This is the Comitia by
tribes. The magistrate who convokes the assembly indicates the
business on which the suffrages are to be taken, and when the assembly
has voted, it dissolves. The people are sovereign, but accustomed to
obey their chiefs.

=The Magistrates.=--Every year the people elect officials to govern
them and to them they delegate absolute power. These are called
magistrates (those who are masters). Lictors march before them bearing
a bundle of rods and an axe, emblems of the magisterial powers of
chastising and condemning to death. The magistrate has at once the
functions of presiding over the popular assembly and the senate, of
sitting in court, and of commanding the army; he is master everywhere.
He convokes and dissolves the assembly at will, he alone renders
judgment, he does with the soldiers as he pleases, putting them to
death without even taking counsel with his officers. In a war against
the Latins Manlius, the Roman general, had forbidden the soldiers
leaving camp: his son, provoked by one of the enemy, went forth and
killed him; Manlius had him arrested and executed him immediately.

According to the Roman expression, the magistrate has the power of a
king; but this power is brief and divided. The magistrate is elected
for but one year and he has a colleague who has the same power as
himself. There are at once in Rome two consuls who govern the people
and command the armies, and several prætors to serve as subordinate
governors or commanders and to pronounce judgment. There are other
magistrates, besides--two censors, four ædiles to supervise the
public ways and the markets, ten tribunes of the plebs, and quæstors
to care for the state treasure.

=The Censors.=--The highest of all the magistrates are the censors.
They are charged with taking the census every five years, that is to
say, the enumeration of the Roman people. All the citizens appear
before them to declare under oath their name, the number of their
children and their slaves, the amount of their fortune; all this is
inscribed on the registers. It is their duty, too, to draw up the list
of the senators, of the knights, and of the citizens, assigning to
each his proper rank in the city. They are charged as a result with
making the lustrum, a great ceremony of purification which occurs
every five years.[122]

On that day all the citizens are assembled on the Campus Martius
arranged in order of battle; thrice there are led around the assembly
three expiatory victims, a bull, a ram, and a swine; these are killed
and their blood sprinkled on the people; the city is purified and
reconciled with the gods.

The censors are the masters of the registration and they rank each as
they please; they may degrade a senator by striking him from the
senate-list, a knight by not registering him among the knights, and a
citizen by not placing his name on the registers of the tribes. It is
for them an easy means of punishing those whom they regard at fault
and of reaching those whom the law does not condemn. They have been
known to degrade citizens for poor tillage of the soil and for having
too costly an equipage, a senator because he possessed ten pounds of
silver, another for having repudiated his wife. It is this overweening
power that the Romans call the supervision of morals. It makes the
censors the masters of the city.

=The Senate.=--The Senate is composed of about 300 persons appointed
by the censor. But the censor does not appoint at random; he chooses
only rich citizens respected and of high family, the majority of them
former magistrates. Almost always he appoints those who are already
members of the Senate, so that ordinarily one remains a senator for
life. The Senate is an assembly of the principal men of Rome, hence
its authority. As soon as business is presented, one of the
magistrates convokes the senators in a temple, lays the question
before them, and then asks "what they think concerning this matter."
The senators reply one by one, following the order of dignity. This is
what they call "consulting the Senate," and the judgment of the
majority is a senatus consultum (decree of the Senate). This
conclusion is only advisory as the Senate has no power to make laws;
but Rome obeys this advice as if it were a law. The people have
confidence in the senators, knowing that they have more experience
than themselves; the magistrates do not dare to resist an assembly
composed of nobles who are their peers. And so the Senate regulates
all public business: it declares war and determines the number of the
armies; it receives ambassadors and makes peace; it fixes the revenues
and the expenses. The people ratify these measures and the magistrates
execute them. In 200 B.C. the Senate decided on war with the king of
Macedon, but the people in terror refused to approve it: the Senate
then ordered a magistrate to convoke the comitia anew and to adopt a
more persuasive speech. This time the people voted for the war. In
Rome it was the people who reigned, just as is the case with the king
in England, but it was the Senate that governed.

=The Offices.=--Being magistrate or senator in Rome is not a
profession. Magistrates or senators spend their time and their money
without receiving any salary. A magistracy in Rome is before all an
honor. Entrance to it is to nobles, at most to knights, but always to
the rich; but these come to the highest magistracies only after they
have occupied all the others. The man who aims one day to govern Rome
must serve in the army during ten campaigns. Then he may be elected
quæstor and he receives the administration of the state treasury.
After this he becomes ædile, charged with the policing of the city and
with the provision of the corn supply. Later he is elected prætor and
gives judgment in the courts. Later yet, elected consul, he commands
an army and presides over the assemblies. Then only may he aspire to
the censorship. This is the highest round of the ladder and may be
reached hardly before one's fiftieth year. The same man has therefore,
been financier, administrator, judge, general, and governor before
arriving at this original function of censor, the political
distribution of the Roman people. This series of offices is what is
called the "order of the honors." Each of these functions lasts but
one year, and to rise to the one next higher a new election is
necessary. In the year which precedes the voting one must show one's
self continually in the streets, "circulate" as the Romans say
(_ambire_: hence the word "ambition"), to solicit the suffrages of the
people. For all this time it is the custom to wear a white toga, the
very sense of the word "candidate" (white garment).


[117] Probably some of the plebeians originated in non-noble Roman

[118] We know the story of this contest only through Livy and Dionysius
of Halicarnassus; their very dramatic account has become celebrated, but
it is only a legend frequently altered by falsifiers.

[119] The pontificate was opened to the plebeians by the Ogulnian Law of
300 B.C. The first plebeian pontifex maximus was in 254 B.C. Livy,
Epitome, xviii.--ED.

[120] This qualification was set in the last century of the

[121] He cites several of their old proverbs: "A bad farmer is one who
buys what his land can raise." "It is bad economy to do in the day what
can be done at night."

[122] After the completion of the census.--ED.




=Military Service.=--To be admitted to service in the Roman army one
must be a Roman citizen. It is necessary to have enough wealth to
equip one's self at one's own expense, for the state furnishes no arms
to its soldiers; down to 402 B.C. it did not even pay them. And so
only those citizens are enrolled who are provided with at least a
small fortune. The poor (called the proletariat) are exempt from
service, or rather, they have no right to serve. Every citizen who is
rich enough to be admitted to the army owes the state twenty
campaigns; until these are completed the man remains at the
disposition of the consul and this from the age of seventeen to
forty-six. In Rome, as in the Greek cities, every man is at once
citizen and soldier. The Romans are a people of small proprietors
disciplined in war.

=The Levy.=--When there was need of soldiers, the consul ordered all
the citizens qualified for service to assemble at the Capitol. There
the officers elected by the people chose as many men as were necessary
to form the army. This was the enrolment (the Romans called it the
Choice); then came the military oath. The officers first took the
oath, and then the rank and file; they swore to obey their general,
to follow him wherever he led them and to remain under the standards
until he released them from their oath. One man pronounced the formula
and each in turn advanced and said, "I also." From this time the army
was bound to the general by the bonds of religion.

=Legions and Allies.=--The Roman army was at first called the Legion
(levy). When the people increased in number, instead of one legion,
several were formed.

The legion was a body of 4,200 to 5,000 men, all Roman citizens. The
smallest army had always at least one legion, every army commanded by
a consul had at least two. But the legions constituted hardly a half
of the Roman army. All the subject peoples in Italy were required to
send troops, and these soldiers, who were called allies, were placed
under the orders of Roman officers. In a Roman army the allies were
always a little more numerous than the citizens of the legions.
Ordinarily with four legions (16,800 men) there were enrolled 20,000
archers and 40,000 horse from the allies. In the Second Punic War, in
218 B.C., 26,000 citizens and 45,000 allies were drawn for service.
Thus the Roman people, in making war, made use of its subjects as well
as of its citizens.

=Military Exercises.=--Rome had no gymnasium; the future soldiers
exercised themselves on the parade-ground, the Campus Martius, on the
other side of the Tiber. There the young man marched, ran, leaped
under the weight of his arms, fenced with his sword, hurled the
javelin, wielded the mattock, and then, covered with dust and with
perspiration, swam across the Tiber. Often the older men, sometimes
even the generals, mingled with the young men, for the Roman never
ceased to exercise. Even in the campaign the rule was not to allow the
men to be unoccupied; once a day, at least, they were required to take
exercise, and when there was neither enemy to fight nor intrenchment
to erect, they were employed in building roads, bridges, and

=The Camp.=--The Roman soldier carried a heavy burden--his arms, his
utensils, rations for seventeen days, and a stake, in all sixty Roman
pounds. The army moved more rapidly as it was not encumbered with
baggage. Every time that a Roman army halted for camp, a surveyor
traced a square enclosure, and along its lines the soldiers dug a deep
ditch; the earth which was excavated, thrown inside, formed a bank
which they fortified with stakes. The camp was thus defended by a
ditch and a palisade. In this improvised fortress the soldiers erected
their tents, and in the middle was set the Prætorium, the tent of the
general. Sentinels mounted guard throughout the night, and so
prevented the army from being surprised.

=The Order of Battle.=--In the presence of the enemy the soldiers did
not form in a solid mass, as did the Greeks. The legion was divided
into small bodies of 120 men, called maniples because they had for
standards bundles of hay.[123] The maniples were ranged in quincunx
form in three lines, each separated from the neighboring maniple in
such a way as to manœuvre separately. The soldiers of the maniples of
the first line hurled their javelins, grasped their swords, and began
the battle. If they were repulsed, they withdrew to the rear through
the vacant spaces. The second line of the maniples then in turn
marched to the combat. If it was repulsed, it fell back on the third
line. The third line was composed of the best men of the legion and
was equipped with lances. They received the others into their ranks
and threw themselves on the enemy. The army was no longer a single
mass incapable of manœuvring; the general could form his lines
according to the nature of the ground. At Cynoscephalæ, where for the
first time the two most renowned armies of antiquity met, the Roman
legion and the Macedonian phalanx, the ground was bristling with
hills; on this rugged ground the 16,000 Macedonion hoplites could not
remain in order, their ranks were opened, and the Roman platoons threw
themselves into the gaps and demolished the phalanx.

=Discipline.=--The Roman army obeyed a rude discipline. The general
had the right of life and death over all his men. The soldier who
quitted his post or deserted in battle was condemned to death; the
lictors bound him to a post, beat him with rods, and cut off his head;
or the soldiers may have killed him with blows of their staves. When
an entire body of troops mutinied, the general separated the guilty
into groups of ten and drew by lot one from every group to be
executed. This was called decimation (from decimus, the tenth). The
others were placed on a diet of barley-bread and made to camp outside
the lines, always in danger of surprise from the enemy. The Romans
never admitted that their soldiers were conquered or taken prisoners:
after the battle of Cannæ the 3,000 soldiers who escaped the carnage
were sent by the senate to serve in Sicily without pay and without
honors until the enemy should be expelled from Italy; the 8,000 left
in the camp were taken by Hannibal who offered to return them for a
small ransom, but the senate refused to purchase them.

=Colonies and Military Roads.=--In the countries that were still only
partially subject, Rome established a small garrison. This body of
soldiers founded a town which served as a fortress, and around about
it the lands were cut into small domains and distributed to the
soldiers. This is what they called a Colony. The colonists continued
to be Roman citizens and obeyed all commands from Rome. Quite
different from a Greek colony which emancipated itself even to the
point of making war on its mother city, the Roman colony remained a
docile daughter. It was only a Roman garrison posted in the midst of
the enemy. Almost all these military posts were in Italy, but there
were others besides; Narbonne and Lyons were once Roman colonies.

To hold these places and to send their armies to a distance the Romans
built military roads. These were causeways constructed in a straight
line, of limestone, stone, and sand. The Romans covered their empire
with them. In a land like France there is no part where one does not
find traces of the Roman roads.


=War.=--There was at Rome a temple consecrated to the god Janus whose
gates remained open while the Roman people continued at war. For the
five hundred years of the republic this temple was closed but once
and that for only a few years. Rome, then, lived in a state of war. As
it had the strongest army of the time, it finished by conquering all
the other peoples and by overcoming the ancient world.

=Conquest of Italy.=--Rome began by subjecting her neighbors, the
Latins, first, then the little peoples of the south, the Volscians,
the Æquians, the Hernicans, later the Etruscans and the Samnites, and
finally the Greek cities. This was the hardest and slowest of their
conquests: beginning with the time of the kings, it did not terminate
until 266, after four centuries of strife.[124]

The Romans had to fight against peoples of the same race as
themselves, as vigorous and as brave as they. Some who were not
content to obey they exterminated. The rich plains of the Volscians
became a swampy wilderness, uninhabitable even to the present time,
the gloomy region of the Pontine marshes.

In the land of the Samnites there were still recognizable, three
hundred years after the war, the forty-five camps of Decius and the
eighty-six of Fabius, less apparent by the traces of their
intrenchments than by the solitude of the neighborhood.

=The Punic Wars.=--Come into Sicily, Rome antagonized Carthage. Then
began the Punic wars (that is to say, against the Phœnicians). There
were three of these wars. The first, from 264 to 241, was determined
by naval battles; Rome became mistress of Sicily. It was related that
Rome had never had any war-ships, that she took as a model a
Carthaginian galley cast ashore by accident on her coast and began by
exercising her oarsmen in rowing on the land. This legend is without
foundation for the Roman navy had long endured. This is the Roman
account of this war: the Roman consul Duillius had vanquished the
Carthaginian fleet at Mylæ (260); a Roman army had disembarked in
Africa under the lead of Regulus, had been attacked and destroyed
(255); Regulus was sent as a prisoner to Rome to conclude a peace, but
persuading the Senate to reject it, he returned to Carthage where he
perished by torture. The war was concentrated in Sicily where the
Carthaginian fleet, at first victorious at Drepana, was defeated at
the Ægates Islands; Hamilcar, besieged on Mount Eryx, signed the

The second war (from 218 to 201) was the work of Hannibal.

The third war was a war of extermination: the Romans took Carthage by
assault, razed it, and conquered Africa.

These wars had long made Rome tremble. Carthage had the better navy,
but its warriors were armed adventurers fighting not for country but
for pay, lawless, terrible under a general like Hannibal.

=Hannibal.=--Hannibal, who directed the whole of the second war and
almost captured Rome, was of the powerful family of the Barcas. His
father Hamilcar had commanded a Carthaginian army in the first Punic
war and had afterwards been charged with the conquest of Spain.
Hannibal was then but a child, but his father took him with him. The
departure of an army was always accompanied by sacrifices to the gods
of the country; it was said that Hamilcar after the sacrifice made his
infant son swear eternal enmity to Rome.

Hannibal, brought up in the company of the soldiers, became the best
horseman and the best archer of the army. War was his only aim in
life; his only needs, therefore, were a horse and arms. He had made
himself so popular that at the death of Hasdrubal who was in the
command of the army, the soldiers elected him general without waiting
for orders from the Carthaginian senate. Thus Hannibal found himself
at the age of twenty-one at the head of an army which was obedient
only to himself. He began war, regardless of the senate at Carthage,
by advancing to the siege of Saguntum, a Greek colony allied with
Rome; he took this and destroyed it.

The glory of Hannibal was that he did not wait for the Romans, but had
the audacity to march into Italy to attack them. As he had no fleet,
he resolved to advance by land, through the Pyrenees, crossing the
Rhone and the Alps. He made sure of the alliance of the Gallic peoples
and penetrated the Pyrenees with an army of 60,000 men, African and
Spanish mercenaries, and with 37 war-elephants. A Gallic people wished
to stop him at the Rhone, but he sent a detachment to pass the river
some leagues farther up the stream and to attack the Gauls in the
rear; the mass of the army crossed the river in boats, the elephants
on great rafts.

He next ascended the valley of the Isère and arrived at the Alps at
the end of October; he crossed them regardless of the snow and the
attacks of the mountaineers; many men and horses rolled down the
precipices. But nine days were consumed in attaining the summits of
the Alps. The descent was very difficult; the pass by which he had to
go was covered with ice and he was compelled to cut a road out of the
rock. When he arrived in the plain, the army was reduced to half its
former number.

Hannibal met three Roman armies in succession, first at the Ticinus,
next on the banks of the Trebia, and last near Lake Trasimenus in
Etruria. He routed all of them. As he advanced, his army increased in
number; the warriors of Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) joined him
against the Romans. He took up position beyond Rome in Apulia, and it
was here that the Roman army came to attack him. Hannibal had an army
only half as large as theirs, but he had African cavalrymen mounted on
swift horses; he formed his lines in the plain of Cannæ so that the
Romans had the sun in their face and the dust driven by the wind
against them; the Roman army was surrounded and almost annihilated
(216). It was thought that Hannibal would march on Rome, but he did
not consider himself strong enough to do it. The Carthaginian senate
sent him no reënforcements. Hannibal endeavored to take Naples and to
have Rome attacked by the king of Macedon; he succeeded only in
gaining some towns which Rome besieged and destroyed. Hannibal
remained nine years in south Italy; at last his brother Hasdrubal
started with the army of Spain to assist him, and made his way almost
to central Italy. The two Carthaginian armies marched to unite their
forces, each opposed by a Roman army under the command of a consul.
Nero, facing Hannibal, had the audacity to traverse central Italy and
to unite with his colleague who was intrenched against Hasdrubal. One
morning Hasdrubal heard the trumpets sounding twice in the camp of the
Romans, a sign that there were two consuls in the camp. He believed
his brother was conquered and so retreated; the Romans pursued him, he
was killed and his entire army massacred. Then Nero rejoined the army
which he had left before Hannibal and threw the head of Hasdrubal into
the Carthaginian camp (207). Hannibal, reduced to his own troops,
remained in Calabria for five years longer. The descent of a Roman
army on Africa compelled him to leave Italy; he massacred the Italian
soldiers who refused to accompany him and embarked for Carthage (203).
The battle of Zama (202) terminated the war. Hannibal had counted as
usual on drawing the Romans within his lines and surrounding them; but
Scipio, the Roman general, kept his troops in order and on a second
attack threw the enemy's army into rout. Carthage was obliged to treat
for peace; she relinquished everything she possessed outside of
Africa, ceding Spain to the Romans. She bound herself further to
surrender her navy and the elephants, to pay over $10,000,000 and to
agree not to make war without the permission of Rome.

Hannibal reorganized Carthage for a new war. The Romans, disturbed at
this, demanded that the Carthaginians put him to death. Hannibal fled
to Antiochus, king of Syria, and proposed to him to incite a revolt
in Italy against Rome; but Antiochus, following the counsel of his
courtiers, distrusted Hannibal and invaded Greece, where his army was
captured. Hannibal withdrew to the king of Bithynia. The Romans sent
Flamininus thither to take him, but Hannibal, seeing his house
surrounded, took the poison which he always had by him (183).

=Conquests of the Orient.=--The Greek kings, successors of the
generals of Alexander, divided the Orient among themselves. The most
powerful of these took up war against Rome; but they were
defeated--Philip, the king of Macedon, in 197, his son Perseus in 168,
Antiochus, the king of Syria, in 190. The Romans, having from this
time a free field, conquered one by one all the lands which they found
of use to them: Macedon (148), the kingdom of Pergamum (129), the rest
of Asia (from 74 to 64) after the defeat of Mithradates, and Egypt

With the exception of the Macedonians, the Orient opposed the Romans
with mercenaries only or with undisciplined barbarians who fled at the
first onset. In the great victory over Antiochus at Magnesia there
were only 350 Romans killed. At Chæronea, Sulla was victorious with
the loss of but twelve men. The other kings, now terrified, obeyed the
Senate without resistance.

Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, having conquered a part of Egypt,
was bidden by Popilius acting under the command of the Senate to
abandon his conquest. Antiochus hesitated; but Popilius, taking a rod
in his hand, drew a circle about the king, and said, "Before you move
from this circle, give answer to the Senate." Antiochus submitted, and
surrendered Egypt. The king of Numidia desired of the Senate that it
should regard his kingdom as the property of the Roman people.
Prusias, the king of Bithynia, with shaved head and in the garb of a
freedman, prostrated himself before the Senate. Mithradates alone,
king of Pontus, endeavored to resist; but after thirty years of war he
was driven from his states and compelled to take his life by poison.

=Conquest of the Barbarian Lands.=--The Romans found more difficult
the subjection of the barbarous and warlike peoples of the west. A
century was required to conquer Spain. The shepherd Viriathus made
guerilla warfare on them in the mountains of Portugal (149-139),
overwhelmed five armies, and compelled even a consul to treat for
peace; the Senate got rid of him by assassination.

Against the single town of Numantia it was necessary to send Scipio,
the best general of Rome.

The little and obscure peoples of Corsica, of Sardinia, and of the
mountains of Genoa (the Ligurians) were always reviving the war with

But the most indomitable of all were the Gauls. Occupying the whole of
the valley of the Po, they threw themselves on Italy to the south. One
of their bands had taken Rome in 390. Their big white bodies, their
long red mustaches, their blue eyes, their savage yells terrified the
Roman soldiers. As soon as their approach was learned, consternation
seized Rome, and the Senate proclaimed the levy of the whole army
(they called this the "Gallic tumult"). These wars were the bloodiest
but the shortest; the first (225-222) gave to the Romans all Cisalpine
Gaul (northern Italy); the second (120), the Rhone lands (Languedoc,
Provence, Dauphiné); the third (58-51), all the rest of Gaul.


=The Triumph.=--When a general has won a great victory, the Senate
permits him as a signal honor to celebrate the triumph. This is a
religious procession to the temple of Jupiter. The magistrates and
senators march at the head; then come the chariots filled with booty,
the captives chained by the feet, and, at last, on a golden car drawn
by four horses, the victorious general crowned with laurel. His
soldiers follow him singing songs with the solemn refrain "Io,
Triomphe."[125] The procession traverses the city in festal attire and
ascends to the Capitol: there the victor lays down his laurel on the
knees of Jupiter and thanks him for giving victory. After the ceremony
the captives are imprisoned, or, as in the case of Vercingetorix,
beheaded, or, like Jugurtha, cast into a dungeon to die of hunger. The
triumph of Æmilius Paullus, conqueror of Macedon, lasted for three
days. The first day witnessed a procession of 250 chariots bearing
pictures and statues, the second the trophies of weapons and 25 casks
of silver, the third the vases of gold and 120 sacrificial bulls. At
the rear walked King Perseus, clad in black, surrounded by his
followers in chains and his three young children who extended their
hands to the people to implore their pity.

=Booty.=--In the wars of antiquity the victor took possession of
everything that had belonged to the vanquished, not only of the arms
and camp-baggage, but of the treasure, the movable property, beasts of
the hostile people, the men, women, and children. At Rome the booty
did not belong to the soldiers but to the people. The prisoners were
enslaved, the property was sold and the profits of the sale turned
into the public chest. And so every war was a lucrative enterprise.
The kings of Asia had accumulated enormous treasure and this the Roman
generals transported to Rome. The victor of Carthage deposited in the
treasury more than 100,000 pounds of silver; the conqueror of
Antiochus 140,000 pounds of silver and 1,000 pounds of gold without
counting the coined metals; the victor over Persia remitted
120,000,000 sesterces.

=The Allies of Rome.=--The ancient world was divided among a great
number of kings, little peoples, and cities that hated one another.
They never united for resistance and so Rome absorbed them one by one.

Those whom she did not attack remained neutral and indifferent; often
they even united with the Romans. In the majority of her wars Rome did
not fight alone, but had the assistance of allies: against Carthage,
the king of Numidia; against the king of Macedon, the Ætolians;
against the king of Syria, the Rhodians. In the east many kings
proudly assumed the title of "Ally of the Roman People." In the
countries divided into small states, some peoples called in the Romans
against their neighbors, receiving the Roman army, furnishing it with
provisions, and guiding it to the frontiers of the hostile country.
And so in Gaul it was Marseilles that introduced the Romans into the
valley of the Rhone; it was the people of Autun (the Ædui) who
permitted them to establish themselves in the heart of the land.

=Motives of Conquest.=--The Romans did not from the first have the
purpose to conquer the world. Even after winning Italy and Carthage
they waited a century before subjecting the Orient which really laid
itself at their feet. They conquered, it appears, without
predetermined plan, and because they all had interest in conquest. The
magistrates who were leaders of the armies saw in conquest a means of
securing the honors of the triumph and the surest instrument for
making themselves popular. The most powerful statesmen in Rome,
Papirius, Fabius, the two Scipios, Cato, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Cæsar,
and Crassus, were victorious generals. The nobles who composed the
Senate gained by the increase of Roman subjects, and with these they
allied themselves as governors to receive their homage and their
presents. For the knights--that is to say, the bankers, the merchants,
and the contractors--every new conquest was a new land to exploit. The
people itself profited by the booty taken from the enemy. After the
treasure of the king of Macedon was deposited in the public chest,
taxes were finally abolished. As for the soldiers, as soon as war was
carried into rich lands, they received immense sums from their
general, to say nothing of what they took from the vanquished. The
Romans conquered the world less for glory than for the profits of


=The Empire of the Roman People.=--Rome subjected all the lands around
the Mediterranean from Spain to Asia Minor. These countries were not
annexed, their inhabitants did not become citizens of Rome, nor their
territory Roman territory. They remained aliens entering simply into
the Roman empire, that is, under the domination of the Roman people.
In just the same way today the Hindoos are not citizens but subjects
of England; India is a part, not of England, but of the British

=The Public Domain.=--When a conquered people asked peace, this is the
formula which its deputies were expected to pronounce: "We surrender
to you the people, the town, the fields, the waters, the gods of the
boundaries, and movable property; all things which belonged to the
gods and to men we deliver to the power of the Roman people." By this
act, the Roman people became the proprietor of everything that the
vanquished possessed, even of their persons. Sometimes it sold the
inhabitants into slavery: Æmilius Paullus sold 150,000 Epeirots who
surrendered to him. Ordinarily Rome left to the conquered their
liberty, but their territory was incorporated into the _domain of the
Roman people_. Of this land three equal parts were made:

  1. A part of their lands was returned to the people, but on
  condition that they pay a tribute in money or in grain, and Rome
  reserved the right of recalling the land at will.

  2. The fields and pastures were farmed out to publicans.

  3. Some of the uncultivated land was resigned to the first
  occupant, every Roman citizen having the right of settling there
  and of cultivating it.

=Agrarian Laws.=--The Agrarian Laws which deeply agitated Rome were
concerned with this public domain. No Roman had leave to expel the
possessors, for the boundaries of these domains were gods (Termini)
and religious scruple prevented them from being disturbed. By the
Agrarian Laws the people resumed the lands of the public domain which
they distributed to citizens as property. Legally the people had the
right to do this, since all the domain belonged to them. But for some
centuries certain subjects or citizens had been permitted to enjoy
these lands; at last they regarded them as their own property; they
bequeathed them, bought and sold them. To take these from the
occupants would suddenly ruin a multitude of people. In Italy
especially, if this were done, all the people of a city would be
expelled. Thus Augustus deprived the inhabitants of Mantua of the
whole of their territory; Vergil was among the victims, but, thanks to
his verse, he obtained the return of his domain, while the other
proprietors who were not poets remained in exile. These lands thus
recovered were sometimes distributed to poor citizens of Rome, but
most frequently to old soldiers. Sulla bestowed lands on 120,000
veterans at the expense of the people of Etruria. The Agrarian Laws
were a menace to all the subjects of Rome, and it was one of the
benefits conferred by the emperors that they were abolished.


[123] Wisps or bundle of hay were twisted around poles.--ED.

[124] Regarding all these Italian wars the Romans had only a number of
legends, most of them developed to glorify the heroism of some ancestor
of a noble family--a Valerius, a Fabius, a Decius, or a Manlius.

[125] These songs were mingled with coarse ribaldry at the expense of
the general.--ED.




=The Provinces.=--The inhabitants of conquered countries did not enter
into Roman citizenship, but remained strangers (peregrini), while yet
subjects of the Roman empire. They were to pay tribute--the tithe of
their crops, a tax in silver, a capitation tax. They must obey Romans
of every order. But as the Roman people could not itself administer
the province, it sent a magistrate in its place with the mission of
governing. The country subject to a governor was called _province_
(which signifies mission).

At the end of the republic (in 46), there were seventeen provinces:
ten in Europe, five in Asia, two in Africa--the majority of these very
large. Thus the entire territory of Gaul constituted but four
provinces, and Spain but two. "The provinces," said Cicero, "are the
domains of the Roman people"--if it made all these peoples subjects,
it was not for their advantage, but for its own. Its aim was not to
administer, but to exploit them.

=The Proconsuls.=--For the administration of a province the Roman
people always appointed a magistrate, consul or prætor, who was just
finishing the term of his office, and whose prerogative it
prolonged.[126] The proconsul, like the consul, had absolute power
and he could exercise it to his fancy, for he was alone in his
province;[127] there were no other magistrates to dispute the power
with him, no tribunes of the people to veto his acts, no senate to
watch him. He alone commanded the troops, led them to battle, and
posted them where he wished. He sat in his tribunal (prætorium),
condemning to fine, imprisonment, or death. He promulgated decrees
which had the force of law. He was the sole authority over himself for
he was in himself the incarnation of the Roman people.

=Tyranny and Oppression of the Proconsuls.=--This governor, whom no
one resisted, was a true despot. He made arrests, cast into prison,
beat with rods, or executed those who displeased him. The following is
one of a thousand of these caprices of the governor as a Roman orator
relates it: "At last the consul came to Termini, where his wife took a
fancy to bathe in the men's bath. All the men who were bathing there
were driven out The wife of the consul complained that it had not been
done quickly enough and that the baths were not well prepared. The
consul had a post set up in a public place, brought to it one of the
most eminent men of the city, stripped him of his garments, and had
him beaten with rods."

The proconsul drew from the province as much money as he wanted; thus
he regarded it as his private property. Means were not wanting to
exploit it. He plundered the treasuries of the cities, removed the
statues and jewels stored in the temples, and made requisitions on
the rich inhabitants for money or grain. As he was able to lodge
troops where he pleased, the cities paid him money to be exempt from
the presence of the soldiers. As he could condemn to death at will,
individuals gave him security-money. If he demanded an object of art
or even a sum of money, who would dare to refuse him? The men of his
escort imitated his example, pillaging under his name, and even under
his protection. The governor was in haste to accumulate his wealth as
it was necessary that he make his fortune in one year. After he
returned to Rome, another came who recommenced the whole process.
There was, indeed, a law that prohibited every governor from accepting
a gift, and a tribunal (since 149) expressly for the crime of
extortion. But this tribunal was composed of nobles and Roman knights
who would not condemn their compatriot, and the principal result of
this system was, according to the remark of Cicero, to compel the
governor to take yet more plunder from the province in order to
purchase the judges of the tribunal.

It cannot surprise one that the term "proconsul" came to be a synonym
for despot. Of these brigands by appointment the most notorious was
Verres, proprætor of Sicily, since Cicero from political motives
pronounced against him seven orations which have made him famous. But
it is probable that many others were as bad as he.

=The Publicans.=--In every province the Roman people had considerable
revenues--the customs, the mines, the imposts, the grain-lands, and
the pastures. These were farmed out to companies of contractors who
were called publicans. These men bought from the state the right of
collecting the impost in a certain place, and the provincials had to
obey them as the representatives of the Roman people. And so in every
province there were many companies of publicans, each with a crowd of
clerks and collectors. These people carried themselves as masters,
extorted more than was due them, reduced the debtors to misery,
sometimes selling them as slaves. In Asia they even exiled the
inhabitants without any pretext. When Marius required the king of
Bithynia to furnish him with soldiers, the king replied that, thanks
to the publicans, he had remaining as citizens only women, children,
and old people. The Romans were well informed of these excesses.
Cicero wrote to his brother, then a governor, "If you find the means
of satisfying the publicans without letting the provincials be
destroyed, it is because you have the attributes of a god." But the
publicans were judged in the tribunals and the proconsuls themselves
obeyed them. Scaurus, the proconsul of Asia, a man of rigid
probity,[128] wished to prevent them from pillaging his province; on
his return to Rome they had him accused and condemned.

The publicans drove to extremities even the peaceable and submissive
inhabitants of the Orient: in a single night, at the order of
Mithradates, 100,000 Romans were massacred. A century later, in the
time of Christ, the word "publican" was synonymous with thief.

=The Bankers.=--The Romans had heaped up at home the silver of the
conquered countries. And so silver was very abundant in Rome and
scarce in the provinces. At Rome one could borrow at four or five per
cent.; in the provinces not less than twelve per cent. was charged.
The bankers borrowed money in Rome and loaned it in the provinces,
especially to kings or to cities. When the exhausted peoples could not
return the principal and the interest, the bankers imitated the
procedure of the publicans. In 84 the cities of Asia made a loan to
pay an enormous war-levy; fourteen years later, the interest alone had
made the debt amount to six times the original amount. The bankers
compelled the cities to sell even their objects of art; parents sold
even their children. Some years later one of the most highly esteemed
Romans of his time, Brutus, the Stoic, loaned to the city of Salamis
in Cyprus a sum of money at forty-eight per cent. interest (four per
cent. a month). Scaptius, his business manager, demanded the sum with
interest; the city could not pay; Scaptius then went in search of the
proconsul Appius, secured a squadron of cavalry and came to Salamis to
blockade the senate in its hall of assembly; five senators died of

=Defencelessness of the Provincials.=--The provincials had no redress
against all these tyrants. The governor sustained the publicans, and
the Roman army and people sustained the governor. Admit that a Roman
citizen could enter suit against the plunderers of the provinces: a
governor was inviolable and could not be accused until he had given up
his office; while he held his office there was nothing to do but to
watch him plunder. If he were accused on his return to Rome, he
appeared before a tribunal of nobles and of publicans who were more
interested to support him than to render justice to the provincials.
If, perchance, the tribunal condemned him, exile exempted him from all
further penalty and he betook himself to a city of Italy to enjoy his
plunder. This punishment was nothing to him and was not even a loss to
him. And so the provincials preferred to appease their governor by
submission. They treated him like a king, flattered him, sent
presents, and raised statues to him. Often, indeed, in Asia they
raised altars to him,[129] built temples to him, and adored him as a


=The Sale of Slaves.=--Every prisoner of war, every inhabitant of a
captured city belonged to the victor. If they were not killed, they
were enslaved. Such was the ancient custom and the Romans exercised
the right to the full. Captives were treated as a part of the booty
and were therefore either sold to slave-merchants who followed the
army or, if taken to Rome, were put up at auction.[130] After every
war thousands of captives, men and women, were sold as slaves.
Children born of slave mothers would themselves be slaves. Thus it was
the conquered peoples who furnished the slave-supply for the Romans.

=Condition of the Slave.=--The slave belonged to a master, and so was
regarded not as a person but as a piece of property. He had, then, no
rights; he could not be a citizen or a proprietor; he could be neither
husband nor father. "Slave marriages!" says a character in a Roman
comedy;[131] "A slave takes a wife; it is contrary to the custom of
every people." The master has full right over his slave; he sends him
where he pleases, makes him work according to his will, even beyond
his strength, ill feeds him, beats him, tortures him, kills him
without accounting to anybody for it. The slave must submit to all the
whims of his master; the Romans declare, even, that he is to have no
conscience, his only duty is blind obedience. If he resists, if he
flees, the state assists the master to subdue or recover him; the man
who gives refuge to a fugitive slave renders himself liable to the
charge of theft, as if he had taken an ox or a horse belonging to

=Number of Slaves.=--Slaves were far more numerous than free men. Rich
citizens owned 10,000 to 20,000 of them,[132] some having enough of
them to constitute a real army. We read of Cæcilius Claudius Isidorius
who had once been a slave and came to possess more than 4,000 slaves.
Horace, who had seven slaves, speaks of his modest patrimony. Having
but three was in Rome a mark of poverty.

=Urban Slaves.=--The Roman nobles, like the Orientals of our day,
delighted in surrounding themselves with a crowd of servants. In a
great Roman house lived hundreds of slaves, organized for different
services. There were slaves to care for the furniture, for the silver
plate, for the objects of art; slaves of the wardrobe, valets and
chambermaids, the troop of cooks, the slaves of the bath, the master
of the house and his aids, the slaves to escort the master and
mistress on the street, the litter-carriers, coachmen and grooms,
secretaries, readers, copyists, physicians, teachers, actors,
musicians, artisans of every kind, for in every great house grain was
ground, flax was spun, and garments were woven. Others, gathered in
workshops, manufactured objects which the master sold to his profit.
Others were hired out as masons or as sailors; Crassus had 500
carpenter-slaves. These classes of slaves were called "slaves of the

=Rural Slaves.=--Every great domain was tilled by a band of slaves.
They were the laborers, the shepherds, the vine-dressers, the
gardeners, the fishermen, grouped together in squads of ten. An
overseer, himself a slave, superintended them. The proprietor made it
a matter to produce everything on his lands: "He buys nothing;
everything that he consumes he raises at home," this is the compliment
paid to the rich. The Roman, therefore, kept a great number of
country-slaves, as they were called. A Roman domain had a strong
resemblance to a village; indeed it was called a "villa." The name has
been preserved: what the French call "ville" since the Middle Ages is
only the old Roman domain increased in size.

=Treatment of Slaves.=--The kind of treatment the slaves received
depended entirely on the character of the master. Some enlightened and
humane masters may be enumerated, such as Cicero, Seneca, and Pliny,
who fed their slaves well, talked with them, sometimes had them sit
at table with them, and permitted them to have families and small
fortunes (the peculium).

But other masters are mentioned who treated their slaves as animals,
punished them cruelly, and even had them put to death for a whim.
Examples of these are not lacking. Vedius Pollio, a freedman of
Augustus, used to keep some lampreys in his fish-pond: when one of his
slaves carelessly broke a vase, he had him thrown into the fish-pond
as food for the lampreys. The philosopher Seneca paints in the
following words the violent cruelty of the masters: "If a slave coughs
or sneezes during a meal, if he pursues the flies too slowly, if he
lets a key fall noisily lo the floor, we fall into a great rage. If he
replies with too much spirit, if his countenance shows ill humor, have
we any right to have him flogged? Often we strike too hard and shatter
a limb or break a tooth." The philosopher Epictetus, who was a slave,
had had his ankle fractured in this way by his master. Women were no
more humane. Ovid, in a compliment paid to a woman, says, "Many times
she had her hair dressed in my presence, but never did she thrust her
needle into the arm of the serving-woman."

Public opinion did not condemn these cruelties. Juvenal represents a
woman angry at one of her slaves. "Crucify him," says she. "By what
crime has the slave merited this punishment? Blockhead! Is a slave,
then, a man? It may be that he has done nothing. I wish it, I order
it, my will is reason enough."

The law was no milder than custom. As late as the first century after
Christ, when a master was assassinated in his house, all the slaves
were put to death. When some wished to abolish this law, Thraseas,
one of the philosophers of high repute, rose to address the Senate to
demand that the law be maintained.

=The Ergastulum.=--A subterranean prison, lighted by narrow windows so
high that they could not be reached by the hand, was called the
ergastulum. The slaves who had displeased their master spent the night
there; during the day they were sent to work loaded with heavy chains
of iron. Many were branded with a red-hot iron.

=The Mill.=--The ancients had no mills run by machinery; they had the
grain ground by slaves with hand-mills. It was the most difficult kind
of work and was usually inflicted as a punishment. The mill of
antiquity was like a convict-prison. "There," says Plautus, "moan the
wicked slaves who are fed on polenta; there resound the noise of whips
and the clanking of chains." Three centuries later, in the second
century, Apuleius the novelist, depicts the interior of a mill as
follows: "Gods! what poor shrunken up men! with white skin striped
with blows of the whip, ... they wear only the shreds of a tunic; bent
forward, head shaved, the feet held in a chain, the body deformed by
the heat of the fire, the eyelids eaten away by the fumes, everything
covered with grain-dust."

=Character of the Slaves.=--Subjected to crushing labor or to enforced
idleness, always under the threat of the whip or of torture, slaves
became, according to their nature, either melancholy and savage, or
lazy and subservient. The most energetic of them committed suicide;
the others led a life that was merely mechanical. "The slave," said
Cato the Elder, "ought always to work or to sleep." The majority of
them lost all sense of honor. And so they used to call a mean act
"servile," that is, like a slave.

=Slave Revolts.=--The slaves did not write and so we do not know from
their own accounts what they thought of their masters. But the masters
felt themselves surrounded by hate. Pliny the Younger, learning that a
master was to be assassinated at the bath by his slaves, made this
reflection, "This is the peril under which we all live." "More
Romans," says another writer, "have fallen victims to the hate of
their slaves than to that of tyrants."

At different times slave revolts flamed up (the servile wars), almost
always in Sicily and south Italy where slaves were armed to guard the
herds. The most noted of these wars was the one under Spartacus. A
band of seventy gladiators, escaping from Capua, plundered a chariot
loaded with arms, and set themselves to hold the country. The slaves
escaped to them in crowds to unite their fortunes with theirs, and
soon they became an army.

The slaves defeated three Roman armies sent in succession against

Their chief Spartacus wished to traverse the whole peninsula of Italy
in order to return to Thrace, from which country he had been brought
as a prisoner of war to serve as a gladiator. But at last these
ill-disciplined bands were shattered by the army of Crassus. The
revolutionists were all put to death. Rome now prohibited the slaves
from carrying arms thereafter, and it is reported that a shepherd was
once executed for having killed a boar with a spear.

=Admission to Citizenship.=--Rome treated its subjects and its slaves
brutally, but it did not drive them out, as the Greek cities did.

The alien could become a Roman citizen by the will of the Roman
people, and the people often accorded this favor, sometimes they even
bestowed it upon a whole people at once. They created the Latins
citizens at one stroke; in 89 it was the turn of the Italians; in 46
the people of Cisalpine Gaul entered the body of citizens. All the
inhabitants of Italy thus became the equals of the Romans.

The slave could be manumitted by his master and soon became a citizen.

This is the reason why the Roman people, gradually exhausting
themselves, were renewed by accessions from the subjects and the
slaves. The number of the citizens was increased at every census; it
rose from 250,000 to 700,000. The Roman city, far from emptying itself
as did Sparta, replenished itself little by little from all those whom
it had conquered.


[126] In the smallest provinces the title of the governor was

[127] In the oriental countries Rome left certain little kings (like
King Herod in Judæa), but they paid tribute and obeyed the governor.

[128] This estimate of the character of Scaurus is too favorable.--ED.

[129] Cicero speaks of the temples which were raised to him by the
people of Cilicia, of which county he was governor.

[130] Every important town had its market for slaves as for cattle and
horses. The slave to be sold was exhibited on a platform with a label
about his neck indicating his age, his better qualities and his defects.

[131] In the Casina of Plautus.

[132] Athenæus, who makes this statement, is probably guilty of



=Greek and Oriental Influence.=--Conquest gave the Romans a clearer
view of the Greeks and Orientals. Thousands of foreigners brought to
Rome as slaves, or coming thither to make their fortune, established
themselves in the city as physicians, professors, diviners, or actors.
Generals, officers and soldiers lived in the midst of Asia, and thus
the Romans came to know the customs and the new beliefs and gradually
adopted them. This transformation had its beginning with the first
Macedonian war (about 200 B.C.), and continued until the end of the


=The Greek Gods.=--The Roman gods bore but a slight resemblance to the
Greek gods, even in name; yet in the majority of the divinities of
Rome the Greeks recognized or believed they recognized their own. The
Roman gods up to that time had neither precise form nor history; this
rendered confusion all the easier. Every Roman god was represented
under the form of a Greek god and a history was made of the adventures
of this god.

The Latin Jupiter was confounded with the Greek Zeus; Juno with Hera;
Minerva, the goddess of memory, with Pallas, goddess of wisdom; Diana,
female counterpart of Janus, unites with Artemis, the brilliant
huntress; Hercules, the god of the enclosure, was assimilated to
Herakles, the victor over monsters. Thus Greek mythology insinuated
itself under Latin names, and the gods of Rome found themselves
transformed into Greek gods. The fusion was so complete that we have
preserved the custom of designating the Greek gods by their Latin
names; we still call Artemis Diana, and Pallas Minerva.

=The Bacchanals.=--The Greeks had adopted an oriental god, Bacchus,
the god of the vintage, and the Romans began to adore him also. The
worshippers of Bacchus celebrated his cult at night and in secret.
Only the initiated were admitted to the mysteries of the Bacchanals,
who swore not to reveal any of the ceremonies. A woman, however, dared
to denounce to the Senate the Bacchanalian ceremonies that occurred in
Rome in 186. The Senate made an inquiry, discovered 7,000 persons, men
and women, who had participated in the mysteries, and had them put to

=Oriental Superstitions.=--Already in 220 there was in Rome a temple
of the Egyptian god Serapis. The Senate ordered it to be demolished.
As no workman dared to touch it, the consul himself had to come and
beat down the doors with blows of an axe.

Some years after, in 205, during the war with Hannibal, it was the
Senate itself that sent an ambassador to Asia Minor to seek the
goddess Cybele. The Great Mother (as she was called) was represented
by a black stone, and this the envoys of the Senate brought in great
pomp and installed in Rome. Her priests followed her and paced the
streets to the sound of fifes and cymbals, clad in oriental fashion,
and begging from door to door.

Later, Italy was filled with Chaldean sorcerers. The mass of the
people were not the only ones to believe in these diviners. When the
Cimbri menaced Rome (104), Martha, a prophetess of Syria, came to the
Senate to offer it victory over the barbarians; the Senate drove her
out, but the Roman women brought her to the camp, and Marius, the
general in chief, kept her by him and consulted her to the end of the
war. Sulla, likewise, had seen in vision the goddess of Cappadocia and
it was on her advice that he took his way to Italy.

=Sceptics.=--Not only priests and diviners came to Rome, but also
philosophers who scoffed at the old religion. The best known of these,
Carneades, the ambassador of the Athenians, spoke in Rome in public,
and the youth of Rome came in crowds to hear him. The Senate bade him
leave the city. But the philosophers continued to teach in the schools
of Athens and Rhodes, and it was the fashion to send the Roman youth
thither for instruction. About the third century before Christ
Euhemerus, a Greek, had written a book to prove that there were no
gods; the gods, he said, were only men of ancient times who had been
deified; Jupiter himself had been a king of Crete. This book had a
great success and was translated into Latin by the poet Ennius. The
nobles of Rome were accustomed to mock at their gods, maintaining only
the cult of the old religion. The higher Roman society was for a
century at once superstitious and sceptical.


=The Old Customs.=--The old Romans had for centuries been diligent and
rude husbandmen, engaged in cultivating their fields, in fighting, and
in fulfilling the ceremonies of their religion. Their ideal was the
_grave_ man. Cincinnatus, they said, was pushing his plough when the
deputies of the Senate came to offer him the dictatorship. Fabricius
had of plate only a cup and a salt-cellar of silver. Curius Dentatus,
the conqueror of the Samnites, was sitting on a bench eating some
beans in a wooden bowl when the envoys of the Samnites presented
themselves before him to offer him a bribe.[133] "Go and tell the
Samnites," said he, "that Curius prefers commanding those who have
gold to having it himself." These are some of the anecdotes that they
used to tell about the generals of the olden time. True or false,
these legends exhibit the ideas that were current in Rome at a later
time regarding the ancient Romans.

=Cato the Elder.=--At the time when manners were changing, one man
made himself notable by his attachment to the "customs of the
fathers." This was Cato. He was born in 232[134] in the little village
of Tusculum and had spent his youth in manual labor. Entering the
army, according to the usage of the time, at the age of seventeen, he
fought in all the campaigns against Hannibal. He was not noble, but he
made himself popular by his energy, his probity, and his austerity.
He passed through the whole course of political honors--quæstor,
ædile, prætor, consul, and censor. He showed himself everywhere, like
the old Romans, rude, stern, and honest. As quæstor he remonstrated
with the consul about his expenses; but the consul, who was Scipio,
replied to him, "I have no need of so exact a quæstor." As prætor in
Sardinia, he refused the money that was offered him by the province
for the expenses of entertainment. As consul, he spoke with vigor for
the Oppian law which prohibited Roman women from wearing costly
attire; the women put it off, and the law was abrogated. Sent to
command the army of Spain, Cato took 400 towns, securing immense
treasure which he turned into the public chest; at the moment of
embarking, he sold his horse to save the expenses of transportation.
As censor, he erased from the senate-list many great persons on the
ground of their extravagance; he farmed the taxes at a very high price
and taxed at ten times their value the women's habits, jewels, and
conveyances. Having obtained the honor of a triumph, he withdrew to
the army in Macedonia as a simple officer.

All his life he fought with the nobles of the new type, extravagant
and elegant. He "barked" especially at the Scipios, accusing them of
embezzling state moneys. In turn he was forty-four times made
defendant in court, but was always acquitted.

On his farm Cato labored with his slaves, ate with them, and when he
had to correct them, beat them with his own hand. In his treatise on
Agriculture, written for his son, he has recorded all the old axioms
of the Roman peasantry.[135] He considered it to be a duty to become
rich. "A widow," he said, "can lessen her property; a man ought to
increase his. He is worthy of fame and inspired of the gods who gains
more than he inherits." Finding that agriculture was not profitable
enough, he invested in merchant ships; he united with fifty associates
and all together constructed fifty ships of commerce, that each might
have a part in the risks and the profits. A good laborer, a good
soldier, a foe to luxury, greedy of gain, Cato was the type of the
Roman of the old stock.

=The New Manners.=--Many Romans on the contrary, especially the
nobles, admired and imitated the foreigners. At their head were the
generals who had had a nearer view of Greece and the Orient--Scipio,
conqueror of the king of Syria, Flamininus and Æmilius Paullus,
victors over the kings of Macedon, later Lucullus, conqueror of the
king of Armenia. They were disgusted with the mean and gross life of
their ancestors, and adopted a more luxurious and agreeable mode of
living. Little by little all the nobles, all the rich followed their
example; one hundred and fifty years later in Italy all the great were
living in Greek or oriental fashion.

=Oriental Luxury.=--In the East the Romans found models in the royal
successors of Alexander, possessors of enormous wealth; for all the
treasure that was not employed in paying mercenaries was squandered by
the court. These oriental kings indulged their vanity by displaying
gleaming robes, precious stones, furniture of silver, golden plate;
by surrounding themselves with a multitude of useless servants, by
casting money to the people who were assembled to admire them.[136]

The Romans, very vain and with artistic tastes but slightly developed,
had a relish for this species of luxury. They had but little regard
for beauty or for comfort, and had thought for nothing else than
display. They had houses built with immense gardens adorned with
statues, sumptuous villas projecting into the sea in the midst of
enormous gardens. They surrounded themselves with troops of slaves.
They and their wives substituted for linen garments those of gauze,
silk, and gold. At their banquets they spread embroidered carpets,
purple coverings, gold and silver plate. Sulla had one hundred and
fifty dishes of silver; the plate of Marcus Drusus weighed 10,000
pounds. While the common people continued to sit at table in
accordance with old Italian custom, the rich adopted the oriental
usage of reclining on couches at their meals. At the same time was
introduced the affected and costly cookery of the East--exotic fishes,
brains of peacocks, and tongues of birds.

From the second century the extravagance was such that a consul who
died in 152 could say in his will: "As true glory does not consist in
vain pomp but in the merits of the dead and of one's ancestors, I bid
my children not to spend on my funeral ceremonies more than a million
as" ($10,000).

=Greek Humanity.=--In Greece the Romans saw the monuments, the
statues, and the pictures which had crowded their cities for
centuries; they came to know their learned people and the
philosophers. Some of the Romans acquired a taste for the beautiful
and for the life of the spirit. The Scipios surrounded themselves with
cultivated Greeks. Æmilius Paullus asked from all the booty taken by
him from Macedon only the library of King Perseus; he had his children
taught by Greek preceptors. It was then the fashion in Rome to speak,
and even to write in Greek.[137] The nobles desired to appear
connoisseurs in painting and in sculpture; they imported statues by
the thousand, the famous bronzes of Corinth, and they heaped these up
in their houses. Thus Verres possessed a whole gallery of objects of
art which he had stolen in Sicily. Gradually the Romans assumed a
gloss of Greek art and literature. This new culture was called
"humanity," as opposed to the "rusticity" of the old Roman peasants.

It was little else than gloss; the Romans had realized but slightly
that beauty and truth were to be sought for their own sakes; art and
science always remained objects of luxury and parade. Even in the time
of Cicero the soldier, the peasant, the politician, the man of
affairs, the advocate were alone regarded as truly occupied. Writing,
composing, contributing to science, philosophy, or criticism--all this
was called "being at leisure."[138] Artists and scholars were never
regarded at Rome as the equals of the rich merchant. Lucian, a Greek
writer, said, "If you would be a Pheidias, if you would make a
thousand masterpieces, nobody will care to imitate you, for as skilful
as you are, you will always pass for an artisan, a man who lives by
the work of his hands."

=Lucullus.=--Lucullus, the type of the new Roman, was born in 145 of a
noble and rich family; thus he entered without difficulty into the
course of political honors. From his first campaigns he was notable
for his magnanimity to the vanquished. Become consul, he was placed at
the head of the army against Mithradates. He found the inhabitants of
Asia exasperated by the brigandage and the cruelties of the publicans,
and gave himself to checking these excesses; he forbade, too, his
soldiers pillaging conquered towns. In this way he drew to him the
useless affection of the Asiatics and the dangerous hate of the
publicans and the soldiers. They intrigued to have him recalled; he
had then defeated Mithradates and was pursuing him with his ally, the
king of Armenia; he came with a small army of 20,000 men to put to
rout an immense multitude of barbarians. His command was taken from
him and given to Pompey, the favorite of the publicans.

Lucullus then retired to enjoy the riches that he had accumulated in
Asia. He had in the neighborhood of Rome celebrated gardens, at Naples
a villa constructed in part in the sea, and at Tusculum a summer
palace with a whole museum of objects of art. He spent the beautiful
season at Tusculum surrounded by his friends, by scholars and men of
letters, reading Greek authors, and discussing literature and

Many anecdotes are told of the luxury of Lucullus. One day, being
alone at dinner, he found his table simpler than ordinary and
reproached the cook, who excused himself by saying there was no guest
present. "Do you not know," replied his master, "that Lucullus dines
today with Lucullus?" Another day he invited Cæsar and Cicero to dine,
who accepted on condition that he would make no change from his
ordinary arrangements. Lucullus simply said to a slave to have dinner
prepared in the hall of Apollo. A magnificent feast was spread, the
guests were astonished. Lucullus replied he had given no order, that
the expense of his dinners was regulated by the hall where he gave
them; those of the hall of Apollo were to cost not less than $10,000.
A prætor who had to present a grand spectacle asked Lucullus if he
would lend him one hundred purple robes; he replied by tendering two

Lucullus remained the representative of the new manners, as Cato of
the old customs. For the ancients Cato was the virtuous Roman,
Lucullus the degenerate Roman. Lucullus, in effect, discarded the
manners of his ancestors, and so acquired a broader, more elevated,
and more refined spirit, more humanity toward his slaves and his

=The New Education.=--At the time when Polybius lived in Rome (before
150) the old Romans taught their children nothing else than to
read.[139] The new Romans provided Greek instructors for their
children. Some Greeks opened in Rome schools of poesy, rhetoric, and
music. The great families took sides between the old and new systems.
But there always remained a prejudice against music and the dance;
they were regarded as arts belonging to the stage, improper for a man
of good birth. Scipio Æmilianus, the protector of the Greeks, speaks
with indignation of a dancing-school to which children and young girls
of free birth resorted: "When it was told me, I could not conceive
that nobles would teach such things to their children. But when some
one took me to the dancing-school, I saw there more than 500 boys and
girls and, among the number a twelve-year-old child, a candidate's
son, who danced to the sound of castanets." Sallust, speaking of a
Roman woman of little reputation, says, "She played on the lyre and
danced better than is proper for an honest woman."

=The New Status of Women.=--The Roman women gave themselves with
energy to the religions and the luxury of the East. They flocked in
crowds to the Bacchanals and the mysteries of Isis. Sumptuary laws
were made against their fine garments, their litters, and their
jewels, but these laws had to be abrogated and the women allowed to
follow the example of the men. Noble women ceased to walk or to remain
in their homes; they set out with great equipages, frequented the
theatre, the circus, the baths, and the places of assembly. Idle and
exceedingly ignorant, they quickly became corrupt. In the nobility,
women of fine character became the exception. The old discipline of
the family fell to the ground. The Roman law made the husband the
master of his wife; but a new form of marriage was invented which left
the woman under the authority of her father and gave no power to her
husband. To make their daughter still more independent, her parents
gave her a dower.

=Divorce.=--Sometimes the husband alone had the right to repudiate his
wife, but the custom was that this right should be exercised only in
the gravest circumstances. The woman gained the right of leaving her
husband, and so it became very easy to break a marriage. There was no
need of a judgment, or even of a motive. It was enough for the
discontented husband or wife to say to the other, "Take what belongs
to you, and return what is mine." After the divorce either could marry

In the aristocracy, marriage came to be regarded as a passing union;
Sulla had five wives, Cæsar four, Pompey five, and Antony four. The
daughter of Cicero had three husbands. Hortensius divorced his wife to
give her to a friend. "There are noble women," says Seneca, "who count
their age not by the years of the consuls, but by the husbands they
have had; they divorce to marry again, they marry to divorce again."

But this corruption affected hardly more than the nobles of Rome and
the upstarts. In the families of Italy and the provinces the more
serious manners of the old time still prevailed; but the discipline of
the family gradually slackened and the woman slowly freed herself from
the despotism of her husband.


[133] Another version is that he was sitting at the hearth roasting

[134] 232 and 234 are both given as the date of Cato's birth. The latter
is the more probable.--ED.

[135] Nearly all Romans of Cato's time were husbandmen, tilling the soil
with their own hands.--ED.

[136] This taste for useless magnificence is exhibited in the stories of
the Thousand and One Nights.

[137] Cato the Elder had a horror of the Greeks. He said to his son: "I
will tell what I have seen in Athens. This race is the most perverse and
intractable. Listen to me as to an oracle: whenever this people teaches
us its arts it will corrupt everything."

[138] "Schola," from which we derive "school," signified leisure.

[139] Also to write and reckon, as previously stated.--ED.




=Destruction of the Peasantry.=--The old Roman people consisted of
small proprietors who cultivated their own land. These honest and
robust peasants constituted at once the army and the assembly of the
people. Though still numerous in 221 and during the Second Punic War,
in 133 there were no more of them. Many without doubt had perished in
the foreign wars; but the special reason for their disappearance was
that it had become impossible for them to subsist.

The peasants lived by the culture of grain. When Rome received the
grain of Sicily and Africa, the grain of Italy fell to so low a price
that laborers could not raise enough to support their families and pay
the military tax. They were compelled to sell their land and this was
bought by a rich neighbor. Of many small fields he made a great
domain; he laid the land down to grazing, and to protect his herds or
to cultivate it he sent shepherds and slave laborers. On the soil of
Italy at that time there were only great proprietors and troops of
slaves. "Great domains," said Pliny the Elder, "are the ruin of

It was, in fact, the great domains that drove the free peasants from
the country districts. The old proprietor who sold his land could no
longer remain a farmer; he had to yield the place to slaves, and he
himself wandered forth without work. "The majority of these heads of
families," says Varro in his treatise on agriculture, "have slipped
within our walls, leaving the scythe and the plough; they prefer
clapping their hands at the circus to working in their fields and
their vineyards." Tiberius Gracchus, a tribune of the plebs, exclaimed
in a moment of indignation, "The wild beasts of Italy have at least
their lairs, but the men who offer their blood for Italy have only the
light and the air that they breathe; they wander about without
shelter, without a dwelling, with their wives and their children.
Those generals do but mock them who exhort them to fight for their
tombs and their temples. Is there one of them who still possesses the
sacred altar of his house and the tomb of his ancestors? They are
called the masters of the world while they have not for themselves a
single foot of earth."

=The City Plebs.=--While the farms were being drained, the city of
Rome was being filled with a new population. They were the descendants
of the ruined peasants whom misery had driven to the city; besides
these, there were the freedmen and their children. They came from all
the corners of the world--Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Asiatics,
Africans, Spaniards, Gauls--torn from their homes, and sold as slaves;
later freed by their masters and made citizens, they massed themselves
in the city. It was an entirely new people that bore the name Roman.
One day Scipio, the conqueror of Carthage and of Numantia, haranguing
the people in the forum, was interrupted by the cries of the mob.
"Silence! false sons of Italy," he cried; "do as you like; those whom
I brought to Rome in chains will never frighten me even if they are no
longer slaves." The populace preserved quiet, but these "false sons of
Italy," the sons of the vanquished, had already taken the place of the
old Romans.

This new plebeian order could not make a livelihood for itself, and so
the state had to provide food for it. A beginning was made in 123 with
furnishing corn at half price to all citizens, and this grain was
imported from Sicily and Africa. Since the year 63[140] corn was
distributed gratuitously and oil was also provided. There were
registers and an administration expressly for these distributions, a
special service for furnishing provisions (the Annona). In 46 Cæsar
found 320,000 citizens enrolled for these distributions.

=Electoral Corruption.=--This miserable and lazy populace filled the
forum on election days and made the laws and the magistrates. The
candidates sought to win its favors by giving shows and public feasts,
and by dispensing provisions. They even bought votes. This sale took
place on a large scale and in broad day; money was given to
distributers who divided it among the voters. Once the Senate
endeavored to stop this trade; but when Piso, the consul, proposed a
law to prohibit the sale of suffrages, the distributers excited a riot
and drove the consul from the forum. In the time of Cicero no
magistrate could be elected without enormous expenditures.

=Corruption of the Senate.=--Poverty corrupted the populace who formed
the assemblies; luxury tainted the men of the old families who
composed the Senate. The nobles regarded the state as their property
and so divided among themselves the functions of the state and
intrigued to exclude the rest of the citizens from them. When Cicero
was elected magistrate, he was for thirty years the first "new man" to
enter the succession of offices.

Accustomed to exercise power, some of the senators believed themselves
to be above the law. When Scipio was accused of embezzlement, he
refused even to exonerate himself and said at the tribune, "Romans, it
was on this day that I conquered Hannibal and the Carthaginians.
Follow me to the Capitol to render thanks to the gods and to beseech
them always to provide generals like myself."

To support their pretensions at home, the majority of the nobles
required a large amount of money. Many used their power to get it for
themselves: some sent as governors plundered the subjects of Rome;
others compelled foreign or hostile kings to pay for the peace granted
them, or even for letting their army be beaten. It was in this way
that Jugurtha bribed a Roman general. Cited to Rome to answer for a
murder, he escaped trial by buying up a tribune who forbade him to
speak. It was related that in leaving Rome he had said, "O city for
sale, if thou only couldst find a purchaser!"

=Corruption of the Army.=--The Roman army was composed of small
proprietors who, when a war was finished, returned to the cultivation
of their fields. In becoming soldiers they remained citizens and
fought only for their country. Marius began to admit to the legions
poor citizens who enrolled themselves for the purpose of making
capital from their campaigns. Soon the whole army was full of
adventurers who went to war, not to perform their service, but to
enrich themselves from the vanquished. One was no longer a soldier
from a sense of duty, but as a profession.

The soldiers enrolled themselves for twenty years; their time
completed, they reëngaged themselves at higher pay and became
veterans. These people knew neither the Senate nor the laws; their
obedience was only to their general. To attach them to himself, the
general distributed to them the money taken from the vanquished.
During the war against Mithradates Sulla lodged his men with the rich
inhabitants of Asia; they lived as they chose, they and their friends,
receiving each sixteen drachmas a day. These first generals, Marius
and Sulla, were still Roman magistrates. But soon rich individuals
like Pompey and Crassus drew the soldiers to their pay. In 78 at the
death of Sulla there were four armies, levied entirely and commanded
by simple citizens. From that time there was no further question of
the legions of Rome, there were left only the legions of Pompey or


=Necessity of the Revolution.=--The Roman people was no longer
anything but an indigent and lazy multitude, the army only an
aggregation of adventurers. Neither the assembly nor the legions
obeyed the Senate, for the corrupt nobles had lost all moral
authority, so that there was left but one real power--the army; there
were no men of influence beside the generals, and the generals had no
longer any desire to obey. The government by the Senate, now no longer
practicable, gave place to the government of the general.

=The Civil Wars.=--The revolution was inevitable, but it did not come
at one stroke; it required more than a hundred years to accomplish it.
The Senate resisted, but too weak itself to govern, it was strong
enough to prevent domination by another power. The generals fought
among themselves to see who should remain master. For a century the
Romans and their subjects lived in the midst of riot and civil war.

=The Gracchi.=--The first civil discord that blazed up in Rome was the
contest of the Gracchi against the Senate. The two brothers, Tiberius
and Gaius Gracchus, were of one of the noblest families of Rome, but
both endeavored to take the government from the nobles who formed the
Senate by making themselves tribunes of the plebs. There was at that
time, either in Rome or in Italy, a crowd of citizens without means
who desired a revolution; even among the rich the majority were of the
class of the knights, who complained that they had no part in the
government. Tiberius Gracchus had himself named tribune of the plebs
and sought to gain control of the government. He proposed to the
people an agrarian law. All the lands of the public domain occupied by
individuals were to be resumed by the state (with the exception of 500
acres for each one); these lands taken by the state were to be
distributed in small lots to poor citizens. The law was voted. It
caused general confusion regarding property, for almost all of the
lands of the empire constituted a part of the public domain, but they
had been occupied for a long time and the possessors were accustomed
to regard themselves as proprietors. Further, as the Romans had no
registry of the lands, it was often very difficult to ascertain
whether a domain were private or public property. To direct these
operations, Tiberius had three commissioners named on whom the people
conferred absolute authority; they were Tiberius, his brother, and his
father-in-law, and it was uncertain whether Tiberius had acted in the
interest of the people, or simply to have a pretext for having power
placed in his hands. For a year he was master of Rome; but when he
wished to be elected tribune of the plebs for the succeeding year, his
enemies protested, as this was contrary to custom. A riot followed.
Tiberius and his friends seized the Capitol; the partisans of the
Senate and their slaves, armed with clubs and fragments of benches,
pursued them and despatched them (133).

Ten years later Gaius, the younger of the Gracchi, elected tribune of
the plebs (123), had the agrarian law voted anew, and established
distributions[141] of corn to the poor citizens. Then, to destroy the
power of the nobles, he secured a decree that the judges should be
taken from among the knights. For two years Gaius dominated the
government, but while he was absent from the city conducting a colony
of Roman citizens to Carthage the people abandoned him. On his return
he could not be reëlected. The consul armed the partisans of the
Senate and marched against Gaius and his friends who had fled to the
Aventine Hill. Gaius had himself killed by a slave; his followers were
massacred or executed in prison; their houses were razed and their
property confiscated.

=Marius and Sulla.=--The contests of the Gracchi and the Senate had
been no more than riots in the streets of Rome, terminating in a
combat between bands hastily armed. The strife that followed was a
succession of real wars between regular armies, wars in Italy, wars in
all the provinces. From this time the party chiefs were no other than
the generals.

The first to use his army to secure obedience in Rome was Marius. He
was born in Arpinum, a little town in the mountains, and was not of
noble descent. He had attained reputation as an officer in the army,
and had been elected tribune of the plebs, then prætor, with the help
of the nobles. He turned against them and was elected consul and
commissioned with the war against Jugurtha, king of Numidia, who had
already fought several Roman armies. It was then that Marius enrolled
poor citizens for whom military service became a profession. With his
army Marius conquered Jugurtha and the barbarians, the Cimbri and
Teutones, who had invaded the empire. He then returned to Rome where
he had himself elected consul for the sixth time and now exercised
absolute power. Two parties now took form in Rome who called
themselves the party of the people (the party of Marius), and the
party of the nobles (that of the Senate).

The partisans of Marius committed so many acts of violence that they
ended by making him unpopular. Sulla, a noble, of the great family of
the Cornelii, profited by this circumstance to dispute the power of
Marius; Sulla was also a general. When the Italians rose against Rome
to secure the right of citizenship and levied great armies which
marched almost to the gates of the city, it was Sulla who saved Rome
by fighting the Italians.

He became consul and was charged with the war against Mithradates,
king of Pontus, who had invaded Asia Minor and massacred all the
Romans (88). Marius in jealousy excited a riot in the city; Sulla
departed, joined his army which awaited him in south Italy, then
returned to Rome. Roman religion prohibited soldiers entering the city
under arms; the consul even before passing the gates had to lay aside
his mantle of war and assume the toga. Sulla was the first general who
dared to violate this restriction. Marius took flight.

But when Sulla had left for Asia, Marius came with an army of
adventurers and entered Rome by force (87). Then commenced the

The principal partisans of Sulla were outlawed, and command was given
to kill them anywhere they were met and to confiscate their goods.
Marius died some months later; but his principal partisan, Cinna,
continued to govern Rome and to put to death whomever he pleased.

During this time Sulla had conquered Mithradates and had assured the
loyalty of his soldiers by giving them the free pillage of Asia. He
returned with his army (83) to Italy. His enemies opposed him with
five armies, but these were defeated or they deserted. Sulla entered
Rome, massacred his prisoners and overthrew the partisans of Marius.
After some days of slaughter he set himself to proceed regularly: he
posted three lists of those whom he wished killed. "I have posted now
all those whom I can recall; I have forgotten many, but their names
will be posted as the names occur to me." Every proscribed man--that
is to say, every man whose name was on the list, was marked for death;
the murderer who brought his head was rewarded. The property of the
proscribed was confiscated. Proscription was not the result of any
trial but of the caprice of the general, and that too without any
warning. Sulla thus massacred not only his enemies but the rich whose
property he coveted. It is related that a citizen who was unaccustomed
to politics glanced in passing at the list of proscriptions and saw
his own name inscribed at the top of the list. "Alas!" he cried, "my
Alban house has been the death of me!" Sulla is said to have
proscribed 1800[142] knights.

After having removed his enemies, he endeavored to organize a
government in which all power should be in the hands of the Senate. He
had himself named Dictator, an old title once given to generals in
moments of danger and which conferred absolute power. Sulla used the
office to make laws which changed the entire constitution. From that
time all the judges were to be taken from the Senate, no law could be
discussed before it had been accepted by the Senate, the right of
proposing laws was taken from the tribunes of the plebs.

After these reforms Sulla abdicated his functions and retired to
private life (79). He knew he had nothing to fear, for he had
established 100,000 of his soldiers in Italy.

=Pompey and Cæsar.=--The Senate had recovered its power because Sulla
saw fit to give it this, but it had not the strength to retain it if a
general wished again to seize it. The government of the Senate
endured, however, in appearance for more than thirty years; this was
because there were several generals and each prevented a rival from
gaining all power.

At the death of Sulla four armies took the field: two obeyed the
generals who were partisans of the Senate, Crassus and Pompey; two
followed generals who were adversaries of the Senate, Lepidus in
Italy, and Sertorius in Spain. It is very remarkable that no one of
these armies was regular, no one of the generals was a magistrate and
therefore had the right to command troops; down to this time the
generals had been consuls, but now they were individuals--private
persons; their soldiers came to them not to serve the interests of the
state, but to profit at the expense of the inhabitants.

The armies of the enemies of the Senate were destroyed, and Crassus
and Pompey, left alone, joined issues to control affairs. They had
themselves elected consuls and Pompey received the conduct of two
wars. He went to Asia with a devoted army and was for several years
the master of Rome; but as he was more the possessor of offices than
of power, he changed nothing in the government. It was during this
time that Cæsar, a young noble, made himself popular. Pompey,
Crassus, and Cæsar united to divide the power between themselves.
Crassus received the command of the army sent to Asia against the
Parthians and was killed (53). Pompey remained at Rome. Cæsar went to
Gaul where he stayed eight years subjecting the country and making an
army for himself.

Pompey and Cæsar were now the only persons on the stage. Each wished
to be master. Pompey had the advantage of being at Rome and of
dominating the Senate; Cæsar had on his side his army, disciplined by
eight years of expeditions. Pompey secured a decree of the Senate that
Cæsar should abandon his army and return to Rome. Cæsar decided then
to cross the boundary of his province (the river Rubicon), and to
march on Rome. Pompey had no army in Italy to defend himself, and so
with the majority of the senators took flight to the other side of the
Adriatic. He had several armies in Spain, in Greece, and in Africa.
Cæsar defeated them, one after another--that of Spain first (49), then
that of Greece at Pharsalus (48), at last, that of Africa (46).
Pompey, vanquished at Pharsalus, fled to Egypt where the king had him

On his return to Rome Cæsar was appointed dictator for ten years and
exercised absolute power. The Senate paid him divine honors, and it is
possible that Cæsar desired the title of king. He was assassinated by
certain of his favorites who aimed to reëstablish the sovereignty of
the Senate (44).

=End of the Republic.=--The people of Rome, who loved Cæsar, compelled
Brutus and Cassius, the chiefs of the assassins, to flee. They
withdrew to the East where they raised a large army. The West remained
in the hand of Antony, who with the support of the army of Cæsar,
governed Rome despotically.

Cæsar in his will had adopted a young man of eighteen years, his
sister's son,[143] Octavian, who according to Roman usage assumed the
name of his adoptive father and called himself from that time Julius
Cæsar Octavianus. Octavian rallied to his side the soldiers of Cæsar
and was charged by the Senate with the war against Antony. But after
conquering him he preferred to unite with him for a division of power;
they associated Lepidus with them, and all three returned to Rome
where they secured absolute power for five years under the title of
triumvirs for organizing public affairs. They began by proscribing
their adversaries and their personal enemies. Antony secured the death
of Cicero (43). Then they left for the East to destroy the army of the
conspirators. After they had divided the empire among themselves it
was impossible to preserve harmony and war was undertaken in Italy. It
was the soldiers who compelled them to make terms of peace. A new
partition was made; Antony took the East and Octavian the West (39).
For some years peace was preserved; Antony resigned himself to the
life of an oriental sovereign in company with Cleopatra, queen of
Egypt; Octavian found it necessary to fight a campaign against the
sons of Pompey. The two leaders came at last to an open breach, and
then flamed up the last of the civil wars. This was a war between the
East and West. It was decided by the naval battle of Actium; Antony,
abandoned by the fleet of Cleopatra, fled to Egypt and took his own
life. Octavian, left alone, was absolute master of the empire. The
government of the Senate was at an end.

=Need of Peace.=--Everybody had suffered by these wars. The
inhabitants of the provinces were plundered, harassed, and massacred
by the soldiers; each of the hostile generals forced them to take
sides with him, and the victor punished them for supporting the
vanquished. To reward the old soldiers the generals promised them
lands, and then expelled all the inhabitants of a city to make room
for the veterans.

Rich Romans risked their property and their life; when their party was
overthrown, they found themselves at the mercy of the victor. Sulla
had set the example for organized massacres (81). Forty years later
(in 43) Octavian and Antony again drew up lists of proscription.

The populace suffered. The grain on which they lived came no longer to
Rome with the former regularity, being intercepted either by pirates
or by the fleet of an enemy.

After a century of this régime all the Romans and provincials, rich
and poor, had but one desire--peace.

=The Power of the Individual.=--It was then that the heir of Cæsar,
his nephew[144] Octavian, one of the triumvirs, after having conquered
his two colleagues presented himself to the people now wearied with
civil discord. "He drew to himself all the powers of the people, of
the Senate, and of the magistrates;" for twelve years he was emperor
without having the title. No one dreamed of resisting him; he had
closed the temple of Janus and given peace to the world, and this was
what everybody wished. The government of the republic by the Senate
represented only pillage and civil war. A master was needed strong
enough to stop the wars and revolutions. Thus the Roman empire was


[140] The Lex Clodia of 58 B.C. made these distributions legal.--ED.

[141] At a very low price.--ED.

[142] 1600, according to Mommsen, "History of Rome," Bk. IV, ch. x.--ED.

[143] Grandson.--ED.

[144] Grand-nephew.--ED.




=The Emperor.=--In the new régime absolute authority was lodged in a
single man; he was called the emperor (imperator--the commander). In
himself alone he exercised all those functions which the ancient
magistrates distributed among themselves: he presided over the Senate;
he levied and commanded all the armies; he drew up the lists of
senators, knights, and people; he levied taxes; he was supreme judge;
he was pontifex maximus; he had the power of the tribunes. And to
indicate that this authority made him a superhuman being, it was
decreed that he should bear a religious surname: Augustus (the

The empire was not established by a radical revolution. The name of
the republic was not suppressed and for more than three centuries the
standards of the soldiers continued to bear the initials S.P.Q.R.
(senate and people of Rome). The emperor's power was granted to him
for life instead of for one year, as with the old magistrates. The
emperor was the only and lifelong magistrate of the republic. In him
the Roman people was incarnate; this is why he was absolute.

=Apotheosis of the Emperor.=--As long as the emperor lived he was sole
master of the empire, since the Roman people had conveyed all its
power to him. But at his death the Senate in the name of the people
reviewed his life and passed judgment upon it. If he were condemned,
all the acts which he had made were nullified, his statues thrown
down, and his name effaced from the monuments.[145] If, on the
contrary, his acts were ratified (which almost always occurred), the
Senate at the same time decreed that the deceased emperor should be
elevated to the rank of the gods. The majority of the emperors,
therefore, became gods after their death. Temples were raised to them
and priests appointed to render them worship. Throughout the empire
there were temples dedicated to the god Augustus and to the goddess
Roma, and persons are known who performed the functions of flamen
(priest) of the divine Claudius, or of the divine Vespasian. This
practice of deifying the dead emperor was called Apotheosis. The word
is Greek; the custom probably came from the Greeks of the Orient.

=The Senate and the People.=--The Roman Senate remained what it had
always been--the assembly of the richest and most eminent personages
of the empire. To be a senator was still an eagerly desired honor; in
speaking of a great family one would say, "a senatorial family." But
the Senate, respected as it was, was now powerless, because the
emperor could dispense with it. It was still the most distinguished
body in the state, but it was no longer the master of the government.
The emperor often pretended to consult it, but he was not bound by its

The people had lost all its power since the assemblies (the Comitia)
were suppressed in the reign of Tiberius. The population of 2,000,000
souls crowded into Rome was composed only of some thousands of great
lords with their slaves and a mob of paupers. Already the state had
assumed the burden of feeding the latter; the emperors continued to
distribute grain to them, and supplemented this with donations of
money (the congiarium). Augustus thus donated $140 apiece in nine
different distributions, and Nero $50 in three. At the same time to
amuse this populace shows were presented. The number of days regularly
appointed for the shows under the republic had already amounted to 66
in the year; it had increased in a century and a half, under Marcus
Aurelius, to 135, and in the fourth century to 175 (without counting
supplementary days). These spectacles continued each day from sunrise
to sunset; the spectators ate their lunch in their places. This was a
means used by the emperors for the occupation of the crowd. "It is for
your advantage, Cæsar," said an actor to Augustus, "that the people
engage itself with us." It was also a means for securing popularity.
The worst emperors were among the most popular; Nero was adored for
his magnificent spectacles; the people refused to believe that he was
dead, and for thirty years they awaited his return.[146]

The multitude of Rome no longer sought to govern; it required only to
be amused and fed: in the forceful expression of Juvenal--to be
provided with bread and the games of the circus (panem et circenses).

=The Prætorians.=--Under the republic a general was prohibited from
leading his army into the city of Rome. The emperor, chief of all the
armies, had at Rome his military escort (prætorium), a body of about
10,000 men quartered in the interior of the city. The prætorians,
recruited among the veterans, received high pay and frequent
donatives. Relying on these soldiers, the emperor had nothing to fear
from malcontents in Rome. But the danger came from the prætorians
themselves; as they had the power they believed they had free rein,
and their chief, the prætorian prefect, was sometimes stronger than
the emperor.

=The Freedmen of the Emperor.=--Ever since the monarchy had superseded
the republic, there was no other magistrate than the emperor. All the
business of the empire of 80,000,000 people originated with him. For
this crushing task he required assistants. He found them, not among
the men of great family whom he mistrusted, but among the slaves of
whom he felt sure. The secretaries, the men of trust, the ministers of
the emperor were his freedmen, the majority of them foreigners from
Greece or the Orient, pliant people, adepts in flattery,
inventiveness, and loquacity. Often the emperor, wearied with serious
matters, gave the government into their hands, and, as occurs in
absolute monarchies, instead of aiding their master, they supplemented
him. Pallas and Narcissus, the freedmen of Claudius, distributed
offices and pronounced judgments; Helius, Nero's freedman, had
knights and senators executed without even consulting his master. Of
all the freedmen Pallas was the most powerful, the richest, and the
most insolent; he gave his orders to his underlings only by signs or
in writing. Nothing so outraged the old noble families of Rome as
this. "The princes," said a Roman writer, "are the masters of citizens
and the slaves of their freedmen." Among the scandals with which the
emperors were reproached, one of the gravest was governing Roman
citizens by former slaves.

=Despotism and Disorder.=--This régime had two great vices:

1. _Despotism._--The emperor was invested for life with a power
unlimited, extravagant, and hardly conceivable; according to his fancy
he disposed of persons and their property, condemned, confiscated, and
executed without restraint. No institution, no law fettered his will.
"The decree of the emperor has the force of law," say the
jurisconsults themselves. Rome recognized then the unlimited despotism
that the tyrants had exercised in the Greek cities, no longer
circumscribed within the borders of a single city, but gigantic as the
empire itself. As in Greece some honorable tyrants had presented
themselves, one sees in Rome some wise and honest monarchs (Augustus,
Vespasian, Titus). But few men had a head strong enough to resist
vertigo when they saw themselves so elevated above other men. The
majority of the emperors profited by their tremendous power only to
make their names proverbial: Tiberius, Nero, Domitian by their
cruelty, Vitellius by his gluttony, Claudius by his imbecility. One
of them, Caligula, was a veritable fool; he had his horse made consul
and himself worshipped as a god. The emperors persecuted the nobles
especially to keep them from conspiring against them, and the rich to
confiscate their goods.

2. _Disorder._--This overweening authority was, moreover, very ill
regulated; it resided entirely in the person of the emperor. When he
was dead, everything was in question. It was well known that the world
could not continue without a master, but no law nor usage determined
who was to be this master. The Senate alone had the right of
nominating the emperor, but almost always it would elect under
pressure the one whom the preceding emperor had designated or the man
who was pleasing to the soldiers.

After the death of Caligula, some prætorians who were sacking the
palace discovered, concealed behind the tapestry, a poor man trembling
with fear. This was a relative of Caligula; the prætorians made him
emperor (it was the emperor Claudius). After the death of Nero, the
Senate had elected Galba; the prætorians did not find him liberal
enough and so they massacred him to set up in his place Otho, a
favorite of Nero. In their turn the soldiers on the frontier wished to
make an emperor: the legions of the Rhine entered Italy, met the
prætorians at Bedriac near Cremona, and overthrew them in so furious a
battle that it lasted all night; then they compelled the Senate to
elect Vitellius, their general, as emperor. During this time the army
of Syria had elected its chief Vespasian, who in turn defeated
Vitellius and was named in his place; thus in two years three emperors
had been created and three overthrown by the soldiers. The new
emperor often undid what his predecessor had done; imperial despotism
had not even the advantage of being stable.

=The Twelve Cæsars.=--This regime of oppression interrupted by
violence endured for more than a century (31 B.C. to 96 A.D.).

The twelve emperors who came to the throne during this time are called
the Twelve Cæsars, although only the first six were of the family of
Augustus. It is difficult to judge them equitably. Almost all of them
persecuted the noble families of Rome of whom they were afraid, and it
is the writers of these families that have made their reputation. But
it is quite possible that in the provinces their government was mild
and just, superior to that of the senators of the republic.


=The Antonines.=--The five emperors succeeding the twelve Cæsars,
Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, and Marcus Aurelius (96-180), have
left a reputation for justice and wisdom. They were called the
Antonines, though this name properly belongs only to the last two.
They were not descended from the old families of Rome; Trajan and
Hadrian were Spaniards, Antoninus was born at Nîmes in Gaul. They were
not princes of imperial family, destined from their birth to rule.
Four emperors came to the throne without sons and so the empire could
not be transmitted by inheritance. On each occasion the prince chose
among his generals and his governors the man most capable of
succeeding him; he adopted him as his son and sought his confirmation
by the Senate. Thus there came to the empire only experienced men, who
without confusion assumed the throne of their adoptive fathers.

=Government of the Antonines.=--This century of the Antonines was the
calmest that the ancient world had ever known. Wars were relegated to
the frontier of the empire. In the interior there were still military
seditions, tyranny, and arbitrary condemnations. The Antonines held
the army in check, organized a council of state of jurisconsults,
established tribunals, and replaced the freedmen who had so long
irritated the Romans under the twelve Cæsars by regular functionaries
taken from among the men of the second class--that is, the knights.
The emperor was no longer a tyrant served by the soldiers; he was
truly the first magistrate of the republic, using his authority only
for the good of the citizens. The last two Antonines especially,
Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius, honored the empire by their integrity.
Both lived simply, like ordinary men, although they were very rich,
without anything that resembled a court or a palace, never giving the
impression that they were masters. Marcus Aurelius consulted the
Senate on all state business and regularly attended its sessions.

=Marcus Aurelius.=--Marcus Aurelius has been termed the Philosopher on
the Throne. He governed from a sense of duty, against his disposition,
for he loved solitude; and yet he spent his life in administration and
the command of armies. His private journal (his "Thoughts") exhibits
the character of the Stoic--virtuous, austere, separated from the
world, and yet mild and good. "The best form of vengeance on the
wicked is not to imitate them; the gods themselves do good to evil
men; it is your privilege to act like the gods."

=Conquests of the Antonines.=--The emperors of the first century had
continued the course of conquest; they had subjected the Britons of
England, the Germans on the left bank of the Rhine, and in the
provinces had reduced several countries which till then had retained
their kings--Mauretania, Thrace, Cappadocia. The Rhine, the Danube,
and the Euphrates were the limits of the empire.

The emperors of the second century were almost all generals; they had
the opportunity of waging numerous wars to repel the hostile peoples
who sought to invade the empire. The enemies were in two quarters

  1. On the Danube were the Dacians, barbarous people, who occupied
  the country of mountains and forests now called Transylvania.

  2. On the Euphrates was the great military monarchy of the
  Parthians which had its capital at Ctesiphon, near the ruins of
  Babylon, and which extended over all Persia.

Trajan made several expeditions against the Dacians, crossed the
Danube, won three great battles, and took the capital of the Dacians
(101-102). He offered them peace, but when they reopened the war he
resolved to end matters with them: he had a stone bridge built over
the Danube, invaded Dacia and reduced it to a Roman province (106).
Colonies were transferred thither, cities were built, and Dacia became
a Roman province where Latin was spoken and Roman customs were
assimilated. When the Roman armies withdrew at the end of the third
century, the Latin language remained and continued throughout the
Middle Ages, notwithstanding the invasions of the barbarian Slavs. It
is from Transylvania (ancient Dacia) that the peoples came from the
twelfth to the fourteenth century who now inhabit the plains to the
north of the Danube. It has preserved the name of Rome (Roumania) and
speaks a language derived from the Latin, like the French or Spanish.
Trajan made war on the Parthians also. He crossed the Euphrates, took
Ctesiphon, the capital, and advanced into Persia, even to Susa, whence
he took away the massive gold throne of the kings of Persia. He
constructed a fleet on the Tigris, descended the stream to its mouth
and sailed into the Persian Gulf; he would have delighted, like
Alexander, in the conquest of India. He took from the Parthians the
country between the Euphrates and the Tigris--Assyria and
Mesopotamia--and erected there two Roman provinces.

To commemorate his conquests Trajan erected monuments which still
remain. The Column of Trajan on the Roman Forum is a shaft whose
bas-reliefs represent the war against the Dacians. The arch of triumph
of Benevento recalls the victories over the Parthians.

Of these two conquests one alone was permanent, that of Dacia. The
provinces conquered from the Parthians revolted after the departure of
the Roman army. The emperor Hadrian retained Dacia, but returned their
provinces to the Parthians, and the Roman empire again made the
Euphrates its eastern frontier. To escape further warfare with the
highlanders of Scotland, Hadrian built a wall in the north of England
(the Wall of Hadrian) extending across the whole island. There was no
need of other wars save against the revolting Jews; these people were
overthrown and expelled from Jerusalem, the name of which was changed
to obliterate the memory of the old Jewish kingdom.

Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Antonines, had to resist the invasion
of several barbarous peoples of Germany who had crossed the Danube on
the ice and had penetrated even to Aquileia, in the north of Italy. In
order to enroll a sufficient army he had to enlist slaves and
barbarians (172). The Germans retreated, but while Marcus was occupied
with a general uprising in Syria, they renewed their attacks on the
empire, and the emperor died on the banks of the Danube (180). This
was the end of conquest.


=Extent of the Empire in the Second Century.=--The Roman emperors were
but little bent on conquest. But to occupy their army and to secure
frontiers which might be easily defended, they continued to conquer
barbarian peoples for more than a century. When the course of conquest
was finally arrested after Trajan, the empire extended over all the
south of Europe, all the north of Africa and the west of Asia; it was
limited only by natural frontiers--the ocean to the west; the
mountains of Scotland, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Caucasus to the
north; the deserts of the Euphrates and of Arabia to the east; the
cataracts of the Nile and the great desert to the south. The empire,
therefore, embraced the countries which now constitute England, Spain,
Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria, Hungary,
European Turkey, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and
Asiatic Turkey. It was more than double the extent of the empire of

This immense territory was subdivided into forty-eight provinces,[147]
unequal in size, but the majority of them very large. Thus Gaul from
the Pyrenees to the Rhine formed but seven provinces.

=The Permanent Army.=--In the provinces of the interior there was no
Roman army, for the peoples of the empire had no desire to revolt. It
was on the frontier that the empire had its enemies, foreigners always
ready to invade: behind the Rhine and the Danube the barbarian
Germans; behind the sands of Africa the nomads of the desert; behind
the Euphrates the Persian army. On this frontier which was constantly
threatened it was necessary to have soldiers always in readiness.
Augustus had understood this, and so created a permanent army. The
soldiers of the empire were no longer proprietors transferred from
their fields to serve during a few campaigns, but poor men who made
war a profession. They enlisted for sixteen or twenty years and often
reënlisted. There were, then, thirty legions of citizens--that is,
180,000 legionaries, and, according to Roman usage, a slightly larger
number of auxiliaries--in all about 400,000 men. This number was small
for so large a territory.

Each frontier province had its little army, garrisoned in a permanent
camp similar to a fortress. Merchants came to establish themselves in
the vicinity, and the camp was transformed into a city; but still the
soldiers, encamped in the face of the enemy, preserved their valor and
their discipline. There were for three centuries severe wars,
especially on the banks of the Rhine and of the Danube, where Romans
fought fierce barbarians in a swampy country, uncultivated, covered
with forests and bogs. The imperial army exhibited, perhaps, as much
bravery and energy in these obscure wars as the ancient Romans in the
conquest of the world.

=Deputies and Agents of the Emperor.=--All the provinces belonged to
the emperor[148] as the representative of the Roman people. He is
there the general of all the soldiers, master of all persons, and
proprietor of all lands.[149] But as the emperor could not be
everywhere at once, he sent deputies appointed by himself. To each
province went a lieutenant (called a deputy of Augustus with the
function of prætor); this official governed the country, commanded the
army, and went on circuit through his province to judge important
cases, for he, like the emperor, had the right of life and death.

The emperor sent also a financial agent to levy the taxes and return
the money to the imperial chest. This official was called the
"procurator of Augustus." These two men represented the emperor,
governing his subjects, commanding his soldiers, and exploiting his
domain. The emperor always chose them among the two nobilities of
Rome, the prætors from the senators, the procurators from the knights.
For them, as for the magistrates of old Rome, there was a succession
of offices: they passed from one province to another, from one end of
the empire to the other,[150] from Syria to Spain, from Britain to
Africa. In the epitaphs of officials of this time we always find
carefully inscribed all the posts which they have occupied;
inscriptions on their tombs are sufficient to construct their

=Municipal life.=--Under these omnipotent representatives of the
emperor the smaller subject peoples continued to administer their own
government. The emperor had the right of interfering in their local
affairs, but ordinarily he did not exercise this right. He only
demanded of them that they keep the peace, pay their taxes regularly,
and appear before the tribunal of the governor. There were in every
province several of these little subordinate governments; they were
called, just as at other times the Roman state was called, "cities,"
and sometimes municipalities. A city in the empire was copied after
the Roman city: it also had its assembly of the people, its
magistrates elected for a year and grouped into colleges of two
members, its senate called a curia, formed of the great proprietors,
people rich and of old family. There, as at Rome, the assembly of the
people was hardly more than a form; it is the senate--that is to say,
the nobility, that governs.

The centre of the provincial city was always a town, a Rome in
miniature, with its temples, its triumphal arches, its public baths,
its fountains, its theatres, and its arenas for the combats. The life
led there was that of Rome on a small scale: distributions of grain
and money, public banquets, grand religious ceremonies, and bloody
spectacles. Only, in Rome, it was the money of the provinces that paid
the expenses; in the municipalities the nobility itself defrayed the
costs of government and fêtes. The tax levied for the treasury of the
emperor went entirely to the imperial chest; it was necessary, then,
that the rich of the city should at their own charges celebrate the
games, heat the baths, pave the streets, construct the bridges,
aqueducts, and circuses. They did this for more than two centuries,
and did it generously; monuments scattered over the whole of the
empire and thousands of inscriptions are a witness to this.

=The Imperial Régime.=--After the conquest three or four hundred
families of the nobility of Rome governed and exploited the rest of
the world. The emperor deprived them of the government and subjected
them to his tyranny. The Roman writers could groan over their lost
liberty. The inhabitants of the provinces had nothing to regret; they
remained subject, but in place of several hundreds of masters,
ceaselessly renewed and determined to enrich themselves, they had now
a single sovereign, the emperor, interested to spare them. Tiberius
stated the imperial policy in the following words: "A good shepherd
shears his sheep, but does not flay them." For more than two centuries
the emperors contented themselves with shearing the people of the
empire; they took much of their money, but they protected them from
the enemy without, and even against their own agents. When the
provincials had grounds of complaint on account of the violence or the
robbery of their governor, they could appeal to the emperor and secure
justice. It was known that the emperor received complaints against his
subordinates; this was sufficient to frighten bad governors and
reassure subjects. Some emperors, like Marcus Aurelius, came to
recognize that they had duties to their subjects. The other emperors
at least left their subjects to govern themselves when they had no
interest to prevent this.

The imperial régime was a loss for the Romans, but a deliverance for
their subjects: it abased the conquerors and raised the vanquished,
reconciling them and preparing them for assimilation in the empire.


=Moral Decay Continues at Rome.=--Seneca in his Letters and Juvenal in
his Satires have presented portraits of the men and women of their
time so striking that the corruption of the Rome of the Cæsars has
remained proverbial. They were not only the disorders left over from
the republic--the gross extravagance of the rich, the ferocity of
masters against their slaves, the unbridled frivolity of women. The
evil did not arise with the imperial régime, but resulted from the
excessive accumulation of the riches of the world in the hands of some
thousands of nobles or upstarts, under whom lived some hundreds of
free men in poverty, and slaves by millions subjected to an
unrestrained oppression. Each of these great proprietors lived in the
midst of his slaves like a petty prince, indolent and capricious. His
house at Rome was like a palace; every morning the hall of honor (the
atrium) was filled with clients, citizens who came for a meagre salary
to salute the master[151] and escort him in the street. For fashion
required that a rich man should never appear in public unless
surrounded by a crowd; Horace ridicules a prætor who traversed the
streets of Tibur with only five slaves in his following. Outside Rome
the great possessed magnificent villas at the sea-shore or in the
mountains; they went from one to the other, idle and bored.

These great families were rapidly extinguished. Alarmed at the
diminishing number of free men, Augustus had made laws to encourage
marriage and to punish celibacy. As one might expect, his laws did not
remedy the evil. There were so many rich men who had not married that
it had become a lucrative trade to flatter them in order to be
mentioned in their will; by having no children one could surround
himself with a crowd of flatterers. "In the city," says a Roman
story-teller, "all men divide themselves into two classes, those who
fish, and those who are angled for." "Losing his children augments the
influence of a man."

=The Shows.=--In the life of this idle people of Rome the spectacles
held a place that we are now hardly able to conceive. They were, as
in Greece, games, that is to say, religious ceremonies. The games
proceeded throughout the day and again on the following day, and this
for a week at least. The amphitheatre was, as it were, the rendezvous
of the whole free population; it was there that they manifested
themselves. Thus in 196, during the civil wars, all the spectators
cried with one voice, "Peace!" The spectacle was the passion of the
time. Three emperors appeared in public, Caligula as a driver, Nero as
an actor, Commodus as a gladiator.

=The Theatre.=--There were three sorts of spectacles: the theatre, the
circus, and the amphitheatre.

The theatre was organized on Greek models. The actors were masked and
presented plays imitated from the Greek. The Romans had little taste
for this recreation which was too delicate for them. They preferred
the mimes, comedies of gross character, and especially the pantomimes
in which the actor without speaking expressed by his attitudes the
sentiments of the character.

=The Circus.=--Between the two hills of the Aventine and the Palatine
extended a field filled with race courses surrounded by arcades and
tiers of seats rising above them. This was the Circus Maximus. After
Nero enlarged it it could accommodate 250,000 spectators; in the
fourth century its size was increased to provide sittings for 385,000

Here was presented the favorite spectacle of the Roman people, the
four-horse chariot race (quadrigæ); in each race the chariot made a
triple circuit of the circus and there were twenty-five races in a
single day. The drivers belonged to rival companies whose colors they
wore; there were at first four of these colors, but they were later
reduced to two--the Blue and the Green, notorious in the history of
riots. At Rome there was the same passion for chariot-races that there
is now for horse-races; women and even children talked of them. Often
the emperor participated and the quarrel between the Blues and the
Greens became an affair of state.

=The Amphitheatre.=--At the gates of Rome the emperor Vespasian had
built the Colosseum, an enormous structure of two stories,
accommodating 87,000 spectators. It was a circus surrounding an arena
where hunts and combats were represented.

For the hunts the arena was transformed into a forest where wild
beasts were released and men armed with spears came into combat with
them. Variety was sought in this spectacle by employing the rarest
animals--lions, panthers, elephants, bears, buffaloes, rhinoceroses,
giraffes, tigers, and crocodiles. In the games presented by Pompey had
already appeared seventeen elephants and five hundred lions; some of
the emperors maintained a large menagerie.

Sometimes instead of placing armed men before the beasts, it was found
more dramatic to let loose the animals on men who were naked and
bound. The custom spread into all cities of the empire of compelling
those condemned to death to furnish this form of entertainment for the
people. Thousands of persons of both sexes and of every age, and among
them Christian martyrs, were thus devoured by beasts under the eyes of
the multitude.

=The Gladiators.=--But the national spectacle of the Romans was the
fight of gladiators (men armed with swords). Armed men descended into
the arena and fought a duel to the death. From the time of Cæsar[152]
as many as 320 pairs of gladiators were fought at once; Augustus in
his whole life fought 10,000 of them, Trajan the same number in four
months. The vanquished was slain on the field unless the people wished
to show him grace.

Sometimes the condemned were compelled to fight, but more often slaves
and prisoners of war. Each victory thus brought to the amphitheatre
bands of barbarians who exterminated one another for the delight of the
spectators.[153] Gladiators were furnished by all countries--Gauls,
Germans, Thracians, and sometimes negroes. These peoples fought with
various weapons, usually with their national arms. The Romans loved to
behold these battles in miniature.

There were also, among these contestants in the circus, some who
fought from their own choice, free men who from a taste for danger
submitted to the terrible discipline of the gladiator, and swore to
their chief "to allow themselves to be beaten with rods, be burned
with hot iron, and even be killed." Many senators enrolled themselves
in these bands of slaves and adventurers, and even an emperor,
Commodus, descended into the arena.

These bloody games were practised not only at Rome, but in all the
cities of Italy, Gaul, and Africa. The Greeks always opposed their
adoption. An inscription on a statue raised to one of the notables in
the little city of Minturnæ runs as follows: "He presented in four
days eleven pairs of gladiators who ceased to fight only when half of
them had fallen in the arena. He gave a hunt of ten terrible bears.
Treasure this in memory, noble fellow-citizens." The people,
therefore, had the passion for blood,[154] which still manifests
itself in Spain in bull-fights. The emperor, like the modern king of
Spain, must be present at these butcheries. Marcus Aurelius became
unpopular in Rome because he exhibited his weariness at the spectacles
of the amphitheatre by reading, speaking, or giving audiences instead
of regarding the games. When he enlisted gladiators to serve against
the barbarians who invaded Italy, the populace was about to revolt.
"He would deprive us of our amusements," cried one, "to compel us to
become philosophers."

=The Roman Peace.=--But there was in the empire something else than
the populace of Rome. To be just to the empire as a whole one must
consider events in the provinces. By subjecting all peoples, the
Romans had suppressed war in the interior of their empire. Thus was
established the Roman Peace which a Greek author describes in the
following language: "Every man can go where he will; the harbors are
full of ships, the mountains are safe for travellers just as the towns
for their inhabitants. Fear has everywhere ceased. The land has put
off its old armor of iron and put on festal garments. You have
realized the word of Homer, 'the earth is common to all.'" For the
first time, indeed, men of the Occident could build their houses,
cultivate their fields, enjoy their property and their leisure without
fearing at every moment being robbed, massacred, or thrown into
slavery--a security which we can hardly appreciate since we have
enjoyed it from infancy, but which seemed very sweet to the men of

=The Fusion of Peoples.=--In this empire now at peace travel became
easy. The Romans had built roads in every direction with stations and
relays; they had also made road-maps of the empire. Many people,
artisans, traders, journeyed from one end of the empire to the
other.[155] Rhetors and philosophers penetrated all Europe, going from
one city to another giving lectures. In every province could be found
men from the most remote provinces. Inscriptions show us in Spain
professors, painters, Greek sculptors; in Gaul, goldsmiths and Asiatic
workmen. Everybody transported and mingled customs, arts, and
religion. Little by little they accustomed themselves to speak the
language of the Romans. From the third century the Latin had become
the common language of the West, as the Greek since the successors of
Alexander had been the language of the Orient. Thus, as in Alexandria,
a common civilization was developed. This has been called by the name
Roman, though it was this hardly more than in name and in language. In
reality, it was the civilization of the ancient world united under
the emperor's authority.

=Superstitions.=--Religious beliefs were everywhere blended. As the
ancients did not believe in a single God, it was easy for them to
adopt new gods. All peoples, each of whom had its own religion, far
from rejecting the religions of others, adopted the gods of their
neighbors and fused them with their own. The Romans set the example by
raising the Pantheon, a temple to "all the gods," where each deity had
his sanctuary.

Everywhere there was much credulity. Men believed in the divinity of
the dead emperors; it was believed that Vespasian had in Egypt healed
a blind man and a paralytic. During the war with the Dacians the Roman
army was perishing of thirst; all at once it began to rain, and the
sudden storm appeared to all as a miracle; some said that an Egyptian
magician had conjured Hermes, others believed that Jupiter had taken
pity on the soldiers; and on the column of Marcus Aurelius Jupiter was
represented, thunderbolt in hand, sending the rain which the soldiers
caught in their bucklers.

When the apostles Barnabas and Paul came to the city of Lystra in Asia
Minor, the inhabitants invoked Barnabas as Jupiter and Paul as
Mercury; they were met by a procession, with priests at the head
leading a bull which they were about to sacrifice.

Cultured people were none the less credulous.[156] The Stoic
philosophers admitted omens. The emperor Augustus regarded it as a
bad sign when he put on the wrong shoe. Suetonius wrote to Pliny the
Younger, begging him to transfer his case to another day on account of
a dream which he had had. Pliny the Younger believed in ghosts.

Among peoples ready to admit everything, different religions, instead
of going to pieces, fused into a common religion. This religion, at
once Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Asiatic, dominated the world at the
second century of our era; and so the Christians called it the
religion of the nations; down to the fourth century they gave the
pagans the name of "gentiles" (men of the nations); at the same time
the common law was called the Law of Nations.


[145] Inscriptions have been found where the name of Domitian has thus
been cut away.

[146] Suetonius ("Lives of the Twelve Cæsars," Nero, ch. lvii.) relates,
that the king of the Parthians, when he sent ambassadors to the Senate
to renew his alliance with the Roman people, earnestly requested that
due honor should be paid to the memory of Nero. The historian continues,
"When, twenty years afterwards, at which time I was a young man, some
person of obscure birth gave himself out for Nero, that name secured him
so favorable a reception from the Parthians that he was very zealously
supported, and it was with much difficulty that they were persuaded to
give him up."--ED.

[147] Italy was not included among the provinces.

[148] A few provinces, the less important, remained to the Senate, but
the emperor was almost always master in these as well.

[149] The jurisconsult Gaius says, "On provincial soil we can have
possession only; the emperor owns the property."

[150] "Great personages," says Epictetus, "cannot root themselves like
plants; they must be much on the move in obedience to the commands of
the emperor."

[151] A client's task was a hard one; the poet Martial, who had served
thus, groans about it. He had to rise before day, put on his toga which
was an inconvenient and cumbersome garment, and wait a long time in the

[152] Cæsar gave also a combat between two troops, each composed of 500
archers, 300 knights (30 knights according to Suetonius; Julius, ch.
39), and 20 elephants.

[153] In an official discourse an orator thanks the emperor Constantine
who had given to the amphitheatre an entire army of barbarian captives,
"to bring about the destruction of these men for the amusement of the
people. What triumph," he cried, "could have been more glorious?"

[154] St. Augustine in his "Confessions" describes the irresistible
attraction of these sanguinary spectacles.

[155] A Phrygian relates in an inscription that he had made seventy-two
voyages from Asia to Italy.

[156] There were some sceptical writers, like Lucian, but they were




=Imitation of the Greeks.=--The Romans were not artists naturally.
They became so very late and by imitating the Greeks. From Greece they
took their models of tragedy, comedy, the epic, the ode, the didactic
poem, pastoral poetry, and history. Some writers limited themselves to
the free translation of a Greek original (as Horace in his Odes). All
borrowed from the Greeks at least their ideas and their forms. But
they carried into this work of adaptation their qualities of patience
and vigor, and many came to a true originality.

=The Age of Augustus.=--There is common agreement in regarding the
fifty years of the government of Augustus as the most brilliant period
in Latin literature. It is the time of Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Tibullus,
Propertius, and Livy. The emperor, or rather his friend Mæcenas,
personally patronized some of these poets, especially Horace and
Vergil, who sang the glory of Augustus and of his time. But this
Augustan Age was preceded and followed by two centuries that perhaps
equalled it. It was in the preceding century,[157] the first before
Christ, that the most original Roman poet[158] appeared, Cæsar the
most elegant prose-writer, and Cicero the greatest orator. It was in
the following age that Seneca, Lucan, Tacitus, Pliny, and Juvenal
wrote. Between Lucretius and Tacitus there were for three centuries
many great writers in Rome. One might also add another century by
recurring to the time of Plautus, the second century before Christ.

Of these great authors a few had their origin in Roman families; but
the majority of them were Italians. Many came from the provinces,
Vergil from Mantua, Livy from Padua (in Cisalpine Gaul), while Seneca
was a Spaniard.

=Orators and Rhetors.=--The true national art at Rome was eloquence.
Like the Italians of our day, the Romans loved to speak in public. In
the forum where they held the assemblies of the people was the
rostrum, the platform for addressing the people, so named from the
prows of captured ships that ornamented it like trophies of war.
Thither the orators came in the last epoch of the republic to declaim
and to gesticulate before a tumultuous crowd.

The tribunals, often composed of a hundred judges, furnished another
occasion for eloquent advocates. The Roman law permitted the accused
to have an advocate speak in his place.

There were orators in Rome from the second century. Here, as in
Athens, the older orators, such as Cato and the Gracchi, spoke simply,
too simply for the taste of Cicero. Those who followed them in the
first century learned in the schools of the Greek rhetors the long
oratorical periods and pompous style. The greatest of all was Cicero,
the only one whose works have come down to us in anything but
fragments; and yet we have his speeches as they were left by him and
not as they were delivered.[159]

With the fall of the republic the assemblies and the great political
trials ceased. Eloquence perished for the want of matter, and the
Roman writers remarked this with bitterness.[160] Then the rhetors
commenced to multiply, who taught the art of speaking well.[161] Some
of these teachers had their pupils compose as exercises pleas on
imaginary rhetorical subjects. The rhetor Seneca has left us many of
these oratorical themes; they discuss stolen children, brigands, and
romantic adventures.

Then came the mania for public lectures. Pollio, a favorite of
Augustus, had set the example. For a century it was the fashion to
read poems, panegyrics, even tragedies before an audience of friends
assembled to applaud them. The taste for eloquence that had once
produced great orators exhibited in the later centuries only finished

=Importance of the Latin Literature and Language.=--Latin literature
profited by the conquests of Rome; the Romans carried it with their
language to their barbarian subjects of the West. All the peoples of
Italy, Gaul, Spain, Africa, and the Danubian lands discarded their
language and took the Latin. Having no national literature, they
adopted that of their masters. The empire was thus divided between the
two languages of the two great peoples of antiquity: the Orient
continued to speak Greek; almost the entire Occident acquired the
Latin. Latin was not only the official language of the state
functionaries and of great men, like the English of our day in India;
the people themselves spoke it with greater or less correctness--in
fact, so well that today eighteen centuries after the conquest five
languages of Europe are derived from the Latin--the Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese, French, and Roumanian.

With the Latin language the Latin literature extended itself over all
the West. In the schools of Bordeaux and Autun in the fifth century
only Latin poets and orators were studied. After the coming of the
barbarians, bishops and monks continued to write in Latin and they
carried this practice among the peoples of England and Germany who
were still speaking their native languages. Throughout almost the
whole mediæval period, acts, laws, histories, and books of science
were written in Latin. In the convents and the schools they read,
copied, and appreciated only works written in Latin; beside books of
piety only the Latin authors were known--Vergil, Horace, Cicero, and
Pliny the Younger. The renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries consisted partly in reviving the forgotten Latin writers.
More than ever it was the fashion to know and to imitate them.

As the Romans constructed a literature in imitation of the Greeks, the
moderns have taken the Latin writers for their models. Was this good
or bad? Who would venture to say? But the fact is indisputable. Our
romance languages are daughters of the Latin, our literatures are full
of the ideas and of the literary methods of the Romans. The whole
western world is impregnated with the Latin literature.


=Sculpture and Painting.=--Great numbers of Roman statues and
bas-reliefs of the time of the empire have come to light. Some are
reproductions and almost all are imitations of Greek works, but less
elegant and less delicate than the models. The most original
productions of this form of art are the bas-reliefs and the busts.

Bas-reliefs adorned the monuments (temples, columns, and triumphal
arches), tombs, and sarcophagi. They represent with scrupulous
fidelity real scenes, such as processions, sacrifices, combats, and
funeral ceremonies and so give us information about ancient life. The
bas-reliefs which surround the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius
bring us into the presence of the great scenes of their wars. One may
see the soldiers fighting against the barbarians, besieging their
fortresses, leading away the captives; the solemn sacrifices, and the
emperor haranguing the troops.

The busts are especially those of the emperors, of their wives and
their children. As they were scattered in profusion throughout the
empire, so many have been found that today all the great museums of
Europe have collections of imperial busts. They are real portraits,
probably very close resemblances, for each emperor had a well-marked
physiognomy, often of a striking ugliness that no one attempted to

In general, Roman sculpture holds itself much more close to reality
than does the Greek; it may be said that the artist is less concerned
with representing things beautifully than exactly.

Of Roman painting we know only the frescoes painted on the walls of
the rich houses of Pompeii and of the house of Livy at Rome. We do not
know but these were the work of Greek painters; they bear a close
resemblance to the paintings on Greek vases, having the same simple
and elegant grace.

=Architecture.=--The true Roman art, because it operated to satisfy a
practical need, is architecture. In this too the Romans imitated the
Greeks, borrowing the column from them. But they had a form that the
Greeks never employed--the arch, that is to say, the art of arranging
cut stones in the arc of a circle so that they supported one another.
The arch allowed them to erect buildings much larger and more varied
than those of the Greeks. The following are the principal varieties of
Roman monuments:

  1. The _Temple_ was sometimes similar to a Greek temple with a
  broad vestibule, sometimes vaster and surmounted with a dome. Of
  this sort is the Pantheon built in Rome under Augustus.

  2. The _Basilica_ was a long low edifice, covered with a roof and
  surrounded with porticos. There sat the judge with his assistants
  about him; traders discussed the price of goods; the place was at
  once a bourse and a tribunal. It was in the basilicas that the
  assemblies of the Christians were later held, and for several
  centuries the Christian churches preserved the name and form of

  3. The _Amphitheatre_ and the _Circus_ were constructed of several
  stories of arcades surrounding an arena; each range of arcades
  supported many rows of seats. Such were the Colosseum at Rome and
  the arenas at Arles and Nîmes.

  4. The _Arch of Triumph_ was a gate of honor wide enough for the
  passage of a chariot, adorned with columns and surmounted with a
  group of sculpture. The Arch of Titus is an example.

  5. The _Sepulchral Vault_ was an arched edifice provided with many
  rows of niches, in each of which were laid the ashes of a corpse.
  It was called a Columbarium (pigeon-house) from its shape.

  6. The _Thermæ_ were composed of bathing-halls furnished with
  basins. The heat was provided by a furnace placed in an
  underground chamber. The Thermæ in a Roman city were what the
  gymnasium was in a Greek city--a rendezvous for the idle. Much
  more than the gymnasium it was a labyrinth of halls of every sort:
  there were a cool hall, warm apartments, a robing-room, a hall
  where the body was anointed with oil, parlors, halls for exercise,
  gardens, and the whole surrounded by an enormous wall. Thus the
  Thermæ of Caracalla covered an immense area.

  7. The _Bridge_ and the _Aqueduct_ were supported by a range of
  arches thrown over a river or over a valley. Examples are the
  bridge of Alcantara and the Pont du Gard.

  8. The _House_ of a rich Roman was a work of art. Unlike our
  modern houses, the ancient house had no façade; the house was
  turned entirely toward the interior; on the outside it showed only
  bare walls.

  The rooms were small, ill furnished, and dark; they were lighted
  only through the atrium. In the centre was the great hall of honor
  (the atrium) where the statues of the ancestors were erected and
  where visitors were received. It was illuminated by an opening in
  the roof.

  Behind the atrium was the peristyle, a garden surrounded by
  colonnades, in which were the dining halls, richly ornamented and
  provided with couches, for among the rich Romans, as among the
  Asiatic Greeks, guests reclined on couches at the banquets. The
  pavement was often made of mosaic.

=Character of the Roman Architecture.=--The Romans,[162] unlike the
Greeks, did not always build in marble. Ordinarily they used the stone
that they found in the country, binding this together with an
indestructible mortar which has resisted even dampness for eighteen
hundred years. Their monuments have not the wonderful grace of the
Greek monuments, but they are large, strong, and solid--like the Roman
power. The soil of the empire is still covered with their débris. We
are astonished to find monuments almost intact as remote as the
deserts of Africa. When it was planned to furnish a water-system for
the city of Tunis, all that had to be done was to repair a Roman

=Rome and Its Monuments.=--Rome at the time of the emperors was a
city of 2,000,000 inhabitants.[163] This population was herded in
houses of five and six stories, poorly built and crowded together. The
populous quarters were a labyrinth of tortuous paths, steep, and ill
paved. Juvenal who frequented them leaves us a picture of them which
has little attractiveness. At Pompeii, a city of luxury, it may be
seen how narrow were the streets of a Roman city. In the midst of
hovels monuments by the hundred would be erected. The emperor Augustus
boasted of having restored more than eighty temples. "I found a city
of bricks," said he; "I leave a city of marble." His successors all
worked to embellish Rome. It was especially about the Forum that the
monuments accumulated. The Capitol with its temple of Jupiter became
almost like the Acropolis at Athens. In the same quarter many
monumental areas were constructed--the forum of Cæsar, the forum of
Augustus, the forum of Nerva, and, most brilliant of all, the forum of
Trajan. Two villas surrounded by a park were situated in the midst of
the city; the most noted was the Golden House, built for Nero.


=The Twelve Tables.=--The Romans, like all other ancient peoples, had
at first no written laws. They followed the customs of the
ancestors--that is to say, each generation did in everything just as
the preceding generation did.

In 450 ten specially elected magistrates, the decemvirs, made a
series of laws that they wrote on twelve tables of stone. This was the
Law of the Twelve Tables, codified in short, rude, and trenchant
sentences--a legislation severe and rude like the semi-barbarous
people for whom it was made. It punished the sorcerer who by magical
words blasted the crop of his neighbor. It pronounced against the
insolvent debtor, "If he does not pay, he shall be cited before the
court; if sickness or age deter him, a horse shall be furnished him,
but no litter; he may have thirty days' delay, but if he does not
satisfy the debt in this time, the creditor may bind him with straps
or chains of fifteen pounds weight; at the end of sixty days he may be
sold beyond the Tiber; if there are many creditors, they may cut him
in parts, and if they cut more or less, there is no wrong in the act."
According to the word of Cicero, the Law of the Twelve Tables was "the
source of all the Roman law." Four centuries after it was written down
the children had to learn it in the schools.

=The Symbolic Process.=--In the ancient Roman law it was not enough in
buying, selling, or inheriting that this was the intention of the
actor; to obtain justice in the Roman tribunal it was not sufficient
to present the case; one had to pronounce certain words and use
certain gestures. Consider, for example, the manner of purchasing. In
the presence of five citizens who represent an assembly and of a sixth
who holds a balance in his hand, the buyer places in the balance a
piece of brass which represents the price of the thing sold. If it be
an animal or a slave that is sold, the purchaser touches it with his
hand saying, "This is mine by the law of the Romans, I have bought it
with this brass duly weighed." Before the tribunal every process is a
pantomime: to reclaim an object one seizes it with the hand; to
protest against a neighbor who has erected a wall, a stone is thrown
against the wall. When two men claim proprietorship in a field, the
following takes place at the tribunal: the two adversaries grasp hands
and appear to fight; then they separate and each says, "I declare this
field is mine by the law of the Romans; I cite you before the tribunal
of the prætor to debate our right at the place in question." The judge
orders them to go to the place. "Before these witnesses here present,
this is your road to the place; go!" The litigants take a few steps as
if to go thither, and this is the symbol of the journey. A witness
says to them, "Return," and the journey is regarded as completed. Each
of the two presents a clod of earth, the symbol of the field. Thus the
trial commences;[164] then the judge alone hears the case. Like all
primitive peoples, the Romans comprehended well only what they
actually saw; the material acts served to represent to them the right
that could not be seen.

=The Formalism of Roman Law.=--The Romans scrupulously respected their
ancient forms. In justice, as in religion, they obeyed the letter of
the law, caring nothing for its sense. For them every form was sacred
and ought to be strictly applied. In cases before the courts their
maxim was: "What has already been pronounced ought to be the law." If
an advocate made a mistake in one word in reciting the formula, his
case was lost. A man entered a case against his neighbor for having
cut down his vines: the formula that he ought to use contained the
word "arbor," he replaced it with the word "vinea," and could not win
his case.

This absolute reverence for the form allowed the Romans some strange
accommodations. The law said that if a father sold his son three
times, the son should be freed from the power of the father; when,
therefore, a Roman wished to emancipate his son, he sold him three
times in succession, and this comedy of sale sufficed to emancipate

The law required that before beginning war a herald should be sent to
declare it at the frontier of the enemy. When Rome wished to make war
on Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who had his kingdom on the other side of
the Adriatic, they were much embarrassed to execute this formality.
They hit on the following: a subject of Pyrrhus, perhaps a deserter,
bought a field in Rome; they then assumed that this territory had
become territory of Epirus, and the herald threw his javelin on this
land and made his solemn declaration. Like all other immature peoples,
the Romans believed that consecrated formulas had a magical virtue.

=Jurisprudence.=--The Law of the Twelve Tables and the laws made after
them were brief and incomplete. But many questions presented
themselves that had no law for their solution. In these embarrassing
cases it was the custom at Rome to consult certain persons who were of
high reputation for their knowledge of questions of law. These were
men of eminence, often old consuls or pontiffs; they gave their advice
in writing, and their replies were called the Responses of the Wise.
Usually these responses were authoritative according to the respect
had for the sages. The emperor Augustus went further: he named some of
them whose responses should have the force of law. Thus Law began to
be a science and the men versed in law formulated new rules which
became obligatory. This was Jurisprudence.

=The Prætor's Edict.=--To apply the sacred rules of law a supreme
magistrate was needed at Rome. Only a consul or a prætor could direct
a tribunal and, according to the Roman expression, "say the law." The
consuls engaged especially with the army ordinarily left this care to
the prætors.

There were always at Rome at least two prætors as judges: one
adjudicated matters between citizens and was called the prætor of the
city (prætor urbanus); the other judged cases between citizens and
aliens and was called prætor of the aliens (prætor peregrinus), or,
more exactly, prætor between aliens and citizens. There was need of at
least two tribunals, since an alien could not be admitted to the
tribunal of the citizens. These prætors, thanks to their absolute
power, adjusted cases according to their sense of equity; the prætor
of the aliens was bound by no law, for the Roman laws were made only
for Roman citizens. And yet, since each prætor was to sit and judge
for a year, on entering upon his office he promulgated a decree in
which he indicated the rules that he expected to follow in his
tribunal; this was the Prætor's Edict. At the end of the year, when
the præter left his office, his ordinance was no longer in force, and
his successor had the right to make an entirely different one. But it
came to be the custom for each prætor to preserve the edicts of his
predecessors, making a few changes and some additions. Thus
accumulated for centuries the ordinances of the magistrates. At last
the emperor Hadrian in the second century had the Prætorian Edict
codified and gave it the force of law.

=Civil Law and the Law of Nations.=--As there were two separate
tribunals, there developed two systems of rules, two different laws.
The rules applied to the affairs of citizens by the prætor of the city
formed the Civil Law--that is to say, the law of the city. The rules
followed by the prætor of aliens constituted the Law of Nations--that
is to say, of the peoples (alien to Rome). It was then perceived that
of these two laws the more human, the more sensible, the simpler--in a
word, the better, was the law of aliens. The law of citizens, derived
from the superstitious and strict rules of the old Romans, had
preserved from this rude origin troublesome formulas and barbarous
regulations. The Law of Nations, on the contrary, had for its
foundation the dealings of merchants and of men established in Rome,
dealings that were free from every formula, from every national
prejudice, and were slowly developed and tried by the experience of
several centuries. And so it may be seen how contrary to reason the
ancient law was. "Strict law is the highest injustice," is a Roman
proverb. The prætors of the city set themselves to correct the ancient
law and to judge according to equity or justice. They came gradually
to apply to citizens the same rules that the prætor of the aliens
followed in his tribunal. For example, the Roman law ordained that
only relatives on the male side should be heirs; the prætor summoned
the relatives on the female side also to participate in the

The old law required that a man to become a proprietor must perform a
complicated ceremony of sale; the prætor recognized that it was
sufficient to have paid the price of the sale and to be in possession
of the property. Thus the Law of Nations invaded and gradually
superseded the Civil Law.

="Written Reason."=--It was especially under the emperors that the new
Roman law took its form. The Antonines issued many ordinances (edicts)
and re-scripts (letters in which the emperor replied to those who
consulted him). Jurisconsults who surrounded them assisted them in
their reforms. Later, at the beginning of the third century, under the
bad emperors as under the good, others continued to state new rules
and to rectify the old. Papinian, Ulpian, Modestinus, and Paullus were
the most noted of these lawyers; their works definitively fixed the
Roman law.

This law of the third century has little resemblance to the old Roman
law, so severe on the weak. The jurisconsults adopt the ideas of the
Greek philosophers, especially of the Stoics. They consider that all
men have the right of liberty: "By the law of nature all men are born
free," which is to say that slavery is contrary to nature. They also
admit that a slave could claim redress even against his master, and
that the master, if he killed his slave, should be punished as a
murderer. Likewise they protect the child against the tyranny of the

It is this new law that was in later times called Written Reason. In
fact, it is a philosophical law such as reason can conceive for all
men. And so there remains no longer an atom of the strict and gross
law of the Twelve Tables. The Roman law which has for a long time
governed all Europe, and which today is preserved in part in the laws
of several European states is not the law of the old Romans. It is
constructed, on the contrary, of the customs of all the peoples of
antiquity and the maxims of Greek philosophers fused together and
codified in the course of centuries by Roman magistrates and


[157] Sometimes called the Age of Cicero.

[158] Lucretius.--ED.

[159] One of the most noted, the plea for Milo, was written much later.
Cicero at the time of the delivery was distracted and said almost

[160] See the "Dialogue of the Orators," attributed to Tacitus.

[161] The word "rhetor" signified in Greek simply orator; the Romans
used the word in a mistaken sense to designate the men who made a
profession of speaking.

[162] The same reserve must be maintained with regard to the arts as to
the literature. The builders of the Roman monuments were not Romans, but
provincials, often slaves; the only Roman would be the master for whom
the slaves worked.

[163] This estimate is too liberal. 1,500,00 is probably nearer the
truth. See Friedlaender, Sittengeschichte Roms, i. 25.--ED.

[164] Cicero describes this juridical comedy which was still in force in
his time.




=The Christ.=--He whom the Jews were expecting as their liberator and
king, the Messiah, appeared in Galilee, a small province of the North,
hardly regarded as Jewish, and in a humble family of carpenters. He
was called Jesus, but his Greek disciples called him the Christ (the
anointed), that is to say, the king consecrated by the holy oil. He
was also called the Master, the Lord, and the Saviour. The religion
that he came to found is that we now possess. We all know his life: it
is the model of every Christian. We know his instructions by heart;
they form our moral law. It is sufficient, then, to indicate what new
doctrines he disseminated in the world.

=Charity.=--Before all, Christ commended love. "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy mind and thy neighbor
as thyself.... On these two commandments hang all the law and the
prophets." The first duty is to love others and to benefit them. When
God will judge men, he will set on his right hand those who have fed
the hungry, given drink to those who were thirsty, and have clad those
that were naked. To those who would follow him the Christ said at the
beginning: "Go, ... sell all that ye have and give to the poor."

For the ancients the good man was the noble, the rich, the brave.
Since the time of Christ the word has changed its sense: the good man
is he who loves others. Doing good is loving others and seeking to be
of service to them. Charity (the Latin name of love) from that time
has been the cardinal virtue. Charitable becomes synonymous with
beneficent. To the old doctrine of vengeance the Christ formally
opposes his doctrine of charity. "Ye have heard that it was said, An
eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you ...
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
also.... Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you love your enemies,
do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you,
... that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on
the just and the unjust." He himself on the cross prayed for his
executioners, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

=Equality.=--The Christ loved all men; he died not for one people
only, but for all humanity. He never made a difference between men;
all are equal before God. The ancient religions, even the Jewish, were
religions of peoples who kept them with jealous care, as a treasure,
without wishing to communicate them to other peoples. Christ said to
his disciples, "Go, and teach all nations." And the apostle Paul thus
formulated the doctrine of Christian equality: "There is neither Greek
nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, bond nor free."
Two centuries later Tertullian, a Christian writer, said, "The world
is a republic, the common land of the human race."

=Poverty and Humility.=--The ancients thought that riches ennobled a
man and they regarded pride as a worthy sentiment. "Blessed are the
poor," said Christ, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He that
would not renounce all that he had could not be his disciple. He
himself went from city to city, possessing nothing, and when his
disciples were preoccupied with the future, he said, "Be not anxious
for what ye shall eat, nor for what ye shall put on. Behold the birds
of the heaven, they sow not neither do they reap, yet your heavenly
Father feedeth them."

The Christian was to disdain riches, and more yet, worldly honors. One
day when his disciples were disputing who should have the highest rank
in heaven, he said, "He that is greatest among you shall be your
servant." "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted." Till our day the successor of
Saint Peter calls himself "Servant of the servants of God." Christ
drew to himself by preference the poor, the sick, women, children,--in
a word, the weak and the helpless. He took all his disciples from
among the populace and bade them be "meek and lowly of heart."

=The Kingdom of God.=--Christ said that he had come to the earth to
found the kingdom of God. His enemies believed that he wished to be a
king, and when he was crucified, they placed this inscription on his
cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews." This was a gross
mistake. Christ himself had declared, "My kingdom is not of this
world." He did not come to overturn governments nor to reform
society. To him who asked if he should pay the Roman tax, he replied,
"Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things
that are God's." And so the Christian accepted what he found
established and himself worked to perfect it, not to remodel society.
To make himself pleasing to God and worthy of his kingdom it was not
necessary to offer him sacrifices or to observe minute formulas as the
pagans did: "True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and
truth." Their moral law is contained in this word of Christ: "Be ye
therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."


=Disciples and Apostles.=--The twelve disciples who associated with
Christ received from him the mission to preach his doctrine to all
peoples. From that time they were called Apostles. The majority of
them lived in Jerusalem and preached in Judæa; the first Christians
were still Jews. It was Saul, a new convert, who carried Christianity
to the other peoples of the Orient. Paul (for he took this name) spent
his life visiting the Greek cities of Asia, Greece, and Macedonia,
inviting to the new religion not only the Jews, but also and
especially the Gentiles: "You were once without Christ," said he to
them, "strangers to the covenant and to the promises; but you have
been brought nigh by the blood of Christ, for it is he who of two
peoples hath made both one." From this time it was no longer necessary
to be a Jew if one would become a Christian. The other nations,
disregarded by the law of Moses, are brought near by the law of
Christ. This fusion was the work of St. Paul, also called the Apostle
to the Gentiles.

The religion of Christ spread very slowly, as he himself had
announced: "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed ...
which is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the
greatest among herbs ... and the birds of the air lodge under its

=The Church.=--In every city where Christians were found they
assembled to pray together, to sing the praises of God, and to
celebrate the mystery of the Lord's Supper. Their meeting was called
Ecclesia (assembly). Usually the Christians of the same assembly
regarded themselves as brothers; they contributed of their property to
support the widows, the poor, and the sick. The most eminent directed
the community and celebrated the religious ceremonies. These were the
Priests (their name signifies "elders"). Others were charged with the
administration of the goods of the community, and were called Deacons
(servants). Besides these officers, there was in each city a supreme
head--the Bishop (overseer).

Later the functions of the church became so exacting that the body of
Christians was divided into two classes of people: the clergy, who
were the officials of the community; the rest, the faithful, who were
termed the laity.

Each city had its independent church; thus they spoke of the church of
Antioch, of Corinth, of Rome; and yet they all formed but one church,
the church of Christ, in which all were united in one faith. The
universal or Catholic faith was regarded as the only correct body of
belief; all conflicting opinions (the heresies) were condemned as

=The Sacred Books.=--The sacred scripture of the Jews, the Old
Testament, remained sacred for the Christians, but they had other
sacred books which the church had brought into one structure (the New
Testament). The four Gospels recount the life of Christ and the "good
news" of salvation which he brought. The Acts of the Apostles
describes how the gospel was disseminated in the world. The Epistles
are the letters addressed by the apostles to the Christians of the
first century. The Apocalypse (Revelation) is the revelation made
through St. John to the seven churches of Asia. Many other
pseudo-sacred books were current among the Christians, but the church
has rejected all of these, and has termed them apocryphal.

=The Persecutions.=--The Christian religion was persecuted from its
birth. Its first enemies were the Jews, who forced the Roman governor
of Judæa to crucify Christ; who stoned St. Stephen, the first martyr,
and so set themselves against St. Paul that they almost compassed his

Then came the persecution by the Pagans. The Romans tolerated all the
religions of the East because the devotees of Osiris, of Mithra, and
of the Good Goddess recognized at the same time the Roman gods. But
the Christians, worshippers of the living God, scorned the petty
divinities of antiquity. More serious still in the eyes of the Romans,
they refused to adore the emperor as a god and to burn incense on the
altar of the goddess Roma. Several emperors promulgated edicts
against the Christians, bidding the governors arrest them and put them
to death. A letter of Pliny the Younger, then governor in Asia, to the
emperor Trajan, shows the procedure against them. "Up to this time,
regarding the people who have been denounced as Christians, I have
always operated as follows: I asked them if they were Christians; if
they confessed it, I put the question to them a second time, and then
a third time, threatening them with the penalty of death. When they
persisted, I had them put to death, convinced that, whatever their
fault that they avowed, their disobedience and their resolute
obstinacy merited punishment. Many who have been denounced in
anonymous writings have denied that they were Christians, have
repeated a prayer that I pronounced before them, have offered wine and
incense to your statue, which I had set forth for this purpose
together with the statues of the gods, and have even reviled the name
of Christ. All these are things which it is not possible to compel any
true Christians to do. Others have confessed that they were
Christians, but they affirm that their crime and their error consisted
only in assembling on certain days before sunrise to adore Christ as
God, to sing together in his honor, and to bind themselves by oath to
commit no crime, to perpetrate no theft, murder, adultery, nor to
violate their word. I have believed it necessary in order to secure
the truth to put to the torture two female slaves whom they called
deaconesses; but I have discovered only an absurd and exaggerated

The Roman government was a persecutor,[165] but the populace were
severer yet. They could not endure these people who worshipped another
god than theirs and contemned their deities. Whenever famine or
epidemic occurred, the well-known cry was heard, "To the lions with
the Christians!" The people forced the magistrates to hunt and
persecute the Christians.

=The Martyrs.=--For the two centuries and a half that the Christians
were persecuted, throughout the empire there were thousands of
victims, of every age, sex, and condition. Roman citizens, like St.
Paul, were beheaded; the others were crucified, burned, most often
sent to the beasts in the amphitheatre. If they were allowed to escape
with their lives, they were set at forced labor in the mines.
Sometimes torture was aggravated by every sort of invention. In the
great execution at Lyons, in 177, the Christians, after being tortured
and confined in narrow prison quarters, were brought to the arena. The
beasts mutilated without killing them. They were then seated in iron
chairs heated red by fire. Blandina, a young slave, who survived all
these torments was bound with cords and exposed to the fury of a bull.
The Christians joyfully suffered these persecutions which gave them
entrance to heaven. The occasion presented an opportunity for
rendering public testimony to Christ. And so they did not call
themselves victims, but martyrs (witnesses); their torture was a
testimony. They compared it to the combat of the Olympian games; like
the victor in the athletic contests, they spoke of the palm or the
crown. Even now the festal day of a martyr is the day of his death.

Frequently a Christian who was present at the persecution would draft
a written account of the martyrdom--he related the arrest, the
examination, the tortures, and the death. These brief accounts, filled
with edifying details, were called The Acts of the Martyrs. They were
circulated in the remotest communities; from one end of the empire to
the other they published the glory of the martyrs and excited a desire
to imitate them. Thousands of the faithful, seized by a thirst for
martyrdom, pressed forward to incriminate themselves and to demand
condemnation. One day a governor of Asia had decreed persecutions
against some Christians: all the Christians of the city presented
themselves in his tribunal and demanded to be persecuted. The
governor, exasperated, had some of them executed and sent away the
others. "Begone, you wretches! If you are so bent on death, you have
precipices and ropes." Some of the faithful, to be surer of torture,
entered the temples and threw down the idols of the gods. It was
several times necessary for even the church to prohibit the
solicitation of martyrdom.

=The Catacombs.=--The ancient custom of burning the dead was repugnant
to the Christians. Like the Jews, they interred their dead wrapped
with a shroud in a sarcophagus. Cemeteries[166] were therefore
required. At Rome where land was very high in price the Christians
went below ground, and in the brittle tufa on which Rome was built may
be seen long galleries and subterranean chambers. There, in niches
excavated along the passages, they laid the bodies of their dead. As
each generation excavated new galleries, there was formed at length a
subterranean city, called the Catacombs ("to the tombs"). There were
similar catacombs in several cities--Naples, Milan, Alexandria, but
the most celebrated were those in Rome. These have been investigated
in our day and thousands of Christian tombs and inscriptions
recovered. The discovery of this subterranean world gave birth to a
new department of historical science--Christian Epigraphy and

The sepulchral halls of the catacombs do not resemble those of the
Egyptians or those of the Etruscans; they are bare and severe. The
Christians knew that a corpse had no bodily wants and so they did not
adorn the tombs. The most important halls are decorated with very
simple ornaments and paintings which almost always represent the same
scenes. The most common subjects are the faithful in prayer, and the
Good Shepherd, symbolical of Christ. Some of these halls were like
chapels. In them were interred the bodies of the holy martyrs and the
faithful who wished to lie near them; every year Christians came here
to celebrate the mysteries. During the persecutions of the third
century the Christians of Rome often took refuge in these subterranean
chapels to hold their services of worship, or to escape from pursuit.
The Christians could feel safe in this bewildering labyrinth of
galleries whose entrance was usually marked by a pagan tomb.


=The Solitaries.=--It was an idea current among Christians, especially
in the East, that one could not become a perfect Christian by
remaining in the midst of other men. Christ himself had said, "If any
man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and
children, and brethren, and sisters ... he cannot be my disciple." The
faithful man or woman who thus withdrew from the world to work out his
salvation the more surely, was termed an Anchorite (the man who is set
apart), or a Monk (solitary). This custom began in the East in the
middle of the third century. The first anchorites established
themselves in the deserts and the ruins of the district of Thebes in
Upper Egypt, which remained the holy land of the solitaries.

Paul (235-340), the oldest of the monks, lived to his ninetieth year
in a grotto near a spring and a palm-tree which furnished him with
food and clothing. The model of the monks was St Anthony.[167] At the
age of twenty he heard read one day the text of the gospel, "If thou
wilt be perfect, sell all thy goods and give to the poor." He was fine
looking, noble, and rich, having received an inheritance from his
parents. He sold all his property, distributed it in alms and buried
himself in the desert of Egypt. He first betook himself to an empty
tomb, then to the ruins of a fortress; he was clad in a hair-shirt,
had for food only the bread that was brought to him every six months,
fasted, starved himself, prayed day and night. Often sunrise found
him still in prayer. "O sun," cried he, "why hast thou risen and
prevented my contemplating the true light?" He felt himself surrounded
by demons, who, under every form, sought to distract him from his
religious thoughts. When he became old and revered by all Egypt, he
returned to Alexandria for a day to preach against the Arian heretics,
but soon repaired to the desert again. They besought him to remain: he
replied, "The fishes die on land, the monks waste away in the city; we
return to our mountains like the fish to the water."

Women also became solitaries. Alexandra, one of these, shut herself in
an empty tomb and lived there for ten years without leaving it to see

=Asceticism.=--These men who had withdrawn to the desert to escape the
world thought that everything that came from the world turned the soul
from God and placed it in the peril of losing salvation. The Christian
ought to belong entirely to God; he should forget everything behind
him. "Do you not know," said St. Nilus later, "that it is a trap of
Satan to be too much attached to one's family?" The monk Poemen had
withdrawn to the desert with his brothers, and their mother came to
visit them. As they refused to appear, she waited a little until they
were going to the church; but on seeing her, they fled and would not
consent to speak to her unless they were concealed. She asked to see
them, but they consoled her by saying, "You will see us in the other

But the world is not the only danger for the monk. Every man carried
about with himself an enemy from whom he could not deliver himself as
he had delivered himself from the world--that is, his own body. The
body prevented the soul from rising to God and drew it to worldly
pleasures that came from the devil. And so the solitaries applied
themselves to overcoming the body by refusing to it everything that it
loved. They subsisted only on bread and water; many ate but twice a
week, some went to the mountains to cut herbs which they ate raw. They
dwelt in grottoes, ruins, and tombs, lying on the earth or on a mat of
rushes. The most zealous of them added other tortures to mortify, or
kill, the body. St. Pachomius for fifteen years slept only in an erect
position, leaning against a wall. Macarius remained six months in a
morass, the prey of mosquitoes "whose stings would have penetrated the
hide of a wild boar." The most noted of these monks was St. Simeon,
surnamed Stylites (the man of the column). For forty years he lived in
the desert of Arabia on the summit of a column, exposed to the sun and
the rain, compelling himself to stay in one position for a whole day;
the faithful flocked from afar to behold him; he gave them audience
from the top of his column, bidding creditors free their debtors, and
masters liberate their slaves; he even sent reproaches to ministers
and counsellors of the emperor. This form of life was called
Asceticism (exercise).

=The Cenobites.=--The solitaries who lived in the same desert drew
together and adopted a common life for the practice of their
austerities. About St. Anthony were already assembled many anchorites
who gave him their obedience. St. Pachomius (272-348) in this way
assembled 3,000. Their establishment was at Tabenna, near the first
cataract of the Nile. He founded many other similar communities,
either of men or women. In 256 a traveller said he had seen in a
single city of Egypt 10,000 monks and 20,000 vowed to a religious
life. There were more of them in Syria, in Palestine, in all the
Orient. The monks thus united in communities became Cenobites (people
who live in common). They chose a chief, the abbot (the word signifies
in Syriac "father"), and they implicitly obeyed him. Cassian relates
that in one community in Egypt he had seen the abbot before the whole
refectory give a cenobite a violent blow on the head to try his

The primitive monks renounced all property and family relations; the
cenobites surrendered also their will. On entering the community they
engaged to possess nothing, not to marry, and to obey. "The monks,"
says St. Basil, "live a spiritual life like the angels." The first
union among the cenobites was the construction of houses in close
proximity. Later each community built a monastery, a great edifice,
where each monk had his cell. A Christian compares these cells "to a
hive of bees where each has in his hands the wax of work, in his mouth
the honey of psalms and prayers." These great houses needed a written
constitution; this was the Monastic Rule. St. Pachomius was the first
to prepare one. St. Basil wrote another that was adopted by almost all
the monasteries of the Orient.


[165] The church counted ten persecutions, the first under Nero, the
last under Diocletian.

[166] The word is Greek and signifies place of repose.

[167] See his biography in the "Lives of the Fathers of the Desert," by




=Military Anarchy.=--After the reigns of the Antonines the civil wars
commenced. There were in the empire, beside the prætorian guard in
Rome, several great armies on the Rhine, on the Danube, in the East,
and in England. Each aimed to make its general emperor. Ordinarily the
rivals fought it out until there was but one left; this one then
governed for a few years, after which he was assassinated,[168] or if,
by chance, he could transmit his power to his son, the soldiers
revolted against the son and the war recommenced. The following, for
example, is what occurred in 193. The prætorians had massacred the
emperor Pertinax, and the army conceived the notion of putting up the
empire at auction; two purchasers presented themselves, Sulpicius
offering each soldier $1,000 and Didius more than $1,200. The
prætorians brought the latter to the Senate and had him named emperor;
later, when he did not pay them, they murdered him. At the same time
the great armies of Britain, Illyricum, and Syria proclaimed each its
own general as emperor and the three rivals marched on Rome. The
Illyrian legions arrived first, and their general Septimius Severus
was named emperor by the Senate. Then commenced two sanguinary wars,
the one against the legions of Syria, and the other against the
legions of Britain. At the end of two years the emperor was
victorious. It is he who states his policy as follows, "My son,
content the soldiers and you may despise the rest." For a century
there was no other form of government than the will of the soldiers.
They killed the emperors who displeased them and replaced them by
their favorites.

Strange emperors, therefore, occupied the throne: Elagabalus, a Syrian
priest, who garbed himself as a woman and had his mother assemble a
senate of women; Maximin, a soldier of fortune, a rough and
bloodthirsty giant, who ate, it was said, thirty pounds of food and
drank twenty-one quarts of wine a day. Once there were twenty emperors
at the same time, each in a corner of the empire (260-278). These have
been called the Thirty Tyrants.

The Cult of Mithra.--This century of wars is also a century of
superstitions. The deities of the Orient, Isis, Osiris, the Great
Mother, have their devotees everywhere. But, more than all the others,
Mithra, a Persian god, becomes the universal god of the empire. Mithra
is no other than the sun. The monuments in his honor that are found in
all parts of the empire represent him slaughtering a bull, with this
inscription: "To the unconquerable sun, to the god Mithra." His cult
is complicated, sometimes similar to the Christian worship; there are
a baptism, sacred feasts, an anointing, penances, and chapels. To be
admitted to this one must pass through an initiatory ceremony, through
fasting and certain fearful tests.

At the end of the third century the religion of Mithra was the
official religion of the empire. The Invincible God was the god of the
emperors; he had his chapels everywhere in the form of grottoes with
altars and bas-reliefs; in Rome, even, he had a magnificent temple
erected by the emperor Aurelian.

=The Taurobolia.=--One of the most urgent needs of this time was
reconciliation with the deity; and so ceremonies of purification were

The most striking of these was the Taurobolia. The devotee, clad in a
white robe with ornaments of gold, takes his place in the bottom of a
ditch which is covered by a platform pierced with holes. A bull is led
over this platform, the priest kills him and his blood runs through
the holes of the platform upon the garments, the face, and the hair of
the worshipper. It was believed that this "baptism of blood" purified
one of all sins. He who had received it was born to a new life; he
came forth from the ditch hideous to look upon, but happy and envied.

=Confusion of Religions.=--In the century that preceded the victory of
Christianity, all religions fell into confusion. The sun was adored at
once under many names (Sol, Helios, Baal, Elagabal, and Mithra). All
the cults imitated one another and sometimes copied Christian forms.
Even the life of Christ was copied. The Asiatic philosopher,
Apollonius of Tyana, who lived in the first century (3-96), became in
legend a kind of prophet, son of a god, who went about surrounded by
his disciples, expelling demons, curing sicknesses, raising the dead.
He had come, it was said, to reform the doctrine of Pythagoras and
Plato. In the third century an empress had the life of Apollonius of
Tyana written, to be, as it were, a Pythagorean gospel opposed to the
gospel of Christ. The most remarkable example of this confusion in
religion was given by Alexander Severus, a devout emperor, mild and
conscientious: he had in his palace a chapel where he adored the
benefactors of humanity--Abraham, Orpheus, Jesus, and Apollonius of


=Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine.=--After a century of civil
wars emperors were found who were able to stop the anarchy. They were
men of the people, rude and active, soldiers of fortune rising from
one grade to another to become generals-in-chief, and then emperors.
Almost all arose in the semi-barbarous provinces of the Danube and of
Illyria; some in their infancy had been shepherds or peasants. They
had the simple manners of the old Roman generals. When the envoys of
the king of Persia asked to see the emperor Probus, they found a bald
old man clad in a linen cassock, lying on the ground, who ate peas and
bacon. It was the story of Curius Dentatus repeated after five

Severe with their soldiers, these emperors reëstablished discipline in
the army, and then order in the empire. But a change had become
necessary. A single man was no longer adequate to the government and
defence of this immense territory; and so from this time each emperor
took from among his relatives or his friends two or three
collaborators, each charged with a part of the empire. Usually their
title was that of Cæsar, but sometimes there were two equal emperors,
and both had the title of Augustus. When the emperor died, one of the
Cæsars succeeded him; it was no longer possible for the army to create
emperors. The provinces were too great, and Diocletian divided them.
The prætorians of Rome being dangerous, Diocletian replaced them with
two legions. The Occident was in ruins and depopulated and hence the
Orient had become the important part of the empire; Diocletian,
therefore, abandoned Rome and established his capital at Nicomedia in
Asia Minor.[169] Constantine did more and founded a new Rome in the

=Constantinople.=--On a promontory where Europe is separated from Asia
only by the narrow channel of the Bosporus, in a country of vineyards
and rich harvests, under a beautiful sky, Greek colonists had founded
the town of Byzantium. The hills of the vicinity made the place easily
defensible; its port, the Golden Horn, one of the best in the world,
could shelter 1,200 ships, and a chain of 820 feet in length was all
that was necessary to exclude a hostile fleet. This was the site of
Constantine's new city, Constantinople (the city of Constantine).

Around the city were strong walls; two public squares surrounded with
porticos were constructed; a palace was erected, a circus, theatres,
aqueducts, baths, temples, and a Christian church. To ornament his
city Constantine transferred from other cities the most celebrated
statues and bas-reliefs. To furnish it with population he forced the
people of the neighboring towns to remove to it, and offered rewards
and honors to the great families who would come hither to make their
home. He established, as in Rome, distributions of grain, of wine, of
oil, and provided a continuous round of shows. This was one of those
rapid transformations, almost fantastic, in which the Orient delights.
The task began the 4th of November, 326; on the 11th of May, 330, the
city was dedicated. But it was a permanent creation. For ten centuries
Constantinople resisted invasions, preserving always in the ruins of
the empire its rank of capital. Today it is still the first city of
the East.

=The Palace.=--The emperors who dwelt in the East[170] adopted the
customs of the Orient, wearing delicate garments of silk and gold and
for a head-dress a diadem of pearls. They secluded themselves in the
depths of their palace where they sat on a throne of gold, surrounded
by their ministers, separated from the world by a crowd of courtiers,
servants, functionaries and military guards. One must prostrate one's
self before them with face to the earth in token of adoration; they
were called Lord and Majesty; they were treated as gods. Everything
that touched their person was sacred, and so men spoke of the sacred
palace, the sacred bed-chamber, the sacred Council of State, even the
sacred treasury.

The régime of this period has been termed that of the Later Empire as
distinguished from that of the three preceding centuries, which we
call the Early Empire.

The life of an emperor of the Early Empire (from the first to the
third century) was still that of a magistrate and a general; the
palace of an emperor of the Later Empire became similar to the court
of the Persian king.

=The Officials.=--The officials often became very numerous. Diocletian
found the provinces too large and so made several divisions of them.
In Gaul, for example, Lugdunensis (the province about Lyons) was
partitioned into four, Aquitaine into three. In place of forty-six
governors there were from this time 117.[171]

At the same time the duties of the officials were divided. Besides the
governors and the deputies in the provinces there were in the border
provinces military commanders--the dukes and the counts. The emperor
had about him a small picked force to guard the palace, body-guards,
chamberlains, assistants, domestics, a council of state, bailiffs,
messengers, and a whole body of secretaries organized in four bureaus.

All these officials did not now receive their orders directly from
the emperor; they communicated with him only through their superior
officers. The governors were subordinate to the two prætorian
prefects, the officials of public works to the two prefects of the
city, the collectors of taxes to the Count of the Sacred Largesses,
the deputies to the Count of the Domains, all the officers of the
palace to the Master of the Offices, the domestics of the court to the
Chamberlain. These heads of departments had the character of

This system is not very difficult for us to comprehend. We are
accustomed to see officials, judges, generals, collectors, and
engineers, organized in distinct departments, each with his special
duty, and subordinated to the commands of a chief of the service. We
even have more ministers than there were in Constantinople; but this
administrative machine which has become so familiar to us because we
have been acquainted with it from our infancy, is none the less
complicated and unnatural. It is the Later Empire that gave us the
first model of this; the Byzantine empire preserved it and since that
time all absolute governments have been forced to imitate it because
it has made the work of government easier for those who have it to do.

=Society in the Later Empire.=--The Later Empire is a decisive moment
in the history of civilization. The absolute power of the Roman
magistrate is united to the pompous ceremonial of the eastern kings to
create a power unknown before in history. This new imperial majesty
crushes everything beneath it; the inhabitants of the empire cease to
be citizens and from the fourth century are called in Latin "subjects"
and in Greek "slaves." In reality all are slaves of the emperor, but
there are different grades of servitude. There are various degrees of
nobility which the master confers on them and which they transmit to
their posterity. The following is the series:[172]

  1. The _Nobilissimi_ (the very noble); these are the imperial

  2. The _Illustres_ (the notable)--the chief ministers of

  3. The _Spectabiles_ (the eminent)--the high dignitaries;

  4. The _Clarissimi_ (most renowned)--the great officials, also
  sometimes called senators;

  5. The _Perfectissimi_ (very perfect).[173]

Every important man has his rank, his title, and his functions.[174]
The only men who are of consequence are the courtiers and officials;
it is the régime of titles and of etiquette. A clearer instance has
never been given of the issue of absolute power united with the mania
for titles and with the purpose to regulate everything. The Later
Empire exhibits the completed type of a society reduced to a machine
and of a government absorbed by a court. It realized the ideal that is
proposed today by the partisans of absolute power; and for a long time
the friends of liberty must fight against the traditions which the
Later Empire has left to us.


=Triumph of Christianity.=--During the first two centuries of our era
the Christians occupied but a small place in the empire. Almost all of
them were of the lower classes, workmen, freedmen, slaves, who lived
obscure lives in the multitude of the great cities. For a long time
the aristocracy ignored the Christians; even in the second century
Suetonius in his "Lives of the Twelve Cæsars" speaks of a certain
Chrestus who agitated the populace of Rome. When the religion first
concerned the world of the rich and cultivated people, they were
interested simply to deride it as one only for the poor and ignorant.
It was precisely because it addressed the poor of this world in
providing a compensation in the life to come that Christianity made so
many proselytes. Persecution, far from suppressing it, gave it more
force. "The blood of the martyrs," said the faithful, "is the seed of
the church." During the whole of the third century conversions
continued, not only among the poor, but among the aristocracy as well.
At the first of the fourth century all the East had become Christian.
Helena, the mother of Constantine, was a Christian and has been
canonized by the church. When Constantine marched against his rival,
he took for his ensign a standard (the labarum), which bore the cross
and the monogram of Christ. His victory was the victory of the
Christians. He allowed them now to perform their religious rites
freely (by the edict of 313), and later he favored them openly. Yet
he did not break with the ancient religion: while he presided at the
great assembly of the Christian bishops, he continued to hold the
title of Pontifex Maximus; he carried in his helmet a nail of the true
cross and on his coins he still had the sun-god represented. In his
city of Constantinople he had a Christian church built, but also a
temple to Victory. For a half-century it was difficult to know what
was the official religion of the empire.

=Organization of the Church.=--The Christians even under persecution
had never dreamed of overthrowing the empire. As soon as persecution
ceased, the bishops became the allies of the emperors. Then the
Christian church was organized definitively, and it was organized on
the model of the Later Empire, in the form that it preserves to this
day. Each city had a bishop who resided in the city proper and
governed the people of the territory; this territory subject to the
bishop was termed a Diocese. In any country in the Later Empire, there
were as many bishops and dioceses as there were cities. This is why
the bishops were so numerous and dioceses so many in the East and in
Italy where the country was covered with cities. In Gaul, on the
contrary, there were but 120 dioceses between the Rhine and the
Pyrenees, and the most of these, save in the south, were of the size
of a modern French department. Each province became an ecclesiastical
province; the bishop of the capital (metropolis) became the
metropolitan, or as he was later termed, the archbishop.

=The Councils.=--In this century began the councils, the great
assemblies of the church. There had already been some local councils
at which the bishops and priests of a single province had been
present. For the first time, in 324,[175] Constantine convoked a
General Assembly of the World (an ecumenical council) at Nicæa, in
Asia Minor; 318 ecclesiastics were in attendance. They discussed
questions of theology and drew up the Nicene Creed, the Catholic
confession of faith. Then the emperor wrote to all the churches,
bidding them "conform to the will of God as expressed by the council."
This was the first ecumenical council, and there were three
others[176] of these before the arrival of the barbarians made an
assembly of the whole church impossible. The decisions reached by
these councils had the force of law for all Christians: the decisions
are called Canons[177] (rules). The collection of these regulations
constitutes the Canon Law.

=The Heretics.=--From the second century there were among the
Christians heretics who professed opinions contrary to those of the
majority of the church. Often the bishops of a country assembled to
pronounce the new teaching as false, to compel the author to abjure,
and, if he refused, to separate him from the communion of Christians.
But frequently the author of the heresy had partisans convinced of the
truth of his teaching who would not submit and continued to profess
the condemned opinions. This was the cause of hatred and violent
strife between them and the faithful who were attached to the creed of
the church (the orthodox). As long as the Christians were weak and
persecuted by the state, they fought among themselves only with words
and with books; but when all society was Christian, the contests
against the heretics turned into persecutions, and sometimes into
civil wars.

Almost all of the heresies of this time arose among the Greeks of Asia
or Egypt, peoples who were subtle, sophistical, and disputatious. The
heresies were usually attempts to explain the mysteries of the Trinity
and of the Incarnation. The most significant of these heresies was
that of Arius; he taught that Christ was created by God the Father and
was not equal to him. The Council of Nicæa condemned this view, but
his doctrine, called Arianism, spread throughout the East. From that
time for two centuries Catholics and Arians fought to see who should
have the supremacy in the church; the stronger party anathematized,
exiled, imprisoned, and sometimes killed the chiefs of the opposition.
For a long time the Arians had the advantage; several emperors took
sides with them; then, too, as the barbarians entered the empire, they
were converted to Arianism and received Arian bishops. More than two
centuries had passed before the Catholics had overcome this heresy.

=Paganism.=--The ancient religion of the Gentiles did not disappear at
a single stroke. The Orient was quickly converted; but in the Occident
there were few Christians outside the cities, and even there many
continued to worship idols. The first Christian emperors did not wish
to break with the ancient imperial religion; they simultaneously
protected the bishops of the Christians and the priests of the gods;
they presided over councils and yet remained pontifex maximus. One of
them, Julian (surnamed the Apostate), openly returned to the ancient
religion. The emperor Gratian in 384[178] was the first to refuse the
insignia of the pontifex maximus. But as intolerance was general in
this century, as soon as the Roman religion ceased to be official, men
began to persecute it. The sacred fire of Rome that had burned for
eleven centuries was extinguished, the Vestals were removed, the
Olympian games were celebrated for the last time in 394. Then the
monks of Egypt issued from their deserts to destroy the altars of the
false gods and to establish relics in the temples of Anubis and
Serapis. Marcellus, a bishop of Syria, at the head of a band of
soldiers and gladiators sacked the temple of Jupiter at Aparnæa and
set himself to scour the country for the destruction of the
sanctuaries; he was killed by the peasants and raised by the church to
the honor of a saint.

Soon idolatry persisted only in the rural districts where it escaped
detection; the idolaters were peasants who continued to adore sacred
trees and fountains and to assemble in proscribed sanctuaries.[179]
The Christians commenced to call "pagans" (the peasants) those whom up
to this time they had called Gentiles. And this name has still clung
to them. Paganism thus led an obscure existence in Italy, in Gaul, and
in Spain down to the end of the sixth century.

=Theodosius.=--The incursions of the Germanic peoples into the empire
continued for two centuries until the Huns, a people of Tartar
horsemen, came from the steppes of Asia, and threw themselves on the
Germans, who occupied the country to the north of the Danube. In that
country there was already a great German kingdom, that of the Goths,
who had been converted to Christianity by Ulfilas, an Arian. To escape
the Huns, a part of this people, the West Goths (Visigoths), fled into
Roman territory, defeated the Roman armies, and overspread the country
even to Greece. Valens, the emperor of the East, had perished in the
defeat of Adrianople (378); Gratian, the emperor of the West, took as
colleague a noble Spaniard, Theodosius by name, and gave him the title
of Augustus of the East (379). Theodosius was able to rehabilitate his
army by avoiding a great battle with the Visigoths and by making a war
of skirmishes against them; this decided them to conclude a treaty.
They accepted service under the empire, land was given them in the
country to the south of the Danube, and they were charged with
preventing the enemies of the empire from crossing the river.

Theodosius, having reëstablished peace in the East, came to the West
where Gratian had been killed by order of the usurper Maximus (383).
This Maximus was the commander of the Roman army of Britain; he had
crossed into Gaul with his army, abandoning the Roman provinces of
Britain to the ravages of the highland Scotch, had defeated Gratian,
and invaded Italy. He was master of the West, Theodosius of the East.
The contest between them was not only one between persons; it was a
battle between two religions: Theodosius was Catholic and had
assembled a council at Constantinople to condemn the heresy of Arius
(381); Maximus was ill-disposed toward the church. The engagement
occurred on the banks of the Save; Maximus was defeated, taken, and

Theodosius established Valentinian II, the son of Gratian, in the West
and then returned to the East. But Arbogast, a barbarian Frank, the
general of the troops of Valentinian, had the latter killed, and
without venturing to proclaim himself emperor since he was not a
Roman, had his Roman secretary Eugenius made emperor. This was a
religious war: Arbogast had taken the side of the pagans; Theodosius,
the victor, had Eugenius executed and himself remained the sole
emperor. His victory was that of the Catholic church.

In 391 the emperor Theodosius promulgated the Edict of Milan. It
prohibited the practice of the ancient religion; whoever offered a
sacrifice, adored an idol, or entered a temple should be condemned to
death as a state criminal, and his goods should be confiscated to the
profit of the informer. All the pagan temples were razed to the ground
or converted into Christian churches. And so Theodosius was extolled
by ecclesiastical writers as the model for emperors.

Theodosius gave a rare example of submission to the church. The
inhabitants of Thessalonica had risen in riot, had killed their
governor, and overthrown the statues of the emperor. Theodosius in
irritation ordered the people to be massacred; 7,000 persons suffered
death. When the emperor presented himself some time after to enter the
cathedral of Milan, Ambrose, the bishop, charged him with his crime
before all the people, and declared that he could not give entrance
to the church to a man defiled with so many murders. Theodosius
confessed his sin, accepted the public penance which the bishop
imposed upon him, and for eight months remained at the door of the


[168] Of the forty-five emperors from the first to the third century,
twenty-nine died by assassination.

[169] Other considerations also led to the change of capital--ED.

[170] There were often two emperors, one in the East, the other in the
West, but there was but one empire. The two emperors, though they may
have resided, one in Constantinople and the other in Italy, were
considered as being but one person. In addressing one of them the word
"you" (in the plural) was used, as if both were addressed at the same
time. This was the first use of the pronoun of the second person in the
plural for such a purpose; for throughout antiquity even kings and
emperors were addressed in the singular.

[171] The number under Diocletian was 101; under Constantine (Bury's
Gibbon, ii., 170), 116.--ED.

[172] Without counting the ancient titles of consul and præter, which
were still preserved, and the new title of patrician which was given by
special favor.

[173] Of inferior rank.

[174] We know the whole system by an official almanac of about the year
419, entitled Notitia Dignitatum, a list of all the civil and military
dignities and powers in the East and West. Each dignitary has a special
section preceded by an emblem which represents his honors.

[175] It met in 325.--ED.

[176] It is to be noted that the author is speaking of ecumenical or
world councils. The three referred to are Constantinople (381), Ephesus
(431), and Chalcedon (451).--ED.

[177] Today, even, the word "canonical" signifies "in accordance with

[178] Probably 375; Gratian died in 383.--ED.

[179] Several saints, like St. Marcellus, found martyrdom at the hands
of peasants exasperated at the destruction of their idols.




Lubbock: Prehistoric Times. 1878.
Lubbock: Origin of Civilisation. 1881.
Hoernes: Primitive Man. Temple Primers. 1901.
Lyell: Antiquity of Man. London: 1863.
Keary: Dawn of History.
Tylor: Anthropology. 1881.
McLennan: Studies in Ancient History. 1886.
Ripley: Races of Europe. 1899.
Sergi: The Mediterranean Race. 1901.
Maine: Ancient Law. 1883.
Mason: Woman's Share in Primitive Culture. 1894.

  Ploetz: Epitome of Universal History. 1883.
  Ranke: Universal History, edited by Prothero. 1885.
  Andrews: Institutes of General History. 1887.
  Haydn: Dictionary of Dates. 1889.
  Lamed: History for Ready Reference.

  Spruner-Sieglin: Atlas Antiquus.
  Kiepert: Atlas Antiquus. Leach.
  Putzger: Historischer Schul-atlas. 1902.
  Droysen: Allgemeiner Historischer Hand-atlas. Leipsic, 1885.
  Freeman: Historical Geography of Europe. Edited by Bury. 1903.
  Schrader: Atlas de Géographique Historique.

  Sayce: Ancient Empires of the East. 1885.
  Lenormant and Chevallier: Ancient History of the East. 1875.
  Duncker: History of Antiquity. 1877-82
  Rawlinson: Manual of Ancient History. 1871.
  Clarke: Ten Great Religions. 1894.
  Cunningham: Western Civilisation in Its Economic Aspects. 1898.


  Records of the Past, 1888-92. Old Series, 1875-8.
  Herodotus: Book II. Rawlinson's edition. 1897.

  Rawlinson: Ancient Egypt. 1887.
  Flinders-Petrie: History of Egypt. 1899.
  Breasted: History of Egypt. 1905.
  Erman: Life in Ancient Egypt. 1894.
  Maspero: Dawn of Civilisation. 1896.
  Maspero: Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria. 1892.
  Wilkinson: Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Ancient Egypt. 1882.
  Flinders-Petrie: Egyptian Decorative Art. 1895.


  Records of the Past.

  Ragozin: Chaldea. 1886.
  Ragozin: Assyria. 1887.
  Sayce: Assyria: Its Princes, Priests, and People. 1890.
  Sayce: Social Life among the Assyrians and Babylonians. 1893.
  Sayce: Fresh Light from Ancient Monuments. 1883.
  Sayce: Babylonians and Assyrians. 1889.
  Goodspeed: History of the Babylonians and Assyrians. 1902.
  Layard: Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. 1875.
  Maspero: Dawn of Civilisation. 1896.
  Maspero: Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria. 1892.
  Maspero: Struggle of the Nations. 1897.
  Maspero: Passing of the Empires. 1899.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Chaldea and Assyria. 1884.


  Sacred Books of the East.

  Wheeler: Primer of Indian History. 1890.
  Smith, V.A.: Early History of India. 1904.
  Ragozin: Vedic India. 1895.
  Davids: Buddhist India. 1903.
  Rhys-Davids: Buddhism. 1899.
  Lane-Poole: Mediæval India under Mohammedan Rule. 1903.
  Monier-Williams: Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Hinduism. 1889.
  Monier-Williams: Indian Wisdom. London: 1875-6.
  Frazer: Literary History of India. 1898.
  Maine: Early History of Institutions. 1875.


  Records of the Past.
  Church: Stories of the East (from Herodotus). 1883.

  Benjamin: Persia. 1887.
  Markham: General Sketch of the History of Persia. 1874.
  Vaux: Persia from the Monuments. 1878.
  Jackson: Zoroaster, Prophet of Ancient Iran. 1899.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Persia, Phrygia, etc. 1895.


  The Old Testament.
  Voyage of Hanno, translated by Falconer.

  Rawlinson: Phœnicia. 1889.
  Maspero: Struggle of the Nations. 1897.
  Paton: Early History of Syria and Palestine. 1901.
  Taylor: The Alphabet. 1899.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Phœnicia and Cyprus. 1885.


  The Old Testament.
  The Talmud.
  Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; Wars of the Jews; Whiston's
    translation. 1825. New edition of Whiston by Shilleto. 1889-90

  Hosmer: The Jews. 1885.
  Sayce: Early History of the Hebrews. 1897.
  Kent: History of the Hebrew People. 1899.
  Kent: History of the Jewish People. 1899.
  Milman: History of the Jews. 1870.
  Stanley: History of the Jewish Church. 1884.
  McCurdy: History, Prophecy, and the Monuments. 1901. 3 V.
  Graetz: History of the Jews. 1891-98.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Sardinia, Judea, Syria, and
    Asia Minor. 1890.
  Day: Social Life of the Hebrews. 1901.
  Rosenau: Jewish Ceremonial Institutions and Customs. Baltimore. 1903.
  Leroy-Boileau: Israel among the Nations; translated by Hellman. 1900.
  Cheyne: Jewish Religious Life after the Exile. 1898.


  Grote: History of Greece. 1851-6.
  Holm: History of Greece. 1894-8.
  Duruy: History of Greece. 1890-2.
  Abbott: History of Greece. 1888-99.
  One volume histories of Greece are: Bury. 1903; Oman 1901; Botsford.
    1899; Myers. 1895; Cox, 1883.

  Smith: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. 1890-1 2 v.
  Gardner and Jevons: Manual of Greek Antiquities. 1895.
  Schömann: The Antiquities of Greece. London, 1880. A new and improved
    edition in the German.
  Harpers' Classical Literature and Antiquities. 1896.

GREEK HISTORICAL SOURCES (translated into English)--
  Homer: Iliad. Translated by Lang, Leaf, and Myers.
  Homer: Odyssey. Translated by Butcher and Lang.
  Herodotus: Translated by Rawlinson.
    Text of same with abridged notes. 1897.
  Herodotus: Translated by Macaulay.
  Thucydides: Translated by Jowett.
  Xenophon: Dakyns' edition. 1890-7.
  Demosthenes: Works translated by Kennedy.
  Arrian: Translated in Bonn Library.
  Pausanias: Description of Greece. Frazer's edition.
  Polybius: Shuckburgh's edition. 1889.
  Plutarch: Lives. Translated by Stewart and Long. 4 v., 1880.
  Plutarch: Lives. North's translation.

  Tsountas-Manatt: Mycenæan Age. 1896.
  Ridgeway: The Early Age in Greece. 1901.
  Freeman: Studies of Travel: Greece. 1893.
  Clerke: Familiar Studies in Homer. 1892.
  Jebb: Introduction to Homer. 1887.
  Allcroft and Mason: Early Grecian History. 1898.
  Benjamin: Troy. 1880.
  Allcroft and Mason: Making of Athens. 1898.
  Cox: Greeks and Persians. 1876.
  Grundy: The Great Persian War. 1901.
  Cox: Athenian Empire. 1877.
  Lloyd: Age of Pericles. 1875.
  Abbott: Pericles. 1895.
  Grant: Greece in the Age of Pericles. 1893.
  Allcroft and Mason: Peloponnesian War. 1898.
  Freeman: Sicily. 1892.
  Allcroft and Mason: Sparta and Thebes. 1898.
  Sankey: Spartan and Theban Supremacies. 1877.
  Allcroft and Mason: Decline of Hellas. 1898.
  Curteis: Rise of the Macedonian Empire. 1878.
  Hogarth: Philip and Alexander. 1897.
  Wheeler: Alexander the Great. 1900.
  Mahaffy: Alexander's Empire. 1887.
  Mahaffy: Problems in Greek History. 1892.
  Bevan: House of Seleucus. 1902.
  Mahaffy: Empire of Egypt under the Ptolemies. 1899.
  Mahaffy: Greek Life and Thought. 1887.

  Fowler: City-State of the Greeks and Romans. 1893.
  Greenidge: Greek Constitutional History. 1896.
  Schömann: Antiquities of Greece. 1886.
  Cox: Lives of Greek Statesmen. 1886.
  Gilbert: Constitutional Antiquities of Athens and Sparta. 1895.
  Botsford: Athenian Constitution. 1893
  Whibley: Greek Oligarchies. 1896.
  Whibley: Political Parties in Athens in the Pelopponnesian War. 1889.
  Freeman: History of Federal Government. 1863.

  Blümner: Home Life of the Ancient Greeks. 1893.
  Mahaffy: Social Life in Greece. 1887.
  Mahaffy: A Survey of Greek Civilisation. 1899.
  Guhl and Koner: Life of the Greeks and Romans. 1877.
  Becker: Charicles.
  Cunningham: Western Civilisation in its Economic Aspects 1898.
  Davidson: Education of the Greek People. 1894.
  Mahaffy: Old Greek Education. 1882.

  Mahaffy: History of Classical Greek Literature. 1880.
  Murray: Ancient Greek Literature. 1897.
  Jevons: History of Greek Literature. 1886.
  Jebb: Primer of Greek Literature. 1878.
  Jebb: Classical Greek Poetry.
  Symonds: The Greek Poets.
  Jebb: The Attic Orators. 1876.
  Pater: Greek Studies. 1895.

  Reber: History of Ancient Art. 1882.
  Lübke: Outlines of the History of Art. 1881.
  Perrot and Chipiez: History of Art in Primitive Greece. 1895.
  Tarbell: History of Greek Art. 1896.
  Fergusson: History of Architecture. 1875.
  Gardner: Handbook of Greek Sculpture. 1896-7.
  Harrison and Verall: Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens. 1894.
  Harrison: Introductory Studies in Greek Art. 1892.
  Gardner: Ancient Athens. 1902.

  Collignon: Manual of Greek Archæology. 1886.
  Murray: Handbook of Greek Archæology. 1892.
  Schuckardt: Schliemann's Excavations. 1891.
  Diehl: Excursions in Greece. 1893.
  Gardner: New Chapters in Greek History. 1892.

  Mayor: Sketch of Ancient Philosophy. 1881.
  Marshall: Short History of Greek Philosophy. 1891.
  Plato: Translated by Jowett.
  Aristotle: Translated in Bohn's Library.
  Zeller: Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy. 1890.

  Gayley: Classic Myths. 1893.
  Guerber: Myths of Greece and Rome. 1893.


  Mommsen: History of Rome.
  Ihne: History of Rome. 1871-82.
  Duruy: History of Rome. 1884-5.
  Long: Decline of the Roman Republic. 1864-74.
  Greenidge: History of Rome during the Latin Republic. 1904.
  Shuckburgh: History of Rome. 1894.
  How and Leigh: History of Rome. 1896.
  Pelham: Outlines of Roman History. 1893.
  Botsford: History of Rome. 1903.
  Merivale: History of the Romans under the Empire. 1875.
  Gibbon: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Bury's edition.

SOURCES OF ROMAN HISTORY (translated into English)--
  Livy: History and Epitome, translated by Spillan. 1887-90.
  Polybius: Histories, translated by Shuckburgh. 1889.
  Plutarch: Lives, translated by Stewart and Long. 1880.
  Appian: Roman History, translated by White. 1899.
  Sallust, Florus, and Velleius Paterculus, translated by Watson. 1887.
  Cicero: Orations, translated by Yonge. 1851-2.
  Cicero: Letters, translated by Shuckburgh. 1899.
  Cæsar: Gallic War and Civil War.
  Justin, Nepos, and Eutropius, translated by Watson.
  Suetonius: Lives of the Twelve Cæsars, translated by Thomas Forester.
  Tacitus: Annals, translated by Church and Brodribb. 1895.
  Tacitus: History, translated by Church and Brodribb. 1894.
  Tacitus: Germania, translated by Church and Brodribb. 1893.
  Josephus: Antiquities and Wars of the Jews, translated by
    Whiston-Shilleto. 1889-90.
  Pliny the Younger: Letters, translated by Melmoth.
  Marcus Aurelius: Meditations, translated by Long.
  Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History, translated by Yonge. 1894.
  Julian the Emperor: Works, translated by King. 1888.
  Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History and Life of Constantine translated
    by McGiffert. 1890.
  Jerome: Works.
  Augustine: Works.
  Munro: Source Book of Roman History. 1904.
  Greenidge and Clay: Sources for Roman History B.C. 133-70. 1903.
  Gwatkin: Selections from Early Christian Writers. 1893.

  Ihne: Early Rome. 1893.
  Allcroft and Mason: Struggle for Empire. 1893
  Church: Carthage. 1886.
  Smith: Carthage and the Carthaginians. 1890.
  Smith: Rome and Carthage. 1891.
  Arnold: Second Punic War. 1849.
  Dodge: Life of Hannibal. 1891.
  Morris: Hannibal. 1897.
  How: Hannibal and the Great War between Rome and Carthage. 1899.
  Allcroft and Mason: Rome under the Oligarchs. 1893.
  Beesly: Gracchi, Marius, and Sulla. 1893.
  Allcroft and Mason: Decline of the Oligarchy. 1893.
  Oman: Seven Roman Statesmen. 1902.
  Beesly: Catiline, Clodius, and Tiberius. 1898.
  Strachan-Davidson: Cicero. 1894.
  Forsyth: Life of Cicero. 1877.
  Boissier: Cicero and His Friends. 1897.
  Froude: Cæsar. 1879.
  Dodge: Cæsar. 1892.
  Fowler: Cæsar. 1892.
  Merivale: The Roman Triumvirates. 1877.
  Holmes: Cæsar's Conquest of Gaul. 1899.
  Mahaffy: Greek World under Roman Sway. 1890.
  Bossier: Roman Africa. 1899.
  Bossier: Rome and Pompeii. 1896.
  Hall: The Romans on the Riviera and the Rhone. 1898.
  Bury: (Students') Roman Empire. 1893.
  Capes: Early Roman Empire. 1886.
  Mommsen: Provinces of the Roman Empire. 1887.
  Firth: Augustus Cæsar. 1903.
  Shuckburgh: Augustus. 1903.
  Tarver: Tiberius the Tyrant. 1902.
  Dill: Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius. 1904.
  Gregorovius: The Emperor Hadrian. 1898.
  Bryant: Reign of Antoninus. 1896.
  Capes: Age of the Antonines. 1887.
  Watson: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. 1884.
  Firth: Constantine the Great. 1905.
  Negri: Julian the Apostate. 1905.
  Gardner: Julian. 1895.
  Glover: Life and Letters in the Fourth Century. 1901.
  Dill: Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire. 1899.
  Kingsley: Roman and Teuton. 1889.
  Hodgkin: Dynasty of Theodosius. 1889.
  Villari: Barbarian Invasions of Italy. 1902.
  Hodgkin: Italy and Her Invaders, 1892-9.
  Sheppard: Fall of Rome. 1861.
  Bury: Later Roman Empire. 1889.
  Oman: Byzantine Empire. 1892.

  Ramsay-Lanciani: Manual of Roman Antiquities. 1895.
  Smith: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Murray. 1890-1.
  Sayffert: Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, edited by Nettleship
    and Sandys. 1895.
  Schreiber: Atlas of Classical Antiquities. 1895.

  Fowler: City-State of the Greeks and Romans. 1895.
  Taylor: Constitutional and Political History of Rome. 1899.
  Greenidge: Roman Public Life. 1901.
  Abbott: Roman Political Institutions. 1901.
  Arnold: Roman Provincial Administration. 1879.
  Mommsen: Provinces of the Roman Empire. 1887.
  Seely: Roman Imperialism. 1871.

  Guhl and Koner: Life of the Greeks and Romans. 1889.
  Church: Roman Life in the Days of Cicero. 1883.
  Fowler: Roman Festivals. 1899.
  Ingram: History of Slavery. 1895.
  Rydberg: Roman Days. 1879.
  Thomas: Roman Life under the Cæsars. 1899.
  Johnston: Private Life of the Romans. 1903.
  Inge: Society in Rome under the Cæsars. 1888.
  Pellison: Roman Life in Pliny's Time. 1896.
  Lecky: History of European Morals. 1869.

  Mackail: Latin Literature. 1898.
  Cruttwell: History of Roman Literature. 1878.
  Simcox: History of Latin Literature. 1883.
  Teuffel-Schwabe: History of Roman Literature. 1891.
  Tyrrell: Latin Poetry. 1895.
  Sellar: Roman Poets of the Republic. 1881.
  Sellar: Roman Poets of the Augustan Age. 1877.

  Reber: History of Ancient Art. 1882.
  Burn: Roman Literature in Relation to Roman Art. 1890.
  Wickoff: Roman Art. 1900.
  Falke: Greece and Rome: Their Life and Art. 1885.
  See under Greece for other histories of art.

  Hadley: Introduction to Roman Law. 1876.
  Morey: Outlines of Roman Law. 1893.
  Muirhead: Historical Introduction to the Private Law of Rome. 1899.
  Howe: Studies in the Civil Law. 1896.

  Lanciani: Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries. 1888.
  Lanciani: Pagan and Christian Rome. 1896.
  Lanciani: Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome, 1897.
  Lanciani: Destruction of Ancient Rome. 1899.
  Mau: Pompeii, translated by Kelsey. 1899.
  Plainer: Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome. 1904.
  Lovell: Stories in Stone upon the Roman Forum. 1902.
  Burton-Brown: Recent Excavations in the Roman Forum. 1905.

  General Church Histories:
    Moeller: History of the Christian Church. 1898-1900.
    Gieseler: Church History. 1857-79.
    Neander: History of the Christian Religion and Church. 1853-4.
    Schaff: History of the Christian Church. 1884-92.
    Alzog: Manual of Universal Church History. 1874-8.
    Kurtz: Church History. 1860.
    Milman: History of Christianity.
    Milman: Latin Christianity. 1881.
    Allen: Outline of Christian History. 1886.
    Allen: Christian Institutions. 1897.
    Fisher: History of the Christian Church. 1887.

  The Early Church:
    Pressensé: Early Years of Christianity. 1873.
    Fisher: Beginnings of Christianity. 1877.
    Carr: Church and the Roman Empire. 1902.
    Spence: Early Christianity and Paganism. 1902.
    Ramsay: Church in the Roman Empire before 170. 1893.
    Gregg: Decian Persecution. 1898.
    Healy: The Valerian Persecution. 1905.
    Mason: Persecution of Diocletian. 1876.
    Renan: Influence of the Institutions, Thought, and Culture of Rome
      on Christianity. 1898.
    Hardy: Studies in Roman History. 1906.
    Uhlhorn: Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism. 1879.
    Newman: Arians of the Fourth Century. 1888.
    Gwatkin: Arian Controversy 1889.
    Cutts: St. Augustine. 1881.
    Stanley: Eastern Church. 1884.
    Smith-Wace: Dictionary of Christian Biography. 1877-87.


Tavistock Street, London

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History Of Ancient Civilization" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.