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Title: The Religious Thought of the Greeks
Author: Moore, Clifford Herschel
Language: English
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                         THE RELIGIOUS THOUGHT
                             OF THE GREEKS

                       FROM HOMER TO THE TRIUMPH
                            OF CHRISTIANITY

                        CLIFFORD HERSCHEL MOORE


                        HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
                        LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
                        OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

                            COPYRIGHT, 1916
                        HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

                 First impression issued November, 1916
                Second impression issued December, 1916



In this book eight lectures given before the Lowell Institute in
Boston during the late autumn of 1914 are combined with material drawn
from a course of lectures delivered the previous spring before the
Western Colleges with which Harvard University maintains an annual
exchange—Beloit, Carleton, Colorado, Grinnell, and Knox. The lecture
form has been kept, even at the cost of occasional repetition.

The purpose of these lectures is to present within a moderate compass
an historical account of the progress of Greek religious thought
through something over a thousand years. No attempt has been made
to give a general treatment of Greek religion, or to deal with
pre-Hellenic origins, with religious antiquities, or with mythology.
The discussions are confined rather to the Greeks’ ideas about the
nature of the gods, and to their concepts of the relations between
gods and men and of men’s obligations toward the divine. The lectures
therefore deal with the higher ranges of Greek thought and at times
have much to do with philosophy and theology.

Yet I have felt free to interpret my subject liberally, and, so
far as space allowed, I have touched on whatever seemed to me most
significant. Ethics has been included without hesitation, for the
Greeks themselves, certainly from the fifth century B.C.,
regarded morals as closely connected with religion. A treatment of the
oriental religions seemed desirable, since the first two centuries and
a half of our era cannot be understood if these religions are left out
of account. Still more necessary was it to include Christianity. In my
handling of this I have discussed the teachings of Jesus and of Paul
with comparative fullness, in order to set forth clearly the material
which later under the influence of secular thought was transformed into
a philosophic system. Origen and Plotinus represent the culmination of
Greek religious philosophy.

Such a book as this can be nothing more than a sketch; in it the
scholar will miss many topics which might well have been included. Of
such omissions I am fully conscious; but limitations of subject and of
space forced me to select those themes which seemed most significant in
the development of the religious ideas of the ancient world.

It is not possible for me to acknowledge all my obligations to others.
I wish, however, to express here my gratitude to Professor C. P.
Parker, who has shared his knowledge of Plato with me; to Professor J.
H. Ropes, who has helped me on many points in my last two lectures,
where I especially needed an expert’s aid; and to Professor C. N.
Jackson, who has read the entire book in manuscript and by his learning
and judgment has made me his constant debtor. The criticism which these
friends have given me has been of the greatest assistance even when I
could not accept their views; and none of them is responsible for my

The translations of Aeschylus are by A. S. Way, Macmillan, 1906-08;
those of Euripides are from the same skilled hand, in the Loeb
Classical Library, Heinemann, 1912; for Sophocles I have drawn on the
version by Lewis Campbell, Kegan Paul, Trench and Company, 1883; and
for Thucydides and Plato I have used the classic renderings of Jowett
with slight modifications in one or two passages.

In an appendix will be found selected bibliographies for each lecture.
To these lists I have admitted, with one or two exceptions, only such
books as I have found useful from actual experience; and few articles
in periodicals have been named.

                         CLIFFORD HERSCHEL MOORE.
        August 1, 1916.



     I. HOMER AND HESIOD                                 3
           FIFTH CENTURIES B.C.                         74
    IV. THE FIFTH CENTURY AT ATHENS                    109
     V. PLATO AND ARISTOTLE                            144
    VI. LATER RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHIES                   183
   VII. THE VICTORY OF GREECE OVER ROME                221
            OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE                        257
    IX. CHRISTIANITY                                   296
     X. CHRISTIANITY AND PAGANISM                      326

  APPENDIX  I (BIBLIOGRAPHIES)                         361
  INDEX                                                373





“Homer and Hesiod created the generations of the gods for the
Greeks; they gave the divinities their names, assigned to them their
prerogatives and functions, and made their forms known.” So Herodotus
describes the service of these poets to the centuries which followed
them.[1] But the modern historian of Greek religion cannot accept
the statement of the father of history as wholly satisfactory; he
knows that the excavations of the last forty years have revealed to
us civilizations of the third and second millenia before Christ, the
Minoan and Mycenaean cultures, of which the historical Greeks were
hardly conscious, but which nevertheless made large contributions to
religion in the period after Homer. Yet at the most the Mycenaean and
Minoan Ages were for the Greek of the sixth and fifth centuries only a
kind of dim background for the remote history of his race. The Homeric
poems represented for him the earliest stage of Hellenic social life
and religion. We are justified, then, in taking the Iliad and Odyssey
as starting points in our present considerations. These matchless epics
cast an ineffable spell over the imaginations of the Greeks themselves
and influenced religion hardly less than literature.

It is obvious that in this course of lectures we cannot consider
together all the multitudinous phases of Greek religion: it will be
impossible to discuss those large primitive elements in the practices
and beliefs of the ancient Greek folk which are so attractive to many
students of religion today, for these things were, by and large, only
survivals from a ruder past and did not contribute to the religious
progress from age to age; nor can we rehearse the details of worship,
or review all the varieties of religious belief which we find in
different places and in successive centuries; still less can we concern
ourselves with mythology. Alluring as these things are they do not
concern our present purpose. I shall invite you rather to trace with
me the development of Greek religious thought through something over a
thousand years, from the period of the Homeric poems to the triumph of
Christianity. In such a survey we must be occupied for the most part
with the larger movements and the higher ranges of Greek thought, with
the advance which was made from century to century; and we shall try
to see how each stage of religious development came to fruition in the
next period. To accomplish this purpose we must take into due account
the social, economic, and political changes in the Greek world which
influenced the course of Hellenic thinking. Ultimately, if our study
is successful, we shall have discovered in some measure, I trust, what
permanent contributions the Greeks made to our own religious ideas.
With these things in mind, therefore, let us return to the Homeric

Whatever the date at which the Iliad and the Odyssey received their
final form, the common view that they belong to a period somewhere
between 850 and 700 B.C. is substantially correct. They
represent the culmination of a long period of poetic development
and picture so to speak on one canvas scenes and deeds from many
centuries. Yet the composite life is wrought by poetic art into one
splendid whole, so that the ordinary reader, in antiquity as today,
was unconscious of the variety and contradictions in the poems; only
the analytic mind of the scholar detects the traces of the varied
materials which the epic poet made his own. It is important that we
should realize the fact that the Homeric poems made the impression of a
consistent unity upon the popular mind in antiquity, for the influence
of these epics through the recitations of rhapsodes at great public
festivals and through their use in school was enormous. The statement
of Herodotus, with which I began, was very largely true.

These poems were composed to be recited at the courts of princes in
Ionia for the entertainment of the nobles at the banquet or after the
feast was over. This purpose naturally influenced the poet in depicting
life and religion, for the incidents chosen, the adventures recounted,
all the life represented, of necessity had to be consonant with the
interests and life of the bard’s audience. His lays were for the ears
of men who had not yet lost the consciousness that they were in a new
land, who knew that they were living in stirring times, and who feeling
the spirit of adventure still fresh within them responded joyously to
tales of heroic combat. This fact explains in part why it is that we
find so little that is primitive or savage in Homer. Such elements
were deliberately left out by the bard as unsuited to his audience;
he chose to neglect them, not because of any antagonism toward them,
but because they did not agree with his artistic aim. Again, the
antiquity of the themes, even at the time of composition, made a
freedom and picturesqueness of treatment possible, which a narrative of
contemporaneous events could never have possessed. Furthermore since
the peoples of Ionia, on migrating from the mainland of Greece, had
left behind their sacred places and had carried with them their gods,
severed from their ancient homes, the epic poet could treat religion
with a liberty and could exercise a freedom of selection among the
divinities, could use his poetic imagination to modify forms and to
emphasize certain attributes, as he never could have done if singing
for a people long resident in an ancient home where their gods had been
localized and fixed in character time out of mind. A poet singing of
Hera in the Argolid would have found himself bound by the traditions of
the Heraeum where the goddess had been domiciled from prehistoric time,
but the Homeric bard in Ionia was under no such limitation.

Therefore we find that the Iliad and Odyssey present to us a picture of
life and religion composed of selected elements and so universalized
that it was understood everywhere and at all later times. Exactly as
the Homeric dialect, probably never spoken in any place or period, was
universally comprehended, so the contents of the poems seemed nothing
strange or difficult to audiences in the remotest parts of the Greek
world; in the Greek colonies in Sicily, along the western shores of the
Mediterranean, or on the borders of the Black Sea, the epic tales were
as easily understood as at Delos, Olympia, or Athens.

Yet we have no warrant for using the Homeric poems as sources for
the full history of Greek religion in the ninth and eighth centuries
B.C. We must remember that the epic bard was least of all
composing systematic treatises about religion; on the contrary he
was narrating heroic tales, such as the wrath of Achilles, the death
of Hector and the ransoming of his body, and the return of Odysseus;
he introduced the gods solely as mighty actors in the struggles and
adventures of his mortal heroes. The divinities who play their parts in
the Iliad, for example, were summoned, like the Achaean princes, so to
speak, from many places to take part in the combat before Troy, and in
the Odyssey only those gods appear who are required by the story. In
short, the poet used the gods and religion exactly as he used his other
materials, drawing from a great stock of beliefs and practices that
which suited his tale, disregarding all the rest, and troubling little
about consistency. Homer’s aim, like that of most poets, was primarily
artistic, and least of all didactic.

Furthermore every reader of the Homeric epics is struck by the
freshness of the treatment; indeed, scholars of an earlier day thought
that the Iliad and the Odyssey were the first fruits of European poetic
inspiration. Today we know that Homer represents the culmination of a
long fine of bards, that his artistry was won by effort and was not
simply the incredible inspiration of one untaught; but this knowledge
does not diminish in the slightest degree our appreciation of the
freshness and directness of treatment which that art realized. These
qualities are obtained in part by a freedom from reflection, by a lack
of self-consciousness in the poems. They do not deal with the origin
of the gods, they present no theogonies, any more than they concern
themselves with the descent of man. It is true that Zeus is the son
of Cronos, as Hera is the daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and that it is
said that Zeus drove Cronos beneath the earth and sea, but we have no
account of the rule of the elder gods or of the struggle by which Zeus
won his place. For the epic poet the world of gods, men, and nature
simply is; he does not indulge in speculation himself nor does he make
his heroes debate questions of whence or whither; the living present
with its actions, its struggles, victories, and defeats filled the
compass of the poet’s thought and of his audience’s desire.

The Iliad and the Odyssey then must not be considered as treatises
or as reflective and philosophical works. This elementary point must
be emphasized here, for there is always danger of losing the true
perspective when we are considering a single theme. The poems derive
their great significance for the history of Greek religion from the
fact that through recitations they became the chief popular literature
of Greece, and that from the sixth century they were the basis of
education, as I have already said. Thus they were universally known
and universally influential; they created a common Olympic religion
beside the local religions; and through the individualities which they
gave the gods they fixed the types which poets were to recall and which
artists were to embody in marble or in wood, ivory, and gold at the
centers of the Greek world.

With these facts in mind we may ask what are the nature and
characteristics of the gods in Homer. Excavations have shown us that
the Mycenaean Age had already passed beyond the ruder stages and had
conceived some at least of its divinities in anthropomorphic fashion.
In Homer the gods are frankly made in man’s image. They are beings
larger, wiser, and stronger than mortals; they have a superhuman but
not complete control over nature and mankind. Their chief preëminence
over man lies in this superior power and in the possession of
immortality as well as of that eternal youth and beauty which is
appropriate to immortals. In their veins flows a divine ichor instead
of blood; their food and drink are not the bread and wine which mortals
need. Yet for all this they are hardly more independent of physical
needs than men: they must sleep and eat, and they need the light of
the sun. The passions hold sway over them to such an extent that the
morality of the gods, of Zeus in particular, is distinctly inferior to
that of mortal princes. The divinities can suffer pain and indignities.
Diomedes was able to wound both Aphrodite and Ares, whereat the valiant
god of war bawled out as loud, the poet says, “as nine or ten thousand
men shout in battle,” and fled into the broad heaven to appeal to
Zeus.[2] In the twenty-first book of the Iliad Athena hits Ares in the
neck with a large boundary stone and overthrows him, adding insult
to injury by laughing merrily at the god’s discomfiture; then when
Aphrodite would lead him off groaning, Athena hurries after and with a
blow of her stout hand lays goddess and god prostrate on the ground.[3]
Nor are the gods more just and honorable than men; they are moved by
caprice; and their godhead does not prevent their quarreling or making
up their differences in very human fashion, as the domestic jar between
Zeus and Hera in the first book of the Iliad shows.[4]

Furthermore the Homeric gods are neither omniscient nor omnipotent.
“The gods know all things” is a pious tribute of the poet, but the
narrative shows it to be untrue. In the thirteenth book of the Iliad,
when Zeus is gazing off into Thrace he fails to notice that Poseidon
enters the battle on the plain immediately below him.[5] In the fifth
book of the Odyssey the tables are turned in a sense, for Poseidon
finds that during his absence among the Ethiopians the Olympians have
taken action favorable to Odysseus, whose return the god of the sea
would fain prevent.[6] For nine years Thetis and Eurynome alone among
the gods knew where Hephaestus was concealed: when he had been thrown
from heaven by his mother in shame for his lameness, they hid him in a
grotto where the sound of the stream of Oceanus drowned the noise of
his smithy.[7] Apollo arrives too late to save Rhesus from his fate;[8]
and we are told that in the previous generation Ares was imprisoned by
the giants Otus and Ephialtes in a bronze jar, like an Oriental jinn,
for thirteen months. There he had perished if it had not been for the
friendly aid of Hermes who stole him from his prison.[9] The gods at
times thwart one another’s purposes, and, as we have seen, they may
even be wounded or frightened like human beings.[10] In such ways as
these do the Homeric divinities show their limitations.

Not only can the gods thwart one another, but they are all at times
subject to Fate or Destiny, which, although vaguely conceived by
the poet, is none the less inexorable. It seems usually to be an
impersonal power, although sometimes it is identified with the will
of an indefinite god (δαἰμονος αἶσα) or with that of Zeus
himself (Διὸς αἶσα). It was fated that Sarpedon, the son of
Zeus, should die, and Zeus, in spite of his grief, yielded him up to
his doom, not because he could not have opposed Fate successfully,
but because he feared that other divinities would wish to save their
children if he saved his.[11] Yet in the Odyssey Athena disguised as
Mentor declares to Telemachus that not even the gods can save a man
they love whenever the fatal doom of death lays hold on him.[12] So
naturally inconsistent is the poet, for in his day men had not reached
the stage where they could form any adequate notion of unity in the
world. Fate therefore is not conceived to be an inexorable power which
is constantly operative, as we find it represented at a later time
among the Greeks and among the Romans, notably in Virgil.

At times we find a more or less fatalistic view of life, Fate being
conceived as a destiny fixed at birth, for the notion that the thread
of life was spun already existed. So Hecuba, wailing for her son, cries
that mighty Fate spun Hector’s doom at the hour she gave him birth;[13]
and Alcinous declares that under Phaeacian escort Odysseus shall reach
his home, but that there he will suffer all that Fate and the cruel
spinsters spun for him when his mother bore him.[14] This fatalism is
most clearly expressed in passages such as that where Odysseus on
Circe’s isle cheers his companions by reminding them that they shall
not enter the house of Hades until their fated day shall come,[15] and
especially in those lines in which Hector comforts his wife Andromache
who would have restrained his impetuous desire for battle:[16] “My good
wife, grieve not overmuch for me in thy heart, for no man shall send
me to Hades contrary to my fate; and I say that none, be he a coward
or brave, has ever escaped his doom, when once it comes.” Still the
Homeric bard had not arrived at any consistent view of destiny; he
gave utterance to that feeling which men had vaguely then as now, that
beyond all lies something fixed and invariable to which all things and
beings are ultimately subject.

As we have seen, the divinities may work at cross purposes; there is
nothing in the Homeric poems like monotheism or pantheism in any true
sense. When the Homeric man said that a thing happened “with god’s
help,” he was simply recognizing the agency of the gods in everything.
Not knowing the special divinity concerned, he left him nameless;
least of all had he any concept of a complete divine polity. There
is, therefore, no such thing in the epics as a divine providence in
the way of a definite purpose or plan such as we shall later find in
the fifth century. Like mortals the Homeric gods discuss their plans,
without being able to see the end from the beginning; they are moved
by caprice, so that Zeus changes sides twice on the second day of the
great battle between the Achaeans and Trojans.[17] The vacillating and
capricious character of the gods is not offset by the protection that
a divinity may give a favorite, such as Athena gave to Odysseus in his
long wanderings and on his return to Ithaca. Throughout both poems we
find the assumption constantly held that every blessing comes from the
gods, that they give every distinction. In like fashion men believed
that all misfortunes were due to divine anger or hostility. So Odysseus
was kept from home for nearly ten years by Poseidon’s hate; the favor
of Athena toward the Achaeans turned to wrath because of the violence
done her shrine in the sack of Troy so that she caused an evil return
for her former favorites. Indeed in misfortune the Homeric hero’s
first question was as to what god he had offended. The problem of evil
therefore was a simple one—all depended on the will or whim of some

But there are other things which we should note with regard to these
divinities. As has been said, they are universalized, not attached
to definite localities; in fact the epics contain few traces of that
localization which was the rule in the common religion of Greece.
Although Hera declares:[18] “Verily three cities there are most dear to
me, Argos and Sparta and broad-streeted Mycenae,” she is in no sense
regarded as bound to these localities. In Demodocus’ song of the love
of Ares and Aphrodite it is said that when released from the bonds in
which Hephaestus had ensnared them, the god of war fled to Thrace and
laughter-loving Aphrodite to Paphos in Cyprus,[19] but these places
are not their homes in any strict sense. And so with the other gods.
The Olympians are rather free, universal divinities, unhampered by
local attachments. Olympus itself is in the upper heaven more than in
Thessaly. It is of course true that lesser divinities, like river-gods
and mountain-nymphs, are localized, but these beings have little
influence on the affairs of men.

Let us now consider briefly the most important Homeric gods. At the
head of the divine order stands Zeus, “father of gods and of men”
(πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε), “most exalted of rulers” (ὔπατε κρειόντων),
“most glorious and most mighty” (κύδιστε μέγιστε), as he is called.[20]
To him the elements are subject and at his nod great Olympus trembles.
He is the guardian of oaths, the protector of the stranger and the
suppliant. Famed for his prowess and might he never in person enters
battle, but indirectly he takes a hand in the strife between the Greeks
and the Trojans. Although he surpasses all in wisdom and power, at
times he is outwitted by other divinities. Like a mortal chieftain
he presides at council on Olympus in his great hall, whither he may
on occasion summon the divinities of every class to attend a general
assembly.[21] Olympus indeed is conceived as loosely organized after
the fashion of an aristocratic state with Zeus as chief (βασιλεύς),
the Olympians as members of the council (βουλή), and the whole body of
minor divinities as making up the assembly (ἀγορή).

Hera, the queen of Olympus, is at once both sister and wife of Zeus;
they are the only wedded pair on Olympus. She belongs, however,
distinctly to the second class of Olympians. She takes no part in
the Odyssey; and in the Iliad, although she favors the Achaeans most
vehemently, she is less active than Athena. In character she is a good
deal of a scold, so that Zeus fears her jealous anger.[22] He knows that
she is accustomed to block his plans, although on one occasion he had
punished her by stringing her up by the wrists and tying anvils to her
feet! Of this he indignantly reminds her: “Dost thou not remember
when I strung thee up aloft and from thy feet I hung two anvils, and
round thy wrists I bound a golden bond unbreakable? And thou wast hung
in the upper air and the clouds. Wroth were the gods throughout high
Olympus, but still they could not approach and free thee.”[23] Again he
had beaten her, and when Hephaestus tried to intervene, Zeus seized the
meddler by the foot and threw him out of Olympus. Hephaestus himself
recalls the experience: “All the day long I fell and at setting of the
sun I dropped in Lemnos, and there was little life left in me.”[24]

Athena is above all the goddess of war, and she plays a large part
in both the Iliad and Odyssey. In the latter poem she is the special
guardian of Odysseus, whose ready mind wins her admiration. She is
also the most skilled of all divinities, the patroness of every
handicraft.[25] She is perhaps the chief divinity of Troy; on the Trojan
citadel stands her temple to which the noble matrons bring a gift of a
beautiful robe with the promise of generous sacrifice if the goddess
will give them her protection against Diomedes.[26] She also has a home
on the acropolis at Athens.[27]

Apollo, the archer god, is a patron of war and of bowmen. In the Iliad
he is a violent enemy of the Achaeans and gives most effective aid
to the Trojans; but in the Odyssey he plays no active part. He also
inspires seers and prophets; and he is the god of the lyre and the
teacher of bards. In prayers he is named with Zeus and Athena when an
object is most earnestly desired.[28]

These three are the greatest of the Homeric divinities, although there
is no close connection among them. Apollo’s virgin sister, Artemis,
plays a part much inferior to that of her brother, but in many ways she
is similar to him. Her arrows bring a quick and peaceful end to women
as Apollo’s do to men. In the chase she is preëminent: she is the fair
goddess of wood and mountain.

Ares and Aphrodite also belong to a lower rank. In function they
are limited to an appeal to a single passion each, Ares to rage for
slaughter, Aphrodite to the passion of love. They are both treated with
a certain contempt and are mocked by the other gods.

Hephaestus is the god of fire, the lame craftsman of Olympus. It was
he who built the homes of the gods; but his skill was especially shown
in the wondrous works he wrought in gold and silver. Such were the
mixing-bowl which Phaedimus, the Sidonian king, gave to Menelaus;[29]
wonderful automata, twenty golden tripods, which on occasion would go
of their own accord to the assemblage of the gods and then return;[30]
or the gold and silver dogs which guarded the palace of Alcinous.[31]
Still more marvellous were the golden maidens endowed with reason,
speech, and cunning knowledge, which supported their maker as he limped
from his forge to his chair;[32] and above all the splendid armor
wrought for Achilles.[33]

Poseidon, the brother of Zeus, has as his special province the sea;
but he appears on Olympus at the councils of the gods. In the Iliad he
supports the Achaeans vigorously; no doubt from anger at the Trojans
whose king Laomedon had once cheated him of the pay which was his
due for building the walls of Troy;[34] in the Odyssey, angry at the
blinding of his son, Polyphemus, he holds Odysseus far from Ithaca,
until at last the Phaeacians bring him home. Then in wrath he turns
their vessel into stone.[35]

Such in brief are the eight great gods of the Homeric poems. Of these
Zeus is easily the first, but in the first rank also are Athena and
Apollo; Hera and Poseidon hold a second place; and Hephaestus, Ares,
and Aphrodite belong to the third class. Many other divinities there
are, but all of lesser rank, like Hermes whose duties are those of a
higher servant or messenger. He is sent to escort King Priam to the
tent of Achilles to ransom Hector’s body,[36] and he is despatched
to Calypso’s isle to bid her let Odysseus go.[37] There are some
indications that he is already the patron of thieves, as he is of
servants. Dionysus and Demeter, so prominent in later Greece, have not
yet won a place in the Olympic circle. There is no hint in the epics of
the mysteries and the orgiastic cults which were afterwards of great
significance. Hades, the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, holds as his
realm the dark abode of the dead, where he reigns with Persephone as
queen. His murky kingdom is now represented as beneath the earth, again
as far out on the bounds of Oceanus. But Hades takes no active part in
either poem.

Besides these there is a host of divinities, some named but most
unnamed, who cause all the phenomena of the visible world. In fact,
the Homeric man could not conceive of a natural world obeying laws
whose operation was fixed; on the contrary, he could only think of
animated beings as the causes of all events. For him every occurrence
was the manifestation of the will of some divinity; the natural and the
miraculous were one.

It is evident from this hasty review of the Homeric gods that we
have in the epics no complete and fully organized pantheon. Zeus is
regarded as supreme but he is thwarted and outwitted by lesser members
of the Olympic circle, even as they block one another. In fact Homer’s
view of the gods abounds in contradictions of which however only the
scholar and the critic have ever been very conscious. From our modern
standpoint we notice the moral inconsistencies above all. Although Zeus
is the guardian of justice, he is deceitful and treacherous if occasion
arises, as when at the request of Thetis he sends a delusive dream to
Agamemnon to urge him to give battle, in spite of the fact that he
cannot be successful.[38] It is Zeus also who is responsible for the
faithless breaking of the truce between the Achaeans and Trojans[39];
and many other instances might be cited to illustrate his utter
untrustworthiness. On his lack of domestic morality I need hardly dwell.

Yet we must remind ourselves that to the Homeric Age there was
little connection, if any, between morals and religion. Religion is
concerned with man’s relation to the gods, morality with his relation
to his fellow men. Morality is therefore developed through the social
relations first of all, and only later is brought into relation to
religion. In Homer the sense of social obligations is much more keenly
realized than is that of religious sanctions. The cardinal virtues are
bravery, wisdom, love of home and family, and regard for hospitality.
In a life of action, filled with war, bravery is of prime importance;
by it wealth, power, and honor are won. Proper to such a life are
practical wisdom and even cunning. The highest praise is to be called
“first in council and first in battle.”[40] Agamemnon is lauded by Helen
as “both a good king and a mighty warrior.”[41] The standing epithets
of Odysseus, “very crafty” (πολύμητις) and “the man of many devices”
(πολυμήχανος), show the qualities which were deemed praiseworthy.
Yet Odysseus had won this distinction by his skill in lying and
deceiving—practices still deemed highly laudable in our own world if
employed against a foe, or sometimes even when used as acts of caution.
Yet if our modern views do not wholly coincide with the ancient on
these points, we can feel only admiration for the regard for home and
family, the unselfish generosity, and the universal hospitality toward
strangers which the epic heroes display.

The poems also set a high value on personal honor. The outrage done
Menelaus by Paris, who violated the most sacred laws of hospitality
by carrying away his host’s wife, was the whole cause of the Trojan
War. To avenge this outrage all the princes of the Achaeans rallied
as if the wrong suffered had been their own. Agamemnon’s high-handed
act in taking the captive Briseis from Achilles roused that wrath
which is the first word of the Iliad. The Odyssey is the epic of a
personal will which, triumphing over all disasters, finally wreaked
a terrible vengeance on the insolent suitors who had wooed Odysseus’
wife, devoured his substance, plotted against his son, and at the end
shamefully insulted Odysseus himself. The punishment of the suitors
is the victory of justice over lawlessness, and possesses a moral
significance which was not lost on antiquity.

In what I have just been saying I have already implied that man’s
relation to the gods was not ethical but ritualistic. We must
remember that when we speak of “sin” or a “consciousness of guilt,”
we are presupposing a self-conscious and self-searching individual.
This the Homeric man was not; on the contrary he was in the highest
degree natural, unreflective, and unconscious of self. In fact the
Homeric concept of sin touches our moral ideas at hardly more than
three points. Disregard for an oath, failure to honor one’s father
and mother, and disrespect for the stranger and suppliant were high
offenses against heaven and brought down divine wrath on the
transgressor. But in general sin is failure to recognize man’s absolute
dependence on the immortals, to give them due honor, to pay them proper
sacrifice, and to walk humbly on the earth. Sacrifice is tribute
whereby man acquires merit with divinity; of such meritorious credit
the priest Chryses reminds Apollo in his prayer at the beginning of
the Iliad:[42] “Hear me, Lord of the silver bow, ... if ever I have
roofed over a temple pleasing to thee, or if ever I have burnt in thy
honor fat thighs of bulls or of goats, then accomplish this my prayer.”
Agamemnon in the stress of battle reproaches Zeus for bringing his
present disaster upon him in spite of the fact that he made sacrifice
on every altar as he hurried to Ilion;[43] and many other illustrations
might be cited. Failure to make due offering might bring serious
disaster. Menelaus, on his way home from Troy, omitted sacrifice before
leaving Egypt; so he was forced to return from the island of Pharos and
repair his failure, after which he accomplished his voyage easily.[44]
When Oeneus neglected Artemis, she sent the Calydonian boar to afflict
his land: “Artemis of the golden throne sent a plague upon them, angry
that Oeneus did not offer her the first fruits of his rich land. All
the other gods had their feast of hecatombs, and only to the daughter
of mighty Zeus did he fail to make offering, whether he forgot or had
no thought of the matter. But he showed great folly in his soul.”[45]
Again the plague sent by Apollo on the Achaean host before Troy suggests
to Achilles that the god may be angered at a failure to perform some
vow or to offer a hecatomb.[46] It is little wonder that the enlightened
Plato felt horror and disgust at such notions as these and that he
condemned this kind of worship as an “art of trafficking” (ἐμπορικὴ
τέχνη).[47] Still this Homeric idea of the relations between men
and gods—an idea which has not wholly disappeared from the world
today—rests on the notion that gods and men belong to one common
society in which the obligations are binding on both sides.

Especially to be avoided was insolent pride; man must not boast himself
overmuch; there were fixed bounds set for him which he might not
transgress. So Ajax met his fate because of his insolent defiance:
“Even so he had escaped his doom, hateful though he was to Athena, if
he had not let fall an insolent speech and committed great folly. He
said that in spite of the gods he had escaped the great gulf of the
sea; but Poseidon heard his loud boasting. Straightway then he took his
trident in his mighty hands and struck the Gyraean rock and cleft it in
twain. Part remained in its place, but a portion fell in the deep, that
part on which Ajax first sat and uttered his great folly; but it now
bore him down beneath the vast billowy sea.”[48] But Achilles showed
the approved attitude of mind when he thus addressed the dead Hector:
“Lie now dead; but my doom I will accept whenever it please Zeus and
the other immortal gods to send it.”[49] This fear of punishment from
heaven, of that which Aeschylus and Herodotus call “the envy of the
gods,” long operated to keep in check excess of speech and added no
doubt to the comfort of Greek society. Of magic whereby man can compel
the gods there is nothing in Homer; the inferiority of mortals to the
immortals is complete.

We may now properly consider the Homeric view of life after death.
The epic psychology made no sharp distinction between the soul and
the body; on the whole the body was identified with the self rather
than the soul (ψυχή), which goes to the realm of Hades when the man is
dead. There in the world of shadows beneath the earth or far out by the
stream of Oceanus the shades, pale images of the men who were, exist;
they do not live. The pathetic plaints of the shades that come up to
Odysseus in the eleventh book of the Odyssey show how hopeless is their
lot. Though Orion pursue the wild beasts over the cheerless plains of
asphodel and Minos hold his golden staff and sit in judgment over the
dead, yet all is insubstantial and far less than life. The often quoted
words of Achilles’ shade sum up the whole matter: “Speak not to me of
death, glorious Odysseus. For so I might be on earth, I would rather be
the servant of another, of a poor man who had little substance, than to
be lord over all the dead.”[50]

There is no system of future punishment or rewards, although a few
individuals have won supreme suffering like Tityus, Sisyphus, and
Tantalus or gained high station like Minos, the judge. Therefore beyond
the grave there was for the Homeric man no hope, no satisfaction. Only
here under the light of the sun and in the glory of action could the
epic hero find his joy. This is, in no small measure, the cause of
that pathos which strikes us occasionally in the poems. Man is spoken
of as the most pitiful of creatures, the feeblest of all beings which
the earth nourishes. Evil and suffering sent by the gods are his lot,
unrelieved by any prospect of the future.[51]

Let us now summarize briefly the matter we have thus far been
considering together. As I said at the beginning of this lecture,
religion in the Homeric poems shows the influence of the conditions
under which the poems were composed. Intended for Ionian princes of
Asia Minor, emigrants who had lost the support which local attachment
always gives, the Iliad and Odyssey present those traits of religion
which were everywhere understood and which made a universal appeal.
Therefore the Homeric gods have a synthetic character; they are,
as has been aptly said, “composite photographs” of local Zeus’s,
Apollos, Athenas, and so on. Again since the epics were intended for
entertainment, the gods are represented not as remote, but human and
real; they have characters and personalities which local divinities
did not possess. In picturing them as more human, in rehearsing their
quarrels, intrigues, passions, and even physical peculiarities, the
poet not only amused his carefree audience, but brought the gods closer
to men; he made them more comfortable creatures to live with, even if
they were moved by whims and fancies. Their worship was sacrifice
associated with the banquet which men and gods shared in common
fellowship; the gods were thought to wish man’s offerings and service
just as man desired communion with them. Malevolent divinities, daemons
of the earth, rites of riddance by which man seeks to avert the wrath
of some spiteful or angry being, all the great mass of practices
unquestionably common to the folk-religion of the age, were for the
most part omitted by the poet as unsuited or uninteresting to his
aristocratic audience. There is almost nothing bearing on the cult of
the dead save possibly in connection with the funeral of Patroclus;
incantation proper is mentioned only once; and Circe’s potent herbs by
which she transformed Odysseus’s companions into beasts, like Circe
herself, belong to fairyland. The Homeric religion, therefore, is
largely a social religion of this world, of sunlight and of action.

Yet if Homer’s gods are human, they are still impressive; they have the
dignity which comes from unchanging age and superhuman power; they are
conceived in the grand way. So true was this that as the Homeric poems
became popular literature, studied in school and known to all men, they
created a universal religion. They also influenced the types under
which the Greek artists represented their great gods. Tradition says
that when Phidias was asked by his associate Panaenus what type he had
selected for his Zeus at Olympia, he replied with Homer’s lines: “The
son of Cronos spoke and nodded under his dark brows; and the ambrosial
locks of the king fell down from his immortal head, and he shook great
Olympus.”[52] Such was the effect of this statue after it had stood for
five centuries and a half that the orator Dio Chrysostom said of it:
“Whoever among mankind is wholly weary in soul, whoever has experienced
many misfortunes and sorrows in life, and may not find sweet sleep,
he, methinks, if he stood before this statue, would forget all the
calamities and griefs that come in the life of man.”[53]

We must, however, recognize that the spiritual contribution of the
Homeric poems to later Greece was inevitably less than the artistic. No
inspired bard was needed to teach the lessons of man’s inferiority to
the gods and of his dependence on them, although these are constantly
emphasized; yet the epics also inculcate the necessity of moderation
in act and speech; and they teach that Zeus is the guardian of oaths
and of hospitality. Furthermore they express the half-realized belief
that Zeus is the protector of all justice; and they bring home the
fact that the individual must pay for his sin, however he may have
been led into it. But the greatest contribution which the poems made
to later religious thought was paradoxically due to the fact that they
made their gods so thoroughly human, for it inevitably followed in due
season that the gods were measured by the same standards of right and
wrong that were applied to men. This eventually ennobled man’s concept
of divinity, so that he required of the gods a perfection to match
their immortal nature.

Herodotus names Homer and Hesiod together as the great theological
teachers of Greece. But when we compare the later poet with the
earlier we find a marked contrast between them. Homer looks backward
to an earlier day; his poems reflect the glory of that splendid age
when the Achaean princes, like Agamemnon in golden Mycenae, ruled at
home in power, or on the plains of Troy contended with divine and
human foes. Homer is aristocratic, universal, objective, with little
self-consciousness, hardly concerned with the origins of gods and men
or with the possible goals toward which the world was moving. Hesiod
was the son of a farmer, who according to tradition had come from Cyme
in Asia Minor to Boeotian Ascra which lay on a spur of the range of
Helicon near a shrine of the Muses. When Hesiod wrote, the land had
felt the exhaustion of war, the coming of ruder tribes from the north
and west had swamped the earlier civilization, and both noble and
peasant were finding life harder. These conditions are reflected in the
Hesiodic poetry: it deals with fact rather than fancy; for the splendid
dramatic deeds of men and gods it substitutes homely adage, reasoned
reflection, and moral tale. Hesiod is self-conscious and reflective. He
uses the first person, whereas Homer never names himself. A dour son
of the soil, born in gloomy days, he is the first writer of Europe to
speak for the common man.

The two chief poems which bear the name of Hesiod are the Theogony and
the Works and Days. The former deals with the origin of the world and
the generations of the gods. It is an attempt to bring order into
current myths by sifting and arranging them into a system. The material
Hesiod found ready to his hand; his task was to systematize and set
it forth to his audience. The Theogony is the first extant work of
European literature to present the idea that dynasties of the gods have
succeeded each other in time, the rule of Uranus giving way to the sway
of Cronos, who in his turn was displaced by Zeus. We have seen that
Homer did not concern himself about such matters as these; that only
vague references to such ideas are found in the Iliad and Odyssey.
Hesiod, however, represents another age and another aspect of the Greek
mind, a desire to bring harmony into the varied and inconsistent tales
of current mythology and thus in a way to render the gods intelligible
to men.

The gods of the Theogony are hardly moral beings; on the contrary much
of the theology there presented is far ruder than that of the Iliad and
Odyssey. Some of the tales are on the level of primitive mythology,
such as the account of the way in which earth and heaven were separated
and of the manner in which the earth was fertilized; others retain
more offensive elements like that of Cronos devouring his children,
or of Zeus swallowing his wife Metis when she was about to give birth
to Athena, for it was fated that her child should be the equal of its
father in wit and cunning. In general the poet gives no sign of being
conscious that this work might have moral or religious significance.
The word justice (δίκη), which is so frequent in the Works and Days,
occurs but twice in the Theogony. The wives of Zeus are in succession
Wisdom (Μῆτις) and Right (Θέμις), but his constant attendants
are Violence (Κράτος) and Force (Βίη). In neither case, however,
is any moral conclusion drawn therefrom. The only beings to whom
moral functions are assigned are the Fates, “Goddesses who visit
transgressions of men and gods and never cease from their fearful wrath
until they have inflicted dire punishment on the sinner.”[54] Save for
this passage and one in which the punishment of the gods for perjury
is described, the Theogony is less ethical than even the Iliad and
Odyssey, for they have regard for certain social sanctions. The work
is nevertheless significant and requires notice here because it bears
witness to the critical mind that set the myths in order, and because
it shows that the age of Hesiod was a reflective one.

Hesiod’s other poem, the Works and Days, is of high moral import. It
owes its title to the fact that it gives directions for various kinds
of occupations and that it also contains a kind of peasant’s calendar.
By bribing his judges the poet’s brother Perses had deprived the poet
of the inheritance which was properly his. To this unjust brother
Hesiod addresses his poem, but he rises constantly from the particular
case to general moral considerations; indeed the poet’s ethical lessons
gain in force because they start with a personal application.

Work, justice, right social relations, and piety toward the gods are
the cardinal themes of the Works and Days. At the very opening of the
poem Hesiod points out that there are two kinds of Strife or Rivalry
on earth, the one good and praiseworthy, the other evil. Evil strife
leads to war and to discord, but the good, implanted by Zeus in the
very order of things, ever urges men on to work. Hesiod delights in
emphasizing the value of toil; he has given enduring expression to the
natural dignity of labor in the verse,

    Εργον δ' οὐδὲν ὂνειδος, ἀεργίη δέ τ' ὂνειδος.

    Work is no disgrace, but laziness is a disgrace.[55]

By constant toil alone, he says, can the many misfortunes of life be
relieved; by it riches and honor are won; and the worker is beloved
by the gods. The lazy man on the contrary has hunger for his portion
and is detested by gods and men: “Gods and mortals are alike indignant
with the man who lives without toiling; he is like in energy to the
stingless drones, for they without toiling waste and devour the product
of the honey-bees’ work. But do thou (Perses), love all seemly toil
that thy barns may be filled with food in the proper seasons.”[56] For
the poor man the poet, and apparently his contemporaries, had little
compassion, since he regards poverty as proof of a lack of industry, of
a failure to work unceasingly with a determined spirit, which he holds
to be the only way in which man can acquire the comforts which give
dignity to life. In his mind shame is the natural lot of the poor, but
self-respect the proper possession of the successful worker. And toil
has for him a divine sanction; it is a moral duty imposed on men by the
gods. By it alone men attain not only material prosperity but virtue as
well. “I perceive the good and will tell it thee, Perses, very foolish
though thou art. Wickedness men attain easily and in great numbers,
for level is the road to her and she dwells very near; but before
Virtue the immortal gods have set the sweat of toil. Long and steep is
the path to her and rough at the outset; but when one has reached the
summit, thereafter it is easy, hard though it was before.”[57]

Smarting under the injustice done him by his unjust brother and the
venal judges, Hesiod naturally praised justice (δίκη) in his work. He
repeats the word again and again. In the name of outraged universal
justice he protests against the particular wrong he has suffered, but
in his handling of this theme he passes far beyond the matter between
him and his brother, and treats justice in a universal and impressive
manner. He thus exhorts Perses: “Perses, harken to justice, and make
not insolence prosper. For insolence is baneful even to the humble;
nor can the noble easily bear the burden of it, but he sinketh beneath
its weight, meeting doom. Yet the road that leadeth in the opposite
direction, toward justice, is better to travel. Justice prevaileth over
insolence in the end; even the fool knoweth from experience.”[58] He
presses home the truth that wrong harms the doer no less than him who
suffers the wrong: “The man who worketh evil to another, worketh evil
to himself, and evil counsel is most evil for him who counselled
it.”[59] Again he teaches that even if retribution is slow in coming,
Zeus accomplishes it in the end: “Finally Zeus imposes due requital
for the wicked man’s unjust deeds.”[60] On the other hand Hesiod in a
famous passage pictures with satisfaction the prosperity of the just:
“But for those who render straight judgments to both strangers and
citizens and never depart from justice, their city flourishes and their
people prosper in it. Peace, which nurtures youth, dwells in the land
and never does far-seeing Zeus bring fearful war upon the inhabitants.
Never does famine or woe attend men who do justice, but in good cheer
do they perform their due tasks. For them the earth yields abundant
food, the oak on the mountains bears them acorns in its topmost
branches, and its trunk is the honey-bees’ home; fleecy sheep are heavy
with wool, wives bear children who are like their parents. The just
flourish in prosperity continually; nor do they go away on ships, for
the fruitful earth gives them its product.”[61]

The last sentence shows that trading in ships was less highly
regarded than agriculture. The reason is to be found not alone in the
comparatively undeveloped state of commerce, but also in the very
nature of such commerce as the poet saw it, for he admits commerce into
his plan rather unwillingly. He knows that the sea is treacherous and
often wrecks ships and causes ruin; he holds that only men’s inordinate
desires and folly tempt them to venture across the waters and to stake
all on the chances of loss and death. More than this, he feels a moral
defect in transmarine trading, even when profitable, for one may gain
wealth by a single venture. Such is not his ideal; rather he would
see material prosperity won by the long toil and frugality which make
agriculture successful.

But to return to justice. Hesiod, as we have already seen, makes this
the whole basis of man’s relation to his fellows; on just actions and
labor depends all prosperity; injustice injures the doer no less than
the object of the wrong, and in the end is sure of punishment. Indeed
according to the poet justice is what distinguishes man from the lower
animals: “Perses, put these words now in thy heart, and harken to
justice, but forget violence utterly. For this the son of Cronos has
established as a rule for men. Fishes and wild beasts and winged birds
he ordained should devour one another, since there is no justice among
them; but to man he has given justice, which is by far the best.”[62]
The theme of justice in human relations is developed into injunctions
to be kind to the stranger, the suppliant, and the orphan, to respect
parents, to regard another’s bed, and to give hospitality to one’s
friends. Yet it must be said that Hesiod’s social morality is strictly
utilitarian, not altruistic; indeed there is something in his poem
which reminds us of the maxim “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a
tooth,” as when he writes: “If thy friend is the first to do thee an
unkindness either in word or deed, remember to return him twofold; but
if he would bring thee again into friendship and consent to render thee
justice, accept it.”[63] But we must remember that this was the almost
universal teaching among the Greeks down to the end of the fifth

Justice, however, is more than a social virtue between men; it is the
chief attribute of Zeus, personified as his daughter and constant
attendant: “Justice is the daughter of Zeus, glorified and honored by
the gods who hold Olympus; and whenever anyone does her wrong with
perverse blame, straightway she sits by Zeus, son of Cronos, and she
tells him the thoughts of unjust men, that the people may pay for
the folly of the princes who by their wrongful purposes and crooked
speeches turn judgments from the right course.”[64] In his work of
defending justice Zeus is aided not only by his daughter, but by a
host of watchful guardians, intermediaries who report mortals’ deeds:
“Thrice ten thousand are the immortal servants of Zeus upon the rich
earth, who watch mortal men. Clad in mist they fare to and fro on the
earth watching deeds of justice and wrongful acts.”[65] Justice then
never fails to bring sooner or later the due return to right and wrong
actions; from her and the watchful messengers of Zeus there is no
escape. The Homeric man had recognized that righteousness is better
than evil and that the wicked are constantly threatened by punishment;
but Hesiod in his Works and Days goes somewhat further than Homer, in
that he makes justice a necessary attribute of the gods as well as of

Man’s dependence on the gods is naturally recognized in Hesiod as
elsewhere by the obligations of sacrifice, libation, and prayer, for
these are universal modes of religious expression. The poet betrays the
unimaginative character of a peasant by the baldness with which he says
that material prosperity is the whole purpose of religious observance
as well as of justice: “According to thy ability offer sacrifice to the
immortal gods with thy person pure and undefiled, and burn the goodly
thigh-pieces; again propitiate them with libations and with sacrifices,
both when thou liest down and when the sacred light comes, that they
may have a heart and mind kindly disposed toward thee; that thus thou
mayest buy the land of others and not another thine.”[66] Yet we must
remember that this huckster’s mind, as Plato might have called it,
was common enough in Greece, that it was the ordinary attitude of the
official Roman religion throughout Rome’s history, and that it has not
disappeared from men’s thought today.

In the Iliad and Odyssey evil, like the good, comes from the gods. The
simple fact is unquestionably recognized. But Hesiod searches more
deeply for the origin of evil which he pessimistically regards as
omnipresent. The story of Prometheus and Pandora contains in part the
poet’s answer to this eternal riddle. The myth was already ancient and
familiar to all. Once men lived without effort and free from evils, but
when led by crafty Prometheus they had endeavored to cheat Zeus of the
better part of the sacrificed bullock, the god withheld fire from them.
Yet the cunning Titan stole a spark of this divine fire and delivered
it to mortals. This Zeus allowed men to keep; by its aid they created
all industries, but only at the cost of constant toil and struggle.
Prometheus he punished harshly. To work his vengeance on mortals he
caused Hephaestus to create a woman on whom the gods bestowed all gifts
so that she was named Pandora. She opened a jar containing every kind
of evil, which straightway flew out among mankind. Only Ἐλπίς remained
therein—a word hardly equivalent to our Hope, but rather meaning
“anticipation of misfortune.” It then is the only plague to which man
is not subjected.[67] He is obliged to suffer, having been involved
in the original sin of Prometheus, who wished to cheat Zeus of the
sacrifice due him. Such is the sacred tale offered as an explanation of
the presence of evils on earth. To us it seems childish, and indeed it
did not completely satisfy Hesiod.

A second explanation of a very different sort was given, one which
was in reality a profound attempt to trace man’s origin as well as to
explain his actual condition.[68] This is the story of the five ages
of man, beginning with the age of gold in which gods and men dwelt
together. Then mortals lived like the gods with hearts untroubled, far
from toil and suffering, and the earth yielded them of its own accord
abundant food. Over them Cronos reigned. But the men of this Utopian
age died in painless sleep; and the silver age under Zeus followed.
Compared with the former it was an age of degeneracy in which men
showed insolence toward one another and failed to sacrifice to the
gods. Zeus in his anger destroyed these mortals. The three remaining
ages—the bronze, the heroic, and the iron, show both decay and
advance. The men of the bronze age were fierce, wild creatures,
unapproachable in their savagery. To these succeeded a better and
juster race, that of the heroes, who however met their fate in war
beneath seven-gated Thebes or at Troy for fair-haired Helen’s sake.
And now they dwell care-free in the Islands of the Blest. Finally
Hesiod pictures his own age, that of iron. Now no longer do men spend
their effort in war and battle, but they have come to a selfish
individualism, “when father and children will not agree together, nor
guest with host, nor friend with friend, nor brother longer be dear
as aforetime.”[69] But this unlimited egoism, which Hesiod pictures,
presupposes an intellectual evolution beyond the stage where men fought
in masses as in the heroic time. Thus faithfully and relentlessly he
describes his own day. Yet the poet is not without confidence that
there are good as well as evil elements in the age of iron; but on the
whole he is despondent and exclaims: “Would that I were not living in
the fifth age of men, but that I had either died before them or been
born later.”[70]

Thus Hesiod takes ancient myths and by his genius makes them
epitomize the stages of man’s evolution downward morally, but forward
intellectually. The faint hope expressed at the end of the exclamation
just quoted shows that the poet saw the possibility of a better age to
come, and therein he showed himself a prophet. He apparently did not
regard the present age of iron as eternal, but perhaps, in accordance
with the cyclical theory of the world, thought that the ages might
revolve and the Golden Age return again. Furthermore, although he
regards man’s course as largely one of degeneration, he sees that it
has also been one in which intellectual progress has been made and law

When we come to the question of life beyond the grave we must
acknowledge that herein Hesiod shows no advance over Homer. For
ordinary mortals oblivion in the dank halls of Hades seems to be the
relentless doom. Only a few, the heroes of that earlier age are allowed
by divine favor to dwell with hearts free from trouble in the Islands
of the Blest.

Yet if we consider the Hesiodic poetry as a whole it does bear witness
to a great change from the world of Homer. It shows clearly that by the
seventh century B.C. man was coming to self-consciousness,
that he was endeavoring by reflection to solve some of the deepest
problems of life, and that he had already developed a moral code that
demanded righteousness in the individual. Hesiod depicts for us a more
thoughtful and a more reflective time than that shown us by Homer. How
significant this change was I shall try to show in my next lecture.


[1] Herod. 2, 53.

[2] _Il._ 5, 335 ff.; 855 ff.

[3] _Il._ 21, 400-426.

[4] _Il._ 1, 531-570.

[5] _Il._ 13, 1 ff.

[6] _Od._ 5, 1-298.

[7] _Il._ 18, 394-405.

[8] _Il._ 10, 515 ff.

[9] _Il._ 5, 385-391.

[10] Cf. _Il._ 23, 382 ff.; _Il._ 5, 335; 855 ff.

[11] _Il._ 16, 433 ff.

[12] _Od._ 3, 236 ff.

[13] _Il._ 24, 209 ff.

[14] _Od._ 7, 196 ff.

[15] _Od._ 10, 174 ff.

[16] _Il._ 6, 486 ff.

[17] _Il._ 8.

[18] _Il._ 4, 51 f.

[19] _Od._ 8, 360-366.

[20] _Il._ 1, 544; _Od._ 1, 45; _Il._ 3, 276.

[21] _Il._ 20, 1 ff.

[22] _Il._ 1, 517 ff.

[23] _Il._ 15, 18-22.

[24] _Il._ I, 592 ff.

[25] _Od._ 13, 296-299; 331 ff.

[26] _Il._ 6, 297-310.

[27] _Il._ 2, 549; _Od._ 7, 81.

[28] _Il._ 2, 371 and often.

[29] _Od._ 4, 615 ff.; 15, 115 ff.

[30] _Il._ 18, 369 ff.

[31] _Od._ 7, 91 ff.

[32] _Il._ 18, 417 ff.

[33] _Il._ 18, 478 ff.

[34] _Il._ 21, 442 ff.

[35] _Od._ 13, 162 ff.

[36] _Il._ 24, 334 ff.

[37] _Od._ 5, 28 ff.

[38] _Il._ 2, 5 ff.

[39] _Il._ 4, 1 ff.

[40] _Il._ 1, 258; cf. 2, 202, 273.

[41] _Il._ 3, 179.

[42] _Il._ 1, 37-41.

[43] _Il._ 8, 236 ff.

[44] _Od._ 4, 351 ff.

[45] _Il._ 9, 533 ff.

[46] _Il._ 1, 65.

[47] _Euth._ 14 E; _Alc._ 11, 149 D ff.

[48] _Od._ 4, 502 ff.

[49] _Il._ 22, 365 f.

[50] _Od._ 11, 488 ff.

[51] _Il._ 17, 446 f.; 24, 525 f.

[52] _Il._ 1, 528 ff.

[53] _Or._ 12, 51.

[54] _Th._ 220 ff.

[55] _W. and D._ 311.

[56] _Ibid._ 303 ff.

[57] _W. and D._ 286 ff.

[58] _Ibid._ 213 ff.

[59] _W. and D._ 265 f.

[60] _Ibid._ 333 f.

[61] _Ibid._ 225 ff.

[62] _W. and D._ 274 ff.

[63] _Ibid._ 709 ff.

[64] _W. and D._ 256 ff.

[65] _Ibid._ 252 ff.

[66] _W. and D._ 336 ff.

[67] _W. and D._ 47-104.

[68] _Ibid._ 109-201.

[69] _W. and D._ 182 ff.

[70] _Ibid._ 174 f.



The seventh and sixth centuries before Christ were marked by important
social, philosophic, and religious movements. Of the many causes which
brought about these changes, the most easily traced are those of a
political and economic nature.

The form of government which is pictured in the Homeric poems is one in
which the king and nobles alone have an effective voice. The humbler
folk meet to hear the decision of the few, which they are expected
to accept without a murmur. On only one occasion does a common man,
Thersites, venture to raise his voice against his betters, and then
he is made the laughing-stock of his fellows and is beaten into a
sad silence by Odysseus. But the Homeric organization of society was
gradually superseded by aristocracies in which the power of wealth
ultimately claimed a position beside nobility of birth. The development
of industry and trade in Ionia and on the mainland of Greece proper
created a new wealthy class which was a rival of the old nobility
whose riches had been in herds and lands. The political struggles
which accompanied these changes were highly educative to considerable
bodies of citizens, who were expending their efforts in improving the
condition of their own class or of themselves rather than in maintaining
the advantage of some prince or noble. In this way there was developed
a political and social self-consciousness. When kings were superseded
by aristocracies, magistracies, limited in scope and duration, had
necessarily been employed. Thus political machinery and organization
developed. These political changes and the failure of ancient customs
to fit new social and economic conditions naturally led to a demand
for written law, which alone can be the basis of even justice and
protection. So we hear of many “law-givers” in Greece during the
seventh and sixth centuries B.C., of whom the most famous were
Zaleucus among the western Locrians, Charondas of Catane, and Draco of
Athens, followed about thirty years later by Solon. Now written law
usually tends to become ultimately the embodiment of rules for all, not
simply for one class alone, so that the written codes marked a long
step in the advance of the common man toward equality with the noble.
It is true that the aristocracies in many parts of Greece were later
followed by the rule of tyrants, but the tyrannies themselves fostered
the development of the lower classes on whose well-being and support
the existence of the tyrannies depended.

Of the law-givers I have just mentioned one belonged to Catane, a Greek
city in Sicily. This fact suggests another important movement which
demands our notice. I mean the planting of colonies. The great era of
Hellenic colonization fell between the eighth and sixth centuries, and
was in a sense but a continuation of that earlier wave of expansion
which had carried the Greeks to Cyprus and to the nearer shores of Asia
Minor. Among the causes which led to the establishment of colonies the
chief seem to have been defects in the land system, whereby many were
deprived of a share in their ancestral estates, political conditions
often oppressive, and trade, which was now coming largely into the
hands of Greeks because of the disasters which were inflicted on their
former rivals, the Phoenicians, by their eastern neighbors. From
Megara and Miletus, from Chalcis and Eretria, began an outpouring
of eager traders, of the landless, the needy, the discontented, and
the adventurous, who eventually planted colonies entirely around the
Mediterranean and Euxine Seas. Between these colonies and the mother
cities a rich stream of traffic flowed; the growth of trade stimulated
manufactures and increased wealth. In the colonies there existed from
the beginning greater equality than in the older communities, the
land system was more equitable, and many men of humble birth came
to wealth and power. Furthermore, with travel and success in new
communities there was an expansion of mind, a sense of power acquired
by prosperity, such as can always be observed under similar conditions.
These developments had their reflex influence on the society of the
mother cities, and both at home and in the colonies there came to
pass those political and social changes to which I have referred
above. But the most important result of these things for our present
consideration was the fact that by these developments large numbers of
men were awakened to self-consciousness, and that the first period of
individualism in Greece was begun.

Whenever individuals come to self-consciousness, and have the leisure
and security which were enjoyed in many Greek cities of this time as
the result of improved social and economic conditions, men find not
only the opportunity but also the occasion for reflection. This was the
case in our period. Men began to think and question about themselves
and the world around them, to reflect not only concerning the political
and social world in which they lived, to ask what their place in it
was, but also to inquire still deeper into the meaning of things. They
debated with themselves questions relating to the gods, the nature and
justice of their rule; and most significant for our present interest
they began to ask whence men came and whither they were going. One
great monument of this period is Hesiod’s “Works and Days,” of which
I spoke in my last lecture. It is also important to remember that the
seventh and sixth centuries were the age of the so-called Seven Wise
Men, to whom were assigned many moral precepts which became revered
proverbs in Greece. These sayings, no less than the works of Hesiod and
the Gnomic Poets, bear witness to an age of increasing reflection.

In the seventh century Ionia controlled the trade between Asia and
Europe. Its chief center was Miletus. Here in the first half of the
sixth century before our era began Greek philosophy, with Thales,
Anaximander, and Anaximenes as the leaders. The modest task which they
set themselves was nothing less than the solution of the universe.
Their philosophic views are of no special interest to us now; but
it is a fact of supreme importance that here for the first time in
Greece appeared men whose reflection had made them bold enough to
wrestle with the whole problem of nature including man, and to propose
solutions entirely at variance with the traditional views. This
philosophic development was one result of the factors which we have
been considering—factors which produced also new ethical and religious
movements that do concern us directly.

With the emergence of Greece in the seventh century from the dark
ages that followed the Mycenaean civilization, we find that certain
beliefs, expressed or only hinted at in the Homeric poems, come to the
surface, and that religious ideas imported from without make themselves
manifest. The cult of the dead for example is almost passed over in
silence by the Homeric poems. At the funeral pyre of Patroclus Achilles
offered jars of oil and honey, and slew horses, dogs, and twelve Trojan
youths[71]; but nowhere else is such a sacrifice mentioned in the Iliad.
Likewise in the Odyssey the only instance of any similar offering is in
the description of Odysseus’ visit to the borders of the realm of Hades
to consult the shade of the seer Teiresias, where it is said that he
dug a square pit, poured into it a triple chrism, and then after prayer
and vows let the blood of a ram and a black ewe flow into it to attract
the shades.[72] Yet we know from archeological and other evidence that
the worship of the dead was common in Greece from the Minoan and
Mycenaean times throughout antiquity. Ceremonial purification also,
of which there are but few instances in Homer—and none of these is
magical—now appears common, as a notion of impurity attaches to many
conditions and acts which require expiation. The change in sentiment
with regard to murder will serve as an illustration. In the Homeric
poems killing brought no pollution either to the murderer or to his
land; but in the Cyclic epics, which date from the seventh and sixth
centuries B.C., bloodguilt required expiation just as in
the later tragedies. So in the Aethiopis Achilles went to Lesbos to
be cleansed from the stain of having slain Thersites. In fostering
and directing rites of purification the oracle of Apollo at Delphi
played an important part. There was developing, indeed there had been
developing from an unknown period, a sense of defilement and of the
necessity of cleansing. At this point, however, I must again speak a
word of caution. We need to remember that morality develops slowly.
It is undoubtedly a far cry from the morality of the seventh century
to Plato’s definition of the impure man as the one whose soul is
base, or to that motto which in a later century was written over the
entrance of the shrine of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, “Piety consisteth
in holy thoughts.” We must bear in mind that to the man of the seventh
and sixth century sin and purification were primarily if not wholly
ceremonial matters, and that his concept of future happiness was
largely material. But the consequence of his feeling was great in
future centuries.

Other phenomena of the seventh and sixth centuries require our notice
at this point. We saw in the preceding lecture that the gaze of the
Homeric man was fixed on this world with its victories and its defeats,
that he viewed splendid action on the field and wise counsel in the
assembly of the princes as the individual’s highest province and his
supreme happiness. The world beyond this had no rewards comparable
with those of this life; the greatest boon man could hope from the
future was that his exploits here might become the subject of song
for coming generations. Suffering he regarded as necessary that a
higher purpose might be attained. “The will of Zeus was accomplished”
was the explanation beyond which man might not go; he must find his
comfort in such unity as that thought gave to the world. Hence arises
that pathos and sadness which strike us again and again in Homer. But
the new age sought relief by shifting its gaze from this world to the
next and by expecting there the recompenses and balances which make
life just and complete; for it the future life furnished an escape
from the sufferings of this present existence. Moreover under the
manifold influences which I have tried to sketch above, men began to be
impressed with the unity which apparently underlay the variety of the
phenomenal world. This is the problem of philosophy. It is true that
the early Greek philosophers devoted themselves chiefly to the material
world, of which they regarded man as a part; but in religion there
resulted a tendency to pantheism, which saw behind the multitude of
divinities one all-embracing god. Moreover there were not lacking
thinkers to struggle with the question as to the way in which man
could bring himself into accord with the unity of the world. So in
spite of the individualism of this age we find it also an age of
mysticism—which is the very opposite of individualism. The mystic
always holds in greater or less degree the belief that by destroying
that which sets off the individual from his fellows, that is, by
uprooting personality through the destruction of the passions, or by
some ecstatic state which takes one out of himself, man may attain to
union with god and therefore to salvation. This belief may lead even to
a religion without gods, or it may be bound to a belief in divinity.
In Greece these tendencies were not fully developed for a considerable
time, but we can see that in the seventh and sixth centuries the
longing for future happiness, the desire for salvation, and the
mystic means thereto were already potent elements in Greek thought.
They showed themselves in various ways; one outlet for the religious
longing was found in the religion of Dionysus, especially as it was
incorporated in the beliefs of the Orphic sect.

Dionysus came late into Greek religion. As we have seen, in Homer he
was not a member of the Olympic circle. Mythology has preserved many
stories which bear witness to the opposition which his worship received
as it spread over Greece. The newcomer, like Ares and the Muses, was a
Thracian. His worship was introduced by immigrants and spread gradually
to the south. Apparently the cult of the god was brought into Greece by
more than one wave of immigration, and by more than one route. Thebes
and Orchomenos in Boeotia were early centers of his worship, from which
Delphi was later influenced. In the Peloponnesus probably Argolis
received the new comer first. Even before the god was established in
southern Greece he may have been carried to Crete directly from his
northern home. The islands of the Aegean, the cities of Asia Minor, and
ultimately the remote colonies knew the divinity. In Attica tradition
said that his first home was in the country demes, notably at Icaria,
where Americans excavated his shrine over twenty-five years ago.
Probably the early rulers at Athens received the god into the city, but
it was the Pisistratidae who especially favored his worship and gave
him a home on the south side of the Acropolis, where the fifth century
saw presented all the glories of the Attic stage.

The new god came as the god of all living things, of plants, trees, the
lower animals, as well as of man. In short he was a nature divinity
whose death was seen in the dead vegetation of winter and whose rebirth
appeared with the revival of spring. His orgiastic rites no doubt were
originally, in part at least, intended to recall the dead god to life.
But in all such religions there is the tendency to see in the rebirth
of the dead god the warrant of man’s future life. The hope is easily
awakened that as the vegetation, whose life disappears in the ground,
is revivified in the spring, so man, whose body also is laid in the
earth, may be recalled to new life. The Dionysiac myth set forth the
story of the god’s death and rebirth. It was natural then that men
should feel that if they could secure union with the god, lose
themselves in the divine, they too might attain immortality. Herodotus
tells us that among the Thracian peoples the Getae believed that men
at death went to dwell with their chief divinity beneath the earth.[73]
Such hope of immortality Dionysus brought with him from his Thracian

The worship of this god was wholly unlike that of the Olympian gods.
Under his influence his devotees, mostly women, in divine madness left
their homes and daily tasks to roam the wild mountainside, clad no
longer in their ordinary dress but wearing the skins of wild beasts,
their flowing hair bound with ivy and wild bryony. In their excitement
they were unconscious of time and place, unfettered by the normal
limitations of human powers and sensibilities. Wild music stimulated
their orgiastic dance; in frenzy they tore living creatures limb from
limb, and devoured the raw dripping flesh, calling meantime on the
god by name. This mad revel was continued until the participants fell
exhausted to the ground.

We can well understand how these things shocked the earliest Hellenic
spectators and why it was that in becoming a Greek god, Dionysus lost
much of his wilder Thracian nature and the more savage elements of his
cult. To this amelioration the Delphic oracle doubtless contributed.
Yet it is certain that the ecstatic rites were known on Mt. Cithaeron
and on the heights of Parnassos down to a late date. Elsewhere for the
most part the excesses of the cult were checked and ordered by law. The
Greeks had come to see that there was something more than extravagant
madness in the wild Dionysiac revel. The possessed devotee was set free
for the moment from the tangled net of daily life, gained for a brief
time new and superhuman powers, a very foretaste of immortality. Not
least of all he was made one with all nature that united to worship the
one god. Now this escape from the daily round of human affairs, this
desire for union with divinity, has constantly made its appearance in
various times and under varied conditions; as we all know, it has led
to extraordinary religious outbursts in both pagan and Christian ages.

Dionysus came also as god of wine. In the revival and elevation
of the man, which the moderate use of wine gives, the Greek saw a
divine mystery. Of course this use of wine is exactly parallel to
the use of hashish and other narcotics for religious ends, and the
ecstasy produced by music and the dance is familiar in the history of
religion as a means to put individuals or whole companies into direct
communication with the spirits or into union with a god.

Now it will readily be seen that this idea that the soul can be
separated from the body and united with the god implies two things:
first, a belief in a difference between soul and body which sets them
off against each other, and secondly, a belief in the divine nature
of the human soul. The former clearly established for the first time
in Greek thought the concept of the dual ego, the double self, the
significance of which we can hardly overestimate. We shall be concerned
with it throughout the entire course of our considerations. The second
made it easy for men to explain the source and destiny of the soul and
to point out the means by which the soul must be set free to seek its
natural destiny. The possibility that the soul, escaping from the body
during the Dionysiac frenzy, might unite itself with god, might indeed
become a god, so that the orgiastic devotee was given the divine name
βάκχος—this showed the way by which man could secure immortality. He
must loose his divine soul from the body that it might ultimately enjoy
its divine life unhampered by earthly bonds and be forever with god.

According to the Dionysiac myth, which naturally varies much in
details, the god was pursued by the Titans, the warring powers opposed
to Zeus; in his distress Dionysus changed himself into various forms,
finally into that of a bull which was torn to pieces and devoured
by the Titans. But Athena saved the heart and gave it to Zeus who
swallowed it. Hence sprang the new Dionysus. The Titans were ultimately
destroyed by the thunderbolt of Zeus and their ashes scattered to the
winds. You will at once notice the parallelism between this myth of
Dionysus and those of Osiris, Attis, and Adonis. These are all gods who
die and live again, and so become gods of life and death, divinities
through whom man gains assurance of his own immortality. You will also
notice in this myth of Dionysus how most ancient and crudest elements
are united with a rather advanced attempt to wrestle with the problems
of the world, and particularly with the problem of evil. Over against
the beneficent divinity, or divinities, are set the Titans, powers of

The myth became the basis of the spiritual belief and of the mystic
ceremonial, and was made the center of that movement which we call
Orphism. Who the founder, Orpheus, was, we cannot say. The ancients
knew him as a Thracian, a magical musician, and also as a priest of
Dionysus. In the popular tradition the musician overshadowed the
priest. Yet he was regarded as the founder of the Bacchic or Dionysiac
rites. The truth we can never know; but thus much is certain, that
in the sixth century, possibly because of a second wave of Dionysiac
religion, a movement appeared in which the religion of Dionysus was
spiritualized and ennobled, and in which consecration, ceremonial
holiness in this life, became the chief concern as the means of
securing that immortality which would follow. The movement, however,
which may have been stimulated by a feeling of dissatisfaction with
the traditional religion, was only one prominent manifestation of the
general mysticism which showed itself in many forms during the sixth
century. Pythagoreanism was closely allied to it. Indeed some think
Orphism only a collective name for the mysticism of the time.

Our information as to the beginning and earliest forms of Orphism is
scanty and mostly late. But considering the influence which Orphic
ideas had in the fifth century, for example on Pindar, Empedocles, and
Plato, not to speak of the latter Neoplatonists, we are justified in
regarding the sect as of great significance. And we have a warrant for
attributing to the sixth century doctrines which are consistently set
forth by our witnesses, especially by Empedocles and Plato, so that
with due caution we may use also the fragmentary Orphic literature with
some confidence.

We do not know where Orphism started. In Greece proper, Delphi,
Thebes, and Athens were prominent centers; in greater Greece, Croton
in southern Italy, Camarina and Syracuse in Sicily. Some would regard
southern Italy, and specifically the city of Croton, as the home of the
movement; possibly they are correct, for tradition told of three great
Orphics at the court of Pisistratus. They were Zopyrus of Heraclea,
Orpheus of Croton, and Onomacritus, who formed part of the commission
which is said to have arranged the Homeric poems at the orders of the
Athenian tyrant. Whatever the truth of the tradition in detail is, it
is significant that two of the three came from southern Italy; and
the name of one of the commission, Orpheus, marks him as a devotee.
Yet Athens became the literary center, if I may use the term, for the
diffusion of Orphism.

The Orphic religion was distinguished from the popular religions by
having a body of belief and a method of life. Undoubtedly the beliefs
of the sect were enlarged and modified from age to age; but the Orphics
had a unity which is remotely comparable to that of Christian churches.
Of the organization of the brotherhoods we know little, but probably
they were loosely bound together in a manner similar to those of the
religious associations known to us from later times. Nor can we tell
whether the Orphics were numerous. Probably they were not; but in any
case their mysteries and teachings were important and influential; they
introduced new ideas which were destined to produce profound changes in
Greek religious thought.

With the varied details of the grotesque Orphic theogonies we are not
now concerned. They were similar to those of Hesiod and others in their
main lines, but they owe their importance for us now to the fact that
they exhibit a pantheism which is opposed to the common polytheistic
theology of the time; they endeavor to show that deity is one and
universal under whatever form or appearance. To this universal divinity
they give the name now of Zeus, now of Dionysus, the greatest of the
children of Zeus; at times he is called also Zagreus. Certain Orphic
verses clearly express this pantheistic thought: “One Zeus, one Hades,
one Sun, one Dionysus, one god in all.”[74] And again: “Zeus was the
first, Zeus of the flashing lightning bolt the last; Zeus the head,
Zeus the middle; from Zeus have all things been made. Zeus was the
foundation of the earth and of the starry heaven; Zeus was male, Zeus
was the bride immortal; Zeus the breath of all things, Zeus the rush of
the flame unwearied; Zeus the source of the sea, Zeus the sun and the
moon; Zeus the king, Zeus of the flashing lightning the beginning of
all things. For he concealed all and again brought them forth from his
sacred heart to the glad light, working wondrous things.”[75]

You will remember that in the myth of the rending of Dionysus by the
Titans, these powers of evil were burned to ashes by the thunderbolt
of Zeus. According to one version of the story man is formed from
these ashes, which contain the element of the divine, taken in by the
Titans when they devoured the god. Thus man is of a two-fold nature,
his soul divine, Dionysiac, his body evil, Titanic. On an Orphic tablet
found in a grave in southern Italy the soul declares: “I am a child of
earth and the starry heaven, but my race is from heaven. This ye know
yourselves.” Here we have a complete expression of man’s duality: his
body is of the earth, but his soul is of celestial origin. The descent
of the soul was due to sin; wind-borne—as Empedocles says of himself,
“an exile from god and a wanderer,”[76] it entered into the body, in
which prison it was condemned to live until such time as it might be
delivered. Clement of Alexandria, quoting the Pythagorean Philolaus of
the fifth century B.C., reports: “The ancient theologians and
seers bear witness that for a punishment the soul is yoked with the
body and buried in it as in a tomb.”[77] This figure of the body as the
prison-house or the tomb of the soul was used by Plato, as we shall
have occasion to see in a later lecture.

Man’s hope, therefore, according to the Orphic, lies in deliverance
from his body, the Titan element of his nature, that the Dionysiac
part, his soul, may be free and untrammelled. Yet one might not of
his own motion cast off his body by a physical act, for a round is
prescribed by necessity.

After death the soul was fated to pass to Hades and then from its
sojourn there into another body, and so on. This doom was the result
of sin. To hasten the process and escape from evil, “to end the cycle
and have respite from sin,” a course of life was necessary, which was
defined by the Orphic teaching. The requirements of the Orphic life
seem to us trivial and absurd for the most part. Apparently abstinence
from flesh was required, except perhaps at certain sacramental
festivals; this prohibition was of course due to the doctrine of
metempsychosis. No bloody sacrifices were allowed for the same reason.
The use of eggs and beans was forbidden, for these articles were
associated with the worship of the dead; and burial in woolen garments
was likewise wrong. Besides these taboos certain rites existed of
which we get only hints. There were liturgies, initiations, magic
incantations which seem to show that in time at least an elaborate
ritual was developed. All these things were the means by which the soul
might be purified from its sin which condemned it to the prison of the
body, and which pursued it through incarnation after incarnation.

After death, as I have said, the soul awaited in Hades its rebirth,
but its stay in Hades, like its life on earth, was a period of reward
or punishment: “They who are righteous beneath the rays of the sun,
when they die have a gentler lot in a fair meadow by deep-flowing
Acheron.... But they who have worked wrong and insolence beneath the
rays of the sun are led down beneath Cocytus’s watery plain into chill
Tartarus.”[78] So this stay in Hades was a period of punishment and of
purification, as life itself was a period of penance. The duration of
this intermediate stay in Hades was conceived perhaps as a thousand
years. In any case, after due season the soul entered upon a new
incarnation, which apparently was determined by the innocence or guilt
of its former life. Rebirth was not always into human form, as the
Orphic verses show: “Wherefore the changing soul of man, in the cycles
of time, passes into various creatures: sometimes it enters a horse,
... again it is a sheep, then a bird dread to see; again it has the
form of a dog with heavy voice, or as a chill snake creeps along the
ground.”[79] The poet-philosopher Empedocles declared that before his
present existence he had been “a youth, a maiden, a bush, a bird, and a
fish of the sea.”[80] So the soul was buffeted from birth to death and
back to birth again. Of those who had been guilty of most grievous sins
Empedocles says: “There is an oracle of Necessity, an ancient, eternal
decree of the gods sealed with strong oaths: when one in sin stains his
hands with murder, or when another joining in strife swears falsely,
they become the spirits who have long life as their portion, who are
doomed to wander thrice ten thousand seasons far from the blessed,
being born in the course of time into all forms of mortal creatures,
shifting along life’s hard paths. For the might of the air drives them
to the sea and the sea spews them on the ground, and the land bares
them to the rays of the bright sun, and the sun throws them in whirls
of ether. One receives them from another, but all hate them. Of this
number am even I now, an exile from god and a wanderer, for I put my
trust in mad strife.”[81] The number of reincarnations was not fixed
so far as we know, though apparently ten thousand years was thought
to be the limit of the process for the ordinary soul. Probably it was
believed that there was no end of rebirths for the wicked, but that
they were condemned to their repeated fate forever; or that they were
doomed to endless punishment without rebirths.

But you may ask, what was the ultimate fate of the purified soul?
To this, too, we can give no complete answer. Apparently the soul,
stripped at last of all that was earthly and defiling, was then thought
to be first truly free and alive. On Orphic tablets of the fourth
century before our era found in southern Italy we read these words of
the triumphant soul: “I have escaped from the sorrowful, weary round,
I have entered with eager feet the ring desired. I have passed to the
bosom of the mistress queen of the lower world.” And it is greeted
in answer: “O happy and blessed one, thou shalt be god instead of
mortal.”[82] Apparently the purified soul left earth and Hades behind.
There is no hint of absorption into god; no idea of Nirvana. The spirit
of Greek thought required that the individuality of the soul should
be retained. No doubt the Orphics conceived of every kind of heaven
that was possible, many of them of most materialistic nature. Indeed,
Plato reproaches some of them for believing future happiness to be a
perpetual drunken round.

For the sinful, torments of a most fearful sort were reserved: not only
did they lie in mud and filth, but they were exposed to most terrible
creatures who rent their vitals. In short, the Orphic hell was not less
awful physically than that of the medieval and later Christian, which
in no small part was inherited from the Orphics.

Before we go on to consider other movements of the sixth century,
let us summarize briefly the contributions of the Orphics to Greek
religious thought. In the first place they definitely shifted man’s
look from this world to the world beyond. In Homer, as we have seen,
this world offered all for which man could hope; but to the Orphic,
as to the devoted sectaries of all redemptive religions, this world
was unimportant compared with the next in which he was to realize
his fondest desires. Again the Orphics emphasized the duality of
man, regarding him as a divine soul imprisoned in a sinful body.
They made the divinity of the soul a motive for the religious life,
the aim of which was to free the spirit of man from the sin which
visits him in the prison-house of the flesh. Thereby they started the
tendency to religious asceticism which was to be sharply emphasized
by Christianity when a thousand years had past. Their doctrine of the
divine nature of the soul they also made the basis of their belief in
the soul’s immortality; for if the soul is divine, it must be eternally
so. Furthermore, so far as we can know, they introduced the idea of
pre-natal sin for which the individual soul must pay the penalty. It
needs no argument to show the intrinsic importance of these ideas; as
we go on, we shall have occasion to observe their significance in Greek
religious thought.

Less valuable in itself, but not less persistent, as we can still
see in our own Christian church, was the notion that only the
initiates, who by purificatory rites had been received into the sacred
association, could hope for salvation. Union with the divine nature
and future blessedness were thus made to depend on sacraments rather
than on virtue. Indeed, we need not suppose that here any more than
in the mysteries at Eleusis there was originally any requirement of
a virtuous life. But reason and an awakened ethical sense among the
Greeks began early to demand of the initiates compliance with the
recognized standards of morality, as the passages already quoted
show; and there can be no doubt that in due time most of the various
mysteries contributed to the ethical life. Yet the inevitable tendency
in the opposite direction made itself felt and there were many Orphic
charlatans and quacks who promised salvation to all who would undergo
the cheap rites of their initiations.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must now glance at a contemporaneous and related movement—I mean
Pythagoreanism, which will have sprung into the thoughts of many of you

Whether Orphism learned from Pythagoras or Pythagoras from Orphism
cannot be determined; but it seems probable that Croton was already an
Orphic center when about 530 B.C. Pythagoras of Samos after
long travels established there an association which combined in a
way hitherto unknown religious and philosophic aims. Pythagoras may
have attached himself to some group of Orphics already in existence
and have inspired it with his political and philosophic interests. In
any case his society, which was opposed to the democratic temper of
Croton, became in time important enough to be regarded with suspicion
and forced to move to Metapontum; ultimately the members were dispersed
carrying their doctrines with them throughout the Greek world.

Our knowledge of the philosophic ideas of Pythagoras himself amounts
to little. It is clear that in contrast to the emotional Orphics he
was interested in intellectual pursuits, especially in mathematics;
more than that we cannot say; our present concern lies rather in the
ethical and religious views and practices of the society which he
established. This set high store on ethical discipline, following a
strict course of life, for the ultimate aim was identical with that of
the Orphics—salvation and release from sin. Like them the Pythagoreans
also held to the doctrine of the transmigration of souls. Their rules
enjoined simplicity of food, rare use of meat, and abstention from the
eating of beans and eggs. But more important was the discipline which
was prescribed for the mind and soul. The applicant for admission to
the brotherhood was first tested to determine his fitness. The neophyte
was bound to silence and obedience. “The master said it” was argument
enough for him. The members devoted themselves to reflection, to
self-examination, to the pursuit of the truth. Their highest aim was
“to follow god.” Although the Pythagoreans fixed their gaze more on
this world than the Orphics did, they also were of great religious
significance. They emphasized the duality of man, the moral obligation
of the individual, and especially the possibility of training and
purifying the soul, and so helped to establish a spiritual heritage for
later centuries.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now I shall invite your attention to a third manifestation of the
mystic tendency of this age. Fourteen miles northwest of Athens,
between a fertile plain and the sea, lies the ancient town of Eleusis,
the center of the most important mysteries in Greece. The story of
Demeter is familiar to us all—the goddess whose daughter, Persephone
or Kore, was carried off by the god of the lower world. According to
the Homeric hymn to Demeter, the mother wandered fasting in search of
her daughter over the earth. She came to Eleusis in the guise of an
old woman, where she was found by the daughters of the king, Keleos,
who took her to their home. There she was kindly received, and was
installed as nurse to the infant son of the king. Under her care the
child prospered and grew marvellously, for quite secretly Demeter
anointed him with ambrosia, breathed upon him, and cherished him in
her bosom. By night she hid him “like a brand in the fire ..., for she
would have made him free from age and death forever.”

But the queen saw her and cried out in dismay. The goddess was angry,
yet none the less promised glory imperishable; she declared herself: “I
am the honored Demeter, who am the greatest good and joy to immortals
and mortals alike. Come, let all the people build me a mighty temple
and hard by it an altar beneath your town and its steep wall, above
Callichoros on the jutting spur. But the rites I will myself prescribe,
that here ever after you may duly perform them and appease my will.” So
the temple and altar to the goddess were built, but she still mourned
for her lost daughter. In her sorrow she held back the seedgrain in
the ground and all man’s plowing was vain, so that the race of men
had nearly perished from the earth if it had not been for Zeus, who
interposed and finally restored Persephone to her mother—but not
forever. Before she left the house of the dead, Pluto had made her eat
a pomegranate seed by which she was bound to return beneath the earth.
So she spent two-thirds of each year with her mother on the earth,
coming “when the ground blossomed with fragrant flowers,” but returning
to the lord of the dead when the flowers faded and the grass withered
before the coming of winter. Zeus then summoned Demeter to join the
immortal gods on Olympus; but before she went, “she quickly sent up
the grain from the fertile ground, and all the broad earth was heavy
with leaves and with flowers. And the goddess went and taught the kings
who deal out justice, Triptolemus and Diocles the charioteer, mighty
Eumolpus, and Keleos, leader of the people. To them she showed the
manner of her rites and to them all her mysteries, holy, which none may
transgress or enquire into or make known. For a great curse of the
gods restrains men’s speech. Happy is he whoever of men dwelling on
this earth has seen these things! But he who is uninitiate in these
holy rites, who has no share in them, never hath equal lot in death
in the shadowy gloom.” So says the Homeric hymn to Demeter, which was
composed, according to the general opinion of scholars, in the seventh
century before our era.

Thus we see that before this hymn was written the myth was fully
developed at Eleusis. There Demeter, Kore, and Pluto had their place,
and with them were associated certain heroic personages. A temple
and altar to the two goddesses already existed, and mysteries were
celebrated which gave to those who might see them and share in them the
warrant of a better lot in death than that for which the uninitiate
might hope. The date at which the mysteries were established cannot be
determined. This is no place for the speculations of the learned in
detail, but they seem to have existed as early as the eighth century,
and indeed they probably go back to a much remoter antiquity; yet
there is no mention of them in Homer or Hesiod. In their earliest form
they evidently consisted of certain religious ceremonies connected
with agriculture by which the dead grain was called to life in the
spring. The grain and the earth from which it sprang were worshipped
as the corn-mother, Demeter, and then by a development natural in such
religions the goddess was doubled and Kore, the maiden, came into
existence beside Demeter. In the cult of these goddesses various rites
had developed—fasting, purifications, and night vigils; a myth grew
up to explain the ritual and the relation of the two goddesses, with
whom a god of the dead was early associated; so something like the
story in the Homeric hymn came into being. The agricultural festival
was gradually transformed into one of profound meaning, by partaking
in which one gained an assurance of future happiness. The wonderful
miracle of reviving vegetation, of the grain which dies in the ground
and springs anew to life, has often served as the warrant of man’s
longing for a revival of his own life, as an assurance of his hope of
immortality. So gods and goddesses of agriculture or of vegetation,
which grows and dies and grows again, have become for men the lords of
life and death, as we have already seen in the case of Dionysus.

The English word mystery is somewhat misleading in such a connection. A
mystery in the Greek sense is a secret ritual to which only those may
be admitted who have first been prepared by some rites of purification
or probation. Such, for example, is the Christian Eucharist to which
the Greek word μυστήριον was freely applied. After the proper ritual
of initiation, through which the neophyte is guided by one previously
initiate and expert, he may take part in the secret performances, which
are thought to confer some special power or to bring him into close and
privileged relation to divinity.

Originally the festival at Eleusis belonged to a noble Eleusinian
family, or possibly to two families. In the seventh century Eleusis
was incorporated with Attica; an Eleusinion, a shrine to Demeter of
Eleusis, was built near the city; and the privilege of sharing in the
festival was apparently given to all Athenians. The mysteries were
especially fostered in the sixth century by the tyrant Pisistratus,
who built a new hall of initiation which was destroyed by the Persians
during their great invasion. Under Pisistratus the mysteries may have
been opened to the whole Hellenic world. In the fifth century the
broad formula of admission was: “Whoever has pure hands and speaks our
tongue.” Eleusis shared in the glory of Athens’ greatest period, and
even in the time of Athenian weakness and decay the mysteries retained
much of their ancient prestige. Many Romans, including some of the
imperial house, were initiated, and the popularity of Eleusis continued
as late as the third and fourth centuries. Julian the Apostate in his
youth was here initiated. In 364 A.D. the Emperor Valentinian
I forbade all nocturnal festivals, including that at Eleusis, but
when the pro-consul of Achaea declared that the people could not live
without the mysteries, he relaxed his prohibition so far as they were
concerned. Thirty-two years later Alaric destroyed the sanctuary,
and its long history, which began before history, seemed closed.
Yet Eleusis was true to Demeter, for in spite of the iconoclastic
tendencies of the Greek Church, the inhabitants continued to worship
as St. Demetra a mutilated ancient statue of the goddess, until in
1801 the Englishmen Clarke and Cripps carried it off to its present
resting-place in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.

The mysteries were under the general charge of the King Archon and his
assistants at Athens, but the officials proper continued to be drawn
from the two sacred families of the Eumolpidae and Ceryces. From the
former was selected the highest official, the hierophant, who held
office for life. He alone had the right to show or to explain the
secret objects and ceremonies. The next three priests were taken from
the Ceryces, and like the hierophant were chosen for life; they were
the torch-bearer, dadouchos, who carried the sacred torch at sacrifices
and purifications, the altar-priest, and the sacred herald, hieroceryx.
Besides these four high officials we know of a considerable number of
lesser priests and priestesses, heralds, and secular officers who do
not concern us now.

The would-be initiate applied to someone belonging to either of the
sacred Eleusinian families to act as mystagogue and lead him through
the preliminary purification, which seems to have been essentially
identical with that employed to purify any unclean person; this
done, the mystagogue duly presented the novice to the officials and
recommended him as a proper person to be initiated. There were two
degrees of the secret rites: in the first the novices were initiated
and became mystae; in the second they advanced to be epoptae, those to
whom were made special revelations not vouchsafed to the mystae.

Each year there were two celebrations of the mysteries, one at Agrae, a
suburb of Athens, in the month Anthesterion, which corresponds roughly
to our February-March, and the greater celebration at Eleusis in
Boëdromion, our September. The initiate was ordinarily obliged to take
part in the lesser celebration before he could be admitted at Eleusis.
The great festival lasted eight or nine days, from the fifteenth to the
twenty-second or twenty-third of the month Boëdromion. On the first day
the participants assembled before the Painted Porch in Athens to listen
to the formal proclamation, in which the officials ordered all unclean
persons and all foreigners to withdraw, and enjoined secrecy on all who
were to share in the festival. The sixteenth was a day of purification
when the participants washed in the sea; the seventeenth and eighteenth
were spent as holidays at Athens, during which various sacrifices
were made; so that it was not until the nineteenth that the festal
procession started for Eleusis, carrying the image of Iacchos, a form
of the infant Dionysus. Although the Sacred Way is less than fourteen
miles in length, so many stops were made at shrines that Eleusis was
not reached until evening. The ceremonies there continued three days
and nights. There were sacrifices and offerings to many divinities.
In memory of Demeter’s hunt for her daughter the devotees roamed the
shore by night carrying lighted torches; and finally like the goddess,
they broke their fast by drinking a holy potion of meal and water. The
consummation of the festival was the celebration in the Great Hall,
where some three thousand might find place on the seats which rose in
banks on all four sides. There were two sorts of representations—one
for the mystae, who were witnessing the festival for the first time,
and the other for those who were more expert, the epoptae. What went on
in the Hall we do not know; we can, however, conjecture in general
the nature of the celebrations. They consisted of “things done,”
δρώμενα, and “things said,” λεγόμενα. The former may well refer to
some kind of mystery play, or of tableaux, in which incidents from the
myth were represented, such for example as the rape and the recovery
of Kore, the mourning of Demeter, the birth of the child Iacchos,
and so forth. In fact Clement of Alexandria tells us: “Deo and Kore
became persons in a mystic drama, and Eleusis with its torch-bearer
celebrates the wandering, the abduction, and the sorrow.”[83] From this
and other notices we may conclude that some simple mystery play was
acted or tableaux vivants presented before the eyes of the company. In
any case there was nothing elaborate. Sacred objects were doubtless
exhibited, and apparently handled by some of the spectators. The
formula: “I fasted, I drank the potion, I took it from the chest and
having tasted I put it away in the basket and from the basket into
the chest”[84] gives a hint of certain sacraments, but we cannot now
clearly determine their nature. There was no preaching or exhortation.
At most the “things said” were a simple ritual, or explanation of the
objects exhibited. There may have been music and singing. On the last
day of the festival two jars were filled with water and set up, one to
the east and the other to the west of the great hall. Then these were
overturned with the words, ὓε κύε, “rain,” “conceive.”[85] Here we have
a bit of ancient agricultural ritual, of magic, intended to secure
abundant rains and the prosperity of the crops. A similar rite was the
solemn exhibition of an ear of grain as a symbol of the initiates’

We inevitably inquire as to what the nature of the teaching of these
mysteries was. As a matter of fact, there was probably little if any
instruction given. Life beyond the grave was certainly taken for
granted. The mystic ritual consisted of only certain simple symbolical
ceremonies and representations which each initiate might interpret
according to his own impressions. The spectators were put into a
certain frame of mind; the celebration touched their emotions and not
their intellects. So Aristotle says: “The initiates are not to learn
anything, but they are to be affected and put into a certain frame of
mind.”[87] This we can understand from the effect of a Christian Mass,
which, full of the richest meaning to the devout Catholic, to another
may seem of no significance.

Although we have no reason to believe that there was formal teaching at
Eleusis, we have abundant evidence of the convictions of the initiates.
They clearly enjoyed peace of mind and happiness, and they believed
that in the future life their blessedness would be secure, and that
they could dance in the sacred dance, while the uninitiate would be
wretched. As the Homeric hymn to Demeter promised: “Blessed is he among
mortal men who has seen these rites.”[88] And Pindar, at the beginning
of the fifth century, declared: “Happy he who has seen these things,
and then goes beneath the earth. For he knows the end of life and its
Zeus-given beginning.”[89] Sophocles too says: “Thrice blessed are they
who have seen these rites and then go to the house of Hades, for they
alone have life there; but all others have only woe.”[90] In the Frogs
of Aristophanes the chorus of mystae sing: “For we alone have a sun and
a holy light, we who were initiated and who live toward friends and
strangers with reverence towards the gods.”[91] And finally I would
offer you the evidence of an inscription set up in the third century of
our era by an Eleusinian hierophant: “Verily glorious is that mystery
vouchsafed by the blessed gods, for death is no ill for mortals, but
rather a good.”[92]

There were branches of the Eleusinian mysteries established in the
Peloponnesus, of which that at Andania in Messenia is best known to
us through a long inscription happily preserved.[93] But it never
rivalled Eleusis. Of the other mysteries dating from an early period,
those of Samothrace were most important and influential, being second
only to the Eleusinian. Herodotus tells us that the Samothracians got
these mysteries from the Pelasgians; among modern scholars it has been
the fashion to regard the two male divinities there worshipped, the
Kabeiroi, as Phoenician in origin; but whatever the source from which
they sprang, in the period in which they are known to us neither the
gods nor the mysteries betray foreign elements. With the Kabeiroi were
associated Demeter and Kore, and in general the mysteries seem to have
resembled those of Eleusis. As elsewhere the initiates were of two
grades, mystae and epoptae; there were “things done” and “things said,”
and the assurance of safety here and hereafter was equally potent.
Branches were established, notably in Thebes, as early as the middle of
the sixth century B.C.

You will observe that the mysteries did not interfere in any sense
with a faith in the many gods of popular belief or with their worship.
We should also note that here no less than in Orphism ecclesiastical
exclusiveness was evident: only those who had been initiated and had
partaken of the sacraments could hope for salvation. Yet by the end
of the fifth century the Eleusinian Mysteries had gained a moral
significance, as is shown by the passage from the Frogs of Aristophanes
quoted just now. A few years later Andocides in his speech On the
Mysteries appealed to his jurors, reminding them that the purpose
of their initiation was that they might punish the impious and save
those who had done no wrong.[94] Still there was undoubtedly abundant
warrant for the sarcastic joke of Diogenes who asked: “Shall the robber
Pataecion have a better lot after death than Epaminondas, just because
he has been initiated?”[95]

We have now considered three manifestations of the mysticism which
became prominent in the sixth century before our era—Orphism,
Pythagoreanism, and the Greater Mysteries. We have seen how a new
religious sense arose which turned men’s thoughts toward the next world
and future happiness. This happiness the Orphics and Pythagoreans
endeavored to secure by a prescribed mode of life, by ceremonial
purifications, and by sacraments. The Mysteries likewise offered
assurance through initiation and participation in their sacred ritual.
In every case the devotees were inspired with confident hope, not by
reason, but by ceremonies and emotional experiences. Philosophy was not
yet united with religion.


[71] _Il._ 23, 170-176.

[72] _Od._ II, 24-36.

[73] Herod. 4, 94 ff.

[74] _Frg._ 7 A.

[75] _Frg._ 46 A.

[76] _Frg._ 115.

[77] _Frg._ 14.

[78] _Frg._ 154 A.

[79] _Frg._ 223 A.

[80] _Frg._ 117.

[81] _Frg._ 115.

[82] _Or._ 18.

[83] Clem. _Protrep._ p. 12 P.

[84] _Ibid._ p. 18 P.

[85] Ath. XI, 93, p. 496: Proclus ad Plat. _Tim._ p. 293 C. It is not
certain that the notices in Athenaeus and in Proclus refer to the same
rite, but I have ventured so to interpret them.

[86] Hippol. _Philos._ p. 115 M.

[87] _Frg._ 45 Rose.

[88] 480 f.

[89] _Frg._ 137.

[90] _Frg._ 753.

[91] 454 ff.

[92] _Eph. Arch._ III (1883), p. 81, 8.

[93] Ditt. _Syll._^2, 653.

[94] _De mys._ 31.

[95] Plut. _de aud. poet._ 21 F.



In the preceding lecture we considered together various manifestations
of the mystic tendencies which developed in Greece during the seventh
and sixth centuries B.C. Now we must turn back and ask what
evidence we have from the poets of these centuries as to the course of
morality and religion. To the epic poetry of Homer and the didactic
verse of Hesiod succeeded the elegiac, iambic, and melic poets. The
individualism of the age, the spirit of reflection, political changes,
personal ambitions and passions are all mirrored in their verses. When
we summon them as witnesses to their day, we must remember that the
evidence they can offer is only incidental and frequently partial;
that it reflects the temper of the audience as well as the views of
the poet. In this fact, indeed, lies our chief warrant for consulting
them, for while poets may be leaders in thought far in advance of their
time, a contemporary hearing is secured by them only when their hearers
sympathize with the ideas which they express. Again it must be borne
in mind that we have for the most part only fragments of the poetry of
this time, preserved by quotations, and that we cannot therefore form
adequate judgments of the whole.

When, however, we examine the scanty remains that we possess, we find
that on the whole there is little evidence of progress in morality
and religion beyond Homer and Hesiod. The concepts of the gods are
essentially the Homeric, except that Zeus plays a larger part in the
divine economy than in Homer. In the Iliad and Odyssey, as we have
seen, he is often thwarted and outwitted by the other gods, some of
whom seem at times almost on an equality with him. But in the poets
of the seventh and sixth centuries the will of Zeus is unquestionably
supreme. No god hopes to oppose him successfully; all the rest play
minor rôles. Indeed, it is not too much to say that we have here a
developed sense of unity in the world, although the poets of this
time did not by any means reach the position of the philosophers or
attain to any real pantheism. Yet an advance is made: not only is Zeus
supreme, but Zeus and Fate are now more closely identified, so that
there is no conflict between them, such as we noticed in the Homeric

Of all the poetry that has been preserved to us from the sixth century
the elegiac verses which have been handed down under the name of
Theognis show most reflection. The poet himself was an aristocrat of
Megara, who about the middle of the century was driven into exile by
the violent struggles between the aristocratic and the democratic
parties. Much of the verse which we have is addressed to a youth,
Cyrnus, and is of a didactic or gnomic character. The poet undertakes
to teach his young friend conduct in life, so that the verses consist
largely of rules for living adapted to various situations and of a
universal nature. Although it is probably true that much of what passes
under the name of Theognis was not written by him, on the whole the
tenor of the verses is such that we may use them with a good deal
of confidence to illustrate the thought and the spirit of his age.
Xenophon in commenting on this poet but slightly exaggerated the truth
when he said that he was concerned with nothing else but virtue and
wickedness, and that his poetry is a treatise on man, just as if a
horse-fancier should write a treatise on horses.[96]

Theognis, like Homer, teaches that it is from the gods that all things
come, both good and evil. He declares that no mortal man can be either
wealthy or poor, base or good, apart from divinity. He bids his young
friend pray to the gods, for they have all power and without them are
no blessings or misfortunes to men.[97] A similar view is expressed by
Simonides who insists that no one, neither state nor mortal man, has
ever attained to virtue without the gods;[98] likewise by Archilochus,
who in verses, imitated by Horace centuries later, exhorts his hearer
to trust fully to the gods, and reminds him that oftentimes the
gods set upright men who as a result of misfortune are prostrate on
the black earth, and oftentimes they overthrow those who are very
prosperous.[99] And again he declares that from Zeus come all things to
mortals, and that no one should be surprised at any marvel which Zeus
brings to pass.[100] In fact, from Homer on, the poets regard Zeus and
the other gods as the source of all things, both good and evil. It is
only later that the doctrine of man’s complete responsibility for his
sin supplants this earlier view.

It was natural that Theognis and his contemporaries should regard the
lot of man with a pessimism exceeding that of Homer. As they looked
about them they saw evil everywhere, the good afflicted, the wicked
prosperous. They were oppressed by the weakness of humanity, so that
their verses with regard to man and his lot are gloomy indeed—so much
so that in one passage Theognis declares that in reality no mortal man
on whom the sun shines is truly happy. Again he holds that man can have
no foresight into the future, for it is hardest of all, he says, to
learn the end of a thing as yet unaccomplished, to know how god will
bring that to pass; a mist is stretched before men’s eyes, and there
is no way for mortals to test and try the outcome of the future.[101]
The poet feels a deep despair, when he reflects that no knowledge or
foresight for mortals is possible, but the gods accomplish everything
according to their will; and because there is little hope of implanting
virtue in men, then it were better not to be born at all and never to
have seen the bright rays of the sun. But since this may not be, then
he is most fortunate who enters Hades most quickly, and has a high
mound of earth heaped over him.[102] Still there are other passages
which show that man’s case was not considered wholly hopeless. There
is an appeal to self-pride, an expression of the view that poverty is
the test of a man, that has a tonic sound. The poet says that poverty
reveals the worthless man and the superior whenever need of money comes
on them, for the mind of the good man, whose thought is ever upright
in his heart, thinks only of justice.[103] In another place he assures
his young friend that the good man ever has his wit with him, and his
courage, whether he be in adversity or in good fortune. But if a god
gives abundance and riches to a base creature, then he in his folly
cannot restrain his baseness.[104] Again the poet exhorts his own soul:
“Endure, my soul, although thou hast suffered unendurable things at
the hands of the wicked”; he bids it not be distressed or angry over
misfortune and disaster, nor to blame friends or cheer enemies by
failure: “For mortal man may not easily escape the fated gifts of the
gods, though he dive into the very depth of the purple sea, or even
when the dark shadow of Tartarus holds him.”[105] Thus we see that the
poet, in spite of his pessimism and of his realization of the hardship
and injustice in the world, still urged his young friend to face it in
the same spirit in which the later Stoics like Marcus Aurelius exhorted
themselves to endure.

Although in the world as seen by the poets of the sixth century Zeus is
supreme and the gods are the source of all things for mortals, their
rule nevertheless is based on justice, which the gods love and which is
their chief attribute. Opposed to justice is insolence (ὓβρις), which
they detest and which they wish to punish. Archilochus addresses Father
Zeus, declaring that his is the rule of heaven, and that he oversees
all the works of man, both those which are base and those which are
lawful, and has a care even for insolence and justice among wild
beasts.[106] The statesman Solon assures the Athenians that their city
will never come to ruin contrary to the will and intention of Zeus
and the immortal gods; that ruin only can be brought upon the city by
the citizens themselves, by the unjust spirit of the leaders of the
people, whose mighty insolence will bring great suffering upon them.
Like Aeschylus Solon believes and teaches that insolence must fail in
the end and that Justice, who in silence knows all things both present
and future, will recompense completely in due season.[107] In another
passage Solon dwells on the fact that the riches which are sought with
insolence bring doom quickly, and in striking verses compares the
beginning of destruction with the spark which springs from a little
fire, slight at first, but finally consuming all; even so are the
results of insolence that fall upon mortals; for Zeus sees the end of
all things: as the wind suddenly in the springtime quickly scatters the
clouds, stirs up the sea, and works destruction over the grainbearing
earth, reaching to very heaven, the steep home of the gods, and makes
the bright sky appear again, and the brilliant sun shine far over the
rich earth, so that there are no longer any clouds to be seen; even so
is the vengeance that comes from Zeus. Zeus is not quick to anger over
each fault like mortal man, but whoever has a wicked heart never
escapes his notice, but in the end is utterly destroyed.[108] It would
be possible to cite similar passages from other poets which show a
deepening of that sense of the inevitableness of punishment which was
first expressed in Hesiod.

Yet the problems of evil and of the justice of the gods were not
satisfactorily solved for Theognis and his contemporaries. In two
striking passages he criticizes Zeus, saying first: “Dear Zeus, I
wonder at thee, for thou rulest over all things, having thrice great
honor and great power, and thou knowest well the mind and will of each
man, and thy own power is supreme over all, O King. How is it, then,
son of Cronos, that thy mind endures to keep wicked men and the just
subject to the same lot? Whether the mind of the one be turned to
prudence or of the other, who trusts in unjust action, to insolence,
there is no distinction made by god or mortals; nor is there any road
which one may travel and please the gods.”[109] In the second passage
his reproach is the keener from the form of its expression: “Father
Zeus, would that it might be the will of the gods that insolence be
the pleasure of the wicked, and would that it might be their pleasure,
that whoever contriveth wicked deeds in heart and thought, having no
regard for the gods, should pay for his wickedness himself; and the
folly of the father not harm the children thereafter; and would that
the children of an unjust father, who themselves have just purposes
and regard for thy wrath, Son of Cronos, they who from childhood love
justice along with their fellow citizens, might not pay for the
insolence of their sires. I would that such might be the will of the
blessed gods. But as it is, the man who does evil escapes, and another
then bears the evil. How then is this just, King of the Immortals,
that a man who has no part in unjust deeds should himself be treated
unjustly?”[110] Here we have not only a recognition of the fact that the
sins of the fathers are visited upon the children even to the third and
fourth generations—a truth which Solon had earlier enunciated,[111]—but
also a protest against the injustice of it.

These are some of the conflicting expressions on morality, justice,
and religion, which we find among the fragments of these early poets.
The contradictions which they show need not surprise us, for we are
drawing, as I have already said, from mere fragments written on various
themes and for different occasions; so the record is inevitably
imperfect. Nor must we suppose that the poets of this time had arrived
at any clearer conceptions with regard to these fundamental questions
than thinkers of a later age; the problem of evil, the justice of
the divine economy, the prosperity of the wicked and the sufferings
of the good are matters which still baffle men as they did more than
twenty-five centuries ago.

But let us now turn to the poets of the fifth century, above all to
Pindar, Aeschylus, and Sophocles, of whose works we have considerable
portions. These were poets whose position and genius made them the
truest witnesses to the highest thoughts of Greece, and especially of
Athens in that glorious period of her supremacy from the time of the
Persian Wars through the Periclean age. The poetry of Pindar and of the
tragedians was by its very nature connected with the service of the
gods. The former wrote his odes to the victors who had won renown at
the great national festivals of Zeus, Apollo, and Poseidon, or composed
his hymns and paeans in honor of the divinities. The tragedians
produced their plays for performance at the great festival of Dionysus.
And yet we must be cautious here, as everywhere, since we are not
always justified in attributing to the poet the sentiments which he
puts into the mouths of his speakers. The tragedian’s purpose was first
of all artistic. While it is true that his own beliefs inevitably
colored and tempered his work, still he never became a preacher. He
dealt with traditional material, which he might modify somewhat, but in
large measure his themes were determined for him. Yet there are many
passages both in choral songs and in single speeches which certainly
reflect the poet’s own thought or his interpretation of the views held
by his audience. The very strength of personality which Aeschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripides possessed made it impossible that they should
not voice their own conceptions, and that too without violence to
their poetic purpose. Pindar’s work lay in different fields, but he no
less than the tragedians helped to interpret and mould the moral and
religious sentiments of his audience.

Pindar was born about 522 B.C. of a noble family near Thebes
in Boeotia; but he belonged to all Greece. He wrote in the first half
of the fifth century when the influence of the preceding century was
still strong upon men’s minds, and he also shared the great stimulus
which their country’s victory over the Persians imparted to the Greeks.
Of his personal devotion to the gods we have abundant evidence. He
spent a part of his fortune in dedications at Thebes. There in the
second century of our era the traveller Pausanias saw three statues
which the poet had set up, one in honor of Apollo, another to Hermes,
and a third, by the famous sculptor Calamis, which stood in the shrine
of Zeus Ammon. To the Asiatic Cybele and to the new Arcadian Pan Pindar
erected a shrine before his own door; there, as he himself tells us,
the Theban maidens came by night and sang their hymns.[112]

Pindar shows throughout the pervasive influence of Homer, both in his
conception of the gods and in his style as well. He makes no break with
the Homeric anthropomorphism, and his divinities are subject to the
needs and desires of mortals; but his concept is a noble one, for his
gods are mighty and permanent, while men are transitory and weak: “One
is the race of men and of gods; from one mother we have the breath of
life. Yet in power we are wholly diverse: for man is nothing, but the
brazen heaven abides, a home ever unshaken. Still we resemble somewhat
the immortals either in lofty mind or in nature; yet we know not in the
day or in the night what course fate has marked out for us to run.”[113]

The power and the knowledge of the gods are in fact complete and
perfect; they are not the limited creatures of the Homeric pantheon.
With them resides all power, so that they easily bring things to pass
beyond man’s expectation. Their might may cause man’s wonder, but
“nothing ever appears to be incredible”;[114] and in his second Pythian
Ode the poet writes: “God bringeth every end to pass according to his
desires. He overtaketh even the winged eagle and passeth the dolphin in
the sea; and he bringeth low many a proud man, granting to others glory
that grows not old.”[115] And in the ninth Pythian Ode he addresses
Apollo thus: “Thou who knowest the final destiny of all things and
all the paths thereto; all the leaves that the earth sends up in the
spring, and all the sands whirled by the waves in sea and rivers and by
the blasts of the winds; thou seest well the future and whence it shall
come to pass.”[116]

Pindar’s gods are thus all-wise and all-powerful. At times he shows a
certain tendency toward pantheism, for he speaks of god or divinity
in a general sense, as if his mind conceived the divine nature to be
one, so that the divinities were no longer several gods, but, as it
were, bound together in a common divine unity. But we must not deceive
ourselves into thinking that this pantheistic tendency was at all
clearly developed in Pindar, or that he broke with polytheism. Rather
he seems to have conceived of divinity as something which presents
itself in many persons, the varied gods of the traditional pantheon.
If we accept as genuine the fragment preserved by Clement of
Alexandria,[117] in which the poet asks, “What is God?” and answers
“The all,” we can hardly think that this pantheistic definition means
more than the universal cause; unless indeed it resulted from the
Orphic pantheism. But whatever Pindar’s views as to the unity of the
divine, his teachings as to the gods’ power are clear. He warns men
that they cannot hope to avoid the gods’ watchful eyes: “For if man
expects to escape god’s notice when he does aught, he is mistaken.”[118]
Moreover, Pindar teaches that the gods, though the givers of both good
and evil to men, like Homer’s divinities, are nevertheless just and
truthful beings who reward the righteous and reverent and punish the
wicked: “The bliss of men who feel reverence lives longer, but he who
associates with wicked purposes prospers not forever.”[119]

Truth also belongs to god: indeed she is “the daughter of Zeus”, “the
foundation of virtue.” Of Apollo it is said that he “lays not hold of
lies.”[120] Here is a great advance over Homer’s ideas of the godhead.
Pindar’s attitude in this respect is not dissimilar to that of Hesiod,
who, as we have seen, first gave poetic expression to the idea that
justice is an attribute and handmaid of Zeus.

Consonant with these higher views of divinity is Pindar’s treatment
of the myths. The grosser elements he leaves aside as being unworthy
of the gods. At times he openly protests, as for example in the first
Olympian Ode where he declares that he will not treat the story of
Pelops in the traditional way, which made Tantalus offer his son’s
flesh at a dinner given the immortals: “I will speak differently from
those who have gone before. I may not call any one of the blessed
gods a cannibal.”[121] This revolt against the current forms of myths
was due in part to his belief in the moral perfection of divinity, in
part to his moral sense concerning man. His rule was, as laid down
by himself, that man should say only good things of the gods, and he
shrank from attributing to the divinities things which it would be base
for men to do. So in his fifth Nemean Ode he was unwilling to tell of
the fratricide of the heroes Peleus and Telamon, but broke off his
narrative abruptly, just as he rejected with indignation the shameful
tales told of Tantalus. Furthermore Pindar subjected the myths and
religious beliefs with which he had to deal to the test of reason;
among the several versions which he found current he recognized that
some must be false, and so he endeavored to separate the good from the
evil, to control the traditions of his people, and thus to practise a
free criticism in his work.

On the nature of sin Pindar, as the Greeks in general, holds that
whenever man passes the bounds appointed between a mortal and a god,
or between man and his fellowmen, he becomes thereby a sinner. Excess
is the form of sin which he makes repeatedly his theme. When he
praises Lampon of Aegina for “pursuing the mean with his thought and
maintaining it in his acts,”[122] he is recalling the principle laid
down in Hesiod’s verse, which had passed long since into a proverb:
“Keep a middle course; the seasonable in all things is best.”[123]

Again and again in varied forms he warns us to remember that man is
mortal: “If one prosper and enjoy a good name, still seek not to become
Zeus. Thou hast all, if ever perchance the fate to possess these
honors should come to thee. Mortal things befit a mortal.”[124] And
again he says: “But if a man shall have wealth and excel other men in
beauty, and if in the games he hath exhibited his strength and gained
distinction, let him still remember that his garment wraps mortal limbs
and that earth shall be the raiment of all in the end.”[125] Sin then
is presumption, and as such is punished by the gods. That “envy of
the gods,” which seems in Homer almost a childish resentment, is thus
given an ethical value which coincides very closely with Aeschylus’
interpretation of this belief. The moral character of Pindar’s form of
this doctrine is secured in part by the poet’s apparent belief that man
is a free moral agent. The sinner sometimes, like Ixion, might not be
able to endure prosperity, and so fall into insolent pride, and thence
into blind infatuation. In like fashion Bacchylides teaches that the
giants were destroyed by insolent pride, whereas the path to happiness
is open to all who will follow justice: “Warriors of Troy, Zeus, who
rules on high and beholds all things, is not the author of grievous
woes for mortals; no, open before all men is the path that leads to
unswerving Justice, attendant of holy Eunomia and prudent Themis: happy
the land whose sons take her to dwell with them. But insolence—the
spirit void of reverence, who luxuriates in shifty wiles and illicit
follies—who swiftly gives a man his neighbor’s wealth and power, but
anon plunges him into a gulf of ruin—she it was who destroyed the
Giants, overweening.”[126]

On the question of man’s freedom Pindar is not entirely clear. And yet
he seems to hold that man, and not some god, is responsible for his
initial wrongdoing. But he also points out that when man has once given
way to that insolent pride, which is presumptuous sin, then the gods
in punishing him may drive him on his wrong course until the man is
utterly ruined. This doctrine appears more clearly in Aeschylus.

When we come to Pindar’s view of the life after death, we find that
he has a more exalted vision than the poets of an earlier day. The
ideas of immortality, of future rewards and punishments, of rebirth,
and of a possible final bliss, which were current from the early sixth
century at least, had not failed to have their effect on our poet. In
a remarkable fragment he sets forth a doctrine as to the relation of
body and soul which is very similar to that held by the Orphics, under
whose influence he had evidently come: “The bodies of all men follow
all-conquering death; but life’s image still liveth on, for that only
is from the gods. It sleeps when the limbs are active, but ofttimes in
dreams it shows to the sleeper coming judgment, a judgment of peace
and pain.”[127] That is, when the body is awake it hampers the soul
so that the soul is numbed in sleep; but when the soul is free from
the domination of the imprisoning flesh, it then enjoys its proper
powers. There is a famous passage in the second Olympian which sets
forth Pindar’s views of future reward and punishment. According to
this passage, sins committed on the earth are punished beneath the
earth, and those done beneath the earth are punished in the soul’s next
reincarnation. So heaven and hell are always present to man’s soul,
whether here in the light of the sun, or in the darkness of Hades.
Those from whom atonement is accepted in the lower world are allowed to
return to the earth in high positions; when they have accomplished this
rebirth thrice, if they have been just, they may enter into their final
happiness. These are Pindar’s words: “The guilty souls of the dead
straightway pay the penalty here on earth; and the sins done in this
kingdom of Zeus are judged by one beneath the ground, who delivereth
his judgment to hateful necessity. But ever in the night and in the day
alike the good receive as their lot a life free from toil, enjoying the
light of the sun. They vex neither the ground nor the water of the sea
for food that does not satisfy, but among the honored gods, those who
have found their pleasure in keeping their oaths, enjoy a life free
from tears; but the others bear suffering too great to look upon. Yet
all those who have tarried thrice on either side (of death) and have
persevered in keeping their souls wholly free from unjust deeds, travel
the road of Zeus to the tower of Cronos. There the ocean breezes blow
around the islands of the blest, golden flowers bloom, some from
glorious trees on the land, others water feeds. With garlands the blest
entwine their hands and crown their temples.”[128]

We need not pause here to point out in detail the great contrast
between Pindar’s ideas of religion and those expressed in the Homeric
and Hesiodic poetry. He presented a higher doctrine of future rewards
and punishments, which was binding upon men in all the relations of
this life; and he expressed a higher conception of morality and of
justice, to whose obligations the gods as well as men were subject.
The baser elements of mythology he refined away and elevated thereby
men’s ideas of the divine; and by making righteousness and truth the
prime attributes of the gods, in accordance with which they punished
the wicked and blessed the good, he lifted morality and religion to a
nobler plane.

When we turn to the two older tragic poets, Aeschylus and Sophocles,
we find that they teach doctrines very like those of Pindar, although
naturally they dwell on those elements in religion and morality that
are adapted to their tragic themes; and they differ between themselves
in the points which they emphasize. Aeschylus makes prominent the
punitive aspect of divine justice; he dwells upon the punishment which
must inevitably follow sin, and which pursues a guilty line from
generation to generation. The poet displays a moral earnestness and
intensity like that of a Hebrew prophet, and he shows an extraordinary
profundity in his handling of moral and religious themes; furthermore
he is consciously a religious teacher. Sophocles keeps religion more in
the background, using it as one of the materials which he as a literary
artist can employ in his dramas; yet he is important as a religious
poet for he lays especial stress on the necessity of purity of heart,
which for him is the substance of piety toward the gods.

The elder tragedian, Aeschylus, was born at Eleusis about the year 525
B.C. Tradition told that he fought in the Persian wars and was
wounded at Marathon. He began to present tragedies about the year 500,
and continued to produce them until about three years before his death
in 456. Aeschylus was a man of mighty concepts and massive thought, to
which his condensed and pregnant style corresponds; a man of a profound
and religious nature, strongly influenced by the Mysteries, he thought
deeply upon the problems of men and of gods. He faced with honesty the
contradictions involved in the current notions with regard to the moral
nature of the gods, and in the ethical standards of men. Like Pindar he
elevated and refined the traditional myths and made them a medium for
the teaching of great moral truths.

Aeschylus regards the order of the universe as moral throughout. This
view appears even in the Prometheus Bound, that unique drama of revolt.
When we now read this tragedy alone, it seems as if Zeus were
represented as a lawless tyrant, using his power and might in most
unjust ways. But it is evident that if we had the other two plays of
the trilogy, the sympathy which we feel with the Titan Prometheus would
be lessened, that we should realize that the extant play represents the
transition from violence to law, and that in reality the rule of Zeus
is not one of might but one subject ultimately to the law of justice.

Although Aeschylus, like all of his day, was a polytheist, he exalts
Zeus far above all other divinities. He regards him as preëminent,
the possessor of all majesty and power, whose will always prevails,
so that, when he speaks, the thing he wishes comes to pass. The poet
uses the highest and most comprehensive epithets of him throughout his
plays; in the Supplices the chorus appeal to Zeus as “King of kings,
most blessed of the blessed, most perfect power of perfect powers;
blessed Zeus”; and again they address him as “the one who rules through
infinite time.”[129] In other passages the poet seems to feel as if
language were unequal to the task of describing adequately the majesty
and power of this supreme god. In his mind Zeus surpasses the other
gods so much that his will represents the whole of the divine laws; to
him man inevitably turns in doubt and perplexity. As the chorus say in
the Agamemnon:

    Zeus—whate’er ’Zeus’ expresseth of His essence—
      If the name please him on the lips of prayer,
    With his name on my lips I seek his presence,
      Knowing none else I may with him compare.

    Yea, though I ponder, in the balance laying
      All else, no help save Zeus alone I find,
    If I would cast aside the burden weighing,
      All to no profit, ever on my mind.[130]

It is not impossible that Aeschylus cherished ideas of divinity which
approached the pantheism or the henotheism of a later age. Clement of
Alexandria has preserved two of his verses which are so extraordinary
that we are glad to have them attested also by Philodemus.[131] When in
these the poet says: “Zeus is the ether, Zeus the earth also; also
the sky. Zeus is all things, and that which is above all things as
well,” this syncretistic expression may well be due to the influence
of Orphism or of the philosopher Heraclitus; but whatever the source
of the idea it stands at diameter with popular tradition. Of course it
does not exclude the gods of the popular belief, who could be included
in the divine unity, as later thought usually conceived them. That
Aeschylus uses the gods of the people in his plays is not surprising,
for the dramatic poet, whatever his personal belief, must always use
material familiar to his audience and suited to his dramatic and poetic

In the Prometheus Bound the Titan threatens Zeus with Fate and declares
that even he cannot escape Necessity. But we must remember that
the Prometheus, as I have said before, is a drama which represents
transition from the old order to the new, and that at the end of the
trilogy there was no conflict between Zeus and Fate; and in general
Aeschylus, though not always clear, most often represents Fate either
as the will of Zeus himself or as his assistant. The former idea is
again and again expressed in the Supplices, where the will of the
supreme god is shown as something mighty and absolute which none may

But if Zeus is exalted to this supreme position, it is as a god
of supreme justice. With the poet the ideas of justice and piety,
injustice and impiety are equivalent. Like Hesiod he makes Justice the
daughter of Zeus, whom Zeus always supports and avenges, “allotting
duly ill to the wicked, blessing to the righteous.” To the poet it is
inconceivable that a god of perfect justice could desire anything in
the world except what is right and just; and therefore he conceives
that man’s obligation is to strive after that which is just and
righteous, and so to put himself into harmony with the divine will. A
failure to do this is sin. Indeed the poet says that when men disregard
justice they injure the gods, and more than once sin is spoken of as a
disease of the mind. The sinner is a vain creature, laboring under a
delusion which oftentimes springs from o’erweening pride and is doomed
to bear tears for its fruit. The envy of the gods, which seems in Homer
a childish thing, is in Aeschylus only the resentment which they feel
toward a sinner who has been led away by success into insolent pride
and so is doomed to punishment. In the Persians Xerxes is represented
as having been swept away by his haughty insolence so that he lacked
discretion (σωφροσύνη) and came to his doom. The shade of Darius says
to the chorus:

    Zeus sits above, a chastener of thoughts
    Exceeding proud, a stern inquisitor.
    Wherefore, since Heaven’s warning bids be prudent,
    Admonish him with counsel of wise speech
    To cease from flouting Gods with reckless pride.[132]

And Xerxes’ armies were likewise doomed to pay the price of insolence
and of their godless thoughts.

Furthermore Aeschylus teaches that good men must avoid the wicked, and
illustrates the truth by the fact that it was evil companions who urged
Xerxes to his folly. There is a striking passage in the Septem in which
Eteocles, when informed that the seer Amphiaraus is among the heroes
who are besieging Thebes, says:

    Woe for the omen that with impious men
    Joineth a righteous man in fellowship!
    Than evil converse, in all enterprise
    Nothing is worse; its harvest let none reap.
    Infatuation’s field hath death for fruit.
    If the godfearing man for shipmates hath
    A crew hot-hearted in iniquity,
    With that god-hated tribe he perisheth:
    The righteous man who dwells with citizens
    Traitrous to guests and reckless of the Gods,
    Is justly taken in the selfsame net,
    Lashed by the same impartial scourge of God.[133]

We have just seen that Pindar shows a tendency to make man responsible
for his sin, quite in contrast to the popular belief which still kept
the Homeric view that the gods were responsible for all things. With
this popular idea Aeschylus seems at times in accord. But if we
consider his plays in their entirety, he makes man responsible for the
first step. In the Eumenides, for example, the Furies declare that
no just man has ever put his hands justly to any deed and met their
wrath. The lesson is that when men have taken the initial downward step
themselves an evil divinity or daemon drives them on, but that the
first step no man is forced to take. When, however, he has taken it,
then the poet represents the sinner as through god’s will infatuated
with his sin. No other extant poet shows so impressively how sin
relentlessly persists through generation after generation.

The most familiar illustration is found in Aeschylus’ treatment of the
story of the bloody line of Atreus, who sinned by slaying his brother’s
sons and offering their flesh, an unholy banquet, to their father;
then Agamemnon’s queen, with her paramour Aegisthus, slew her lord on
his return from Troy; and finally Agamemnon’s son Orestes murdered his
mother and Aegisthus to avenge his sire. Thus through three generations
the curse ran, each generation adding its own crime until only the
divine intervention of Apollo and Athena could stay the course of sin
and its doom. When in the Choephoroe Orestes has exacted his vengeance
and stained himself with his mother’s blood, the chorus finally sings:

    Lo, how upon the palace royal hath burst
      The third storm that fulfils the house’s fate!
    First, wretch Thyestes at a feast accurst
      Of his own children ate:

    Then shrieked the second storm the agony
      Of that king in that laver hacked to death,
    When the Achaians’ chief to treachery
      There yielded up his breath:

    Now on the third storm’s wild wings down doth sweep
      A Saviour—or a Doom shall he be named?
    Where shall the Curse end?—how be lulled to sleep
      Its fury?—how be tamed?[134]

A similar theme was handled by him in his tragedies which dealt with
the history of the royal house of Thebes. Against the warning of the
oracle Laius married Jocasta; their son Oedipus slew his father and
wed his own mother who bore him children. Under the burden of Oedipus’
curse their two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, fell in fratricidal
strife. These are dark bloody tales, but in the tragedies of Aeschylus
they were given a fearful moral import. It is true that the same
stories were handled by other tragedians, but by none with such moral

The mind of the poet was too searching and earnest to avoid the
difficult problems which appear in real life when there is a conflict
of duties. Such a conflict arises when Agamemnon has to choose between
slaying his daughter and failing to do his duty by his country; again
when Antigone at the close of the Seven against Thebes has to decide
whether she will disobey the higher law which requires that the dead
shall be buried, or resist the edict of the state which forbids her the
service to her dead. Throughout the Choephoroe and Eumenides Orestes
has to face the duty of avenging his father’s death laid upon him by
Apollo, and the pious reverence which he should show his mother. The
poet offers no satisfactory solution to such problems as these—indeed,
his purpose in bringing them out clearly was probably dramatic rather
than moral. Yet whatever his purpose, it is important for us to note
that he realized the moral conflict clearly as a part of man’s common

I have already said that Aeschylus dwells chiefly upon the retributory
nature of punishment, teaching that the sinner must suffer for his own
deeds. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was no less binding
in Greek than Hebrew justice:

    Destinies, Mighty Ones, grant that from Zeus may the issue betide
    Even as Justice requireth, who now is arrayed on our side.
    ‘Ever the tongue of hate shall the tongue of hate requite:
    Aye for the stroke of murder the stroke of murder shall smite’
    Justice exacting her dues cries ringing-voiced this law.
    ‘Doers must suffer’—so sayeth the immemorial saw.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A law saith, ‘Murder-drops of blood-libation
    On earth spilt, cry for blood in expiation.’
    The Avenging Sprite shrieks, hastening Havoc on
    Which brings from graves of men dead long agone
    Ruin to crown the work of ruin done.[135]

This principle runs through the entire trilogy of the Oresteia.
Agamemnon lost his life as recompense for the life of his daughter
Iphigenia whom he slew with his own hand, and the murder of Agamemnon
was avenged by the slaughter of Clytemnestra and her paramour.
Throughout the three plays doom follows the criminal relentlessly and
only divine interference in the end clears the account. And yet at
times Aeschylus teaches a gentler belief, that wisdom comes through
suffering and constraint, and that it is through the discipline of pain
that we travel the road to understanding.

Although Aeschylus lays overwhelming emphasis on the truth that
punishment for sin falls upon the sinner in this life, he also teaches
that there is punishment for the wicked in the world below. In his
description of the dead there are many reminiscences of Homer. But his
Hades is not Homeric; there is reality in punishment there no less than
upon earth. In the Eumenides the Furies threaten Orestes thus:

    Nay, I shall suck—thou canst not choose but pay the penalty—
    The red gore from thy living limbs, and win me out of thee
    The banquet of a draught that shall with awful anguish flow.
    Yea, I will waste thy living frame, then drag thee far below,
    There to pay all thy penalty, the mother-murder’s woe.
        So shall all else that have transgressed,
        Have sinned against a God, a guest,
        Or parents, mark how each receives
        The dues of sin that Justice gives.
      For Hades ’neath the earth waits every soul,
      A mighty judge who watcheth to enscroll
      All sins on his eternal memory’s roll.[136]

Of the rewards of the righteous in the next life Aeschylus has no word
to say. There is no Elysium or Islands of the Blest.

Aeschylus represents the Athens of the Persian Wars; Sophocles belongs
to the Periclean age. He was born fifteen years before the battle of
Salamis and led the chorus which sang a paean to celebrate the Greek
victory. To his contemporaries his life seemed happy, as if he were
beloved by the gods above all other men. In 468 B.C. he was
successful in contending for the tragic prize with Aeschylus, and
he continued to write until his death in 406. Instead of the rugged
strength and passion that we find in Aeschylus, Sophocles displays
a sunny and gentle nature that naturally sought out the kindly and
mediating elements in life. A conservative, he was not an innovator,
critic, or teacher, as both Aeschylus and Euripides were; he does
not make his characters reason much on the deeper things of life or
criticize the traditional order.

Yet in one sense he is the most religious of the Greek poets, showing
a faith in divine government and a wide outlook on the universe which
the two other tragedians did not display. He does not break with the
traditional belief as to the nature of the gods; indeed at most points
he follows closely the Homeric conception; they are still to his mind
the givers of evil as well as of good to men, and in fact his chorus in
the Antigone quotes with approval the ancient saying that evil seems
good soon or late to him whose mind the god draws to mischief.[137]
Although he does not follow Pindar and Aeschylus in ascribing to divine
beings a pure morality, yet he is inclined to believe with the elder
poets that “Justice revealed from of old sits with Zeus in the might
of the eternal laws.”[138] There are only two passages in which his
characters may be said to criticize the gods. In the first Philoctetes,
smarting under his suffering and neglect, exclaims:

                        No evil yet was crushed.
    The Heavens will ever shield it. ’Tis their sport
    To turn back all things rancorous and malign
    From going down to the grave, and send instead
    The good and true. Oh, how shall we commend
    Such acts, how construe them? When I extol
    Things god-like, I find evil in the Gods.[139]

But it must be observed that any other sentiment would have been out
of character for Philoctetes at this point. The second is a fragment
from his lost play, Aleites, in which some speaker, contemplating the
prosperity of the wicked and the misfortunes of the good, declares
that the gods ought not to order things thus for mortals, but that
on the contrary the pious should have some evident profit from their
piety and the unjust should pay the penalty for their wrongs that all
might see.[140] But this fragment is so at variance in sentiment with
Sophocles’ general attitude that it has been conjectured, not without
probability, that it came from Euripides. Even if we reject this
conjecture, as I think we must, we need not suppose that the sentiments
which the poet puts into the mouths of his characters always represent
his real view. A dramatist, as we must remind ourselves, should make
the speakers in his play express sentiments in harmony with their
characters and for the most part will have them utter moral ideas with
which most of his audience is in sympathy, unless indeed he would play
the part of innovator or prophet. As a matter of fact Sophocles’ own
attitude seems to be expressed in another fragment: “No man is wise
save him whom god honors; but if one look unto the gods, even if the
god bid him depart from justice, there he must go. For nothing to
which the gods lead men is base.”[141] This seems the key to Sophocles’
religious attitude. He is confident that however things may seem to us
in our short-sightedness, if we could only see the purposes of the gods
in their totality, we should know that they are good.

The bases of man’s life and action, his highest duty, Sophocles teaches
is piety and discretion, σωφροσύνη. When in the Philoctetes Heracles
appears, he urges upon the heroes that when they return to Troy they be
mindful, in laying waste the land, to show reverence towards the gods:

                          But, take good heed,
    Midst all your spoil to hold the gods in awe.
    For our great Father counteth piety
    Far above all. This follows men in death,
    And fails them not when they resign their breath.[142]

And the chorus sings at the end of the Antigone:

    Wise thought hath the first place in happiness
    Before all else, and piety to Heaven
    Must be preserved. High boastings of the proud
    Bring sorrows to the height to punish pride:—
    A lesson men shall learn when they are old.[143]

In the Ajax Athena says:

    Then, warned by what thou seest, be thou not rash
    To vaunt high words toward Heaven, nor swell thy port
    Too proudly, if in puissance of thy hand
    Thou passest others, or in mines of wealth.
    Since Time abases and uplifts again
    All that is human, and the modest heart
    Is loved by Heaven, who hates the intemperate will.[144]

There is an extraordinary passage in the Oedipus Coloneus where Oedipus
is made to say, when his strength fails him and he cannot go to the
altar to sacrifice, but must send one of his daughters: “For I think
that one soul suffices to pay this debt for ten thousand, if it come
with good will (purity) to the shrine.”[145] Piety, reverence, and
purity, these to Sophocles are the highest qualities of man.

For the poet the moral order was unchanging, dependent not upon caprice
but having a divine source and a divine sanction; the laws of heaven
are therefore superior to those of man, and man’s obedience to the
higher law is made his duty and the means of his consecration. In an
ode in Oedipus the King, which is called forth by the king’s harshness
and by the suspicion that he is not wholly guiltless, as well as by the
queen’s bold contempt for Apollo’s oracle, the chorus sings:

    O may I live
    Sinless and pure in every word and deed
    Ordained by those firm laws, that hold their realm on high!
    Begotten of Heaven, of brightest Ether born,
    Created not of man’s ephemeral mould,
    They ne’er shall sink to slumber in oblivion.
    A Power of God is there, untouched by Time.[146]

That is, the chorus here pray that they may always show their piety and
reverence by obeying the divine laws. This sentiment is repeated more
than once in the extant tragedies; as when Odysseus warns Agamemnon
not to refuse burial to the body of Ajax: “’Tis not he, ’tis the law
of heaven that thou would’st hurt.”[147] Through this belief Sophocles
justified Antigone in her decision to defy the edict of the state, for
Creon had ordained that her brother Polynices might not be buried,
since he had attacked Thebes. But Greek belief regarded it as a sacred
duty of the next of kin to bury their dead, and this duty Antigone
could not but fulfil, although she knew that death would be her lot.
When Creon asks her if she did indeed dare to transgress his edict, she

    I heard it not from Zeus, nor came it forth
    From Justice, where she reigns in the Underworld.
    They too have published to mankind a law.
    Nor could I think thine edict of such might
    That one who is mortal thus could overrule
    The infallible, unwritten laws of Heaven.
    Their majesty begins not from today
    But from eternity, and none can tell
    The hour that saw their birth.[148]

It was for this same principle that Socrates, a generation later, gave
up his life. In his defense he told his jury why: “Perhaps someone
may say, ‘But Socrates, can you not go off and live in exile, give up
talking and be quiet?’ This is the very point on which it is hardest to
persuade some of you, for if I say that this is exile to be disobeying
the god and therefore that it is impossible to keep quiet, you will
not believe me, but will say that I am ironical.”[149] Socrates
believed that he had a divine commission to question and examine
others, and that duty he must perform as the heroine in the tragedy
must perform hers, cost him what it might.

The eternal problem of human suffering, the fact that pain and
misfortune are not always the result of wrong doing, but that the
innocent suffer while the guilty escape, was a matter with which
Sophocles was much concerned. His predecessor Aeschylus had tried to
show in opposition to experience that sin always preceded pain; and in
Sophocles the doom of Creon and his house is due to the king’s proud
resentment wherein he sinned against heaven’s law. But in the same play
the heroine Antigone, who has obeyed the divine mandates, is forced to
suffer a most pathetic fate. King Oedipus was not intentionally guilty,
and the fate of the innocent queen Deianeira surpasses in pathos that
of any other tragic heroine. She was impelled by the tender desire to
recall the love of her faithless husband, and the poet acquits her of
blame, “She erred, though she intended well.”[150] But none the less she
involved both husband and herself in dreadful doom.

The tragic poet found his solution of this ancient perplexing problem
only in the larger view, which regarded the individual as but a slight
factor in the economy of the whole. At times suffering was regarded as
a means of discipline: “The soul that has been bedded in misfortune
sees many things.”[151] Thus through pain one learns and has his nature
developed. Theseus, in the Oedipus Coloneus, offers a kindly welcome
to the exile Oedipus and his daughters, for his own sufferings in
exile have produced a spirit of kindliness and charity in him. Oedipus
himself in the same play is unlike the headstrong king of the earlier
tragedy; suffering and time have chastened and enlightened him, though
they have not made him mild in spirit.

Sophocles also displays great sympathy with human weakness and
suffering. This appears in his treatment of the character of Deianeira,
and above all in the tender pathos with which he brings out the
human longings of Antigone, who though she has nobly obeyed heaven’s
unwritten law, yet shrinks from suffering and death and from the loss
of all that youth promises. It is not surprising, therefore, that we
find in Sophocles mercy emphasized as a divine attribute, and this
quality in the gods held up as an example to men. On this Polynices
makes his appeal to Oedipus:

    But seeing that Zeus on his almighty throne
    Keeps Mercy in all he does to counsel him,
    Thou, too, my father, let her plead with thee![152]

The sentiment is not far from Portia’s plea:

    It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
    When mercy seasons justice.

Sophocles’ sympathy for undeserved suffering, his understanding of
the weakness of men, of their liability to error, and his faith in
the gods, all led him to try to take the larger view of the ills of
life, to which the philosopher Heraclitus had already given expression
when he said that god does all things for the harmony of the whole;
and that while men regard some things as right and others wrong, to
god all things are fair and good and right. The individual is only a
part of the great whole, and when human experiences are regarded _sub
specie aeternitatis_, we shall find that that which seems evil is
only permitted to make a just and harmonious unity. The poet tried to
conceive of the life of man,

    As a great whole, not analyzed to parts
    But each part having reference to all.

Looked at from this universal point of view the sufferings of
Philoctetes, Antigone, Deianeira, and Oedipus are justified to men.

It was natural that Sophocles should use many Homeric concepts with
reference to the condition of men and the life after death. In the
Antigone alone is there any personal hope of future happiness. It
may well be that the poet’s sense of what was fitting dramatically
is responsible for his conservative attitude; he was dealing with
traditional material, and using themes and incidents which were
far remote in time from his audience. It may have seemed to him
that fidelity to his subject and the requirements of artistic unity
prevented his putting into the mouths of his characters sentiments
which an early age could hardly have conceived. Sophocles was not
animated by the iconoclasm which we shall find in the bolder Euripides;
but if the future life is not pictured in Sophocles’ extant tragedies,
we need not doubt for a moment that he believed in immortality. He had
been initiated into the Mysteries and one of the finest expressions of
the ecclesiastical confidence which the initiates felt came from his
pen: “Thrice blessed are those mortals who have seen these rites and
then go to the house of Hades, for they alone have life there; but all
others have only woe.”[153]

Such, in brief, were the teachings of some of the greatest poets of the
sixth and fifth centuries before our era. But these represent only one
side of Greek thought in this time. In Athens there were influences,
political, social, and intellectual, which were working profound
changes. Pindar, Aeschylus, and Sophocles belonged to an older order;
the voices of the new age will concern us in our next lecture.


[96] Xen. ap. Stob., _Flor._ 88, 14.

[97] 165 f.; 171 f.

[98] _Frg._ 61.

[99] _Frg._ 56.

[100] _Frg._ 74, 5 ff.

[101] 167 f.; 1075 ff. (cf. 583 f.).

[102] 425-431.

[103] 383 ff.

[104] 319 ff.

[105] 1029 ff.

[106] _Frg._ 88.

[107] _Frg._ 4, 1-16.

[108] 13, especially vv. 11-32.

[109] 373-380.

[110] 731 ff.

[111] Solon 13, 31 f.

[112] _Pyth._ 3, 78 f.

[113] _Nem._ 6, 1 ff.

[114] Cf. _Ol._ 13, 83; _Pyth._ 10, 49; _Frg._ 142.

[115] _Pyth._ 2, 49 ff.

[116] _Pyth._ 9, 44 ff.

[117] _Frg._ 140.

[118] _Ol._ 1, 64.

[119] _Isth._ 3, 5 f.

[120] _Ol._ 10, 3; _Frg._ 205; _Pyth._ 3, 29.

[121] _Ol._ 1, 52.

[122] _Isth._ 6, 71.

[123] _W. and D._ 694.

[124] _Isth._ 5, 13 ff.

[125] _Nem._ 11, 13 ff.

[126] Bacch. 14, 50-63 (Jebb).

[127] _Frg._ 131.

[128] _Ol._ 2, 63 ff.

[129] _Supp._ 524 f.; 574.

[130] _Ag._ 160 ff.

[131] _Frg._ 70.

[132] _Pers._ 827 ff.

[133] _Sept._ 597-608.

[134] _Choeph._ 1065 ff.

[135] _Choeph._ 306 ff.; 400 ff.

[136] _Eum._ 264 ff.

[137] _Antig._ 621 ff.

[138] _O. C._ 1381 f.

[139] _Phil._ 446 ff.

[140] _Frg._ 103.

[141] _Frg._ 226.

[142] _Phil._ 1440 ff.

[143] _Ant._ 1347 ff.

[144] _Ai._ 127 ff.

[145] _O. C._ 495 ff.

[146] _O. T._ 863 ff.

[147] _Ai._ 1343 f.

[148] _Ant._ 450 ff.

[149] Plato, _Apol._ 37 E.

[150] _Tr._ 1136.

[151] _Frg._ 600.

[152] _O. C._ 1267 ff.

[153] _Frg._ 753.



The defeat of the Persians at Salamis in 480 B.C. made Athens
the first state in Greece. Not only had she suffered enormous losses in
the ruin of her city and lands for the common cause, but she had borne
the brunt of the naval fight at Salamis, as ten years before, with the
brave men from Plataea, she had driven the Persian hordes from the
plain of Marathon into the sea. The Athenians had acquitted themselves
well, for they had shown the loftiest patriotism and loyalty to the
cause of Hellas; now their high position was recognized even by their
jealous rivals. Athens entered on a brilliant period of fifty years
which has never been equalled in the world’s history. Within that time
she produced statesmen, architects, artists, and poets who have never
been surpassed since in any state in the same length of time. Her naval
power, her wealth and culture, placed her in a supreme position.

Neither the Athenians nor the other Greeks forgot the gods to whom they
believed that they owed their victory over the Persians. To Apollo
at Delphi the allies sent a golden tripod set on a pillar of three
bronze serpents bearing the names of those who made the offering; the
Athenians on their own account erected a trophy there, and on the
Acropolis they deposited the broken cables of the bridge which the
Persians had built across the Hellespont. Soon they set up in the
same place a colossal bronze statue of Athena made from the spoils
captured at Marathon. A new temple to the goddess in place of the one
destroyed by the Persians was planned by Cimon; but his ostracism in
461 B.C. stopped its building. When Pericles was able to
carry out his plans for adorning Athens, he determined to enlarge the
structure; as a result the Parthenon with its wondrous sculptures and
great chryselephantine statue of the goddess was completed in 438
B.C. At the entrance of the Acropolis a splendid propylaea
was begun and many other public buildings were erected to adorn the
city. The chief divinity of Athens, the goddess Athena, now held her
position without a rival; all the other gods were in second place. The
conception of the goddess was essentially that fixed by the Homeric
poems, and as such Phidias represented her with aegis, spear, and
shield, carrying victory in her hand. She became the embodiment of the
power and the glory of the state.

In an earlier lecture I referred to the part which Pisistratus
played during the sixth century in fostering Orphism at Athens and
in developing the mysteries at Eleusis. Now the Athenian success in
driving back the Persian invaders had filled the citizens with a
spirit which had little desire for the sacraments of the Orphics, and
furthermore the mysteries at Eleusis satisfied all longing for mystic
assurance of security and of future happiness. But Pisistratus had also
emphasized the Olympian religion as set forth in the Homeric poems.
Indeed, we may say that he produced a Homeric revival; for whatever
the truth may be in the tradition that he had the Homeric text fixed
and written down in the Attic alphabet, there can be little question
that he made the Iliad and Odyssey more widely known by ordaining that
the rhapsodes should recite them at the great Panathenaic festival.
The emphasis given by him to the Olympian divinities resulted in the
exaltation of Athena and the subordination of most local cults to her
worship upon the Acropolis. It was Pisistratus also who developed and
gave new magnificence to the Panathenaic festival. This was annual,
but was celebrated with special splendor every fourth year. At these
festivals the recitation of the Homeric poems brought before the
people in impressive manner the whole pageantry of Olympus. The great
procession with which the festival culminated—that procession known to
us from Phidias’ frieze upon the Parthenon—had as its objective point
the Acropolis, where the sacred robe and other gifts were offered to
the patron goddess, Athena. Her old temple on the site once occupied
by the goodly house of Erectheus was adorned at the tyrant’s orders
with a peristyle and new pediment sculptures. The battle of Athena
Polias and the gods against the giants replaced the old sculptures of
Zeus encountering a three-headed monster and of Heracles destroying
the Hydra. Thus Pisistratus made the temple of Athena the center of
the united Athenian state, and established the goddess as the chief
divinity of Attica.

This Olympian religion was well suited to the state in the fifth
century. The Athenian success in saving Greece from the Persians had
magnified the importance of Athens in the eyes of all her citizens.
Their life was now one of action; they were proudly conscious of their
expanding empire, their growing power, and increasing wealth. The joy
which they felt in their present existence had something of the epic
quality in it. Furthermore the growth of free democracy, which opened
up many channels of successful activity through the state, had not yet
resulted in that individualism with its disintegrating tendencies which
marked the fourth century, and the common interests of the Athenians
made the state the center of their thought. They regarded it as an
organization existing for the benefit of all free citizens. Its unity
and its power, so far as Athens was concerned, were symbolized by the
goddess Athena. On her home and on her worship the resources of the
state were lavished. It was inevitable that her religion should be
regarded as primarily a state affair, and that at the same time she
and the other protecting gods should seem to the individual citizen
somewhat more removed from human interests and sympathy as they gained
in the august majesty which the wealth of the empire lent them. Exactly
as to many a Christian the wealth and magnificence of a splendid
cathedral seem to put God farther away than the bare simplicity of some
beloved chapel, so the Parthenon undoubtedly made Athena seem more
august and more remote to many an Athenian than the rude and simple
protecting deity of his country home.

The result of these various causes which were operative in the fifty
years of Athens’ greatness was that a part of religion became a state
concern, and that men’s loyalty was centered on the state. Patriotism
and pride in empire took the place to a considerable extent of what
may be roughly described as personal religion. This, of course, does
not mean that a belief in the gods among the mass of the people had
died out in any sense. The ordinary Athenian continued his worship
as before at the local shrines and joined with the other citizens in
paying tribute to the great divinities. But especially with many of the
intellectual and leading men religion was absorbed, so to speak, into
patriotism, exactly as has been the case in our own time in France and
Italy. This attitude of mind finds supreme expression in the funeral
oration of Pericles, which he pronounced over those who had died in
the first year of the Peloponnesian War. His speech is devoted to
glorifying the Athenians and to celebrating the noble service which the
fallen rendered when they gave up their lives for their fatherland.
There is not one syllable about the gods, one word of gratitude to
heaven, or a single expression of solace to the relatives of the dead
based on any hope of immortality. In the service of the state Pericles
saw every incentive and every reward. This will be clear from the
following paragraphs:[154]

“Such was the end of these men; they were worthy of Athens, and the
living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit, although they
may pray for a less fatal issue. The value of such a spirit is not to
be expressed in words. Any one can discourse to you forever about the
advantages of a brave defence, which you know already. But instead of
listening to him I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the
greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and
when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that
this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the
courage to do it, who in the hour of conflict had the fear of dishonor
always present to them, and who, if they failed in an enterprise, would
not allow their virtues to be lost to their country, but freely gave
their lives to her as the fairest offering which they could present at
her feast. The sacrifice which they collectively made was individually
repaid to them; for they received again each one for himself a praise
which grows not old, and the noblest of all sepulchres—I speak not of
that in which their remains are laid, but of that in which their glory
survives, and is proclaimed always and on every fitting occasion both
in word and deed. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men;
not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own
country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial
of them, graven not on stone, but in the hearts of men. Make them
your examples, and esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be
happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war. The unfortunate
who has no hope of a change for the better has less reason to throw
away his life than the prosperous who, if he survive, is always
liable to a change for the worse, and to whom any accidental fall
makes the most serious difference. To a man of spirit, cowardice and
disaster coming together are far more bitter than death, striking him
unperceived at a time when he is full of courage and animated by the
general hope.

Wherefore I do not now commiserate the parents of the dead who stand
here; I would rather comfort them. You know that your life has been
passed amid manifold vicissitudes; and that they may be deemed
fortunate who have gained most honour, whether an honorable death
like theirs, or an honorable sorrow like yours, and whose days have
been so ordered that the term of their happiness is likewise the term
of their life. I know how hard it is to make you feel this, when the
good fortune of others will too often remind you of the gladness which
once lightened your hearts. And sorrow is felt at the want of those
blessings, not which a man never knew, but which were a part of his
life before they were taken from him. Some of you are of an age at
which they may hope to have other children, and they ought to bear
their sorrow better; not only will the children who may hereafter be
born make them forget their own lost ones, but the city will be doubly
a gainer. She will not be left desolate, and she will be safer. For a
man’s counsel cannot have equal weight or worth, when he alone has no
children to risk in the general danger. To those of you who have passed
their prime I say: ‘Congratulate yourselves that you have been happy
during the greater part of your days; remember that your life of sorrow
will not last long, and be comforted by the glory of those who are
gone. For the love of honour alone is ever young, and not riches,
as some say, but honour is the delight of men when they are old and

The loyalty to the state, however, which animates this oration we must
remember actually resulted in the glorification of Athena and the other
great gods. For they, too, were a part of the state, and had a share
in its reputation and prosperity. But I must point out again that in
this exaltation of the Olympic gods there was nothing of that personal
relation of the individual to divinity, such as must exist in every
really religious age.

Yet at the risk of repetition, I would recall the fact that the
practice of religion by individuals had not ceased at Athens. The
common man still paid devotion to his guardian gods, made offerings to
the dead, and shared in many forms of worship. Furthermore the spread
of the Eleusinian mysteries in this century, so that a new and larger
initiation hall had to be erected at Eleusis, shows that thoughts
of the future life and the deepest religious feelings still existed
in large numbers of the citizens. We have here, then, an apparent
contradiction, such as has appeared many times and in many places in
the religious history of man. Many of the leaders of the state were
interested in religion only as it was an affair of state, in the same
way in which the army and navy were. On the other hand there were
large numbers who felt a more personal interest in religion and who
cultivated a more personal relation to divinity. Nor were there lacking
men of the most intellectual class to deal with the higher concepts of
religion which had been developing during the recent centuries. These
ideas find their truest utterance in the work of the poets, and we have
already seen how Pindar, Aeschylus, and Sophocles interpreted nobler
views with regard to the gods, human conduct, and man’s relation to the
divinities, to all Greece and especially to Athens which had now become
the intellectual center of the Hellenic world.

But another new force had been developing among the Greeks during
the sixth century which was destined to deal a far greater blow to
traditional religion than any other—I mean philosophy. This began
in Ionia and was cultivated in other parts of greater Greece before
it came to Athens. But after the Persian Wars the prominence and
prosperity of that city was so great and her intellectual eminence
was so high that she attracted the men of note in many departments of
life. Among them was the philosopher Anaxagoras of Clazomenae who made
Athens his home for about thirty years (c. 462-432 B.C.).
He became a member of the most intellectual Athenian society of his
day, a friend of Euripides, and an intimate of Pericles. When dangers
began to threaten the state, with the prospect of war looming on the
horizon, the people began to blame their great leader; to injure him,
they banished one and another of his friends. The two most noted were
Phidias the sculptor, of whose art the marbles of the Parthenon are
still the unsurpassed witnesses, and Anaxagoras the philosopher; the
charge against both was impiety. Anaxagoras taught that the sun was a
red hot mass of rock, as the moon was a cold mass, like the earth.
According to this teaching the sun and moon could no longer be
regarded as gods, so that a charge of impiety was as easily based on
such doctrines as it was on the teaching of Galileo twenty centuries
later. But although the philosopher was driven out, philosophy could
not be so easily banished. The eager intellectual life of Athens had
caught the spark, and the flame of philosophy was never extinguished
on the Athenian altars for almost a thousand years, until the Emperor
Justinian closed the philosophic schools in 529 A.D.

Now philosophy aimed from the very first to explain the origin and
structure of the universe by reducing all things to a single principle,
or to a few principles at most. The purpose of the philosopher was
to carry out a more systematic search for unity than the thought of
the poet or of the ordinary man could accomplish. We have seen how
Hesiod and the Orphics tried by cosmogonies to explain the origin
of the world. The philosophers turned to physical science for their
explanation. But in every case their work was from its very nature
antagonistic to popular polytheism, which saw a separate divinity in
every phenomenon. It was inevitable that the conflict should become an
open one sooner or later.

Xenophanes of Colophon (flor. c. 540 B.C.) was the first to
enter the lists. Driven into exile by civil disturbances at about the
age of twenty-five, he lived most of his life in Sicily. He was as much
a social and religious reformer and satirist as philosopher. With a
frankness which passed beyond the freedom of his age he struck at
the popular beliefs with regard to the gods, which taught that the
gods were born and had clothes and voices and forms like mortals. He
illustrated the folly of the Greeks in making the gods after their own
image by reminding them that the Ethiopians made their gods flat-nosed
and black, and the Thracians theirs blue-eyed and red-haired, while if
cattle and horses and lions had but hands and could draw and mould and
fashion like men, then each would draw and fashion the gods in his own
image.[155] For the current notions of divinity he held Homer and Hesiod
responsible and charged that these poets had attributed to the gods
everything that was reckoned as shame and reproach among men—stealing,
adultery, and cheating.[156] He likewise opposed the doctrine that
the gods had taught men their knowledge, but declared that man had
always learned through experience and investigation the better way
for himself.[157] Xenophanes went even further than this and used the
science of his day to prove that what was regarded as the appearances
of the gods was merely meteorological phenomena. In the place of many
gods he declared that there was but one, and he not like mortal men
either in form or intelligence, but that he was wholly sight, wholly
intelligence, wholly hearing—that is to say, god and the universe are
identical, and the cosmos is eternal, sentient, and intelligent.[158]
There could hardly have been a greater contrast than between this
pantheism and the polytheism of the day. It is true that Xenophanes
offers no adequate explanation of the way in which phenomena arise;
he does not solve the problem of deriving the transient out of that
which is permanent and fixed. But nevertheless he crudely anticipated
the thought of later philosophers and theologians and began the open
struggle with polytheism which was to continue for many centuries.

Another philosopher who deserves our attention here is Heraclitus of
Ephesus who flourished in the early fifth century. As he surveyed the
world he was impressed with the variety of phenomena that moved before
him, with the fact that nothing is stable but that everything is always
in process of change. He declared therefore that nothing is permanent
but that all things in reality are in a state of flux and flow
(πάντα ῥεῖ). The explanation for this constant change he apparently
found in the crude science of the day which observed that changes in
temperature cause changes of form, some solids becoming liquid and
liquids gaseous. This phenomenon he thought was due to fire. Fire he
regarded as universal in the cosmos—indeed, as identical with it, and
he is reported as saying that this universe, which is the same for all
beings, no god or mortal has made, but it has always been and is and
ever will be eternal fire, which sometimes grows the brighter and again
is quenched. This fire he is willing to call god; it is to him the
principle which permeates the universe and causes all change within it.
Such being the case, Heraclitus maintains that true knowledge is not
concerned with many things but solely with the unity in the world
which his teachings set forth. In his scorn for his predecessors
he outdoes Xenophanes. Not only Homer and Hesiod, but Pythagoras,
Xenophanes, Archilochus, and Hecateus are alike condemned. Homer
and Archilochus he declares deserve to be driven from the games and
flogged, such folly had they taught.[159] In his assaults on the popular
religion Heraclitus did not concern himself so much with mythology
as with the rites and ceremonies current in his time. He evidently
attacked the representatives of the mystery religions, calling them
night walkers, magi, priests of Bacchus, devotees of the wine-vat, and
mystery-mongers. In another fragment he ridicules those who pray to
the images of the gods, for that is as if one were to pray to a man’s
house; and again he declares that if men on ordinary occasions sang
songs like the hymns which they raise in honor of Dionysus they would
be acting most shamelessly. Man’s duty to his mind is to devote himself
wholly to the apprehension of the divine unity in the world, of that
wisdom to which alone he would consent to give the name of Zeus.[160]

We have now seen from these two representatives how philosophy regarded
traditional polytheism, and taught that the unity of the universe was
identical with god. But neither Xenophanes nor Heraclitus offered any
satisfactory explanation of the way in which multiplicity could arise
out of unity. Still less did they conceive of a personal god. This
concept was reserved for Plato or possibly for his great teacher. A
slight approach toward an explanation of variety was made, it is true,
by Heraclitus, through his “fire” and also through a doctrine which I
have not mentioned, namely that “strife,” the action of opposites, is
the cause of change. Now another philosopher, Empedocles of Agrigentum,
whom we have already met as a mystic, offered an explanation of the
cause of phenomena not dissimilar to that of Heraclitus, and yet one
that marked an advance. For his elements Empedocles took the four of
popular belief—earth, air, fire, water, which he said were combined
in various forms by the principles of “friendship” and of “strife”;
or, as we should say today in less symbolic language, by affinity and
incompatibility. But like Heraclitus Empedocles fails to make clear how
or why these principles act at all on his elements. In short before
Anaxagoras no thinker conceived of any satisfactory formative or
motive principles to explain phenomena; likewise none had arrived at a
well defined distinction between a material principle and a formative
principle. Anaxagoras solved the problem in a way highly satisfactory
for his age and in a manner which unconsciously anticipated many of
the principles of modern science. According to him all substances
are elementary, existing in seeds or germs, infinite in number,
infinitesimal in size. Aristotle and the ancients in general understood
him to mean that these seeds or germs are minute particles of the
things which we know in the mass, as for example bread or water, or
flesh and bones. Some modern scholars think that he meant that the
original mass of matter was infinitely divided and that every atom had
in it a portion of everything else: the various combinations of these
seeds, atoms, we name bread, water, or flesh and bones according to the
predominance of these things in the seeds which make up the whole. Yet
whether Aristotle and the ancients or the moderns be right is a matter
of little moment to us now. Anaxagoras thought that these “seeds,”
whatever they were, were set in motion and combined to produce the
infinite diversity of the natural objects by Mind (Νοῦς).

Anaxagoras’ great service, then, was his introduction of Mind into
philosophy as a formative, a motive principle to provide the cause for
change and diversity. It is not to be denied that Anaxagoras conceived
his principle to be as material as the elements themselves, and that
he did not employ his principle fully, even after he introduced it
into the world. Indeed, he did not advance beyond a mechanical concept
of the cause of phenomena. But nevertheless he is significant in the
history of European thought as the founder of the dualistic system
which largely prevailed thereafter. His contemporaries, too, recognized
him as an innovator, for we are told that the wits of Athens nicknamed
him “Mind.” With the consequences of this new dualism we shall be much
concerned hereafter.

Another group of men contributed to the intellectual life of that
wonderful fifty years of Athenian history which began with the defeat
of the Persians and ended with the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War.
How keen the intellectual life of that time was is shown by the high
excellence of the plays to which the masses of the common citizens
listened in the theater. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were
not enjoyed by the few but by the great body of Athenian citizens,
and their plays were known even among the remote Greek colonies.
The intellectual spirit of the age was stimulated to inquiry and to
scepticism. Herodotus is wholly sceptical, and the agnostic tendency
of the time is shown by the entire lack of mythology and superstition
displayed by Thucydides. A further stimulus was furnished by the
development of a higher education given by professional teachers—the

The last half of the fifth century is often called with good reason
the “Age of the Sophists.” We must understand clearly just what we
mean by this term as applied to the men of this time, for today the
word sophist has an unfavorable connotation. The Sophists of the fifth
century neither formed a philosophic school nor were they charlatans.
The most prominent among them was Protagoras of Abdera whose ability
and character is shown by the fact that Pericles selected him to draw
up the laws for Thurii in 444-43 B.C. Gorgias of Leontini in
Sicily enjoyed such high reputation that in 427 he was sent at the head
of an embassy to Athens. These Sophists were simply men devoted to the
pursuit of wisdom, frequently professional teachers who undertook to
give a general culture, to train their pupils to take part in society
and the state. For the old training which had been gained by
observation they substituted a formal discipline; they offered
instruction in rhetoric, politics, music, in short in all the higher
branches, as we should call them. But they had no unity of doctrine. By
the close of the fifth century they had fallen somewhat into disrepute
and were under suspicion, since in the Athenian state all the youths
who could afford to pay the fees which these professional teachers
charged belonged to the aristocratic class, which frequently voted
against the democracy. The Sophists owed their great influence to
the fact that they met an actual need in the small society of Athens
which included an unusual number of men with eager alert minds and
great intellectual curiosity. Now it should be observed that rhetoric,
which formed a considerable part of the new education introduced by
these professional teachers since political life was the chief career
open to a young Athenian, led to habits of examination, analysis, and
definition. We are all familiar with the fact that any attempt to
analyze and define customary beliefs and practices is pretty certain to
detect inconsistencies unobserved before; to lead, at first at least,
to confusion and to doubt as to the validity of the practice or belief
under consideration; and that when applied to traditional morality or
religion it is likely to loosen the obligations which men have hitherto
regarded. For illustrations of this truth we have only to look about
us and to see how in this generation, as in the generations of our
fathers, long accepted beliefs have crumbled before examination, as for
example the institution of slavery, the justice of which few questioned
a century and a quarter ago. So it was inevitable that in Athens
some of the effects of the sophistic teaching should be destructive.
And these effects were exaggerated by the great store which was set
on skill in disputation. When moral or religious themes were under
discussion, the point at issue was not the value of this or that
position, but rather the relative skill of the disputants. We are so
familiar with this in academic life, in college debates, for example,
that the question of the moral effect does not rise in our minds. But
it is little wonder that in the fifth century in Athens the Sophists
were charged with making the worse cause the better.

Furthermore the Sophists were sceptical as to the possibility of
acquiring absolute knowledge about anything. This scepticism may have
been due to a failure on the part of the science of the day which led
individuals to turn from nature to man as the object of their inquiry.
Protagoras maintained that all knowledge was relative, since the only
way in which a man can know anything is through his senses; through
them he perceives that an object is hot or cold, round or square, sweet
or bitter. He pointed out, also, that the same object will not always
appear the same even to the same individual; hence he declared that
there is no such thing as absolute truth, but that whatever seems true
to you or to me at the moment is the truth for you or for me, and that
it is not at all necessary that you and I should hold the same thing to
be true at one and the same time. Whatever seems to the individual true
is true, according to him. From this came his famous dictum that man,
that is the individual, is the measure of all things.[161] It is clear
that this doctrine when applied to politics, morals, or religion was

So long as men studied nature, they were concerned with discovering
the inflexible laws which govern the world. But when they turned their
attention from nature to society or government, they realized that
human institutions seemed to be the result on the whole of conventions
agreed upon and adopted by mankind. The Sophists held in general that
the form of the state, the current moral and religious beliefs and
social customs had no absolute validity; that they were the results of
convention; and that their only warrant was that they worked well in
practice, that they were profitable to the individual and to society.
This pragmatic view of institutions fell in well with the temper of the
last half of the fifth century, both in the period of Athens’ imperial
supremacy and in the time of her trial during the Peloponnesian War,
when in passion or despair the people disregarded law and, as in the
case of the Melians, all that humanity had counted sacred. It was an
age when many held that might and right were identical, and for this
view the Sophists, even though unwittingly, furnished arguments; for
if the test of an institution or act is that it works well when put
into practice, success proves validity. The Sophists, too, taught that
virtue (ἀρετή) was nothing else than what we call today efficiency. It
is not strange that the conservative Athenians came to look on them
with suspicion.

With regard to the gods Protagoras was naturally agnostic. He began
his “Treatise on the Gods” with the words: “So far as the gods are
concerned, I cannot know whether they exist or do not exist; or what
their nature is. Many things prevent our knowing. The matter is
obscure and life is short.”[162] One may be curious to know what large
matter Protagoras found for his discussion when he began with this
frank confession of ignorance; but it should be observed that in this
confession there is nothing necessarily antagonistic to the popular
theology of his day. It only shows what the words plainly declare, that
a belief in the gods cannot depend upon knowledge. Another Sophist,
Prodicus, maintained that the divinities were nothing but the kindly
powers of nature which man had deified;[163] and the “Gentle Critias,”
one of the worst of the Thirty Tyrants, and a ready pupil of the
earlier Sophists, is said to have set forth in a satyric drama the
theory that the gods were the clever invention of someone who wished
to scare men out of their desire to do evil.[164] The effect of such
scepticism and agnosticism we can easily imagine.

Many things had been wrongly laid at the door of the Sophists, but it
is small wonder that the conservative Athenian citizens came to look
with distrust and alarm on these new-fangled subversive notions; that
they banished Protagoras and burned his books in the market place; or
finally that they should have put Socrates to death.

Into this age of intellectual ferment and readjustment, of scepticism
and eager inquiry, the age of Anaxagoras and the Sophists, Socrates
entered. He was at once the child of his time and the greatest
fecundator of men’s minds that Europe had yet known. He was born in 469
B.C. and was forced to drink the hemlock in March, 399, so
that he had completed the allotted span of life. The son of a sculptor,
we are told that he followed his father’s profession in his youth,
but apparently he did not continue this long. Whence he derived the
means of livelihood we do not know. He received the regular Athenian
education, was interested especially in geometry and astronomy;
the works of the philosophers he had read, but professed that he
gained little from them. One is tempted to dwell on the picturesque
characteristics of this man—his refusal to teach for pay, as did the
ordinary teachers, his profession of complete ignorance—his only claim
to wisdom, he said himself,—his ugliness of feature, and his beauty
of soul, his omnivorous interest in the work of the humble craftsmen,
above all on his belief that he had a warning spirit, a daemon, which
checked him when his course was wrong. Although in obedience to this
inward monitor Socrates refrained from politics, he fulfilled all his
civic duties in peace and in war. He conformed to the traditional
religion, sacrificing and praying to the traditional gods, although he
undoubtedly did not hold that they were the limited and sensual
creatures of the popular belief. When he prayed he asked not for gold
or silver or power, but for what the gods knew was good for him. At the
close of Plato’s Phaedrus he offers this appeal: “Beloved Pan, and all
ye other gods who haunt this place, grant me beauty of the inward soul,
and make the outward and the inward man to be but one.” This was the
man who was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens.

Socrates had much in common with the Sophists. Although it is evident
that in his earlier years he had been interested in physical science,
we know that he turned away from that in the course of time, convinced
that man alone was more than man could understand. He rather confined
his attention to man himself, and made man and his conduct the center
of philosophic inquiry. With the Sophists Socrates held that the
cultivation of excellence, of virtue, whatever that might be, was
the chief thing. He also identified virtue and knowledge, and like
the Sophists was sceptical as to man’s ability to attain absolute
knowledge. Practicability was the test he applied to various opinions.
If one notion as to the state or society or anything else worked
better than another, it was, therefore, in his view the better; and
according to him it was by the adoption of such useful opinions that
the individual became the wiser man. He held that education does not
consist in putting things into people’s heads, but in leading them to
discover the truths which they already possess. He therefore employed
discussion as to the validity of hypotheses to bring out the
latent knowledge in the minds of his young friends. This method of
his—dialectic—was not identical with that of the Sophists apparently,
but was not unlike theirs. It was, therefore, natural that his own time
should have reckoned him as one of the professional class.

How then was he distinguished from these Sophists? Externally, first of
all, by the fact that he did not teach for pay, that his purpose was
unselfish, his interest being solely the elucidation of truth and so
the establishment of virtue. He himself believed that he had a divine
commission to serve the Athenians as a missionary. Plato makes him
declare in his defence before his judges: “Men of Athens, I should be
guilty of a crime indeed if through fear of death or anything else I
should desert the post to which I am assigned by the god. For the god
ordains ... that I should follow after wisdom and examine myself and
others.”[165] He conceived of himself as the physician of the soul, and
maintained that his whole business was “to persuade all, both young and
old, not to care about the body or riches, but first and foremost about
the soul—how to make the soul as good as possible.”[166]

As I have already said, he believed that if men could only know what
justice, goodness, and temperance were they would naturally and
inevitably be just and good and temperate. Vice he thought was due to a
lack of knowledge; therefore he employed his questioning, dialectic, to
endeavor to secure clear definitions of these and other virtues, for
he was convinced that if only he and his associates could discover
what virtue was, they would at once pursue virtue and flee from all
wrongdoing. We may smile at the naïveté of this belief, that virtue
is something that can be taught, that to be practised it needs only to
be seen; but we must remind ourselves that his confidence was based
on another belief, which was that virtue is the best and the most
profitable for the individual; and that since each man desires the
best for himself, if he sees what is right, he will follow that course
unswervingly to the end. It may be said with reason that this is a
utilitarian view, and so it is; but in Socrates it was combined with
a power of will which enabled him to translate his convictions into
reality, for it was in obedience to this conviction that the great
teacher gave up his life.

Thus far we have seen that in the ferment of the last part of the fifth
century in Athens there were two forces which were in a sense opposed
to each other, the Sophists with their inevitable scepticism, who
taught that all truth was subjective, that justice and goodness were
only that which seemed just and good to the individual; opposed to them
in reality was Socrates, not only in spirit but also by the doctrine
which he endeavored to establish; for his search was always directed
at finding the reality, was always aimed at knowledge in opposition to
opinion. These objective truths, the universals, which to him were the
only real things in the world, he endeavored to obtain by a process of
definition which was not wholly adequate; but he turned men away from
mere observation, from what seemed to be true, to search for permanent
objective reality. How fruitful his teaching was, was shown by many
schools, but above all by his greatest pupil, Plato. His followers have
lasted to the present day.

The last third of the fifth century was a new era for Greece. The
Peloponnesian War broke out in the year 431, and lasted until 404.
On the one side was Athens with the empire which she had boldly
built and somewhat ruthlessly held; on the other was a large number
of allied states of Greece with Sparta at their head. The war ended
with the complete humiliation of Athens. She lost her empire, her
wealth, and a large part of her population. These disasters gave
opportunity and occasion for new forces to come to the front. Early in
the war the mercurial Athenians had shown themselves impatient of the
leadership which had made Athens great, and they rejected Pericles.
They were easily led astray by wild schemes, as when they followed the
imperialistic party headed by Alcibiades and sent out the Sicilian
expedition in 415, which was to meet irreparable disaster two years
later. In time of distress, under the burden of political and economic
misfortune, men often turn to reconsider the bases of their beliefs
and actions, to test the validity of the doctrines which have hitherto
guided them. This was the case at Athens. The old beliefs went by the
board; society, government, and religion all became subjects of doubt
and of reexamination.

The greatest spokesman of this time was Euripides. Although he was the
younger contemporary of Sophocles, who outlived him by a few months,
Euripides belongs to a new age. The former represents imperial Athens
of the age of Pericles, the latter the Athens of the Peloponnesian War.
Born of a family apparently well-to-do he certainly received a liberal
education. Politics and society seem never to have attracted him to
active participation in them, but the intellectual life of his time
he shared to the full; and more than any extant writer of his day, he
shows that he felt the force of the movements which were transforming
Athenian thought. It has been aptly said that in Sophocles the poetical
course of traditional religion culminated; in Euripides we have for the
first time the poetic and philosophical development fully combined.
He was a profound thinker, troubled by the most difficult problems of
humanity, and approaching tradition with the liberal frankness of the
new age. Yet we must always bear in mind that he was a dramatic poet,
not a systematic theologian or moral teacher. Again and again fidelity
to his art made him put sentiments into the mouths of his characters
which must have been abhorrent to him. Nor have we any right to search
for some hidden meaning in his plays. Yet after all allowances have
been made, we cannot doubt that in his dramas he frequently expresses
his personal views on politics, morals, and religion, which were quite
at variance with the views of tradition.

Toward the gods of the current mythology no one could have been more
frankly sceptical or scornful than he. As Nestle, a German critic, has
pointed out, the basic principle of his attacks is found in his verse:

    εἰ θεοί τι δρωσιν αἰσχρόν, οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοί.[167]

    If the gods do aught that is base, then they are not gods.

That is, as the same critic says, for Euripides “God and sin are
mutually exclusive terms.” Sophocles held the same belief, yet his
point of view was wholly different, as is shown by his verse:

    αἰσχρὸν μὲν οὐδὲν ὧν ὑφηγοῦνται θεοί.[168]

    Nothing to which the gods lead men is base.

That is, whatever the gods do is good no matter how it may seem
to man. There is then a fundamental difference between the two
tragedians: the elder has faith to believe in the righteousness of the
traditional gods, the younger is ready to throw tradition over. The
unreasonableness and immorality of popular beliefs and the baffling
existence of evil in the world Euripides could not reconcile with a
faith in the existence of all powerful and just beings such as he
held the gods must be, if they exist at all. His firm conviction that
divinity, if it have any existence, must be absolutely just, explains
the poet’s boldness in holding up to scorn the popular notions. In the
Hippolytus he exhibits the goddess of love in a shameful light, and
makes Artemis join with the innocent hero of the play in condemning her.

Indeed throughout the tragedy the traditional beliefs are treated with
powerful irony. When Phaedra is filled with shame at the passion for
her step-son with which Aphrodite has inspired her, the nurse tempts
her to yield, quoting ancient tales of the celestials’ amours as

    Whoso have scrolls writ in the ancient days,
    And wander still themselves by paths of song,
    They know how Zeus of yore desired the embrace
    Of Semele; they know how radiant Dawn
    Up to the gods snatched Cephalus of yore,
    And all for love; yet these in Heaven their home
    Dwell, neither do they flee the face of Gods,
    Content, I trow, to be love’s vanquished ones.
    Thou—wilt not yield?[169]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Nay, darling, from thy deadly thoughts refrain,
    And from presumption—sheer presumption this,
    That one should wish to be more strong than Gods.
    In love flinch not; a God hath willed this thing.[170]

But Phaedra dies by her own hand rather than yield to the goddess’s
design. The innocent Hippolytus, second victim of divine injustice,
cries out as he dies:

    Innocent I, ever fearing the Gods, who was wholly heart-clean
          Above all men beside,—
            Lo, how am I thrust
          Unto Hades, to hide
            My life in the dust!
    All vainly I reverenced God, and in vain unto man was I just.[171]

What greater condemnation of the traditional gods could there be than

In the Hercules Hera drives the hero mad and makes him the slayer of
his own innocent children, all because of the goddess’s jealousy of
Zeus. Small wonder that Hercules cries when the truth is brought home
to him:

                    To such a Goddess
    Who shall pray now? who, for a woman’s sake
    Jealous of Zeus, from Hellas hath cut off
    Her benefactors, guiltless though they were.[172]

The hero refuses to find any consolation for his woes in the suggestion
that the gods too have sinned and suffered for their wrongs—“if
minstrel legends be not false.” Whereat he exclaims:

    I deem not that the Gods for spousals crave
    Unhallowed: tales of Gods’ hands manacled
    Ever I scorned nor ever will believe,
    Nor that one God is born another’s lord.
    For God hath need, if God indeed he be,
    Of naught: these be the minstrels’ sorry tales.[173]

This play then like the Hippolytus is a condemnation through Hera and
Zeus of the whole system of gods.

In these sentiments there is something more than direct defiance of
tradition. Euripides does not, like Pindar, refine away the baser
elements of legends; or, like Aeschylus and Sophocles, obscure the
uglier features of the ancient mythology. On the contrary, constrained
by his profession as dramatic poet to draw his themes from the dark
tales of gods and heroes in a mythological age—tales whose immorality
was wholly hateful to him—he accomplishes his purpose by showing these
gods and heroes on his stage engaged in actions and prompted by motives
which are so base as to destroy the spectator’s regard for beings of
such a sort, and to win the onlooker’s sympathy for the mortal victim
against the higher power. To the shameless natures of the gods the poet
bluntly gives fitting characterizations: he names them cruel, vengeful,
treacherous, licentious.

Euripides is no less iconoclastic in dealing with current religious
practices; there is none that escapes his scorn. Sacrifices and votive
offerings seem to him unworthy of true gods. The folly of popular
wonder at the riches of temples is brought out in a fragment of the
lost Philoctetes, in which the hero sarcastically bids his hearers see
how even the gods prize gain, and therefore men should not hesitate
to get profit and thereby make themselves equal to the gods.[174] That
it is not the size of the gift, but piety which secures the favor of
just Heaven, is the lesson of another couplet.[175] Temples and statues,
and all the sacred privileges attached thereto are treated with equal
disregard for tradition; and the sacred institution of blood-vengeance
is most emphatically condemned. For the common trust in omens given by
dreams and the flight of birds he has only ridicule. So in the Tauric
Iphigenia when Iphigenia learns from Orestes that her brother lives,
she cries:

    False dreams, avaunt! So then ye were but naught.[176]

To which Orestes answers:

    Ay, and not even Gods, whom men call wise,
    Are less deceitful than be fleeting dreams.
    Utter confusion is in things divine
    And human. Wise men grieve at this alone
    When—rashness?—no, but faith in oracles
    Brings ruin—how deep, they that prove it know.[177]

The condemnation of the interpreter of signs given by birds is made the
more effective in the Phoenissae by putting it into the mouth of the
seer Tirisias:

                  Who useth the diviner’s art
    Is foolish. If he heraldeth ill things,
    He is loathed of those to whom he prophesies.
    If pitying them that seek to him, he lie,
    He wrongs the Gods.[178]

In the Iphigenia at Aulis Achilles bitterly asks, “What is a seer?”
and answers his own question, “A man who speaks few truths and many
lies.”[179] Even prayer is sometimes regarded as of doubtful aid,
although naturally Euripides’ characters often appeal to the Gods.

At times, too, the poet is more openly atheistic or agnostic with
reference to the popular religion. The most striking illustration is
found in the prayer which he puts into the mouth of Hecuba, the Trojan

    O Earth’s Upbearer, thou whose throne is Earth,
    Whoe’er thou be, O past our finding out,
    Zeus, be thou Nature’s Law, or Mind of Man,
    To thee I pray; for treading soundless paths,
    In justice dost thou guide all mortal things.[180]

You will observe that although this prayer rejects all current
polytheism, it is far from denying the existence of a divine
power—rather it maintains in poetic language the existence of such a
principle—the reason of the universe which shows itself in nature as
law and in the mind of man as reason. This pantheism finds expression
elsewhere in his poetry. In illustration I will quote two fragments.
The first identifies divinity with all embracing ether:

    Seest thou the boundless ether there on high,
    That folds the earth around with dewy arms?
    This deem thou Zeus, this reckon one with God.[181]

The second identifies god with the intelligence which pervades the

    Thee, self-begotten, who in ether rolled
    Ceaselessly round, by mystic links dost blend
    The nature of all things, whom veils enfold
    Of light, of dark night flecked with gleams of gold,
    Of star-hosts dancing round thee without end.[182]

The last three passages show how the poet’s mind was filled with the
philosophic thought of the day. In identifying divinity with the
ether he was apparently giving poetic expression to the views of his
contemporary, the philosopher Diogenes of Apollonia, whom he must have
known at Athens. Diogenes followed Anaximenes in making “Air” (or
the “Ether”) the basic element of the world, but advanced beyond his
predecessor in attributing to “Air” intelligence and movement—indeed
he held that it could only be conceived as intelligent; and he further
said that this intelligent “Air,” which was the cause and, by virtue
of its intelligence, the director of all things, seemed to him to be
god. In the mind of man therefore the divine principle shows itself
as intellect, in nature it is law. But in Hecuba’s prayer there is a
higher conception of god than even this—the divine reason is also
world-ruling Justice: Justice and God are one. This identification
in a sense is as old as Hesiod, but Euripides conceives of Justice
not as the daughter of Zeus but as identical with the cosmic reason,
immanent in all things, forming and directing all things. When the
poet speaks of Justice in ways more natural to the ordinary man, he
combats the current notion that Justice dwells in heaven where men’s
sins are recorded in a book; rather, he says, she is here on earth
with men, unseen but seeing all.[183] Yet he never carried out this idea
and reconciled it with the actual moral condition of the world and
the undeserved sufferings of mankind. The problem of evil and doubt
constantly vexed him; neither faith nor reason gave him rest:

   When faith overfloweth my mind, God’s providence all-embracing
   Banisheth griefs: but when doubt whispereth ‘Ah but to _know_!’
   No clue through the tangle I find of fate and of life for my tracing:
       There is ever a change and many a change,
   And the mutable fortune of men evermore sways to and fro
       Over limitless range.[184]

On death and the possibility of a future life Euripides again gives us
no consistent views. He thought that men fear the great transition from
inexperience with it; but he found some comfort in the fact that death
comes in obedience to nature’s universal law, and therefore should
cause no alarm.[185] Still he felt that the possibility of life beyond
the grave gave no certainty of joy, for many, like Macaria in the
Heraclidae, might say:

                If in the grave aught be:
    But ah that naught might be!—for if there too
    We mortals who must die shall yet have cares,
    I know not whither one shall turn; since death
    For sorrow is accounted chiefest balm.[186]

Sometimes he expresses or hints at the view that our souls return to
the air or ether from which they sprang.[187] Again he uses the Homeric
pictures of a cheerless other world. Once he refers to the Orphic
doctrine in the cryptic utterance, “Who knows but life be death,
and death be reckoned life below?”—verses which Plato and other
philosophers were to interpret after him.

If space allowed, we might gladly dwell on Euripides’ sympathy with
human poverty and suffering, on the hints he gives that he perceived
the common brotherhood of man. In his noble ideals of womanhood he
surpasses his contemporaries. Above all these matters it is important
for us with our present interest to note that more than once the
tragedian seems to wish to inculcate the truth that the standard
of morality among men was far superior to that of the traditional
pantheon. No other poet of his age sets forth the true nobility of man
so perfectly as Euripides.

The last play of the long list he wrote was the Bacchae. Composed in
Macedonia, it was first produced at Athens after the poet’s death. As
was fitting for a tragedy written in the home of Dionysus, the drama
deals with the Dionysiac possession, enthusiasm, the “divine madness,”
on which the Greeks ever set high store. No play has so baffled
interpretation. Some scholars think it a recantation; others vigorously
deny it. Personally I am inclined to hold with Adam that Dionysus
in the play “stands for the spirit of enthusiasm in the ancient
Greek meaning of the word,” and that the principal lesson of the
drama is to be found in the verse, “Not with knowledge is wisdom
bought”[188]—that is, reason is not all in man, but there is something
greater—enthusiasm, inspiration.[189]

From what we have been considering thus far, it is evident that
Euripides’ spirit was primarily iconoclastic; there can be no question
that he contributed to the decay of the ancient beliefs and that he
helped drive the Olympians from their thrones in the minds of thinking
men. For fifty years he openly uttered his criticisms in the theater
at the high festival of Dionysus before the quick-witted Athenians.
The effect must have been great, for no poet enjoyed more widespread

On the positive side Euripides offers no system of religion or of
morals. Indeed, he seems never to have arrived at any complete
unity in his thought. But he is stimulating now, and in his own day
unquestionably goaded men to reflection, just because he raises so
often fundamental questions—the questions which reflecting men were
asking then and have been asking ever since—questions which are never
wholly answered, but which always demand an answer. The stimulating
character of his dramas makes him indeed one of the great religious
poets of the world.


[154] _Thuc._ 2, 43-44.

[155] _Frgg._ 14-16.

[156] _Frg._ 11.

[157] _Frg._ 18.

[158] _Frgg._ 23-26.

[159] _Frgg._ 1, 2, 30, 31, 40-42; cf. 57, 67, 90.

[160] _Frgg._ 14, 15, 29, 32, 41, 128.

[161] _Frg._ 1.

[162] _Frg._ 4.

[163] _Frg._ 5.

[164] _Frg._ 25 = 1 Nauck^2, pp. 770 ff.

[165] _Apol._ 28 E.

[166] _Apol._ 30 A.

[167] _Frg._ 292, 7.

[168] _Frg._ 226, 4.

[169] _Hipp._ 451-459.

[170] _Hipp._ 473-476.

[171] _Hipp._ 1365-1369.

[172] _H. F._ 1307 ff.

[173] _H. F._ 1341 ff.

[174] _Frg._ 794.

[175] _Frg._ 946.

[176] _I.T._ 569.

[177] _I.T._ 570-575.

[178] _Phoen._ 954-958.

[179] _I.A._ 956 f.

[180] _Tro._ 884-888.

[181] _Frg._ 941.

[182] _Frg._ 593.

[183] _Frgg._ 151, 255, 506.

[184] _Hippol._ 1102 ff.

[185] _Frgg._ 757, 816.

[186] 592 ff.

[187] _Hel._ 1014 ff.

[188] 395.

[189] Adam, _Religious Teachers_, p. 316.



Socrates became the father of many philosophic schools. His pupils
naturally differed from one another in the emphasis which they gave
to this or that side of their master’s teaching and in the ways in
which they combined his doctrines with principles laid down by earlier
thinkers, but all agreed in this, that they directed their attention
to man as the center of thought and inquiry. From this time ethics and
religion became the dominant themes of philosophy. Our subject bids us
confine our attention to the greatest of these pupils, Plato.

Plato was born at Athens in the year 428/7 B.C. of an ancient
family, which was related to the law-giver Solon. After being educated
in the best Athenian fashion, he attached himself to Socrates in his
twentieth year, when the latter was already about sixty years old,
and he continued to associate with his master for ten years until the
latter’s condemnation and death. Probably he was not one of the inner
circle, but he tells us that he was present at his master’s trial and
with other followers of Socrates was prepared to go bondsman, if a fine
were inflicted. Sickness prevented him from sharing in the discussion
of the last day, which is related to us in the Phaedo. After Socrates’
death, Plato was absent from Athens for about twelve years, residing
first in the neighboring city of Megara, where his association with
Euclides, one of Socrates’ oldest pupils, must have contributed to
the development of his own philosophy. Later in southern Italy, if we
accept the traditional account of his travels, he had an opportunity
to study more closely in their home the Orphic-Pythagorean systems and
doctrines, many of which no doubt he had often heard Socrates discuss.
At Syracuse in Sicily he won over Dion, the young brother-in-law of
the tyrant Dionysius. The latter, however, found his moral teachings
offensive, seized him, and had him offered for sale as a prisoner of
war in the slave market at Aegina. But a friend, Anniceris, bought
him and set him free. When Plato’s other friends wished to repay to
Anniceris the money he had spent, the latter refused, and the sum was
used to purchase a grove sacred to the hero Academus, in which Plato
opened a philosophic school. There, save for the interruptions caused
by two journeys to Sicily, he continued to teach for about forty years,
dying in 347 B.C. at the age of eighty.

To this school came pupils from almost every part of the Greek
world. The chief subjects studied were the various branches of
mathematics—including of course astronomy and harmonics,—and
dialectics, by which is meant “the art of question and answer, the art
of giving a rational account of things and of receiving such an account
from others.” The distinctive methods employed were those of analysis
and division which Plato seems to have developed so far that the
invention of the former was actually, but erroneously, attributed to
him. The purpose of analysis was to secure an explanation or proof of a
proposition; that of division was to arrive at a proper classification
or division of the object under consideration. Plato’s instruction was
evidently given in considerable part by lectures, of which his hearers
took notes; there was also scientific research on the part of the
pupils who worked out the problems or difficulties set them by their
master. Nor were these researches wholly mathematical and astronomical,
for there is good reason to believe that studies in natural history
were also pursued. Indeed, Aristotle, for twenty years a member of the
Academy, must have had opportunities here to carry on those researches
which interested him most in the early part of his life. But whatever
the studies, the purpose was to lead the pupils to the discovery and
contemplation of Reality, of Being, of the fundamental and permanent as
against the individual and transitory phenomenon. Of Plato’s lectures
we know virtually nothing; his Dialogues represent those parts of his
doctrine which he wished to give to the outside world; it is probable
that they in no sense adequately reproduce his teachings to his

How much of his philosophy Plato received from his master Socrates,
how much he developed for himself cannot now be determined. Socrates
left no writings; we know him only from the writings of others, and
above all from the dialogues of Plato. There he is the chief spokesman,
who leads his associates along various paths toward truth; and
certainly no pupil ever built a nobler monument to his teacher than
Plato did. Among modern scholars there are many views as to the extent
of Plato’s debt to his master: one extreme wing, which has many
adherents, would limit the Socratic elements in the Platonic doctrine
to the ethical interest, the search for universals, and the dialectic
method; the other wing, of which the eminent English Platonist Burnet
is the chief representative, would attribute to Socrates practically
everything found in the dialogues which Plato wrote before he began
his teaching in the Academy. Indeed Burnet holds that Plato’s chief
purpose in the earlier dialogues was to set forth the life and teaching
of Socrates; he therefore claims that the “doctrine of ideas,” with all
its consequences, and much besides, are purely Socratic, taken over by
Plato in developed form. Few of us can accept either of these extreme
views; it seems more probable that the truth lies between, that Plato
learned much relating to “ideas” and their Pythagorean origins from
his teacher, just as he derived from him his ethical interest and his
method. But to reduce the brilliant pupil to a mere reporter of his
master’s views with little philosophy of his own until he was past
forty, is quite incredible, and such a procedure has no proper warrant.
When speaking of Socrates in my previous lecture I avoided this
question, for a discussion of it there would have been unprofitable and
confusing; and even now for convenience I propose to treat that part of
Plato’s philosophy which immediately concerns us as if it were wholly
his own, begging you, however, to keep in mind always that undoubtedly
much in germ or developed form was derived directly from Plato’s
chief teacher. Furthermore I must ask you to remember that Plato had
been given to poetry when a youth, and that although he renounced the
practice of the art, he remained a poet in spirit to the end of his
life; all his thoughts were touched with poetry, enlivened with humour,
and fired with religious zeal. He was a consummate literary artist,
and a man of many sides. It was natural therefore that he should
nowhere set forth a crystallized system of philosophy such as a less
imaginative and duller person might have done; he was apparently a man
who grew through all his eighty years. The result is that in spite of
the fact that we may properly speak of “the unity of Plato’s thought,”
we find in his works variety, variation, and even contradiction. The
requirements of our present situation, however, force us to consider
our themes categorically, though that procedure is somewhat unfair to

Let us then first examine the central thought of Plato’s
philosophy—the “doctrine of ideas.” Developing the doctrines of
earlier philosophers, especially those of Heraclitus and Anaxagoras,
Plato held that the world is dual. In it is the phenomenal world
visible to us, which includes all natural objects and those made by
man, a transient and unreal world which we know only through our
senses. But beside it, or rather behind it, is another world invisible
but permanent and real, which can be grasped only by the reason. This
is the world of ideas. Yet the two worlds are not separate, for the
world of the senses owes its existence wholly to its dependence on
the world of ideas. To understand Plato’s view we must consider
in an elementary way what he meant by “ideas.” The words which he
uses (εἶδος, ἰδέα) signify “form,” and in logic are used in the
sense of “class,” “kind,” “species,” “the general principle for the
classification of objects.” The translation “idea” is traditional, and
there is no adequate reason for preferring “form” or any other English
equivalent. Now Plato’s statement that the world of phenomena depends
on the invisible world of ideas seems at first sight paradoxical, for
by it he means that the individual tree, book, desk, chair, good man,
or whatever you please, is not the real being at all, but that the
ideas of tree, book, desk, chair, and goodness alone possess reality.
It may be made plain by an illustration which shall be Plato’s own. At
the beginning of the tenth book of the Republic Socrates and Glaucon
are conversing together. The master wins Glaucon’s assent first to the
proposition that although there are many beds and tables in the world,
there are only two ideas, one of a bed, the other of a table. He then
goes on to show that the workman makes a bed or table by shaping his
material according to the idea of a bed or a table, but that he does
not create the ideas themselves. That is done by God who is the real
maker of the real bed, that is, of the idea of a bed. The carpenter
makes only the particular bed which owes its temporary existence to the
eternal idea—the real bed—which is in Nature, in the mind of God. Or
if Plato should appear before us tonight, he might say, “Suppose
we take a dozen books of different sizes and different shapes and
appearance, how do we recognize that these diverse objects are all
books?” Then when we hesitated to give an answer, as we probably
should, he would reply, “It is because each one of these individual
books partakes of the idea of book. The idea is present in the
individual example and thereby gives the individual its existence;
the individual depends therefore on the idea, not the idea on the
individual. If this dozen, or indeed if all the books in the entire
world were to be destroyed, the idea of book would still remain,
and new books could be made by causing the materials, out of which
books are constructed, to partake of the idea of book. That is, all
individual books are transitory, impermanent, unreal; the idea of
book is permanent, eternal, it alone has reality; and all individual
things, therefore, exist, so far as they have any real existence, only
by partaking of the ideas. So all things come into being and owe their
existence to sharing in the eternal ideas.”

We should be unjust to Plato if we thought that he regarded this
doctrine as a perfect explanation of the relation between the visible
and invisible worlds. Far from holding such a view he himself evidently
held it to be a “guess at truth,” which served to show in its way that
there is a permanent reality behind the phenomena of the visible world
and a truth which is beyond sense. Indeed Plato is very conscious of
troublesome questions which arise in connection with the doctrine, and
in three dialogues—his Philebus, Parmenides, and Sophist—he endeavors
to meet some of these questions, and there he offers admirable
criticism of his own views.

With reference to the source of the doctrine, as I have said above,
we cannot tell how much Plato derived from Socrates or how much he
developed for himself. Socrates was evidently always searching for
universals, trying to determine what goodness is in itself in contrast
to the goodness embodied in a good man, what are virtue, courage, and
such qualities. The teacher or the pupil may have extended the ideas,
the universals, to include all things, even the humble articles of
furniture which are the examples in the Republic. But in any case by
this doctrine of “ideas,” “forms,” Plato secured a basis for reality,
a means of attaining absolute knowledge in contrast to that relative
knowledge, which according to the Sophists was the utmost which man
could attain. Plato would have quite agreed with Protagoras that if
the senses were our only avenues to knowledge, then indeed man would
be the measure of all things and his knowledge would be limited to the
transient phenomenal world; that is, he could have no knowledge of
reality; but by apprehending through our reason the ideas—that is, the
realities—on which the phenomenal world depends, we can gain genuine
knowledge and free ourselves from subjection to mere opinion.

Plato also teaches that there are various grades of ideas, some
being subordinate to others; the highest of all is that of the Good,
identified by him with the Beautiful. This supreme idea is at once the
cause of all existence and knowledge, and comprehends within itself all
other ideas; as the sun in the visible world, so in the world of true
knowledge the Good “is the universal author of all things right and
beautiful, itself the source of truth and intelligence.” It is the
Absolute, the universal Reason, God.[190]

We have seen that Plato sets the world of ideas apprehended by reason
over against the world of phenomena, known to us through our senses.
The latter world is material, the former immaterial. This concept of
the immateriality of ideas was something new in philosophy. Anaxagoras
had thought his formative principle (Νοῦς), as his predecessors had
thought theirs, to be as material as the “seeds” out of which all
things were made; but Plato developed an immaterial, an ideal world,
wherein are found all cause and all reality.

Now the Platonic ideas are apprehended by the human intellect. What
are the consequences of this fact? It must follow that man’s reason
has a nature similar to that of the ideas; like them it must belong to
the world which is above the senses; and with them it must partake of
the Absolute. But Plato shows that the ideas are eternal and immortal,
and draws therefrom the logical conclusion that man’s intellect, his
reasoning soul, likewise knows no creation and is free from death.

However he is not content to let the matter rest on this argument
alone, but he supports the doctrine of immortality by many proofs, as
in the Phaedrus where Socrates explains: “The soul through all her
being is immortal, for that which is ever in motion is immortal; but
that which moves another and is moved by another, in ceasing to move,
ceases also to live. Only the self-moving, as it never leaves itself,
never ceases to move and is the fountain and beginning of motion to
all that moves besides.”[191] In the Phaedo[192] he represents Socrates
as offering a number of different arguments to his questioning friends.
One of these is that by which he first proves that souls exist before
they are domiciled in our bodies, for recollection implies a previous
existence, and since men can recall and recognize things which they
have never seen or been taught in their present existence, it follows
that they have been born with this knowledge, so that what we call
learning is after all only a recollection of ideas gained in a previous
existence. Socrates concludes his argument with the question: “Then
may we not say, Simmias, that if, as we are always repeating, there
is an absolute beauty, and goodness, and an absolute essence of all
things; and if to this, which is now discovered to have existed in our
former state, we refer all our sensations, and with this compare them,
finding these ideas to be pre-existent and our inborn possession—then
our souls must have had a prior existence, but if not, there would be
no force in the argument?” To this his hearers give ready assent. In
the Meno this same argument is very adroitly drawn from the realm of
mathematics.[193] An untutored slave is made to “recollect” that the
square of the hypothenuse of an isosceles right-angled triangle is
equal to twice the square of one of its sides. This is the doctrine of
recollection to which Wordsworth has given beautiful expression in his
familiar lines:

    Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
    The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
              Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                  And cometh from afar;
              Not in entire forgetfulness,
              And not in utter nakedness,
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
              From God, who is our home.

But as Simmias and Cebes in the Phaedo point out, this doctrine only
shows that the soul existed before the body; it does not prove that
the soul is immortal. Socrates therefore goes on to prove this further
point, largely by showing the simple and unchanging nature of the
soul which is like that of the ideas, and he therefore concludes that
since it cannot admit of change, it must be free from death. Again
he argues that since the soul can rule and use the body as it will,
it must be anterior to the body and hence have an eternal and never
ending existence.[194] The final and apparently most convincing proof to
Plato’s mind, in spite of its dialectic character, is that the notion
of life cannot be separated from the soul, for the soul is that which
gives life; therefore since a dead soul is an impossibility, we must
agree that the soul is immortal.[195] To follow out in detail the other
arguments would occupy too much time now, interesting as it might
prove. Indeed if we were to rehearse all of Plato’s proofs of the
immortality of the soul, we should run through practically the entire
gamut of the arguments which have ever been offered. His frequent
return to the subject indicates the importance which he gave to the

Before we approach Plato’s ethical and religious views we must glance
for a moment at his psychology, for on that depends in no small measure
his moral system. In the fourth book of the Republic when discussing
the different forms of government, Socrates is made to show that the
soul has three parts or elements: the first is the divine or rational
part (τὸ θεῖον, τὸ λογιστικόν) whose seat is in the head, the second,
the courageous or passionate element (τὸ θυμοειδές) residing in the
heart, and the third is the appetite (τὸ ἐπιθυμητικόν) which belongs to
the diaphragm or liver.[196] In the Phaedrus[197] this same division
is set forth in a myth. Now when in an individual all three parts are
in accord under the leadership of reason, whose orders are enforced
by courage on appetite, the man is virtuous; but if appetite and
courage unite against reason, discord results and the man is vicious.
As the state is well ordered when harmony exists among its parts, so
harmony of the soul, led by the reason, produces the virtuous human
being. In the earlier dialogues the soul is evidently regarded as a
unit, so that the parts are really forms or manifestations of the
soul; all three are immortal. But in the Timaeus only the reason is
immortal, the other parts being separable and bound to the body with
which they die.[198] Now we have already seen that the soul, or at
least its rational part, being divine and immortal, has an affinity
for the eternal ideas and is endowed by a natural love for the true,
the beautiful, and the good. It is therefore impelled toward the
divine world of ideas by a natural passion, and this effort on the
part of man’s reason is philosophy. The true philosopher then is the
lover of truth and reality, who is absorbed in the pleasures of the
soul so that he will hardly be conscious of bodily pleasure; indeed he
will not think much of human life or even fear death.[199] The soul,
however, in its effort to mount into the realm of the ideas, is held
back by the body in which it is imprisoned and fettered in the world
of the senses. Thus we find in Plato the Orphic belief that man has a
dual nature, made up of a divine soul and a mortal hindering body. We
shall presently see how he gave to the emotional belief of that sect a
philosophic basis and so transformed it into a reasonable article of
morality and religion.

Now we may consider Plato’s moral and religious views. The highest good
for man, according to his teaching, is likeness to God—that is, the
largest possible participation in the ideas of the Good which are in
the Absolute. In direct proportion to the success of the rational soul
in appropriating to itself these ideas, the man will practise justice
and holiness, that is, be righteous; but inasmuch as the world of
ideas cannot be apprehended by the senses, the rational soul of the
philosopher must always try to escape from the world of the senses
where evils dwell. As Socrates in the Theaetetus[200] assures Theodorus:
“Evils, Theodorus, can never pass away; for there must always remain
something which is antagonistic to the good. Having no place among
the gods in heaven, of necessity they hover around the mortal nature
and this earthly sphere. Wherefore we ought to fly away from earth to
heaven as quickly as we can; and to fly away is to become like God,
so far as this is possible; and to become like him is to become holy,
just, and wise ... God is never in any way unrighteous—he is perfect
righteousness; and he of us who is the most righteous is most like
him.... To know this is true wisdom and virtue; and ignorance of this
is manifest folly and vice.” The man, then, whose soul strives to
become like God will inevitably be righteous. Plato’s philosophy thus
results in practical morality.

Furthermore we are assured in the Republic that a seeker after
righteousness will not be neglected by the gods, for Socrates there
says:[201] “Then this must be our notion of the just man, that even when
he is in poverty or sickness or any other seeming misfortune, all
things will in the end work together for good to him in life and death:
for the gods have a care of any one whose desire is to become just
and be like God, so far as man can attain the divine likeness, by the
pursuit of virtue.”

The path by which man is to attain to likeness of God, and so to
freedom from his lower nature, is that of a noble asceticism which
Socrates described to Simmias and Cebes the night before his own
death:[202] “No one who has not studied philosophy and who is not
entirely pure at the time of his departure is allowed to enter the
company of the gods, but the lover of knowledge only. And this is the
reason, Simmias and Cebes, why the true votaries of philosophy abstain
from all fleshly lusts, and hold out against them and refuse to give
themselves up to them, not because they fear poverty or the ruin of
their families, like the lovers of money and the world in general; nor
like the lovers of power and honour, because they dread the dishonour
or the disgrace of evil deeds.”

“No, Socrates, that would not become them,” said Cebes.

“No indeed,” he replied, “and therefore they who have any care of their
own souls, and do not merely live moulding and fashioning the body, say
farewell to all this; they will not walk in the ways of the blind: and
when philosophy offers them purification and release from evil, they
feel that they ought not to resist her influence, and whither she leads
they turn and follow.”

“What do you mean, Socrates?”

“I will tell you,” he said. “The lovers of knowledge are conscious that
the soul was simply fastened and glued to the body—until philosophy
freed her, she could only view real existence through the bars of a
prison, not in and through herself; she was wallowing in the mire of
every sort of ignorance, and by reason of lust had become the principal
accomplice in her own captivity.” And a little later Socrates says:
“The soul of the true philosopher thinks that she ought not to resist
this deliverance (which philosophy offers), and therefore abstains from
pleasures and desires and pains and fears, so far as she is able.”

Somewhat earlier in the dialogue Socrates had stated in still more
emphatic terms the necessity of putting the body aside if man’s soul
would attain real knowledge:[203] “For if while in company with the body
the soul cannot have pure knowledge, one of two things follows—either
knowledge is not to be attained at all, or if at all, after death.
For then, and not till then, the soul will be parted from the body
and exist in herself alone. In this present life, I reckon that we
make the nearest approach to knowledge when we have the least possible
intercourse or communion with the body, and are not surfeited with the
bodily nature, but keep ourselves pure until the hour when God himself
is pleased to release us. And thus having got rid of the foolishness of
the body we shall be pure and shall hold converse with the pure, and
know of ourselves the clear light everywhere, which is no other than
the light of truth.” As the phrase, “until the hour when God himself
is pleased to release us,” shows, man might not hasten the time of his
release by his own act. And in other places, in familiar ways, Plato
teaches that man may not desert the station where god has set him on
guard until the command is given.

Finally in the Cratylus,[204] where Socrates in discussing the origin
and nature of language indulges in some serious fooling in connection
with the name of the soul (ψυχή), he says that he imagines that
those who first gave the soul its name “psyche,” (ψυχή), wished to
express the truth that the soul when in the body is the source of
life, and gives the body the ability to breathe and revive, and that
when this power fails the body, then it perishes and dies. As for
body, he reminds his interlocutor that that word (σῶμα) is variously
interpreted, some saying that it is the grave (σῆμα) of the soul, which
may be regarded as in a tomb during this present life; and he adds that
the Orphic poets were probably the ones who invented the name, for
they had the notion that the embodied soul is suffering punishment for
sin, and that the body is a prison in which the soul is incarcerated
until the penalty of sin is paid. Likewise in the Gorgias[205] Socrates
refers to the same Orphic idea and quotes a verse from Euripides: “Who
knows whether life be not death and death life?” That is, this death
in life is due to the body which tends to strangle the soul. Only
when the reasoning soul has escaped from this tomb of the flesh can
it really live. This is the reason why the true philosopher is always
pursuing death in the sense that he is trying to free his soul, so far
as may be, from the concerns of the body that it may enjoy life at its

I have used Plato’s own words thus extensively for they set forth
more eloquently than any words of mine the essential features of his
doctrine. It requires no argument to show how great his debt to the
Orphics and Pythagoreans was. But we cannot fail to see that he went
far beyond his predecessors, for to their emotional belief in the
immortality of the soul he gave an intellectual basis, by showing that
the rational soul is of the same nature and substance as the Absolute,
and therefore immortal and ever striving to apprehend the Absolute to
which it belongs. In place of the external purifications and simple
taboos which made up the Orphic course of life, Plato substitutes a
noble discipline, reminding us of St. Paul—a discipline which has for
its aim nothing less than the likening of man’s soul to God. When Plato
teaches that man must begin his immortality here “by the practice of
death,” we now see that he really means the practice of life; for life
can only begin when the soul is released from its bodily tomb.

From the Orphics and Pythagoreans Plato adopted also the doctrine
of the transmigration of souls. According to his view a thousand
years—ten times the longest span of human life—elapsed between
death and rebirth, during which the wicked received their ten-fold
punishment and the righteous their like reward. When the time to return
on earth came around, the souls were allowed to choose their new life
as they pleased, only the wicked souls, “which had never seen the
truth,” could not pass into the bodies of men. The choice made and their
next destiny determined, the souls passed to the plain of Forgetfulness
where each must drink of the river of Lethe; in the darkness of
midnight there was an earthquake and thunderstorm, and the souls were
driven, like shooting stars, to their birth. Ten thousand years were
required to complete the round of rebirths and to allow the soul to
return to its heavenly home. But the soul of a philosopher, “guileless
and true,” might secure release after three rebirths if each time he
had chosen the higher life. Some incurable sinners were not allowed
to return to earth, but when their souls approached the mouth of the
cavern which led to the upper world, the mouth gave a mighty roar and
drove them back, while fiends tortured them with all the sufferings
which a fertile imagination could devise. The path of salvation
therefore lay in following righteousness and justice, in choosing
the good, that is, in true philosophy. At the close of the Republic
Socrates relates the vision of Er the Pamphylian whose soul returned
with a report of the other world, and so concludes: “And thus, Glaucon,
the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save us if we
are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the
river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my
counsel is, that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after
justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and
able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus shall
we live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remaining here
and when, like conquerors in the games who go round to gather gifts, we
receive our reward. And it shall be well with us both in this life
and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been

With regard to the ultimate fate of the soul Plato is not wholly
clear; but apparently he held that with the exception of those who had
done unpardonable wrongs the souls of men, when their wanderings and
rebirths were over and they had attained to purity, returned to God, to
the universal reason; probably, however, he thought of their return as
being without loss of individuality, for Plato lays so much stress on
the individual soul that we cannot believe that he would have allowed
it to lose its personality in the Absolute.

This account, I trust, for all its imperfections, is sufficient
to indicate what a great advance Plato made in his concept of the
spiritual life. Man’s reason is now made the means and agent of his
spiritual ascent; the reasoning soul, by its own nature, strives to
seek its own, and so finds its goal by virtue of its reason. The human
will is not neglected in the Platonic system, but it is by no means
made prominent. Man’s salvation is attained when the soul through the
exercise of its reason has risen superior to its bodily prison, freed
itself of the imperfections and evils which are necessarily associated
with the body, and purified has attained to God’s likeness.

In the preceding discussion I have used the word God freely, but it may
fairly be asked how far such use is justified, and furthermore whether
Plato was a pantheist or a polytheist. It is indeed somewhat difficult
to answer these questions, for in many passages he speaks of the gods
in the plural after the common manner, and in the Timaeus he especially
provides for a multitude of gods secondary to the Absolute; in many
other places he speaks of the Divine (τὸ θεῖον) or simply God (θεός).
Sometimes he seems to conceive of God as a living personality; again
God is apparently only the impersonal idea of the Good. Yet in spite
of the fact that his expressions range from polytheism almost to
monotheism, considering the sum total of his thought, we are justified
in speaking of his idea of God. At the same time we must always
understand that his thought admitted many gods, subordinate to the
Absolute and included in it.

But whatever the form of expression which he uses, Plato conceives
of God as the giver of good alone. For him there is no deception or
deceit in the divine; the chastening of man by God is always for the
purpose of making man better, never to satisfy any punitive desire. The
notion of “the envy of the gods,” which is so prominent in Aeschylus,
Herodotus, and other writers of the fifth century, to Plato is
abhorrent and inconceivable. Furthermore he makes the Divine, the idea
of the Good, the measure of truth, not man, as Protagoras would have
had him. His world therefore has a divine warrant of its validity; it
is ordered by the mind of the good and just God, and not by the will
of a debased divinity or by mere chance. Previous thinkers had made
Justice the highest attribute of divinity; to this Plato added Goodness
as the chief characteristic of God.

But in this discussion of Plato’s religious philosophy we have left
one important subject untouched—the problem of evil. This was a
question which a mind so acute and inquisitive as Plato’s could not
finally avoid. Of the presence of evil in the world he was fully
aware, and indeed he maintained that evils must always exist, for
there must remain something antagonistic to the good; and since evils
cannot exist in heaven the earth is their abode, from which man must
try to escape.[208] On the source of evil, however, he touches only in
the Statesman and the Timaeus;[209] in both the question is intimately
connected with his theories of creation, which he sets forth in myth.
But leaving aside the Platonic imagery, I will simply remind you that
earlier in this lecture we saw that Plato conceived the world we
know as dual—the phenomenal world known through the senses and the
world of ideas apprehended by reason. Now the ideas alone have Being;
but the phenomenal world is always in a state of Becoming, that is,
of coming into being and of ceasing to be; it is both temporal and
imperfect. Obviously there must be some principle, parallel in a way
to the perfect and eternal ideas, such that it can receive them, and
by its participation in them bring the imperfect sensible world into
transitory existence. This principle is to Plato the material element.
Now since he ascribes to the ideas alone real existence, that is,
Being, the material principle must be Not-being. It is the negative
substratum of all sensible phenomena, itself invisible, without form or
characteristic, or in Plato’s words “the receptacle, and in a manner,
the nurse of all generation” for, although itself formless, it is
capable of taking on all the forms which the ideas may impose upon it.
Plato himself could not avoid the difficulties which such a material
substratum raises, and at times he is forced to speak as if it were
something real in itself, having an existence beside the ideas. But
his true notion seems to be that matter is mere negation, like the
Aristotelian στέρησις, something which cannot be grasped by
the intellect, as can the ideas, or perceived by the senses, as can
the phenomenal world; it is identical with space. Of course when Plato
talks about this negative principle, he inevitably speaks as if we
could know something about it.[210]

The Absolute in Plato’s thought had not only life and intelligence
but also creative activities; and the acts of creation consisted
in imposing on the formless material principle the ideas which the
Absolute comprehends in itself, or, as perhaps he would have preferred
to say, in making the material principle partake of the appropriate
idea. In the Cratylus he illustrates the relation of matter to the idea
by the way in which the artisan makes a shuttle out of wood, always
forming his material with reference to the true or ideal shuttle.[211]
We may illustrate further by examples modelled on Plato’s own. Think
for a moment of the potter and his clay. The clay is formless matter
which the potter takes and places on the wheel, and there imposes
upon the clay the idea of the pot which is in his own mind; so the
pot acquires a real existence in so far as it partakes of or embodies
the idea which exists in the potter’s mind. Or we may think of the
sculptor and the shapeless block of marble. By imposing his idea upon
the marble, by making the shapeless block embody his idea, the sculptor
brings the statue into being. These illustrations, both Plato’s and
my own, are of course misleading, for the wood, clay, and marble from
which the several objects are made are far from being the negative
substance which Plato would have us believe his material principle to
be. But they may serve to suggest the way in which he conceived the
varied world about us to come into its temporary existence.

Now to Plato’s mind the Absolute and the ideas are perfect; yet we
know that the phenomenal world is imperfect, and imperfection is evil;
therefore, he says, evil must be found in the negative substratum,
since as we have already seen, this was regarded by Plato as in every
way the opposite of the perfect ideas. This imperfection, inherent
in the material principle, is the “necessity” of which he speaks in
the Theaetetus as causing evils—the opposite of the good.[212] Evil,
therefore, is eternal, but, as we have earlier learned, the individual
may escape, if he will take the deliverance which philosophy offers him.

As I have said, the course of creation is explained through myth in
the Timaeus and the Statesman.[213] In the former God is represented
as creating first the gods of heaven which are the fixed stars and
planets, from whom sprang the gods of popular mythology. The Creator
had already conceived of creatures of the air, sea, and land; but these
he did not himself create, for then they would have been on equality
with the gods; he rather commissioned the gods to create man and the
lower animals, while he furnished the divine part, the soul. Man’s soul
therefore is of the same nature as the universal soul, but his body is
material, made of the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water,
and it is imperfect, being subject to the passions. In the Statesman
Plato sets forth his theory of the development of man from an earlier
stage to the present: the significant thing for us at the moment is his
explanation of man’s falling away from virtue as due to the admixture
of matter in him, that this fall was “inherent in the primal nature
which was full of disorder.”

This, then, will at least suggest Plato’s view as to the origin of
evil in the world. His language is that of myth, and it seems evident
that he did not formulate his explanation perfectly even in his own
mind. We shall best regard it as one of his guesses at truth. It is, of
course, easy to find weaknesses in his thought on this question and to
show that the explanation which he suggests is not satisfactory. But
we shall do better to remember the difficulty of the problem and to
recognize the value of his attempt to reach its solution.

The greatest service, however, which Plato did was to establish
by means of his doctrine of ideas a rational relation between the
invisible world of reason and the visible world of the senses; and
by pointing out that the rational part of man’s soul is of the same
substance as the ideas and therefore of the same substance as the
Absolute, to give an intellectual basis to the doctrine of a natural
striving on the part of man after the supreme Good. Hardly second to
this was his service in the field of ethics, where he showed that man’s
spiritual advance depends upon the constant curbing of the passions
and the body. The greatness of his genius is shown by the fact that
throughout antiquity the highest religious thought of paganism had
its source in his work and was only a development of it. Before we
have finished these lectures we shall gain some hints of his profound
influence on Christianity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Platonic philosophy by attributing to the ideas an existence apart
from things, and conversely by denying all existence to anything but
the ideas, had removed all reality to the supernatural world. It was
inevitable that this view should be promptly attacked. The challenge
came from Plato’s greatest pupil, Aristotle.

Aristotle, born at Stagira in Thrace about 384 B.C., by
inheritance and early training had a strong bent toward natural
science, since he was descended from a line of physicians who,
according to Galen, taught anatomy by dissection. For twenty years he
was the pupil and assistant of Plato in the Academy. After the death
of his master he went to the court of Hermias, a prince of Mysia, and
in 343 he was appointed tutor to the son of King Philip of Macedon,
Alexander, then thirteen years of age. About 335 he opened a school
in the Lyceum at Athens, where he taught for some thirteen years.
Then, being accused of impiety after Alexander’s death, he withdrew
to Chalcis in Euboea, as he said, that the Athenians might not sin a
second time against philosophy; there he died about 322.

Into Aristotle’s encyclopedic knowledge and enormous scientific
activities we may not now go; and indeed we need not dwell at very
great length upon him, for his influence in religion was less potent
than Plato’s through antiquity and the earlier Middle Ages. The chief
cause of the elder philosopher’s greater influence is to be found in
the fact that Plato’s thought centered on man, his morality, and his
relation to God, while Aristotle was concerned primarily with the
universe of which man was to him only a part; to Plato virtue was
inseparably connected with religion, and was therefore something to be
sought with fervent spirit as well as with cool reason; to Aristotle
virtue was rather an intellectual matter, an even balance of the soul,
that natural perfection of the whole organism on which the well-being
and happiness of man depended—a state which was to be attained by
right calculation, choice, and habit. So it came to pass that although
Aristotle’s works on logic were continuously studied in one form or
another, his great sway in many realms of human thought, including
theology, began in the thirteenth century, when, learning first from
Arabic scholars, later aided and stimulated by the Latin conquest of
Constantinople in 1204, the western intellectual world eagerly studied
his works anew. Then Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Roger
Bacon raised him to the supreme position in philosophy and theology, so
that he became for that age indeed “the master of those who know.”

Let us now consider some parts of his philosophy. He criticized
Plato’s doctrine that ideas have an existence apart from things, and
not unjustly charged that Plato had taken the universals, which we
arrive at by abstraction, and had elevated these general concepts
into eternal and immortal elements, claiming for them that they were
anterior to the things of sense and alone had real existence. In his
own philosophy he took a position fundamentally opposed to that of
Plato, for he insisted that “ideas,” “forms” and the phenomenal world
could not exist apart, for if they did, then we should be obliged to
postulate a third world beyond them; that is to say, that if the idea
of man, for example, had a substantial existence apart from individual
men, then there would have to be an idea antecedent to both the idea of
man and the individual men, the model of both, and this idea would be a
“third man.” He further pointed out that men know the ideas only in the
concrete objects, never apart from those objects of which they are the
ideas, that the essence can never be separated from that of which it is
the essence, since then both thing and essence would cease to exist. So
he charged Plato with using meaningless poetic metaphors when he said
that ideas, forms, existed apart from things. Reality to Aristotle was
always in the individual object, itself an indissoluble union of matter
and form. Of course he recognized that the human mind could abstract
these two elements each from the other and could think of the
matter and the form as separate, but he would not allow that these
abstractions had substantial reality in the sense that they could ever
exist by themselves.[214]

Since then to him the Platonic ideas were nothing apart from the
individual objects, Aristotle could find no principle of movement or
change in them; so he claimed that the doctrine of ideas was sterile
and came to naught. In his own system he enumerated four principles
or causes, which he insisted, however, are only known to us from
individual things: the material cause (τὸ ἐξ oὗ γίνεταί τι, ἡ ὓλη), the
formal cause (τὸ εἶδος, ἡ μορφή), the efficient cause (τὸ ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχή),
and the final cause (τὸ oὗ ἕνεκα, τὸ τέλος). To make his meaning clear
let us use in part his own illustrations: the material cause of the
statue is the bronze of which it is made, just as in the example of the
pot which we used a little while ago, the clay was its material cause;
the formal cause is the idea of the statue, or of the pot, or of the
octave in music, which the artist has in mind; the artist himself is
the efficient cause; and the object of the action, the completed pot,
statue, or whatever it may be, is the final cause.[215] That is to say
the statue exists potentially in the bronze, the pot potentially in the
clay, the octave potentially in the musical sounds, but these things
can be called in actual existence only by the operation of the other
three causes; and the same thing holds true in animate nature. It
is possible therefore to state the matter generally and to say that
in every case the individual is produced by the operation of the
formal, efficient, and final causes on the material cause, bringing
to actuality the potentiality in matter. Of course we may regard
the formal, efficient, and final causes as different aspects of the
same formal cause—a thing which Aristotle himself does in more than
one passage,[216] so that in the last analysis he regards matter and
form as the two causes or principles of things. These two are to him
correlatives, each completing the other, although he gives greater
importance to the formal than to the material cause. These two causes,
he says, attract each other; and their union brings about movement,
which is always the evolution of something from something else.

From these considerations I trust that it is evident that Aristotle
regarded every object of nature, whether animate or inanimate, as
the product of causation; behind each individual he found another
individual, and he saw that each object was the result of conscious
causal activity. So, looking on the world with scientific eyes, he
found therein continuous movement dependent on a chain of causes, and
he pointed out that such a chain requires a first cause which must be
the source of all activity. This first cause was to him Mind, pure
Thought, God, conscious, eternal, and good. But his First Cause was at
the same time the Final Cause, for the supreme Mind conceives the end
toward which all creative activity is tending, that is, it acts with
intelligence so that the world is the creation of intelligence and is
directed toward wise ends.[217] The order of the universe bears witness
to the Mind which set it in order, and which keeps it in motion, all
for intelligent ends; for to use Aristotle’s own expression, “God and
Nature do nothing without a purpose.”[218] Thus Aristotle introduced
into theology cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence
of God.

But when Aristotle defines God as pure Thought, the supreme Idea
or Form, with no admixture of matter, it might seem that he had
contradicted himself. It will be remembered, however, that in his
system matter and form do not stand quite on an equality—matter is
somewhat subordinate to form. He regarded matter as the point of
departure for something higher—the clay being antecedent and lower
than the pot, the bronze than the statue—for the higher product always
results from the operation of the formal cause on the material. Of
course in our illustrations the bronze and the clay are not absolute
matter, but only matter with reference to the higher products evolved
from them—the pot and the statue. Indeed Aristotle did not suppose
that there was such a thing as absolute matter existing by itself, but
he rather thought of his material cause as matter not yet formed, the
germ from which the actual object was to be developed by the operation
of the formal cause. Now he saw in the universe an ascending scale of
existence, just as today we recognize such a scale in the animal world,
each stage being more perfect than that below it; he pointed out that
with reference to the lower, each higher stage was ideal, but material
with reference to that which was still higher. So in every stage the
idea, the form, preceded and conditioned the material element, and in
a sense we may correctly say that Aristotle gradually refined away
his material element in the ascending scale. At the summit Aristotle
placed the perfect and supreme Idea, God, the eternal antecedent
of all activity, the prime mover of the universe. So in the end he
identified God and Form. Strictly speaking in his system God could
not be a resultant of form and matter, for then God would not be the
ultimate being, but some cause would lie behind him; and he would not
be perfection, since some potentiality, the characteristic of matter,
would still reside in him. As a matter of fact Aristotle in a number of
passages identifies his ultimate material and form (ἡ ἐσχάτη ὔλη καὶ
ἡ μορφὴ ταὐτό);[219] not that he would have granted that there was a
material element in the Supreme Being; but in the light of what we have
just said we can understand how he might have held that the ultimate
material and God were identical.[220]

It readily follows from Aristotle’s concept of God as the prime
mover, the source of all activity in the world, that God can be but
one. Monotheism is the logical result of the Aristotelian reasoning.
Moreover it was inevitable that Aristotle should make God transcendent,
that is, that he should place him above all objects of the natural
world, since if the First Cause is pure thought unmixed with matter, he
cannot be immanent in material things. The immateriality which Plato
gave to his ideas, his pupil transferred to God.

Midway between the natural and the supernatural worlds Aristotle placed
man, whom he regarded as bound to the world of nature by his body and
the lower elements of his mind, but connected with God through his
reason, for he held that the human mind possessed attributes of the
divine intelligence. Aristotle’s psychology was based on his belief
that there was a purpose in all nature, and on his view that in the
individual were always united form and material. With reference to
animate beings he showed that they had their formative principle
within them, which brought to actuality the material which had the
potentiality of life, and which determined the purpose for which the
individual creature existed. This formative principle was then for
him the soul of the animate being, whether plant, lower animal, or
man; it was the internal principle which determined the processes of
nutrition, growth, and decay common to all animate creatures, and
no less the functions peculiar to the lower and the higher animals
throughout the scale of life. The soul of a plant, then, he defined as
the assimilative principle (τὸ θρεπτικόν) But creatures of the next,
higher stage, the so-called lower animals, he saw had senses, desires,
and self-movement; to their souls therefore he assigned the additional
elements of sensation (τὸ αἰσθητικόν), appetite (tὸ ὀrektikόn), and
motion (τὸ κινητικόν). Finally, he said, the human soul had mind (νοῦς)
in addition to the elements possessed by the lower animals and plants,
for man has the power of thought and reflection. Therefore man is the
highest creature, the most perfect organism in the natural order.

But the human mind, as Aristotle pointed out, has two activities:
it concerns itself with knowing and with reasoning; it is passive,
receptive, in that it receives ideas from without, and creative in that
it can reflect on its own ideas and so create new ideas which are in no
sense dependent on material objects—are, as we say, abstract ideas. To
this creative part of man’s soul, to his reason alone, did Aristotle
grant eternal existence and immortality. All other activities of the
soul—knowing, moving, seeking, feeling, and assimilating—he held to
be bound to the body and hence to perish with it; but the reasoning
element he maintained was in no way dependent on the material world,
was always active, and therefore it alone was immortal and eternal.[221]
Yet after establishing the immortality of the reasoning element
Aristotle failed to define the fate of the immortal human reason after
death; of joys or pains beyond the grave he gave no description.

In ethics Aristotle taught that the highest human good was that
happiness which results when man’s mind under the direction of reason
is active toward virtuous ends; that moral virtue is a habit which
is acquired by cultivation, a condition which is attained when the
appetites are controlled by the will and guided by the reason. Now in
the Aristotelian system man alone was regarded as capable of moral
action. The animals are guided by appetite and lack intelligence to
direct them; God is pure reason and therefore we cannot attribute to
him any moral qualities; but man possesses the characteristics of
the lower creatures and has at the same time the divine element, the
reason, which connects him with God. Therefore since man is endowed
with reason which can either prompt the will to check the appetite
or bid the will let appetite go its way, he is capable of choice and
so of morality. By thus emphasizing the controlling function of the
will Aristotle prepared the way for the Stoics, as we shall see in our
next lecture. Virtue in the active life of society was to him always
the mean between two extremes, both of which were themselves vices.
Courage, for example, lies midway between cowardice and rashness;
temperance between indulgence and abstinence; and so on through the
whole range of the ethical virtues. Above these virtues of the active
life, Aristotle placed a higher rank—the intellectual virtues of
wisdom, knowledge, good-sense, practical insight, etc., which result
from a harmony of the active and the receptive parts of the intellect.
Highest of all he put the speculative activities of the intellect,
which he regarded as its proper and most constant function. This
“theoretical” or “contemplative” life (θεωρητικὸς βίος) he said brought
man his highest happiness just because it was his highest activity.
Yet Aristotle could not hold out the hope that men could attain this
joy fully or in great numbers; he saw that the greater part of human
life was concerned with practical virtues, with good character; and he
believed that only when man was good in everyday life could he hope to
rise to the contemplative life, but that in that life, at moments, he
might catch glimpses of the happiness which belonged continuously to

Unquestionably Aristotle did a large service in putting ethics on a
more scientific basis than his predecessors had done, but his chief
contributions to the subject with which we are now concerned were in
the field of theology. There, as we have already noted, he established
the cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God;
and he also introduced a clearly defined transcendentalism, thus making
explicit what had been implied in parts of Plato’s teachings. Yet he
failed to provide that satisfaction for religious hopes and fears which
men desired, and so, as I have said, the cold scientific reasoning of
the Stagirite had far less influence in religion than the enthusiastic
thought of his teacher until after many centuries had passed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although we may readily recognize that the influence of philosophy on
the religious belief of the most enlightened in this time was great,
we may still question whether it had any considerable influence on the
religious customs of the people. Practice is always more conservative
than thought, and we find that the thinkers who did most to destroy
traditional theology frequently conformed to the traditional worship of
the common man. So Socrates sacrificed in the usual way to the gods,
although he held advanced ideas with regard to prayers and oaths. No
doubt Plato and Aristotle passed for pious so far as their religious
practices were concerned, in spite of the fact that they put new
content into ancient forms. The former frequently made the speakers in
his dialogues refer to the gods in quite the traditional way, and in
his Timaeus he set forth a kind of systematic theology; in his Laws,
written in his old age as a supplement to his Republic, he planned
for his ideal state a religious organization, involving a plurality
of gods, not dissimilar to that of the actual Athenian state; he
represented his chief spokesman as proving the existence of the gods,
giving warrant for the familiar practices of religion, and justifying
the ways of gods to men; moreover he proposed to have statutes against
impiety and the introduction of religious rites not recognized by
law.[223] Aristotle clearly had slight respect for the common notions
as to the gods, but for all that he regarded the worship of many gods
as natural, and he thought that worship was indispensable for the
existence of a state; therefore in his Politics he made a place for a
polytheistic religion, defined the duties of priests and other sacred
officials, and provided that all the expenses of public worship should
be borne by the state.[224] The charge, prompted by political passion,
brought against Aristotle for impiety in deifying Hermias, the prince
of Mysia, shows that he was not regarded as atheistic.

As a matter of fact with all the changes in religious thought which
the centuries brought in Greece, sacred customs and practices remained
but little altered down to the end of antiquity. Theology has small
interest for the common man. He must depend for his assurance on the
performance of those acts which immemorial custom has sanctioned as
the proper means of securing the favor of the gods, rather than on
the speculations of some theologian or on his own poor reflections.
Sacrifice and prayer before the sacred statue or symbol, community
worship at the great festivals, private devotion at the shrine
within the home, rites of riddance and appeasing, the promise and
payment of vows, remained the practices of the mass of men for many
centuries after the prophet of Nazareth delivered his message—indeed
Christianity took over many of these things and has kept them to the
present day. Then too we must remember that the civic character of
the common Greek religion had a higher side, for it strengthened the
bond of family and of city-state; and through the great festivals at
Olympia, Delphi, and Nemea it helped to form a dim concept of a Greek
nation. Thus it elevated men’s notions of responsibility to the social
units, both small and great. Furthermore, apart from the civic and
national sides of Greek religion, the general religious thought of the
mass was gradually ennobled with the passage of the centuries; in spite
of the survival into later antiquity of certain rude and primitive
elements, religion became more moral and more spiritual, as we have
already seen was the case with the Eleusinian Mysteries. Plato and
Aristotle in the very nature of the case could have little influence
on the many in their day; but when their thoughts had been transmuted
into terms which the common man could comprehend and express in living,
philosophy became for the many a guide of life.


[190] It is sometimes said that Plato does not identify the Idea of the
Good with God, but I cannot interpret the following passages save as I
have done above: _Phil._ 22 C; _Tim._ 28 A-29 E; 37 A; 92 C.

[191] _Phaedrus_, 245; cf. _Laws_, 10, 894 B ff., 12, 966 E.

[192] _Phaedo_, 72 ff.

[193] _Meno_, 81 ff.

[194] _Phaedo_, 86 ff.

[195] _Phaedo_, 105.

[196] _Rep._ IV, 427 ff., esp. 440 E-441 A; VI, 504; VIII, 550; IX,
580-581; cf. _Timaeus_, 69-72.

[197] 246 f.

[198] 69 ff.

[199] _Rep._ VI, 484 ff.

[200] _Theaet._ 176.

[201] X, 613.

[202] _Phaedo_, 82 f.

[203] _Phaedo_, 66 E ff.

[204] 399 f.

[205] 492 E-493 A.

[206] _Phaedo_, 63 ff.

[207] _Rep._ X, 614 ff.; cf. _Phaedrus_, 248 f.

[208] _Theaet._ 176.

[209] _Statesman_ 272 ff.; _Tim._ 42 ff.

[210] _Tim._ 49 E-52 B; cf. Aristot. _Phys._ 1, 9, 192 a, 3 ff.; 4, 2,
209 b, 11 ff.

[211] _Crat._ 389 f.

[212] _Theaet._ 176.

[213] _Tim._ 29 E ff.; _Statesman_, 272 B ff.

[214] _Met._ I, 9, 990 b ff.; VI, 8; XII, 10; XIII, 3.

[215] _Phys._ II, 3, 194 b, 16 ff.; cf. _Met._ I, 3, 983 a, 24 ff.; VI,
7, 1032 a, 13 ff.; VII, 4, 1044 a, 32 ff.; _et passim_.

[216] E. g. _Phys._ II, 7, 198 a, 22 ff.

[217] _Phys._ VIII, 6, 258 b, 10 ff.; _Met._ XI, 7 (entire).

[218] _De caelo_, I, 4, 271 a, 33.

[219] E. g. _Met._ VII, 6, 1045 b, 18 f.

[220] Cf. the whole discussion of God in _Met._ XI.

[221] On the foregoing see the _De anima_ in general and especially II,
1; III, 4 and 5.

[222] Cf. on the foregoing the two ethical works, the Nicomachean and
the Eudemian Ethics, entire.

[223] _Laws_, VI, 759 and X entire.

[224] _Politics_, VI, 8, 1322 b, 18 ff.; VII, 8, 1328 b, 12 ff.; 1329
a, 27 ff.; 1330 a, 8 f.; 1331 b, 4-6, 17 f.



Plato and Aristotle mark the culmination of a great period in Greek
thought. After them metaphysical speculation made little if any advance
in antiquity. Indeed we are all aware of the fact that the greater
part of the thinking world has been divided between Platonists and
Aristotelians ever since, although in our own time we are seeing
a return by some to the philosophic position of the Sophists and

Now in our discussion of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle you
must have felt that their systems were for the intellectual élite.
The large demands which they make upon the reason and the habit of
reasoning unfit them for the great majority of mankind, since the
average man desires a practical guide in life which he can readily
follow, rather than a philosophical system which he can grasp only by
the careful use of his intellect. Furthermore, in the period after
Alexander, when national life and interests were weakened or destroyed
by the Macedonian’s conquests and the struggles of his successors,
the individual was forced to withdraw from public life; he lost the
satisfactions which the politics of his community had once furnished,
felt himself without the social supports which the compact life of his
city-state had formerly given, and so, turned in on himself, he
naturally sought for a sure rule of life and a guarantee of individual
happiness. We shall now consider first a school of practical philosophy
which followed Aristotle—that of the Stoics, and then some mystic
philosophies of the early centuries of our era.

Socrates, the great teacher and the dramatic spokesman of Plato’s
dialogues, gave the impulse to many philosophic systems. The only one
we need to glance at now is that of the Cynics founded by Antisthenes,
who had been one of Socrates’ many pupils. It was continued by the
whimsical and notorious Diogenes of Sinope, whose name is familiar
to us all. The founder of Cynicism emphasized the Socratic aim of
individual virtue to the neglect of all else, for like his master he
maintained that virtue was the only good, the sole aim in life, and
that it was sufficient in itself for happiness. But he also went to the
extreme of declaring that all external relations and obligations were
to be neglected, and that there was no middle ground of the slightest
importance between virtue and vice. Antisthenes also taught that
whoever possessed virtue was wise, the rest of the world foolish; and
that virtue was a thing which could be taught, and which once learned
could never be lost. To the Cynic all pleasure was vicious, but sweat
and toil blessings if associated with the individual freedom which was
the aim of the school. Although the Cynics were concerned only with
practical virtue in this world here and now, their puritanical and
doctrinaire system deserves this place in our consideration, because it
was the first to attempt to make philosophy a practical guide for
the common man in everyday life. It is quite true that this was also
Socrates’ position, but his mind and common sense took so large a
view of the relations of man that he never fell into the narrow
exclusiveness of the Cynics. With them philosophy was not speculative,
but became the art of virtuous living; it easily degenerated into
insolent and ostentatious show, and doubtless deserved many of the
jibes which the later satirists threw at it. Within the sect, strictly
speaking, the doctrine of virtue as man’s chief good came to little
because it lacked the principle of moral activity. The will of man
was not challenged to act in advancing him along the path of virtue.
But Stoicism took over the doctrine, gave it life by insisting on the
exercise of the will in the practice of virtue, and made thereby such
a contribution to the practical life of virtue that we are still the
Stoics’ heirs.

It was toward the close of the fourth century that Zeno of Citium
in the island of Cyprus established a school in the Painted Porch
(Στοὰ ποικίλη) at Athens. Zeno had been an adherent of no one school
or philosophical sect: he had listened to both Cynic, Megarian, and
Platonic teachers. It was natural, therefore, in view of the training
of the founder and of the fact that he was born in a place distant from
the great centers of the Greek world, that the Stoic school from the
beginning should draw its tenets from many sources and that it should
have a cosmopolitan character.

Furthermore the time in which it was founded had a potent and direct
influence upon it. Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C.,
after carrying his arms to the banks of the Indus and enlarging the
Greek world far beyond even his own vast dreams. The ideal state,
even in the mind of Alexander’s great teacher Aristotle, was at this
time thought to be one which corresponded closely to the actual Greek
state, a community of limited size, whose free population should be
all of the same stock, and one in which the manual toil should be
performed by slaves. A sharp contrast to this was the mighty empire
which Aristotle’s pupil carved in an incredible fashion out of Europe,
Africa, and Asia. It is not to be wondered at that a philosophy, the
principles of which were drawn from various Athenian schools, as I
have just said, and which was developed by men like Zeno of Citium and
Chrysippus of Soli in Cilicia should have a character which made it
appeal to the enlarged and varied world of Hellenism, and to the Roman
Empire which succeeded that of Alexander.

The development of Stoicism corresponded to its eclectic origin. The
system established by Zeno was enlarged and rounded out by Chrysippus.
It was welcomed by the Romans in the second century B.C. when
Panaetius of Rhodes transplanted the system to Rome. In the hands of
its earliest leaders the school had held to a severe and uncompromising
doctrine, not dissimilar to that of the Cynics. But Panaetius greatly
modified this teaching, and accommodated the school to the other great
philosophic systems of the time, especially to the doctrines of Plato
and Aristotle; and thus he made Stoicism suited to the educated Roman
world. Among his disciples he numbered many of the Roman aristocracy
of the second century B.C., the most famous of whom were
Laelius and the younger Scipio. That unyielding dogmatism of the older
school which had paralleled Cynicism in teaching that between virtue
and vice there was no intermediate position, that the philosopher was
the perfectly virtuous man, and that he and the vicious were absolutely
separated, was replaced by a doctrine of the possibility of gradual
progress in virtue. Indeed some with good sense held that this was
the most to which man could attain, that he could never hope to reach
perfection, but that his duty was to accomplish a daily advance toward
excellence. Panaetius did a great service in adapting Stoicism to
life. A famous pupil of Panaetius was Posidonius of Apamea in Syria,
who drew many Romans to hear him at his school in Rhodes, among them
Cicero and Pompey. He carried still further the synthesis of Stoicism
with Platonism and Aristotelianism, and by the astounding range of his
learning and the brilliancy of his style acquired a large influence. He
seems also to have given Stoicism a strong religious cast.

Like other philosophies Stoicism had embraced many subjects—logic,
including dialectic and rhetoric, physical science, including cosmology
and theology, and ethics. But by the first century of the Roman Empire
it had become almost exclusively a philosophy of moral and religious
edification, well calculated to steel men against the distress and
trouble of that age. Its great representatives in this last period were
Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, whose works are still a source
of strength for many thoughtful men.

Let us now consider briefly the system of the Stoics. Our theme
confines us chiefly to the moral and religious sides of their
philosophy; but this is only a slight limitation, for true to the
teachings of the Cynics, who had greatly influenced the founder of
the school, throughout their history the Stoics laid much emphasis on
ethics, that is, on the art of a righteous and virtuous life. They were
never so much concerned with speculation as to the nature of virtue as
with its practice. To them virtue was man’s highest aim, and by it they
meant righteousness in the practical relations of life. They defined it
as a condition of the soul in which the soul is in continuous harmony
with itself. Virtue they subdivided into the four chief elements of
intelligence, discretion, courage, and justice. Some also recognized
subordinate virtues, but these I name were the four that made up
the supreme excellence. Furthermore the Stoics, like Socrates and
the Cynics, identified virtue with knowledge and regarded the ideal
philosopher as the one who had attained to true and complete wisdom and
consequently to perfect virtue. Therefore the ideal of the wise man
became the very center of the Stoic doctrine. He was thought to combine
in himself all perfection, and as Seneca says, differs from God only by
being mortal. As I have already observed, the early Stoics had fixed
an absolute gulf between the perfect wise man and the unwise; like the
Cynics they had declared that virtue once attained could not be lost;
but the practical good sense of a later age modified these extreme
views and taught that there were degrees in virtue, and that the most
that the ordinary man could do was daily to advance and make progress
toward his goal. As Seneca says: “I am not yet wise, nor shall I ever
be. Do not ask me to be equal to the best but rather to be better
than the base. This is enough for me—to take away daily something
from my faults and daily to reject my errors.”[225] That man might
attain to virtue, according to the Stoic, he must free himself from
the world and its influences, through the exercise of his will he must
strive to attain to freedom from all excess of feeling and passion.
The extremist said that he must raise himself to a position where he
was entirely free from passion, where he had attained to complete
ἀπάθεια. The milder Stoics held the view that the wise man would not
be one who felt no passion or desire, but rather one in whom virtue
overmastered the passions. The mastery, whether complete or partial,
all agreed was to be attained by the exercise of the will; therefore
man must regard as wholly indifferent to him all things that are not
within the control of that faculty. On this point Epictetus discourses
most interestingly.[226] He points out that the materials we employ in
life are indifferent to us, neither good nor bad; they are like the
dice with which we play our game. But like the gamester we must try to
manage life dexterously; whatever happens we must say: “Externals are
not within my power; choice is. Where then shall I seek good and evil?
Why, within, in what is my own.” And then he continues, pointing out
that we must count nothing good or evil, profitable or hurtful, or of
any concern to us, that is controlled by others. In tranquillity and
calm we must accept what life brings, concerned only with what actually
depends on the will of each one of us. We must act in life as we do in
a voyage: the individual can choose the pilot, the sailors, and the
hour of his departure; after that he must meet quietly all that comes,
for he has done his part; and if a storm arise, he must face with
indifference disaster or safety, for these matters are quite beyond
the control of his will. So sickness and health, abundance and need,
high position or the loss of station are things which my will cannot
control. Therefore to me as a philosopher they are indifferent; I must
have no anxiety about them; they really are not my affair. But my
thoughts and my acts are matters that I can control, and in them I must
find all my concern. The external circumstances, the acts of others,
do not touch me, but my own acts, my own relations, my own inner life
are things to which I must give all of my attention. So the Stoic
reasoned, holding that virtue was quite sufficient for happiness, and
that it made man master of his world. Thus we see that to the doctrine
of virtue, which the Cynics had magnified, the Stoics had added the
vitalizing principle of the operation of man’s will, and thereby had
made the pursuit of wisdom, which to them was identical with virtue, a
powerful means of moral and spiritual edification.

But when the Stoic discoursed of virtue and wisdom, what did he
conceive the highest aim of man to be? “To live in accord with Nature,”
was the answer which the followers of Zeno usually gave. By that they
meant that man must bring himself into accord with that Nature which
rules all things; that he must make his will and reason agree with the
universal will and reason of which in truth they are a part. Others
said that one must live in harmony with himself. But as we shall
presently see, their definition was essentially the same as that of
their fellows, for to the Stoic man was in himself an epitome of the

In their explanation of the universe the Stoics held to a materialism
which they borrowed from the teachings of Heraclitus, who had
maintained that only matter had any existence whatever; therefore their
system was in theory a materialistic monism, but with their monistic
principle they combined an idea which in reality they had derived from
Aristotle, apparently without realizing the possible consequence to
their view that matter alone exists. Although holding that everything
is material, they recognized in all things the presence of an active
and a passive principle, the active principle forming and directing,
the other being formed and directed, so that by the operation of the
active principle upon the passive all the phenomena of the world
come into being. The passive principle corresponded to Aristotle’s
material, while the active principle included both his efficient
and final causes. To their active principle the Stoics gave all the
characteristics that Heraclitus had given to his λόγος, reason, or
Anaxagoras to his νοῦς, mind. In short they attributed to it all
the characteristics of reason and intelligence, so that in spite of
their argument that the active principle was no less material than
the passive, that it was the element of fire or vapor or both, it was
inevitable that in practice their philosophy should ultimately tend
toward a dualism and that the ancient conflict of matter and mind, of
body and soul, should have its place in their teaching. They thought
that the operative principle, fire, the divine reason, expresses
itself in every part of the universe, that everything which exists
is permeated by this divine spirit and directed by it. It is nothing
less than the world-reason, God, which begets all things; so that
they called it λόγος σπερματικός, that is, the reason that contains
within itself the germs of all things that are to be. Now since man
is of course a part of the cosmos, the Stoic argued that in him the
world-reason naturally expresses itself; it is that which guides him,
in fact it is his reason, the directing portion of his soul. And
it is the possession of this soul, itself a part of the universal
reason, which makes it possible for man to live in accord with Nature,
for he attains that aim whenever his soul is in agreement with the
universal soul which is its source. In this way the Stoic, for all his
materialism, emphasized the divine nature of man and the community of
human reason with God.

The pantheistic character of this philosophy is now evident. The
world-reason, God, whatever the Stoic might call it, is all, embraces
all within itself, and permeates all. This conception is in marked
contrast to the teachings of Aristotle and the later Platonists,
who conceived of God as transcendent, removed from the world about
us. We have here the doctrine of the immanence of God, in whom all
things live and move and have their being, because the world-reason is
the principle on which all life and action directly depend. In this
doctrine of the immanence of God the Stoics brought together again the
worlds of matter and of reason which Plato had separated; and in the
pantheistic character of this teaching they established a belief which
later fitted in with the general course of pagan thought under the
Roman Empire, when philosophy and religion were at one in recognizing
the existence in the world of but a single divine principle, although
all systems, including Stoicism, found a way to provide for the
multitude of gods which popular belief demanded.

The Stoic theology then is in technical language a materialistic
pantheism, and the world is only a mode of God. Such abstractions are
difficult to grasp and have no personal meaning for the common man.
But in practice the Stoic thought and spoke of God as a personality.
Nowhere is this feeling expressed with so much devotion as in
Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus; the language is largely that of poetic
tradition, but the thought is not that of common polytheism:

   Most glorious of immortals, many named, powerful over all,
   Zeus, thou author of all nature, guiding all with law,
   Hail to thee. Thee ’tis right all mortals should address,
   For from thee men derive their race, they who alone
   Of all things mortal, living, creeping on the ground,
   Have gift of speech. So will I hymn thee, and thy power forever sing.
   For thee this entire cosmos, circling earth around,
   Obeys where’er thou leadest, and ’tis gladly ruled by thee.
   Such servant hast thou in thy hands invincible,
   The two-edged thunderbolt, ever living flame.
   For by its strokes are all things in nature wrought;
   With it thou dost direct the common law, which throughout all
   Forever moves, with every gleam commingled, great and small.
   ’Tis this hath made thee supreme king o’er all;
   For naught e’er comes to pass on earth apart from thee, O God,
   Nor in the sacred pole of ether above nor in the deep,
   Save all the sin men do with folly cursed.[227]

But some of you have doubtless remembered that Fate (εἱμαρμένη) plays a
large part in Stoicism, that the Stoic writers describe it as the cause
that works through all things and brings all things to pass.[228] We
must therefore consider what the Stoic meant by Fate, how he explained
the existence of evil, and what provision he made for the freedom of
the will. Fate was identified with reason or with what we call natural
law; and since the Stoic held that it does not operate in a mechanical
way, but is directed by reason to the best possible ends, it followed
that Fate became identical with Providence (πρόνοια).[229] This world
then for the Stoic is the best of all possible worlds. Yet the question
will inevitably be asked as to why it is that evil can exist in such a
world, in which a particular Providence rules all things for the best.
We have already seen that Cleanthes held that God directed all things
but the deeds of the wicked:

    Naught e’er comes to pass on earth apart from thee, O God,
    Nor in the sacred pole of ether above nor in the deep,
    Save all the sin men do with folly cursed.

For the most part however the Stoics did not attempt to place evil
outside the domain of Fate, but boldly maintained that the existence of
good is inconceivable without the existence of its opposite, evil. They
taught that many of the things which are ordinarily reckoned evils by
men were nothing of the sort; what we call physical evils, for example,
were for them not evils, because they could not affect the wise man,
the philosopher; or if they affected him, they could serve only as
discipline, and therefore contribute to good ends. Man has within him
the possibility of good; he must also have the possibility of evil, and
therefore he must possess the freedom of choice without which goodness
or evil has no moral value. Evil therefore like the good must be part
of a world in which God rules all things to the best and wisest ends.

Still there remains the difficulty that if man can determine his own
choice, how can we still speak of Fate as directing the world. The
answer is found in the nature of man, whose body is properly directed
by his soul. This soul through experience develops reason, and the
reasoning soul, as we have already seen, is a part of the universal
reason, God. When the reason rules a man’s impulses and directs his
will to follow the right course, it leads him into the path of freedom,
for freedom consists in the complete subjugation of the impulses to
reason. The Stoic had only to appeal to common experience to show that
if the body and its impulses prevail, man obviously is a slave; but if
reason dominates he is free. As Epictetus taught: “Freedom and slavery,
the first is the name of virtue, the other of vice, but both are the
effects of choice. Those who do not have the power of choice are
touched by neither of these things. But the soul is accustomed to be
master of the body, and the things of the body have properly nothing to
do with the will to choose; for no man is a slave if he is free in his
power to choose.”[230] The perfect philosopher, then, is wholly free,
for his every act is guided by reason, and therefore he lives perfectly
in accord with Nature and himself. Freedom lies in choice, but the
choice once made, the consequences inevitably follow. So the freedom of
the individual was reconciled with the rule of a determining Fate.

We have thus far seen that Stoicism was a philosophy for the
individual; that it demanded that man, being a free agent, recognize
his high calling as a reasonable being and put himself by the exercise
of his will into accord with Nature and himself, and so attain or at
least advance toward perfection. But in contrast to Cynicism Stoicism
did not demand that its sectaries should cut themselves off from
society; on the contrary it recognized that man is normally a member
of a social group. If in its doctrine of personal edification it was
strongly individualistic, it was no less cosmopolitan in its social
philosophy. Although the earlier Stoics had not taken part in political
life—probably because of the conditions of the time,—none had
forbidden participation in public affairs, but on the contrary all
favored it. Moreover the Stoic could not limit his view to the small
political unit or to the society contained therein; but inasmuch as
each individual possesses a soul that is a part of the cosmic reason,
all mankind is a community of reasoning beings, and every man is a
brother of every other.[231] Thus Stoicism gave a philosophic basis
to the idea of the brotherhood of man. It taught also that external
circumstances, birth, wealth, high position, physical freedom or
slavery, are indifferent matters; that the slave if a philosopher is
the equal of the philosophic emperor. Such doctrines as these gave
a new dignity to the individual and were destined to produce great
social effects in the course of time: they resulted toward the close
of the first century of our era in a new humanitarian spirit which
began to care for the poor and the weak. Ultimately the Stoic Roman
jurists wrote into the great law-codes the doctrine of the brotherhood
of man, distinguishing between natural law, according to which all
men are brothers on an equal footing, and human law which has brought
about distinctions. These law-codes saved the written doctrine for the
later centuries, and Christianity on its part absorbed much of Stoic
teaching; through these two channels we have inherited many of the
ideas which are moving forces in modern democracy.

These matters touch us so closely that we may well pause for a moment
and listen to some ancient witnesses. On the question whether a slave
could be said to confer benefits on his master, Seneca wrote that
whoever denied the possibility of this was ignorant of the principles
of all human law: “for the question is as to the spirit of the one who
confers the benefit, not as to his position in life. Virtue is closed
to no man; but she is open for all, admits all, invites all, both
freeborn and freedmen, slaves, kings, and exiles all alike. She does
not choose house or wealth; she is satisfied with the bare man and
asks nothing more.”[232] Again he points out that only the body can be
enslaved; that no prison can hold the mind and keep it from consorting
with the divine.[233] He sums up: “All of us have the same origin, the
same source; no man is nobler than another save he who has a more
upright character and one better fitted to honorable pursuits.”[234]
The great jurists speak no less plainly than the philosopher. Julius
Paulus, at the beginning of the third century of our era, laid down
the principle that nature has established between men a certain
relationship; this his contemporary Ulpian expressed more plainly
in these words: “By natural law all men are equal.” And Florentinus
wrote: “Slavery is a provision of the law of nations, by which one
man, contrary to the law of nature, is subject to the domination of

Such doctrines as these naturally broke down allegiance to city and
nation, and made men feel that they were citizens of the world. Seneca
distinguished two states, the one that into which a man is born; the
other, the great and true commonwealth where dwell both gods and men,
in which one looks not to this corner or to that, but measures its
borders by the course of the sun.[236] In like language Musonius taught
that the wise man, i.e., the philosopher, believes himself to be a
citizen of the city of God, which consists of gods and men.[237] So the
Emperor Marcus Aurelius reflected: “To me as Antoninus my city is Rome,
but as a man it is the universe.”[238]

We may seem to have wandered somewhat from the religious aspect of
Stoicism, but the digression finds its justification not only in the
fact that both the belief in the natural equality of men and the
cosmopolitan character of Stoicism grew out of the doctrine that
each man’s reason is a part of the universal reason, but also in the
significance these things had for that time and for ours.

The Stoic felt himself commissioned to preach and to turn men from
their evil ways; he became a missionary to the world, exhorting men to
the pursuit of sobriety, patience, virtue, and to the imitation of God.
Seneca recalled with new emphasis Plato’s definition of man’s duty:
“The first point in the worship of the gods is to believe that the gods
exist; second to render unto them their majesty; to render likewise
their goodness without which there is no majesty; to know that the gods
preside over the world, that they direct the universe by their power,
protect mankind, and sometimes have regard for individuals. The gods
neither bring evil nor have it in themselves; but they chastise and
check some men, they inflict penalties, sometimes they punish under
the guise of blessings. Would’st thou propitiate the gods? Be thou
good thyself. He has worshipped them aright who has imitated them.”
And again: “The divine nature is not worshipped with the fat bodies
of slain bulls, or with gold or silver votive offerings, or with
money collected for the sacred treasury, but with a pious and upright
will.”[239] Epictetus reviews the gifts of providence to men and asks:
“What words can praise the works of providence in us and set them
forth according to their worth? If we have understanding, ought we to
do anything else, individually or all together, save sing hymns and
bless the deity and tell of his benefits?... But since most of you have
become blind, should there not be someone to fulfill this duty and on
behalf of all to sing the hymn to God? For what else can I do, a lame
old man, but sing hymns to God? If I were a nightingale, I should do
the part of a nightingale; if I were a swan, I should do the part of a
swan. But now I am a rational creature, and therefore must praise God.
This is my task. I will do it, nor will I leave my post, so long as I
may keep it; and I urge you to join in this same song.”[240]

Under the Empire Stoicism lost the moderate interest in speculation
which it had once had, and became almost exclusively a moral
philosophy. It was an age which called for moral resistance, when men
were obliged to steel themselves to endure oppression and disaster, to
“endure and refrain.” This is the motto of the later Stoics, ἀνέχου
καὶ ἀπέχου, by which they meant: “Refrain from all that thy will
cannot control; endure all that may assault thee; practise thyself in
following the guide of reason; resist all passions.” This is almost the
sum total of the discourses of Epictetus. The ancient conflict between
body and soul also came to the front once more, and Stoicism showed
the same ascetic tendency that is found in all the later philosophies.
To it Marcus Aurelius gives clearest expression. Reflecting on his own
nature the Emperor quotes a saying of Epictetus: “Thou art a poor soul
burdened with a corpse.”[241] Again in self-exhortation he says: “ This
thing I am is but flesh, breath, and the guiding reason. Farewell my
books! strain after them no more. They are not for thee. As if already
in the presence of death, despise thy flesh—it is only foul blood and
bones, a web and tissue of sinews and veins and arteries. Consider
breath too! What is it? A puff of wind never the same, but every moment
exhaled and again inhaled. Last comes the guiding reason—on that set
all thy mind.”[242]

The Emperor bids his books farewell. Philosophy was no longer a thing
for the closet and the scholar’s study, but a matter of practical life
in the market place and public square; the unlettered might pursue it
as well as the learned, for it was the art of living—an art which the
noblest pursued with all the enthusiasm of religious emotion. Although
the Stoic was most concerned with the present, and could offer no
continued life for the individual soul beyond the time when all the
universe should sink back into the original fire, his fervor could be
that of the seer with a vision of eternity.

The contributions which the Stoics made to the ethical and religious
life were large. They showed that there is a moral order in nature
to which man as a part of nature must conform; by emphasizing the
community of reason between man and God, so that in Epictetus’ phrase
we are but fragments of God,[243] they gave a religious sanction to
duty toward God and man which had hitherto been lacking; and by the
conclusions which they logically drew as to the brotherhood of man,
disregarding distinctions of birth, position, or race, and looking
to character alone, they gave a great impulse to the improvement of
morals, to the spread of justice and kindliness in private relations,
and to a genuine love for humanity. The stimulus which a belief in
personal immortality might have given them was replaced by a sense of
divine kinship and a challenge to the will to choose the nobler course
under the guide of reason.

On the theological side they established the doctrine of the immanence
of God in opposition to the transcendental views of the Platonists and
Aristotelians. Since the whole cosmos is in their view animated by the
universal reason, every part of it is alive. The heavenly bodies were
therefore naturally regarded as divine, gods to whom the names of the
greater gods of popular theology were conveniently given. But on the
whole the traditional gods were explained allegorically, being regarded
as the names assigned to various manifestations of God in nature. So
Zeus was the heavens or the ether, Hera air, Poseidon the waters,
Demeter earth, Hephaestus fire, Hades darkness, and so on. Now this
physical allegorizing tended to destroy all belief in the mythological
divinities more effectually perhaps than any other assault that had
been made since the attacks began in the sixth century. But we must not
think that the Stoics disbelieved in the existence of gods. I have just
spoken of their doctrine that the heavenly bodies are divine; and they
held that the spirits of the wisest and best survive the body as lesser
divinities, as daemons. All these, however, will cease to be when the
present age comes to an end and the cosmos sinks back into universal

       *       *       *       *       *

In the religious philosophies which we have thus far considered
the reason and the will were the chief means by which security and
happiness here or hereafter could be obtained. These systems taught
that salvation was a matter of man’s own effort, and within his
own power. Yet in Marcus Aurelius, for example, we have again and
again clear evidence that the last great Stoic was conscious of the
insufficiency of man to save his own soul unaided, and the philosophies
to which we are now to turn recognize man’s weakness and make salvation
an act of grace from God.

As we have remarked before, the last three centuries before our era
among the Greeks were centuries in which their national life and
culture decayed. Autocratic forms of government arose which cut men
off from active participation in politics and turned their attention
in upon themselves. There was a loss of creative power in literature,
art, and speculative thought; and men were conscious of a failure of
the sense which their forefathers had had, that this life could give
them great satisfaction. These things, and the extremes of wealth
and poverty, terror of the imperial power, the selfish greed and
hopelessness of the mass of the people, all combined under the early
Empire to fill the minds of the thoughtful with sadness and pessimism.
We find these sentiments in every writer of the first two centuries
of our era who deals with contemporary society. Seneca feels that the
world is lost and helpless; that life itself is a fatal gift compared
with which nothing is so deceitful and treacherous. Filled with ardour
for his philosophy and with confidence in the efficacy of its moral
teachings, he nevertheless at times loses heart. This is likewise true
of the rest. As we read the pages of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, in
spite of the inspiring words of that halting slave who in Nicopolis
preached high fortitude to his hearers and of the Emperor who in
distant camp among the Quadi on the banks of the Gran or in winter
quarters at Carnuntum recounted his blessings and exhorted his own soul
to endure, we have at times an inevitable sense of the hopelessness of
the struggle. Furthermore, as has been frequently pointed out, the last
centuries before our era had been marked by a feeling on the part of
many of a separation from God and by a longing in some way to bridge
the gulf between the human and the divine, to secure a revelation from
heaven, and to attain to direct vision and knowledge of God. As the
satisfactions of life, which the earlier, freer centuries had given,
grew less, in weariness of spirit, conscious of his own weakness and
lack of power to secure his soul’s freedom and happiness, man turned
for help from outside himself. The reason and the will alone had
failed. God’s grace was needed for salvation.

The conquests of Alexander had not only diffused Hellenic speech and
thought over a wide area, but they had also opened the way by which
the nearer East could influence the western part of the ancient world.
Alexandria in Egypt became the chief intellectual center; from it
especially spread intellectual movements to the remoter parts of the
Roman world. As I hope to show in my next lecture, Greek culture became
the common property of all educated men. It was natural also that some
of the philosophies cultivated at Alexandria should show the influence
of Jewish thought, for this metropolis had been from its founding a
center for Jews as well as Greeks.

The longing for tranquillity in this life, for a revelation of God,
and for the assurance of personal salvation which could not find
satisfaction in Stoicism, Epicureanism, and the later Aristotelian
schools, led to a revival of Pythagorean mysticism and of Platonism.
These elements, combined in more than one case with Jewish thought,
were the materials out of which the principal mystic schools developed
at Alexandria. The three with which we are chiefly concerned are
Neopythagoreanism, Judeo-Aexandrian philosophy, and Neoplatonism.

The Pythagorean school had ceased to have a separate existence by
the fourth century B.C., but the ideas which the school had
cherished were not lost. In the last century before our era these
doctrines were revived, and in accordance with the syncretistic spirit
of the age were combined with Platonic teachings into a philosophic, or
as we may more truly say, a theosophic system. The first representative
of this revival known to us by name is Nigidius Figulus, a friend
and contemporary of Cicero. Its most famous leader was Apollonius of
Tyana in Cappadocia, who lived under Nero. By the third century a mass
of marvellous legends had gathered about this Apollonius which is
preserved in his life, written about 210 A.D. by Philostratus
at the request of the Empress Julia Domna.

The extant evidence shows us clearly that by the second century
B.C. the process had begun at Alexandria of reconciling Jewish
theology with Greek philosophy. The first, however, to combine the two
into a system, known to us as the Judeo-Aexandrian, was the learned
Philo, who was born about 25 B.C. He belonged to one of the
most prominent Jewish families; in 40 A.D., he was chosen to
head a delegation of Aexandrian Jews which was sent to the Emperor
Caligula. His purpose in common with the other adherents of this school
was primarily religious, and he aimed at a better understanding of
his own religion rather than at building up a system of philosophic
thought. To accomplish his purpose he took from the Hellenic schools
whatever seemed useful, without troubling himself overmuch about the
logical relation of the parts which he wove together. The movement
actually developed a school which had a large historical significance.

The third philosophy is Neoplatonism, founded at Alexandria, according
to tradition, by Ammonius Saccas at the beginning of the third century.
Ammonius had been reared in the Christian faith, but on reaching
maturity returned to pagan philosophy. His instruction was given wholly
by word of mouth. Of his numerous pupils the most famous were Origen,
the church father, and Plotinus. The latter and his pupil Porphyry were
the chief representatives of the school in the period we have now under

Obviously in the time at our disposal we cannot consider in detail all
the several doctrines of these three schools, but we must focus our
attention on certain elements which are of prime importance in the
pagan philosophy of the day and most significant because of their
relation to Christianity. Before we proceed to this, however, I must
ask you to remember that we are now dealing not with rigidly logical
systems, but with mystic philosophies, with theosophies. There is much
in them, therefore, that we cannot hope to understand clearly, because
these philosophers themselves abandoned the path of reason alone and
let intuition and emotion guide them in their loftiest experiences.

Let us first examine certain characteristics common to all these
schools. They all combine large elements drawn from Platonism with
borrowings from later philosophies, especially Stoicism; and, as I have
already indicated, Judeo-Alexandrianism shows the influence of Jewish
thought. All hold to the dual nature of man, a view which first became
of religious significance with the Orphics in the sixth century. Plato,
you will remember, emphasized the conflict of flesh and spirit, and we
have seen how the Stoics, for all their monistic theory, came finally
to the same dualism. Closely connected with this view was the contempt
for the world of the senses which these schools show. This was due to a
development of the Platonic doctrines of matter and of the descent of
souls into corporeal dwellings; these teachings in their turn led to a
confirmation of the belief that the ascetic life was the proper one for
the philosopher—a doctrine which had been held in considerable degree
by the Stoics and Cynics. In theology all maintained the transcendence
of God, and postulated between God and this world intermediary powers,
which work God’s will and cause all the sensible phenomena with which
we are acquainted. Finally all believed in the possibility of a direct
revelation of God to man, when in a state of enthusiasm or ecstasy.
This belief in direct divine revelation, together with the ascetic
tendencies of the several schools, led to the establishment of the
ideal of sanctity as that toward which the faithful sectary should
strive. Pythagoras was canonized by his later followers, Plato became
“the divine”; Apollonius of Tyana grew in tradition to be the model
of the saint on earth. He was regarded as one filled with divine
inspiration, a worker of miracles. He ate no flesh, but lived solely
on bread, fruits, and ordinary herbs; water was his only drink; he
practised silence and neglected his person. The same description almost
fits Plotinus, as made known to us by his biographer Porphyry. In all
the essential practices these pagan saints anticipated their later
Christian counterparts.

Let us look at the theology of these schools a little more closely.
But before we proceed, it is important to define clearly what we mean
by the transcendence of God, for the term is often loosely used. A
transcendent god is one who is absolutely above the world and above
man’s knowledge, a god who is so far removed that man can have no
dealings with him directly, nor can he deal directly with man or
make his works manifest to man, save through an intermediary. Such
essentially was Aristotle’s God, his First Cause. The opposite idea
is that of the immanence of God, such as we have seen in the Stoic
teachings, in which God is conceived of as existing in all things. Now
it is evident that in any system of philosophy or theology which
believes in a transcendent God, and yet regards the visible world,
including man, as the creation of the divine, some provision must be
made for a being or beings, mediary between the transcendent God and
the world, which shall express God’s will and make God intelligible
to man. If such a being or beings do not exist to serve as mediators
between the world and God, then man can have no knowledge of the divine
whatsoever, and God cannot express himself in the world. Now in Plato’s
philosophy the transcendency of God was at least implicit, it was
clearly defined in Aristotle’s thought, and the idea certainly belonged
to the Jewish-Alexandrian thought of the last two centuries before the
beginning of the Christian era. Philo sets forth the doctrine most
plainly. According to him God is so far above all mortal things that he
must be defined in a negative way. All that we can say of him is that
he is pure being, incorporeal, invisible, without qualities, above all
virtue, and above all knowledge. We therefore cannot say that God is
good or beautiful, because he is above all beauty and goodness; he is
eternal, unchanging, existing in and for himself alone. His perfection
is beyond our power to comprehend; our intellect cannot grasp his
nature. All that man can know or say of God is that God _is_.[244] Yet
naturally Philo is not content with negative definitions, but does
attempt to express in a more or less traditional fashion the perfection
of God; he speaks of him as that being which includes all reality
within himself, or as the only being of whom real existence can be
predicated; again as the absolute happy and perfect being; or as the
original of all beauty. He likewise pictures God as the source of all
activity, as the being to whom endless activity is as proper as it is
for fire to burn or snow to chill; God is therefore the cause of all
the activity in the world, as he is the supreme cause of all things.

Yet with his view of the transcendence of God, Philo could not say that
God is present in the world save in his acts; and these acts he does
not perform directly, for if God were to deal directly with the matter
out of which the visible world is made, contact with that matter would
defile the divine perfection. The creation of the world, therefore,
God accomplished by incorporeal powers (δυνάμεις), by ideas (ἰδέαι),
which are his servants.[245] The chief of these is the supreme reason,
the word, the logos. In this logos all the ideas have their place,
as the plan of a city has its place in the soul of its architect.
The logos stands midway between God and the created world; it is not
eternal as God is, or mortal as we, but occupies a middle position. The
indebtedness of Philo to Plato is self-evident. Plato’s absolute and
Plato’s ideas have been made mediary between the transcendent God and
the visible world. This term, logos, the word, had been familiar not
only to Greek philosophy from the time of Heraclitus but it had also a
verbal parallel at least in certain Jewish expressions, “the wisdom of
God,” “the word of God,” which Philo interprets in terms of the logos.

According to Philo the logos has a double rôle. Through the logos God
created the world out of inert and formless matter, and continues to
reveal himself through it to the world. The logos also serves as the
high priest, the intercessor and advocate of the world with God.[246]
Let me here note, however, that in Philo’s thought the logos could not
take corporeal form; it could not become flesh and dwell among us,
and therefore it was not possible that the logos should be identified
completely with the idea of the Jewish Messiah.

Following Plato and the Stoics Philo teaches that man’s reason, his
soul, is a particle, so to speak, of the divine intelligence that has
entered into the human body. The human spirit, therefore, is divine,
but man’s body is mortal and sinful. Here then, as in most of the
philosophies which were influenced by Platonism, a discipline is
necessary to subdue the flesh and free the spirit: man must constantly
exercise his choice in preferring the things of the spirit, for through
the gift of God man is free with power to choose the right or wrong.
The moral obligation of man and the path of his salvation is the same
as we have seen in earlier Greek thought. To this end Philo lays much
weight on practice and education as contributing to advance in virtue;
he is fired with a passionate longing for purity. In a notable passage
he speaks thus to his own soul: “Haste thee, O my soul, to become God’s
dwelling place, pure, holy; to become strong instead of utterly weak,
powerful instead of impotent, wise instead of foolish, most reasonable
instead of wandering.”[247] Yet he goes beyond his predecessors in
teaching that man is so possessed by sin that he can escape from the
bondage only by divine help; that his own reason and his own will are
insufficient for the task. Knowledge and virtue are not acquired by
unaided human effort, but are the gifts of God. Philo outdoes even
the Stoics in requiring man to free himself from the passions of the
body, and yet he points out that just because man is subject to these
passions, because he is a sinner, he cannot unaided follow and imitate
God, or make himself God’s holy temple. Man’s goodness then is due to
the favor of God; salvation is an act of grace.

The end of man’s effort and hope is to attain to knowledge of God and
thereby to find supreme happiness. But man cannot reach this by his
own will or intellect, for God is so far removed from the world that
he cannot be fully apprehended by one dwelling here, so that the gulf
between man and God must be bridged. This is possible, Philo teaches,
when the soul in ecstasy passes out of itself, beyond the sensuous
world, the realm of ideas and the logos, to be at one with God. This
vision of God is the supreme blessing, accorded only to the most
perfect and holy among men; in it the human soul finds not only its
rest and full satisfaction, but its own consummation.[248]

You recognize at once that we have here philosophy fired with religious
emotion, that in Philo’s system at the end reason gives way before a
passionate desire for revelation through union with God. Philosophy
has become theosophy. The ecstacy which we have hitherto seen, has
been connected chiefly with the worship of Dionysus, in which it was
stimulated by means which we find offensive. But this ecstasy is not
aroused by dance or music, or indeed by contemplation, but is attained
in a purely passive condition when the soul is emptied of itself and
becomes one with the Absolute.

These same ideas—the transcendence of God, the existence of mediary
powers between God and the world, the ascetic life as a means of
growth, the dependence of man on God’s grace for his salvation, the
possibility of the Beatific Vision—all are common in varying degrees
to all the mystic philosophies of the day. In the third century
Neoplatonism became the most popular and influential. Through Origen
and St. Augustine it passed into Christian theology. The real problem
for Neoplatonism, as for the other religious philosophies of this
time, was to set forth the way by which the soul of man could grasp
the Divine directly and find its happiness and complete satisfaction
in perfect unity with him. We have just seen how Philo had conceived
of God as wholly transcendent, and had established the logos as the
mediator who furnishes the necessary connection between the eternal,
transcendent God and the created, temporal world. Plotinus outdid
Philo in that he removed his God one stage still farther away. His
definition of God is necessarily similar to that of Philo, but he
endeavors to give a notion of an Absolute more remote, if possible,
than that of his predecessors. God he says is neither reason itself
nor can he be grasped by the use of reason, but is above all knowledge
and reason.[249] We must conceive of him as absolute unity, as at once
pure creative activity, the first cause, the power on which the world
depends, and at the same time as the final cause toward which the world
is tending. The acts of creation are constant; yet God does not create
the visible world directly, but as the sun without effort or loss to
itself sends out its rays, so God out of the fullness of his perfection
emanates Intelligence (Νοῦς), in which are immanent the Ideas: these
are the causes of all things which come into being. The second grade
of emanation is that of the World-soul (Ψυχή), which pours itself out,
so to speak, into the individual souls. The last stage of emanation is
that of Matter, the material which in itself has no characteristics of
being. The sensible world is produced by the action of the Ideas on
Matter, forming and shaping it through Intelligence.[250] You will note
here the four stages, God, Intelligence, Soul, and Matter, as compared
with Philo’s three, God, the Logos, and Matter.

You may well ask at this point why these later philosophers with
their desire to know God, should still lay so much emphasis on his
transcendence, apparently vying with one another in pushing the Divine
beyond the universe, which they still regarded as his creation. Now
we have already seen that Plato implied that his material principle
was imperfect and thereby the source of evil, and that his Absolute,
the supreme Idea, was separate from matter. In the period we are
now considering all schools which owed ultimate allegiance to Plato
or the Pythagoreans held to a clearly defined dualistic view of the
universe. Conscious that the visible, material world is imperfect and
full of evil, unstable and decaying, they argued that God cannot be
immanent in the world, for if he were, he would be subject to evil,
imperfection, and change, whereas we must conceive him to be good,
perfect, and unchanging unity. Therefore the motive which prompted all
these theologians was their desire to save the unity and perfection of
God by removing him from all possible contact with matter, to which
some like the Neoplatonists, following Plato, absolutely denied all
the attributes of being. And the doctrine of divine transcendence was
the more natural for Philo and all who had come under the influence of
Jewish thought, since the Old Testament constantly affirms the absolute
exaltation and perfection of God. In like manner the doctrine of
mediary powers was helped by the Jewish idea of the wisdom of God and
the popular post-exilic belief in angels.

Yet when the theologians had removed God beyond the confines of the
world, beyond all knowledge, they had still to deal with the passionate
longing for knowledge of God and for assurance of salvation which was
strong in large numbers of the uninstructed, as well as in the
philosophic élite. This knowledge and assurance could only be supplied
by a belief in the direct revelation of God to man. Such a belief was
traditional in the Old Testament; on the Greek side it was fostered by
the feeling that the great teachers Pythagoras and Plato were divinely
inspired; and in the popular Oriental religions which we shall consider
in a later lecture, divine revelation was a fundamental article of
faith. But let us return to Plotinus.

The second grade of emanation in the Neoplatonic system is the
World-soul (Ψυχή),[251] which, though inferior to Intelligence (Νοῦς),
is nevertheless divine and immaterial. It stands midway between
Intelligence and Matter and is related to both. Within the World-soul,
which is the highest of all souls, corresponding to Plato’s idea of
the Good, are all individual souls.[252] These descend into matter and,
pervading bodies in all their parts, give them sensation, reason, and
all their life. But even as the sunlight descending into darkness is
dimmed or wholly lost, so by their descent and birth into corporeal
forms souls are made to forget their divine origin. They wish to be
independent; like children who leave their parents and dwell apart from
them, the souls of men forget their own nature and their divine father;
they lose their freedom; they honor that which is not honorable, and
so fall deeper into sin. The sinner therefore must be turned from his
ways, must be made to remember his divine race, to honor the things
of the spirit, and to cease reverencing those things which are not
the soul’s concern.[253] The soul’s return is to be accomplished by an
asceticism with which we are now familiar. This the leaders illustrated
in their own lives. Porphyry tells us that his master remained
unmarried, abstained from animal food, lived in the simplest fashion,
and so despised his body that he seemed ashamed of its possession.[254]
The pupil laid even more stress on the subjugation of the flesh that
the soul might be free and return toward God. “The more we turn toward
that which is mortal,” he says, “the more we unfit our minds for the
infinite grandeur, and the more we withdraw from attachment to the
body, in that same measure we approach the divine.”[255] He taught that
men must regard their bodies as garments, which not only burden but
actually defile them, and which they like athletes must lay aside
that naked and unclothed they may enter the stadium to contend in the
Olympia of the soul.[256]

Plotinus, however, held that men would not all rise above the plane of
the senses, but that many would remain caught by them, thinking that
the good is identical with pleasure and pain with evil; others are more
capable, he said, but they cannot turn their gaze upward, and so they
devote themselves to the virtues of the practical life. But there is a
third class of divine men of greater strength and keener insight, who
can see and follow the gleam from above, so that they rise beyond the
mists of this world to their true and natural abode, like men returning
to their native city after long wandering.[257]

The soul’s final aim in its flight from evil Plotinus defines in
Plato’s words: it is likeness to God.[258] That is the sum of all
virtue. But the master distinguishes grades and degrees of virtue in
practice. There are the social virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance,
and justice, which serve to regulate the passions and help man to
form right opinions. At this stage these cardinal virtues are related
solely to external objects, and serve primarily to better man in his
mundane activities. Next come those virtues which purify the soul from
the pollution of the body, the activities which have nothing to do
with the body but belong wholly to the soul; they are concerned with
thought and reason. But in the highest range the virtues of the lower
stages are no longer related to external objects, but have to do with
the Intelligence (Νοῦς) alone. This is the contemplative life, man’s
highest activity, in which he becomes himself divine.[259]

Yet the Neoplatonist held that there is a still higher stage.
When man’s soul has mounted upward to Intelligence and lives the
contemplative life, the space between Intelligence and God is yet
unbridged. This gulf can only be crossed when the soul in ecstasy,
forgetful of all thought and of self, rises to complete knowledge and
union with the One.[260] This supreme privilege, according to Porphyry,
was vouchsafed his master four times in the years he was his pupil; and
once he too had seen the Beatific Vision.[261]

It is evident that Neoplatonism, the last stage of Greek philosophy,
is no isolated or strange phenomenon. On its metaphysical side it is
the consummation and final synthesis of the whole course of Greek
thought from the sixth century to its own day; likewise in ethics it
combined the views of its chief predecessors as its leaders understood
them; and finally in the doctrine of the soul’s union with God it only
carried the mystical tendencies of previous centuries to their natural

If time allowed, we might consider the way in which the Neoplatonists
reconciled their theology with the polytheism and demonology of popular
belief, but that would lead us too far; indeed it would take us away
from our own proper subject and from the main interest of the great
leaders of this school. They were most concerned with finding out and
showing men the true path to the soul’s peace and happiness, and we are
chiefly interested in the history of their thought on this high theme.
They found their object not in the exercise of the reason or the will
alone, but in mysticism.


[225] _De vita beata_, 17.

[226] _Diss._, I, 1; II, 5, 13; and often.

[227] Stob. _Ecl._ I, 1, 12 = SVF, I, 537.

[228] Diog. Laërt. VII, 149 = SVF, I, 175.

[229] Aetius, I, 27, 5 = SVF, I, 176; II, 974 ff.

[230] _Gnomol._ Stobaei 31 Schenkl; cf. _Diss._ 4, 1 (_On Freedom_)

[231] Cf. Cic. _de Fin._ III, 64 mundum autem censent (Stoici) regi
numine deorum eumque esse quasi communem urbem et civitatem hominum et
deorum; et unumquemque nostrum eius mundi esse partem, ex quo illud
natura consequi ut communem utilitatem nostrae anteponamus. Sen. _Ep._
95, 52 membra sumus corporis magni, etc.; cf. Epict. I, 3 (_How one
should proceed from the fact that God is the Father of all men to the
conclusions therefrom_).

[232] Sen. _de Ben._ 3, 18, 2.

[233] _Ibid._ 20.

[234] _Ibid._ 28.

[235] _Dig._ I, 1, 4. 5, 4; XVII, 32.

[236] _De otio_, 4, 1; cf. _Epist._ 68, 2.

[237] Stob. _Flor._ 40, 9.

[238] VI, 44; and often.

[239] _Ep._ 95, 50; 115, 5.

[240] _Diss._ I, 16, 15-21.

[241] IV, 41.

[242] II, 2.

[243] _Diss._ I, 14, 6; II, 8, 11: σὺ ἀπóσπασμα εἰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἕχεις τι ἐν
σεαυτῷ μἐρος ἐκείνου.

[244] It is impossible to give here all the numerous references to
Philo’s works on which these and the following statements depend. The
most important of Philo’s works bearing on the nature of God are _de
allegoriis legum, de somniis, de opificio mundi, de Cherubim, quod deus
sit immutabilis_. For detailed references consult Zeller, _Phil. d.
Griechen_, III, 2^4, pp. 400 ff.

[245] _De special. legib._ I, 329; _de vita Mosis_, II, 127 ff.

[246] _Quis rer. div. her._ 205 f.

[247] _De somn._ I, 149. Wendland’s transposition and choice of text
are not followed here.

[248] _De alleg. leg._ III, 29 ff.

[249] Porph. _Vita Plot._ 23; Plot. _Enn._ V, 1; VI, 9, 3; and often.

[250] _Enn._ IV, V, and VI.

[251] Plot. _Enn._ V, 1 f.

[252] _Enn._ IV, 3, 7, and 9.

[253] _Enn._ V, 1, and often.

[254] _Vita Plot._ 1 ff.

[255] _Ad Marc._ 32.

[256] _De abs._ I, 31.

[257] _Enn._ V, 9, 1.

[258] _Enn._ I, 2, 1.

[259] _Enn._ I, 2, entire.

[260] _Enn._ VI, 9, 11.

[261] Porph. _Vita Plot._ 23.



By her victory at Zama in 202 B.C. Rome made her position as
mistress of the western Mediterranean secure; and in the next century
she extended her political dominion over Greece. But the same period
saw captured Greece take her captor captive. Nor was this subjugation
of the victor by the vanquished any sudden thing—in fact it had begun
centuries earlier. The course of that conquest will be the main subject
of the present lecture.

The story of the sale of the Sibylline Books to King Tarquin is
familiar to all: how the Cumaean Sibyl brought to the King nine books
of oracles; when he refused their purchase she went away and burned
three, and offered the remaining six at the price she had originally
demanded for the nine; upon his second refusal she burned three more,
and then offered the last three on the original terms. Tradition says
that her confidence in human curiosity was justified, and that Tarquin,
after consultation with his seers, purchased the last three books.[262]
Although we cannot today determine what historical truth lies behind
this naïve story, the date of the reputed sale—the sixth century
before our era—coincides with the first period of Greek influence at

By their geographical position the early Romans were exposed to
influences from two superior civilizations—the Etruscan at the
north, the Greek in southern Italy. The Etruscans had entered Italy
probably from the East at some time between the eleventh and the eighth
centuries B.C.; but before their coming they had advanced in
culture beyond the Latins whose territories they touched on the Tiber.
By the sixth century certainly the Romans had come into close political
and commercial relations with them, and indeed had already felt
their power, for an Etruscan dynasty ruled at Rome. In spite of the
patriotic efforts of Roman historians, we can now see that the Etruscan
domination lasted long after the traditional expulsion of the kings.
From their northern neighbors the Romans took many political and social
institutions as well as certain religious elements. The most important
of the latter were the College of the Haruspices, the Great Games in
the Circus, the Triumph, and the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno,
and Minerva, which was established by the Tarquins to strengthen their
political position.

But far greater was the influence of the Greeks, whose colonies, firmly
established, rich and prosperous, fringed the whole southern part of
the Italian peninsula. From them the Romans got their alphabet, their
weights and measures, and certain political institutions; but most
important of all for our present interest, they received from them
religious influences which finally so overlaid the early Roman religion
that the Romans themselves could not well discover its original
elements, and we are hardly in a better situation. Furthermore, if we
can believe that there is a kernel of historic truth in the story that
King Tarquin the Proud sent an embassy to consult the oracle at Delphi,
Rome was not wholly without connection with Greece proper in the sixth
century before our era. We have then in Rome of the sixth and earlier
centuries an example of a state whose rude civilization was brought
into close and intensive contact with the higher civilizations about
her. It was inevitable that the results should be rapid and profound.

Of Roman religion before it was influenced by the Greeks and the
Etruscans we have comparatively little knowledge. Our literary sources
for that period are late and fragmentary, and consist almost wholly of
the speculations of the learned. But we have preserved in fragmentary
form some twenty stone calendars, dating from the early empire. These
calendars are not unlike that classic work known to us all, the Old
Farmer’s Almanack, in that they not only enumerate the days and the
months, but also note religious festivals and great historic events.
In all of them two styles of letters are employed. The larger letters
in part indicate one class of religious festivals; other festivals and
historical notices are inscribed in letters of smaller size. Theodor
Mommsen was the first to see the meaning of this difference. He showed
that the religious festivals recorded in the larger letters represented
the earliest stage of Roman religion known to us.[263] Some forty-five
fixed public festivals in the year’s round are thus indicated. We
cannot now discover the character of a number of these, and the
functions of some of the gods who belonged to that earliest stage
were as obscure to the scholars of the time of Cicero as they are to
us today. But we can determine the approximate date at which this
earliest period of Roman religion closed, so to speak, for there is
no mention in these entries of the triad of the Capitol—Jupiter,
Juno, and Minerva. As I have just said, tradition tells us that this
group was introduced by the Tarquin dynasty in the first half of the
sixth century before our era; so that the date that can be set for the
close of this first stage of Roman religion is somewhere about 600-550

An examination of the character of the earliest festivals shows the
stage of civilization which had been attained by the Romans. Some
thirteen or fourteen among those whose nature can be discovered had
to do with agriculture, a few perhaps with grazing, a few others with
war; certain ones were connected with the household and the cult of
dead ancestors, or were the occasions on which special efforts were
made to avert the baneful influences of the dead. The Romans then at
this stage were a simple agricultural people, busy with their efforts
to get a living from the soil with the aid of their flocks and herds,
and engaged in armed conflicts with the neighbors. Their religion
had little in it that showed the exercise of the imagination; it was
confined rather to those elements which a life rooted in the ground,
possessing no broad outlook, required. The heavenly bodies, the sun,
moon, and stars, and the operations of nature were not deified; and the
social relations, which later furnished many abstract divinities, as
yet had no place among the divine powers. Only those things which had
to do with the Roman’s daily life in his own neighborhood received his

Furthermore in this earliest stage the gods were hardly conceived
anthropomorphically. Varro says that for the first hundred and seventy
years of Roman history the Romans did not represent their gods by
statues. According to his chronology this brings us to the founding of
the Capitoline temple in which the Etruscan triad of Jupiter, Juno,
and Minerva were worshipped. In general we may say that his statement
is true, for the Romans were in the aniconic stage until they learned
from their neighbors to represent their divinities by images in human
form. In this primitive period the Roman thought of his gods not as
individuals but as powers (numina), resident in and associated with
departments. This is an idea extremely difficult for us to grasp
with our sophisticated minds. To the early Roman Janus, for example,
was not the god of the door or the threshold, he was the door or the
threshold—not simply resident in it, but not even distinguished from
the object itself. So Vesta was the fire on the hearth; Saturn was the
sown grain; Ceres the growing grain; Flora the blossoming flower; Fons
the spring of water; and so on. The circle of such powers could never
be closed, as the number of departments in which divine powers might
reside was indefinite. Yet even in this early stage certain numina were
regarded as more prominent than others. At the head of the list stood
Janus, the numen of the door or passage, whose importance was such that
still in later times his priest, the rex sacrorum, took precedence
of all others, and prayers began with an appeal to him. Jupiter was
the god of the sky and of all the phenomena which seem to have their
origin there; Juno the feminine counterpart of Jove; Mars the god of
war and protector of the land; Quirinus a similar divinity, belonging
originally perhaps to a separate settlement on the Quirinal Hill. The
list closed with Vesta, the goddess of the hearthfire, with whose
name the ancient litanies always ended. These were the great gods of
the period before Greek influence came. Yet in this earliest time the
divinities had little, if any, personality in our sense of the word.
They were simply powers. Personalities and anthropomorphic forms they
acquired under the influence of the Greeks, who had left the primitive
stage many centuries behind them and had long represented their
divinities in human shape.

The religion of the early Romans was at once both simple and elaborate.
There were no temples in the later sense; no cult images of the gods.
But religion was thought to consist primarily in the employment of a
scrupulous care in all dealings with the divine powers, that is to say
the ritual had to be exactly performed so that the numina might be
forced, if need be, to perform the things the suppliant desired. Such a
concept naturally led to the development even in this earliest time of
an elaborate ritual, on the exact performance of which all depended.
This character Roman religion maintained to the end. So fixed was the
ritual that the ancient litanies could not be changed. We have still
preserved the songs of the Arval Brothers and of the Salii, which are
of such primitive form that in the historical period they were largely
unintelligible to those who sang them; yet no syllable of the venerable
formulae might be varied. Furthermore religion was regarded as a state
affair. It was by state action that certain gods had been recognized
and given a kind of citizenship; no others therefore were of concern
to the Romans unless the state adopted them also by formal decree. The
state likewise determined where and when worship should be carried on.
These legislative enactments, according to tradition, had followed the
actual establishment of the state by Romulus; and in the historical
period the establishment of the religious organization of a colony, for
example, was regularly subsequent to the political. In fact the Romans
said that the earliest religious system had been established by King
Numa, as the political system had been made by Romulus, for they had
a natural tendency to regard their institutions as the creations of
individuals. The historical significance of this belief for us is that
the “religion of Numa” marked the earliest stage of which the Romans
were conscious. It is that indicated in the calendars by the entries in
large letters.

The Romans further thought of their religion as a contract between the
state and its gods. This view comes out clearly in the vows made at
the beginning of the year or of a campaign. At such seasons the king,
and later the consuls or other officials, promised that if the divine
powers should prosper them against their foes, and should grant them
abundant harvests, increase of the crops and herds, then the state,
when the gods had done their part, would in its turn pay the price
promised in the form of votive gifts and sacrifices. Livy furnishes
us many illustrations. For example, in a crisis during the struggle
with the Samnites the Roman leader prayed thus to the goddess of war:
“Bellona, if thou wilt today grant us victory, then I promise thee a
temple.”[264] Another is the vow made near the beginning of the Second
Punic War: “If the state of the Roman People, the Quirites, shall be
preserved, as I would have it preserved, for the next five years in
these wars—the war which the Roman People is carrying on with the
Carthaginians and the wars which they have with the Gauls who live this
side the Alps,—then the Roman People, the Quirites, will give a gift,
etc.”; a long list of the offerings to be made follows.[265]

In this first period the religion of the family also was already fixed
in the form which it retained to the end of antiquity. Vesta of the
hearthfire, the Penates of the larder, the Lar of the farm, the Genius
of the pater familias, were the divine powers which were worshipped in
the house. Rites were paid also to the Manes, the shades of the dead.
As within the home the head of the family naturally performed the
priestly offices, so in the state during the regal period the king was
chief priest. Advisers and assistants were given him, who with the
organization of the republic acquired an independent position, so that
thereafter the Pontifex Maximus and his associates, who formed the
College of the Pontifices, were at the head of the state religion.
Although it is impossible here to go into the details of the Roman
priesthoods, it is important to note that these priestly offices were
state magistracies just as much as the offices of consul and praetor,
and that with a few exceptions priestly office never debarred its
holder from performing any other political function. The Roman state
was not burdened with sacerdotalism.

Now this early religion of which I have been giving a brief summary
was the religion of a little city-state; it was suited to a small,
unimaginative community. As such it remained formal and practical—a
religion intended to secure material blessings; but it lacked all
spiritual elements, and offered little or nothing to satisfy man’s
natural hope for a happy future life. More than this, it contained
little to ennoble daily life, save as it taught the lesson of duty and
of fidelity towards the gods in the performance of contracts agreed
upon. Yet it was not an uncomfortable religion for unreflective men,
winning their existence from the soil and gaining their wealth from
crops, their power through war. It did not, however, have in it the
possibility of satisfying men’s higher desires.

Under the influence of the Greeks and the Etruscans the Hellenic gods
were early introduced to Rome. The temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline,
which the Tarquin kings apparently built to establish a new religious
center associated with their own dynasty, housed Jupiter, Juno, and
Minerva; but they were only the Greek gods Zeus, Hera, and Athena,
who had travelled to Rome by way of Etruria. In this temple the
gods were represented in human form, and thereafter the process of
anthropomorphizing and individualizing the divinities must have gone
on apace. Some gods came by migration and trade, like the Greek Castor
and Pollux, who were introduced to Rome from the neighboring town of
Tusculum, and Hercules, whom Greek immigrants had established at Tibur.
But the greatest influence in introducing Greek gods was the Sibylline
Books. Whenever need pressed the state, these books were consulted that
they might indicate what new means should be employed to win divine
aid. We can name at least ten Greek divinities who were thus brought in
before the outbreak of the Second Punic War. Apollo must have come at
the time of the acquisition of the Sibylline Books, or soon after, for
the Books were believed to contain his directions; we know that he had
a temple by 433 B.C. Under the name of the Italian divinity
Mercury, the Greek Hermes had received a shrine in 495; two years later
the triad Ceres, Liber, and Libera, an Italian disguise for Demeter,
Dionysus, and Kore, were domiciled near Mercury; and not long before
399 B.C. the Greek Poseidon, with the name of Neptunus, was
established near the city walls. Then there was apparently a pause for
about a century. But in 293 B.C. a serious plague ravaged the
city, so that the Sibylline Books were consulted. This time they were
found to say that relief was certain if the Greek god of healing,
Aesculapius, were brought to Rome. The divinity consented, and two
years later a temple was dedicated to him on the island in the Tiber
where the hospital of San Bartolomeo today continues his kindly work.
Again in the crisis of the year 249 B.C., warned by many
omens, the Romans obeyed the Books’ injunction to establish on the
Campus Martius a festival to the Greek Pluto and Persephone under the
names Dispater and Proserpina. This festival was to be renewed every
saeculum, and ultimately became the festival which Augustus celebrated
with such magnificence in 17 B.C. Finally in 238 B.C. the Greek
Aphrodite was adopted under the Italian name Flora. You will observe
that most of the Greek gods were identified with Roman or Italian
divinities long familiar to the Romans; but in every case sooner or
later the Greek god so completely overshadowed his Italian counterpart
that the Italian lost his identity in the Greek. Besides these
divinities which I have named the popular mind identified many others,
and in the end a large part of the Greek pantheon crept into the Roman
system. The temple for Jupiter and his associates, Juno and Minerva,
had been built on the Capitoline Hill in the Etruscan style and the
three gods were represented by Etruscan terra-cotta images; but the
homes of the Greek divinities were erected in the Greek style by Greek
architects, and the statues of the divinities were copies of statues in
Greek cities. These set models for the representation of other gods. We
can readily understand how men’s concepts of their gods were profoundly
influenced by their artistic representations.

The introduction of these Greek gods is probably to be connected with
the political struggles of the two centuries between 500 and 300 B.C.
At the beginning of the Republic the patricians were the only ones who
had considerable political rights or who enjoyed the privileges of
the state religion, whereas the plebeians were struggling to secure
admission to both political and priestly offices; and during these
two centuries the humbler class found religious satisfaction in the
worship of these new gods, whose rites were public, open to all, and
not restricted to the privileged citizens, as were the rites of the
older divinities. In 367/6 B.C., the plebeians secured admission to the
consulate and to the College of Ten who had charge of the Sibylline
Books, and by the year 300 they had obtained a right to all important
political offices, including practically all the priesthoods. A social
significance also attached to the temples of these new gods: that of
Mercury, the god of trade, became the resort of the guild of merchants;
the temple of Minerva on the Aventine the center for the various guilds
of craftsmen, including that of poets. Along with the Greek gods had
come also the Greek ritual. The Hellenization of Roman religion may be
said to have been completed by the year 217 B.C. when, as ordered by
the Sibylline Books, at the great festival of the lectisternium twelve
gods were represented as sharing a sacred meal with the people; these
twelve gods were Greek divinities, although all but Apollo were called
by Roman names: Jupiter and Juno, Neptune and Minerva, Mars and Venus,
Apollo and Diana, Volcanus and Vesta, Mercury and Ceres.[266] While
the practical character of Roman religion still remained, the Romans’
concept of the gods themselves, as well as much of the ritual, had been
profoundly altered.

In other fields as well Greece began her conquest of Rome before
Rome entered on her political subjugation of Greece. An educated
young Greek, taken captive at the fall of Tarentum in the year 272
B.C., became the teacher of his master’s children at Rome;
when set free, he continued his profession under the name of Livius
Andronicus. There was, however, no Roman literature available, so that
he had to supply this lack by translating the Odyssey into the rude
Saturnian verse current in the mouths of the Latins. In the year 240
B.C. he presented a tragedy and a comedy adapted from Greek
originals, and thus through epic and dramatic poetry he became the
founder of Latin literature.

We must realize that at this time the only literature existing was the
Greek, which in its unexampled history of six centuries and more had
originated and perfected almost every major literary form since known.
It was inevitable that Andronicus and his successors should turn to the
Greek for their models and that the early drama should largely consist
of adaptations, chiefly from the cosmopolitan comedy of Greece. That
this was possible and natural shows in part how common knowledge of
the Greek language and of Greek customs was already in Rome of the
third and second centuries before our era. Now these adapted plays,
both tragedies and comedies, had a share in breaking down the older
religious and social strictness, as we can easily see from the extant
comedies of Plautus and of Terence. These prove beyond question that
the later Greek drama, when adapted for Roman audiences, must have had
a considerable influence upon Roman religion and Roman society. The
gods are intentionally held up to ridicule; they are represented as
being more immoral and baser than common men; nor is the human society
which is presented in these plays an edifying spectacle. Although we
should not attribute too great influence in such matters to the stage,
there is no possible question that the theatre had its effect then, as
it has its influence now.

At the close of the third century before our era native epic poetry
began under the influence naturally of the Homeric epics. Naevius,
who flourished during the Second Punic War, wrote a narrative poem,
the Bellum Punicum, in the native Saturnian measure—a poem which
enjoyed great success and continued to be read in Horace’s day. In it
he popularized among the Romans a simple form of the legend of Rome’s
connection with Troy, which is familiar to us from Virgil and Livy. His
successor in this field was Ennius, who died in 169 B.C. He
boldly adopted the Greek hexameter for his poetic history of Rome, the
Annales, and moulded the Latin language to this measure so successfully
that thereafter this remained the metre for the Roman epic. From
Naevius and Ennius through Virgil to the end of the fourth Christian
century, when Claudian closed the long line of classical Latin poets,
every one drew his form, his imagery, and many of his incidents from
the Greek epics.

The splendid results of the Second Punic War, made the more glorious by
the long years of doubt and disaster, stirred the Romans to a desire to
record their national history in prose form. But the only prose which
had been developed for this purpose was Greek; therefore the Roman
historians wrote in that language for half a century until Cato the
Censor set the fashion of writing in Latin prose. So we might go on
and point out how in oratory, lyric poetry, elegy, and in almost every
other form of literature the Greeks were the direct models for the
Romans, as in a way they have been for the literatures of all peoples
since. Furthermore in poetry, history, and indeed in all classes of
literature, Greek myths and legends were adopted or worked over to fit
new conditions, tales and genealogies invented on Greek models, and
everywhere the Greek gods were given Latin names and adapted to their
new environment. The disastrous result for the indigenous religion is

During the third and second centuries education came to mean first of
all the study of the Greek language and literature. I have just spoken
of some of the evidence we possess which shows that Greek was early
widely known among all classes at Rome. By the Second Punic War it
became customary in well-to-do and noble families to employ a private
teacher (grammaticus) within the house to give instruction in the
Greek language and literature; in the middle of the second century
B.C., with the growth of a wider interest in the formal study
of Greek literature, schools arose in which the grammatici taught a
considerable number of pupils together. The Greek authors studied were
first of all Homer, and then the great tragedians; among the writers of
comedy Menander was the favorite; the fables of Aesop and lyric poetry
also found their place. Modelled on this Greek curriculum was the
study of Latin literature—Livius Andronicus, Ennius, with selections
from the Roman writers of tragedy and comedy. In due season Virgil and
Horace occupied the first rank. Furthermore not far from the beginning
of the last century before our era Greek rhetoricians began formal
instruction at Rome, and they continued to hold the field against Latin
rhetoricians throughout antiquity. We see therefore that all education
of every grade from the time of the Second Punic War was either Greek
or modelled directly on the Greek. By it the Latin tongue was refined
and perfected; but more significant for us at the present moment is the
fact that thereby Latin society was made familiar with Greek social,
philosophic, and religious ideas so far as they were represented in
Greek literature.

I have earlier said that the temples of the Greek gods at Rome were
built in Greek style by Greek architects, and that the images of the
gods within were copies of famous Greek works of art. By these the
Romans’ ideas as to the personality of their divinities were fixed
in the Greek concepts. As Rome extended her conquests over Greek
lands, first in southern Italy and Sicily, and then in Greece proper,
she acquired as part of the spoils of war great treasures of Greek
sculpture and painting; the number of statues and other works of
art which were brought home by Memmius alone after the destruction
of Corinth in 146 B.C. can hardly be estimated. A large
number of them represented the gods, and intensified the process
of Hellenization with which we are now concerned, for the statues
and other representations of Cronos, Zeus, Hera, Ares, and Athena
readily represented Saturn, Jupiter, Juno, Mars, and Minerva. In cases
where the similarity was not so close, the nearest Greek analogy was
selected; if none was satisfactory, still the best was made of the
case, as when the Greek representations of the Dioscuri, Castor and
Pollux, came to do service for the Lares Praestites. Among the spoils
of war were many Greek paintings, for which mythological scenes were
favorite subjects, and such frequently represented the baser, sensual
side of traditional religion. The effect on the ignorant was to give
them a lower concept of divinity; the intellectual classes were
disgusted with the gods of such a sort and rejected them.

But the most potent influence that came from Greece to Rome was
naturally philosophy. We cannot fix any date for the introduction of
Greek philosophic thought at Rome, yet it certainly became influential
soon after the close of the Second Punic War. We have already seen that
long before this time the Greek philosophic systems were highly
developed and had done much to drive the traditional gods from their
high places. It was inevitable that these philosophies should have
a swift effect when they once became known to the newly Hellenized
Roman society of the second century B.C. The poet Ennius,
who belonged to the first half of that century, was a man of strong
religious bent and moral convictions, and he heartily scorned the
superstitious notions of his day. He had been already influenced by
Epicurean scepticism with regard to the existence of the gods, and the
following words, spoken by Teucer in one of his tragedies, may well
have represented his own view: “I have always said, and I shall always
say, that the gods of heaven exist, but I believe that they have no
care for what the race of man does. For if they had such care, it would
be well with the good and ill with the wicked; which is not the case
now.”[267] It is the ancient difficulty of justifying the ways of God to
men. Ennius adopted the easy solution by denial, which he had already
learned from Epicureanism.

The same poet also translated and made known to the Romans the Sacred
History of Euhemerus. This was a romantic tale written in the third
century before our era in which the author told of an imaginary voyage
which he had made from Arabia to the island Panchaea in the Indian
Ocean; there he found inscribed on a column the history of the supposed
gods Uranus, Cronos, and Zeus, and learned that they and the other gods
and heroes had been originally historical persons who were raised to
their high position because of the services they had rendered mankind.
This Sacred History was an interesting example of the rationalizing
tendency of the age that produced it; its effect upon the Roman, whose
belief in the traditional religion was already shaken, we can readily
understand. Unquestionably Ennius’ work and the plays of the comedians
hastened the work of unbelief, although they were only two of many
factors that contributed to the ultimate result.

The first half of this same second century was also a time of religious
unrest. Whatever may have been the reason, whether the common longing
for mystic assurance of safety and salvation had come naturally to
the front in the Roman and Italian mind, or whether the large number
of Greeks, slaves, traders, and other members of the lower and
immigrant classes had moved the natives by mystic practices which
they had brought with them, certain it is that a considerable part
of the Romans found no satisfaction for their deeper longings in the
traditional religion, and turned to a form of the Greek mysteries.[268]
The mysteries of Bacchus which had gradually made their way up the
peninsula from the Greek cities of the south led to such excesses in
186 B.C. that the Roman senate felt obliged to adopt stern measures;
yet it is significant that it did not dare to forbid the celebration
of these mysteries, but attempted only to control them. The Bacchic
mysteries offered essentially the same religious satisfaction that the
great mysteries at Eleusis did. Their influence at this time in Italy
shows how conscious men had become of larger religious desires and how
little the current forms of religion satisfied them. The conservatives
in the state abhorred the Bacchic rites and would have no more part in
them than in philosophy, towards which they showed an amusing timidity.
Five years after the regulation of the mysteries an attempt was made to
introduce at Rome some philosophic books which were generally regarded
as subversive in their tendencies. The method of their introduction
was the same one which has been used many times for similar purposes.
Some farmers plowing in their fields at the foot of the Janiculum found
two stone chests or coffins with inscriptions upon them in both Latin
and Greek, saying that in one King Numa Pompilius had been buried,
and that in the other were the books of the sacred law established by
him. On opening the sarcophagi it was discovered that the body of the
king had disappeared, but in the second chest were found two rolls of
seven books each; one set was in Latin and treated of the pontifical
law, the other, in Greek, dealt with Greek philosophy—tradition said
it was the philosophy of Pythagoras. After solemn deliberation by the
officials it was found that these books tended to destroy religion, and
a timid senate ordered them to be publicly burned.[269] Again about
173 B.C., the senate required the Epicurean philosophers, Aldus and
Philiscus, to leave the state;[270] and once more in 161 it passed a
vote banishing the Greek philosophers and rhetoricians.[271] In 156/5
an embassy from Athens included the Peripatetic philosopher Critolaus,
the Academic Carneades, and the Stoic Diogenes, who during their stay
at Rome exhibited their skill in disputation and their eloquence in
speeches before the people. The populace was charmed, but old fashioned
people were horrified at such exhibitions. Cato the Censor was so
shocked that he moved in the senate that the Roman youth should not
be allowed to listen to such teachings.[272] But it was too late;
philosophers might be driven from the state, but philosophy had found a
foothold at Rome.

The two schools that made the strongest appeal to the Romans at the
end of the Republic were Epicureanism and Stoicism. The former had
wide influence until the first century of our era, chiefly because its
agnosticism, or rather its denial of the existence of any future life,
offered a refuge from the uncertainty which prevailed now that the
old beliefs were broken up and men, harrassed by political disorders,
had not yet found an abiding place in any positive philosophy. The
Epicureans did not deny the existence of gods, it is true, but they
declared that the gods, if they existed, must dwell in some remote
place in the upper ether in eternal sunshine, undisturbed by any care
for mortals. They explained the universe by a resort to the atomistic
materialism of Democritus, a philosopher of the late fifth century.
Their religious aim, if we may so define it, was to free men from the
terror which their superstitious beliefs in the gods and in future
punishment brought upon them. No writer sets this forth with greater
genius or with greater passion than Lucretius, the contemporary of
Cicero. His six books are devoted to an explanation of the universe
and its phenomena, of the nature of man, and of the impossibility of
immortality. This splendid poem furnishes us the best proof that in
that day the mass of men still believed in immortality and longed for
an assurance that their belief was not in vain.

In practical ethics the Epicureans did not differ much from the other
systems of their time. They taught that happiness must be found in the
avoidance of pain, and that inasmuch as some pleasures have painful
results they were to be rejected, as some pains were to be accepted,
for they were followed by pleasure; and they held that in self-control
and choice lay the means by which man could attain to his goal, which
was ἀταραξία, complete repose of the mind. So the Epicurean tried to
reach an end similar to that of the Stoic, although his premises were
somewhat different. Epicureanism made a natural appeal to men in a time
like the last century and a half of the Republic, when the ancient
confidence in the state religion was gone, when the simplicity of the
earlier centuries had been replaced by a more elaborate method of
living, made possible through the rapid increase of wealth, and when in
every department of Roman life rapid changes were taking place.

Yet for various reasons Epicureanism gradually lost its hold. It may be
that the passivity which it engendered failed to make a lasting appeal
to the Roman mind, or more probably other philosophies may have offered
more attractive means of attaining the same goal of happiness. At any
rate, as I pointed out in an earlier lecture, the Roman temperament had
an especial leaning towards Stoicism. I there spoke of the introduction
of Stoicism at Rome by Panaetius during the second century B.C., and
I sketched the tendencies of his system so far as popular religion
was concerned. It was probably Panaetius who was responsible for that
threefold theology which was set forth by the famous Scaevola, who
declared that there were three classes of gods—those of the poets,
those of the statesmen, and those of the philosophers. The mythical
theology of the poets, he said, was full of absurd and degrading
stories unworthy of the attention of men; the religion of the state was
nothing but a wise device, a useful convention adopted by statesmen as
suited to the necessities of the political organism; but the theology
of the intelligent man, the philosopher, was alone true, yet naturally
it was beyond the power of the common man to grasp. Such was the
attitude of the most famous jurist and the head of the state religion
at the beginning of the last century before our era.[273] A little
later Varro, the famous polyhistor, in writing of the gods and religion
in his great Encyclopedia of Roman Antiquities, made a similar
distinction between theologies and showed throughout his treatment the
pantheistic influence of the Stoic philosophy. In his works he was the
first fully to combine the mythological traditions with the philosophic
doctrines which the Romans had been learning for over a century.

Yet the Epicurean and the Stoic schools were not the only ones which
numbered adherents among the Romans. The representatives of the later
Academy, Philo of Larissa and Antiochus of Ascalon, had many pupils.
Cicero, Atticus, Brutus, and Varro had all heard the latter lecture at
Athens. But the teachings of Plato had been greatly modified, inasmuch
as these later Academicians had adopted the greater part of Stoicism
into their philosophy. Furthermore the sceptical tendency which is so
clearly marked among the Sophists of the fifth century had gradually
developed during the fourth and third centuries into something like
a philosophic system. The Sceptics, however, can hardly be called a
school; they included those men in the various schools who doubted
the possibility of attaining to absolute knowledge. Among the Romans
they had close affinity with the tenets of the later Academicians on
the one hand and with Stoic doctrines on the other. But their keen
consciousness of the limitations of human knowledge made them also a
factor in producing a certain agnosticism among the educated. As a
matter of fact, the majority of the Romans were plain men, not given to
speculation, with a fondness for the concrete rather than the abstract.
They naturally selected from the various philosophies the elements which
appealed to their practical sense, and which fortified them to meet the
burdens and responsibilities of their daily life. On the whole Stoicism
did this service more than any other of the current systems, and in
the end, as we have already seen, Stoicism became the chief philosophy
under the early Empire. The Stoics’ interest in grammar and logic also
appealed to the legal character of the Roman mind; their system of
duties, which were to be met unflinchingly, accorded with the Roman
temper, and their cosmopolitan view found favor with a people that were
masters of the greater part of the known world. But whatever the system
of philosophy or selection of philosophic doctrines the Roman adopted,
he found therein no warrant for a belief in the state religion.
Philosophy could go no further than it did with Scaevola and Varro. The
traditional religion was abandoned by the intellectual Romans; they
substituted for it either agnosticism, some form of moral philosophy,
or a pantheistic concept of the world. In truth the conquest of Greece
over Rome was complete: in literature, art, philosophy, and religion
captured Greece had taken her captor captive; by the beginning of
our era Greek thought had penetrated to all the great centers of the
Roman Empire, and under that long peace, which with comparatively few
interruptions lasted for two centuries after the battle for Actium,
philosophy and many new religions, including Christianity, travelled
the great Roman roads from one end of the ancient world to the other.

The last century of the Republic from the time of the Gracchi to the
battle of Actium in 31 B.C. was not only a period of religious
change but also a time of political decay. The strength of the Republic
was so far gone that democratic government no longer existed, and the
rule fell into the hands of political leaders. However much the Gracchi
may have been inspired by public spirit and high purpose, they set in
motion a train of events that was destined to result in the loss of
all public liberty and in the foundation of the Empire. The history of
this last century must be read in the history of individuals—Tiberius
and Gaius Gracchus; Saturninus; Marius, Cinna, and Sulla; Pompey,
Caesar, and Crassus; Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus. These were the
political bosses who for good or ill led the state and combined for its
control. From the day that Caesar crossed the Rubicon in January 49
to the battle of Actium in September 31 B.C., Italy and many
other lands around the Mediterranean were harassed almost continuously
by civil war. The Italian peninsula never fully recovered from the
disasters of this time. Even with the horrors of the European struggle
before us, we in this land can hardly picture to ourselves either
these disasters or the joy with which the majority of the inhabitants
of the Roman world hailed the pax Romana which the Emperor Augustus
established. With peace came a revival of trade and a return of
prosperity, to which eloquent witness is given by Virgil and Horace.

The founder of the Empire, Augustus, attempted to revive the old state
religion and to introduce certain modifications to the advantage of
his own position. In this he was aided by the sense of dissatisfaction
which the preceding disasters had increased, and by that inherent
belief which always seems to persist, even in times of great religious
doubt, that somehow the prosperity of the state is inseparably
connected with the rites of religion. Under his direction temples
were rebuilt, old priesthoods reestablished, and the ancient ritual
performed with a magnificence that men had never before seen. He also
magnified the worship of Apollo and of Apollo’s sister Diana; the
former god in fact he regarded as his patron divinity, and three years
after his victory at Actium he dedicated a magnificent temple to him
on the Palatine. But the new worship of Apollo did not attain to the
supreme position to which Augustus apparently wished to raise it, and
his efforts to recall the old state religion could not bring back men’s
belief, although they could restore its practices. Indeed we must
bear in mind that the traditional worship of the greater Roman gods
continued to exist to the end of antiquity, in spite of the fact that
it had lost its vitality centuries before its final downfall.

One important and permanent contribution to religion Augustus did
make: as early as the year 42 B.C., the masterful youth had
forced an unwilling senate to declare Julius Caesar divine; thereby he
established the worship of the deified emperors—a cult which was to
last nearly four centuries. The significance for us of this worship
of the emperor lies in the fact that now for the first time there was
introduced into the entire civilized world a common religion. From the
remotest East to the farthest West, from Britain on the north to the
edge of the Great Desert on the south, temples to the deified emperors
had been erected before a century of the Empire had passed, and these
did much to accustom men to the idea of one common worship for the
whole world.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far we have been considering almost wholly those forces which
were operating in the Roman world first to obscure the original Roman
religion and finally to break down faith in that traditional religion
which had resulted from the victory of the gods of Greece over those of
Rome. Yet the age of Augustus was far from being irreligious. Of the
truth of this statement Virgil alone would be sufficient witness if all
others were lacking, for the Aeneid owed its immediate popularity and
its permanent high place, not only to the unmatched expression which it
gave to Roman imperialism, but also to its religious tone, which the
poet’s contemporaries and their successors found partly in Virgil’s
exact knowledge of Roman ritual and felt still more in the sixth book
of the Aeneid, where the current beliefs in a future life with rewards
and punishments were set forth in combination with impressive prophecy
after the event; all was planned and combined in such a way as to make
a strong appeal to the Romans’ national pride and religious sense
alike. Moreover under the Empire positive elements tending to elevate
religious thought and to purify morals were not lacking. On many of
these we have already touched in our last lecture, for they were
largely to be found in philosophy, one of the greatest gifts which
Greece gave to her conqueror. Even at the risk of repetition, we shall
now consider briefly some of these constructive forces.

Although Epicureanism taught that man’s highest good was pleasure,
it was far from being a thoroughgoing hedonism, as I pointed out
a little while ago. On the contrary its founder taught that the
pleasures of the mind were superior to those of the body, and that the
cardinal virtue of man was correct insight, that is to say, wisdom,
virtue, and justice; and that these three factors—wisdom, virtue, and
justice—were necessary for a pleasant life.[274] Such doctrine as this
does not properly make for religion, but it does contribute to the
welfare and comfort of society. Epicureanism was the most quietistic
of the later philosophic schools and so was well adapted to the
conditions of the later Republic and the early Empire. We have seen how
Pythagoreanism in its revival had something approaching the Christian
cult of the Saints, and made sanctity an ideal of human life as well as
an object of admiration. Platonism never lost its own religious fervor
and missionary zeal, but had indeed communicated them to most of the
eclectic later schools. Yet of all the schools perhaps Stoicism made
the largest contribution directly to the moral and indirectly to the
religious life of the first two centuries of our era.

The Stoic, like the Cynic, his doctrinaire and less effective
intellectual cousin, at this time conceived of his task as that of
a missionary to a lost world; he was a director of men’s souls.
Speculation was by most regarded as unpractical and useless, save
as it might help to elevate men’s minds and so contribute to their
moral edification. Many of the aristocracy, whose wealth furnished
only a splendid cloak for the disorder of their souls within, had
in their houses philosophers who served as confessors and private
chaplains—physicians to the soul. Such was Seneca, to whose real
significance and merit we must not be blinded either by his own
weakness or by the monstrosity of the emperor whose minister he was.
He was a spiritual director, a confessor, and a guide to many of the
aristocracy. His correspondence shows how he endeavored to build up his
friends in virtue and moral strength, not by theoretical speculation as
to the nature of virtue, but by wise instructions as to the practice
of a virtuous life. Epictetus on the other hand was more of a preacher
to the masses. Arrian occasionally gives us the dramatic setting of
his master’s discourses, as for example: “When a man asked his advice
as to the way in which he could persuade his brother to be no longer
angry at him, Epictetus said,” etc.[275] These words show that the text
of Epictetus’ sermons might often be furnished by the question of an
individual, but the sermons themselves make it clear that any one who
wished might hear the teacher. Seneca and Epictetus are simply the
two examples best known to us of the philosophic director and the
missionary, but it is clear that there were many of both classes. Their
essential moral and religious teachings were in practical accord.

What were some of the supports and satisfactions which Stoicism offered
serious men in the disordered political and social world of the early
Empire? First of all, it laid stress on conduct and frankly proposed
to give rules by which men could attain to the peace they sought.
Both Seneca and Epictetus inculcated daily self-examination, and this
practice was not the habit of their school alone. The eclectic Sextius,
who belonged to the generation before Seneca, at the end of each day
asked his soul: “What fault of yours have you cured today? What vice
resisted? In what way are you a better man?” Seneca himself found the
same practice helpful; he would say to himself: “In that discussion
you spoke with too much warmth. Do not engage again with the ignorant,
for they who have never learned do not wish to learn.”[276] Epictetus
quoted from the “Golden Words” of Pythagoras and reminded his hearers
that the verses were not for recitation but for use: “Never let sleep
come to thy languid eyes e’er thou hast considered each act of the day.
‘Where have I slipped?’ ‘What done, what failed to do?’ Begin thus and
go through all; and then chide thyself for thy shameful acts, rejoice
over thy good.”[277] Such a searching of one’s daily acts Epictetus
regarded as an essential exercise to prepare and train a man to meet
the vicissitudes of life. In the discourse in which he quotes these
Pythagorean verses, he continues with the question: “What is
philosophy?” “Is it not a preparation against things which may happen
to a man?” He argues that a man who throws away the patience which
philosophy teaches him is like an athlete who because of the blows he
receives wishes to withdraw from the pancratium—still worse than he,
for the athlete may avoid his contest and escape the blows; but no man
can escape the buffetings of life. Therefore the preacher says that to
give up philosophy is to abandon the one resource against misfortune,
the only source of happiness and courage.

The pagan missionary no less than the Christian apostle to the Gentiles
regarded life as a battle to be fought and a race to be run. Epictetus
often compared human life to a warfare; he said that men were assigned
their several places and duties in this world, just as in an army one
man is obliged to stand watch, another to spy, and a third to fight,
each doing his part in the place in which the great general, God, had
set him,—a figure which Socrates had used five centuries earlier in
his defence before his judges. In accord with this view of life as a
battle or an athletic contest, the philosophers laid much weight on
training. Seneca and Epictetus both exhorted their pupils to exercise
themselves in the means whereby they could meet misfortune or be ready
to perform any duty which the changes of life might bring them. The
latter had a discourse “On Exercise,” which was apparently a favorite
theme for all Stoic preachers.[278] The purpose of this exercise was to
train the individual in right abstentions and the proper use of his
desires, so that he would be always obedient to reason and do nothing
out of season or place—in short to make him an adept in living so that
he could manage his usual life with adroit uprightness and meet the
sudden changes of fortune undismayed. In another discourse Epictetus
pointed out that the misfortunes of life were tests sent by God to
prove the individual’s fidelity in training; “God says to you, ‘Give
me proof if you have duly practised athletics, if you have eaten what
you should, if you have exercised, if you have obeyed the trainer.’ And
then will you show yourself weak when the time for action comes? Now is
the time for a fever. Bear it well. Now the time for thirst. Endure thy
thirst well.”[279]

In my last lecture I spoke of the doctrine of constant advance in
virtue which these later moral teachers magnified. Stoicism had come
to recognize the facts of human life and in practice had abandoned
the older doctrine of the sudden and complete perfection of man by
philosophy. Seneca’s honest words I must quote again: “I am not yet
wise, nor shall I ever be. Do not ask me to be equal to the best but
rather to be better than the base. This is enough for me—to take away
daily something from my faults and daily to rebuke my errors. I have
not attained complete moral health, nor shall I ever attain it.”[280] It
is unnecessary to point out that such teaching as is given in these
words was far more tonic than the uncompromising doctrine of an earlier
day, for progress in virtue each man could feel was within his
power; sudden perfection he knew was beyond the strength of any man.
Furthermore the philosophers gave detailed injunctions as to the ways
in which one could further his moral progress, as for example when
Seneca, following Epicurus, advised Lucilius to select some person of
noble character like a Cato, a Scipio, or a Laelius, and to imagine
that he was always present, watching and judging the novice’s every
act; then when he had advanced to the point where his self-respect
was sufficient to keep him from wrong-doing, he could dismiss his
guardian.[281] But if Seneca recognized the limitations of human nature,
he still kept clearly in view the ultimate goal of man’s effort—that
perfection of the individual which according to the Stoic was attained
when his reason was harmoniously developed and had become supreme.[282]
Then man was to be wholly independent, happy, and serene; his mind
would be like that of God.

Self-examination, self-training, daily advance in virtue, ultimate calm
and peace—these were the moral habits and the attainable goals which
the later Stoics tried to teach their age. Moreover the Stoic doctrine
of the community between the divine and the human reason gave a dignity
to man; cut off from activity in the political world he realized that
he was dwelling in a world in which God and men were the citizens,
that he shared in that divine polity, free in the freedom which his
relationship to God gave him. Between man and God for the Stoic there
was no gulf fixed; on the contrary as Seneca wrote his younger friend:
“God is near you, with you, within you. This I say, Lucilius: a holy
spirit sits within us, watcher of our good and evil deeds, and guardian
over us. Even as we treat him, he treats us. No man is good without
God. Can any one rise superior to fortune save with God’s help?”[283]
A nobler concept of the worship of the gods and of man’s duty toward
them arose: not by the lighting of lamps, the giving of gifts, the
slaying of bullocks, or visitations to the temples were the gods to be
worshipped, but by a recognition of their true nature and goodness,
by rendering to them again their perfect justice, and by ascribing
to them constant praise.[284] In the contemplation of God alone and in
loving obedience to his commands lay the means of freeing the mind from
sorrow, fear, desire, envy, avarice, and every base thought, and of
securing that peace which no Caesar but only God could give.[285]

A belief in the goodness of God and the perfection of his works made
the Stoic naturally regard this world as the best of all possible
worlds, and urge men to accommodate themselves to the natural order,
in which he saw the perfect product of the supreme reason. He could
not think that the world was out of joint, but he believed that all
was perfect harmony for one who would set himself in tune with the
universe. So Marcus Aurelius wrote: “Everything is harmonious to me
that is harmonious to thee, O Universe; nothing is too early or too
late for me that is in due time for thee. Everything is fruit to me
that thy seasons bring, O Nature; from thee are all things, in thee are
all things, to thee all things return. ‘Beloved city of Cecrops,’ sings
the poet: Shall I not say, ‘O beloved city of God?’”[286] It is easy to
understand from passages like this how stabilizing and how ennobling
later Stoicism was. To reverence God, to do nothing that God would not
approve, to think ever of God, and to trust in the harmonious purpose
of the universe was the Emperor’s constant exhortation to himself. With
this purpose was associated a similar desire to help his fellowmen;
and yet in spite of the Emperor’s religious devotion and sympathetic
interest in humanity, in spite of the exaltation of spirit which
appears in his Meditations, there is still a note of sadness which
had already been sounded by Seneca and Epictetus; there is a sense of
the vanity of all things which makes itself felt again and again as
we read his book. For all his belief in the harmony of this universe
the Emperor exhorts himself too much to make the best of a sad and
wicked world. What Marcus Aurelius felt others had been feeling for
generations. The passion for assurance of protection here and salvation
hereafter, the longing for union with God, would not be quieted. The
West offered little satisfaction; the answers from the East will occupy
our next lectures.


[262] Dionys. Hal. IV, 62.

[263] See p. 370 f. for an example of such a calendar.

[264] 296 B.C., Livy X, 19, 17.

[265] Livy XXII, 10, 2 ff.

[266] Livy XXII, 10, 9.

[267] _Scen._ 316 ff., Vahlen.

[268] Livy XXXIX, 8 ff.

[269] Livy XL, 29; Plin. _N. H._ XIII, 84. ff.

[270] Athen. XII, 547 A; Aelian _V. H._ IX, 12.

[271] Suet. _de rhet._ 1; Aul. Gell. XV, 11, 1.

[272] Plin. _N. H._ VII, 112; Plut. _C. M._ 22.

[273] Augustin. _Civ. Dei_ IV, 27.

[274] Epic., p. 72 Usener. Cf. p. 59, and frg. 506.

[275] _Diss._ I, 15, 1.

[276] Sen. _de Ira_ III, 36, 1-4.

[277] Epict. _Diss._ III, 10, 2.

[278] _Diss._ III, 12.

[279] _Diss._ III, 10, 8.

[280] _De vita beata_, 17.

[281] _Epist._ 11, 8-10; 25, 5, 6.

[282] _Epist._ 41, 8; 92, 2 f.; and often.

[283] _Epist._ 41, 2.

[284] Seneca _Epist._ 95, 47-50; 115, 5. Epict. _Diss._ I, 16.

[285] Epict. _Diss._ II, 16, 45-47; III, 13, 9 ff.

[286] IV, 23.



In our previous lectures we have had occasion more than once to refer
to the effect of the conquests of Alexander in opening up the nearer
East to the European West, and in making easy the contact between
Greeks and Orientals, especially those of Semitic and Persian stocks.
Greece, Egypt, and western Asia were for a brief period united in one
great empire; and although that political empire quickly broke into
many units, the sway of the Greek language and of Greek ideas was
permanently extended over wide areas where they had not had potent
influence before, and by this extension a door was opened for the
entrance of oriental ideas into the West. No doubt the Macedonian
conqueror simply accelerated a process which had been going on
imperceptibly through the channels of trade and of war from prehistoric
times. Now with regard to the question of oriental influence on the
Greek world from the earliest period, there has been much extravagant
statement and conjecture: the Orphics, Pythagoras, Plato, and others
too are said to have derived many of their ideas from the East. Such
inaccuracies I wish to avoid. Indeed I will take this opportunity to
state that apart from certain cults which we shall presently consider
I am unable to see any clear proof of direct and concrete eastern
influence on Greek or Roman philosophic and religious thought until
the second century B.C., at the earliest; and that I believe
that the amount of such influence later—up to the time when the Jewish
and the Greek streams of thought united in Christian theology—has
been greatly overestimated. Nevertheless it is true that in certain
places, especially at Alexandria in Egypt, the greatest intellectual
center in the ancient world after 300 B.C., there was some
mingling of Hellenic and Semitic thought. The translation of the
sacred books of the Jews into Greek, which we know as the Septuagint,
began as early as the third century, but this translation was made for
Hellenized Jews of the dispersion and had little interest for Greeks
until the Christian period. But in the middle of the second century
before our era a certain Aristobulus endeavored to reconcile Greek
philosophy, especially that of the Peripatetic School, with Jewish
wisdom, and to show that the Greeks drew their philosophy from the
Mosaic laws and the prophets. The so-called Wisdom of Solomon also
betrays the influence of Hellenic thought on Jews at Alexandria; and we
have in an earlier lecture seen how the Greek and the Jew met in Philo.
Moreover all the later Platonists, Pythagoreans, and similar sects were
in some degree at least in accord with the Jewish thought of the time;
and in general we know that the intellectual metropolis of the ancient
world showed a fusion of West and East in society and ideas such as was
hardly found elsewhere.

But while this mingling of the Greek and the Jew was going on at
Alexandria, a new power was rising in Italy, which, having secured
the mastery of the western half of the Mediterranean, turned its
attention toward the East. Let us call to mind the position of Rome
at the close of the Second Punic War in 202 B.C. She was
mistress of practically the entire Italian peninsula from the Alps to
the Straits of Messina; by her two wars with Carthage she had gained
Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, and a large part of Spain—in short at the
end of the third century before our era Rome was the dominant power in
the West. Within the next two centuries she was destined to take and
in no small degree to Latinize all of modern Spain and Portugal, the
whole of France and Belgium, a part of Holland, the Rhine districts,
Switzerland, southern Germany, and Austria below the Danube; she was
to extend her power over the greater part of the Balkan peninsula
including Greece; and she was to become mistress of the most of Asia
Minor, of Syria and Palestine, of Egypt, and of all northern Africa
with the exception of what is now Morocco. The whole civilized world,
and many lands to which this name could hardly be applied, were brought
under her sway before the close of the first Christian century.

In their conquests of eastern lands Roman soldiers came directly into
contact with Asiatic, Syrian, and Egyptian forms of religion, so that
on their return to the West they brought with them some knowledge of
eastern gods. But the influence of oriental cults had begun before Rome
entered on her military conquests; for a long time she had had
mercantile and diplomatic relations with Asia Minor and Egypt. Trade
indeed was one of the great channels through which gods no less than
goods moved from the East to the West. The Greeks of western Asia
Minor, of Delos, of southern Italy and Sicily were the middlemen who
assisted in these transfers. Furthermore, beginning with the second
pre-christian century, enormous numbers of slaves were brought from
Asia Minor and the neighboring lands to Italy and the West. These
slaves were of every degree from the most ignorant to the highly
cultivated, but whatever their class they brought with them their
own religions, which they practised in their captivity and thus made
known to their masters. At a later period, under the Empire, auxiliary
troops, enlisted in the eastern provinces, were stationed at many
points in the West. The remains of shrines and hundreds of inscriptions
found along the Danube and the Rhine, in remotest Britain, in Spain
and Portugal, as well as in France and other lands, show that these
auxiliary troops did much to introduce oriental gods to the areas in
which they served. So traders, slaves, and soldiers became the great
agents in transfer of those oriental religions, which in the first
three centuries of our era were spread over all the western part of the
Roman Empire.

Yet the first oriental deity to be received at Rome was invited there
by vote of the Senate. In one of the darkest hours of the Second Punic
War, in 205 B.C., the Sibylline Books declared that Hannibal
would be forced to leave Italy if the great Mother of the Gods could
be brought from Phrygia to Rome. King Attalus of Pergamum, a friend
and ally of the Romans, readily gave up the meteoric stone which
represented the goddess, and in 204 this was received with great
ceremony at Rome. Thirteen years later the divinity was installed in
her permanent home on the Palatine, where the ruins of her temple may
still be seen. The character of her worship was wholly different from
that of any god hitherto known at Rome, and the citizens must have been
greatly shocked when they first beheld it; Phrygian priests dancing
and mutilating themselves furnished an appalling contrast to the sober
ritual of the state. So offensive were these performances that no
Roman was allowed to become a priest of the goddess until after the
close of the Republic. Only on April 4 did a state official—the city
praetor—offer sacrifice in the temple of the goddess, and on this
same day sodalities formed among the aristocracy dined together in her
honor; in 194 plays were presented on her festal day, and three years
later with the dedication of her temple there were established in her
honor the Ludi Megalenses, which, however, did not differ essentially
from similar festivals in honor of Roman gods. But the temple service
was restricted to the imported Phrygian priests, who were allowed on
certain days to dance through the streets to the sound of their wild
music, singing hymns to the goddess, and taking up collections for the
support of the worship. Under the Empire Roman citizens were admitted
to the priestly offices. Yet from the first the goddess was held
in high esteem, for the promise of the Sibylline Books had been
fulfilled—Hannibal had been forced to withdraw to Africa, and the
Roman cause had triumphed with divine help.

Other divinities came in what may be described as unofficial ways,
through the agencies that I have already mentioned. For example, as
early as the third century before our era, the worship of the goddess
Isis and her associates Serapis, Anubis, and the rest, spread from
Alexandria into Sicily and southern Italy, as it had extended in the
same period to Delos and the other islands of the Aegean Sea, and to
the coast of Asia Minor. Before 105 B.C. a temple had been
built at Puteoli, the important seaport of that day on the Bay of
Naples, which had close commercial relations with Delos and other ports
in the East. The temple of Isis at Pompeii was erected at about the
same period. Within half a century a shrine of the goddess had been
established on the very Capitol at Rome, where she maintained herself
in spite of many efforts to dislodge her. This Egyptian cult had been
introduced by immigrant traders and slaves, but it soon spread to other
classes. About 38 A.D., a temple to the goddess was erected
on the Campus Martius not far from the Pantheon. There is today in
front of the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva a little east of the
Pantheon an elephant carrying on his back a small obelisk at which he
casts an amusing look. That obelisk originally stood before the temple
of Isis, which was the chief center of the Egyptian cult at Rome to the
end of paganism.

The campaigns of Sulla and Pompey in Asia Minor had brought
the soldiers into contact with the worship of a Cappadocian
“Mother-goddess,” Mâ, to whom the Romans gave the Italian name of
Bellona. The cult of this divinity was apparently carried on privately
at Rome during the last half-century of the Republic, but the goddess
did not receive official recognition before the third Christian century.

It was in the first century of our era, however, that a flood of
divinities came from the East to the West. Of these I can mention
only a few. From northern Syria slaves and traders brought the Syrian
goddess Atargatis, whom they made known as far as Britain under the
name of Dea Syria. From many Syrian towns came the local Baalim, who
were regularly identified with Iupiter Optimus Maximus. So Adad, the
consort of Atargatis at Hierapolis in Syria, was known in the West; the
Baal of Heliopolis, Baalbec, was worshipped as Iupiter Optimus Maximus
Heliopolitanus, not only in Italy, but in the Balkan peninsula, along
the Danube and the Rhine, and in Gaul. The Syrian port Berytus, the
modern Beyrout, became apparently a center for the export, so to speak,
of these oriental divinities. We have inscriptions which show that
an association of Syrian merchants coming from this city was settled
at Puteoli, where they formed a religious society, cultores Iovis
Heliopolitani Berytenses, which carried on the worship of the Baal of
Heliopolis at the end of the first and the beginning of the second
century of our era. A dedication to the same god, from Nîmes in southern
France, was set up by a retired centurion, who tells us that his
home was Beyrout; and likewise in the third century at Zellhausen
near the Rhine another centurion paid his devotions to the gods and
wrote himself down as from the same place. From the little town of
Doliche in Commagene, a district of northern Syria, soldiers carried
their warlike god to the western borders of the Roman world; Damascus
furnished Iupiter Optimus Maximus Damascenus; and I might quote many
other illustrations. More important, however, than these divinities was
the god Mithras, whose worship originated in Persia, but had long been
established in Asia Minor. It was to become prominent in the West at
the close of the first Christian century.

I have already said that these oriental gods were known over virtually
all the western world. We naturally find the evidence for their worship
most abundant in the great centers of trade and in those districts
where soldiers were quartered. In Italy the ports of Puteoli on the Bay
of Naples and of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber, together with the
capital, Rome, were the greatest centers. But the oriental cults were
found throughout the Italian peninsula. In the provinces of the Gauls
and the Germanies we find two great areas—the populous valleys of the
Rhone and the upper Garonne, and the Rhine valley. The chief centers,
as we should expect, were for the most part the larger towns or army
headquarters: Marseilles, Arles, Orange, Die, Vaison, Vienne, Nîmes,
Narbonne, and Bordeaux; Lyons, Trèves, Mayence, Heddernheim, and
Cologne. Occasionally a small town showed remarkable devotion to some
cult, as did Lactoure in Aquitaine, where the Great Mother of the
Gods was especially popular in the latter third of the second and the
first half of the third century of our era. In like fashion these
cults flourished along the valley of the Danube and even in remote
Dacia, which included approximately modern Rumania and Transylvania;
dedications are also found in the more important towns in Africa,
Spain, and Britain, being most abundant in the last named province
along the line of Hadrian’s wall.

With regard to the centuries during which these oriental religions
flourished our evidence, aside from that for the Great Mother, shows
clearly that some entered southern Italy in the second century B.C. or
even earlier, and that they began at Rome about 100 B.C.; there they
lasted to the very close of the fourth century of our era, almost a
hundred years after the recognition of Christianity by Constantine. In
the provinces of the Roman Empire these cults did not become prominent
until about 100 A.D., and they ceased before the close of the third
century. When in 307 A.D. Diocletian, Galerius, and Licinius restored
a shrine of Mithras, “the protector of their empire,” at Carnuntum on
the Danube, they were honoring a god whose potency in the European
provinces had ended more than a generation before.[287] The reasons for
the decay of these cults we shall consider later. But I should like
you now to observe that in Rome these religions flourished for a good
century longer than they did in the western provinces. The explanation
of this fact is to be found in that sharp conflict between paganism
and Christianity which went on through the fourth century, when the
pagan party rallied its forces of every sort for a final defense
against the advance of Christianity. This movement at Rome, which had
slight influence elsewhere save perhaps in some of the largest cities,
produced a pagan revival which helped to maintain the adopted oriental
religions for over a century after they had lost all vitality in the

The character of these oriental religions offers a marked contrast to
that of the Roman. In my last lecture I pointed out that this latter
was a formal, practical, bread-and-butter sort of religion, one that
was natural to an unimaginative agricultural people; it was a religion
in which the worship of the gods consisted primarily in the exact
performance of ritual to secure practical blessings of a material kind.
I further tried to show that this religion offered no satisfaction to
man’s deeper questionings, made slight appeal to religious emotion,
and had little moral effect except in the emphasis which it laid on
duty; we also saw that the forms of Greek religion, which were imported
into Italy, were serviceable chiefly in that they were cults in which
all classes of citizens could share, and because they offered certain
aesthetic satisfactions; I likewise spoke of the way in which the
Greco-Roman religion of the state fell into decay after the end of
the third century before our era, so that before Cicero’s day the
intellectual class had lost their belief in it. This did not mean,
however, that men had lost their religious longing. Far from it. For
there is abundant proof that under the stimulus of Greek philosophy
and mysticism, questionings as to the nature of man, his relation to
divinity, and his immortality became more earnest. To these questions
the Greco-Roman religion offered no answer.

The oriental gods, however, were of a very different sort from those
of Greece and Rome: they required a spiritual devotion on the part of
their devotees and they made strong appeals to the religious emotions.
These appeals were increased by the exotic character of these foreign
cults, for it seems to be a characteristic of the human mind in time
of special need or distress to seek some foreign source of help or
relief. Egypt and the East made a far greater appeal to the imagination
at the close of the Roman Republic and in the early Empire than they
do even today. Furthermore many of these religions could claim the
warrant of great age: Isis and Osiris had been mighty in Egypt for
two thousand years; the Great Mother of the Gods belonged to a class
of Asiatic mother-goddesses of immemorial antiquity; and Mithras came
from a period beyond the knowledge of the Roman world. Whenever records
failed, pious tradition supplied the need. The devotees formed closed
communities, sacred brotherhoods, to which admission was obtained
through rites of initiation. Their rituals were essentially mysteries,
in which through emotional experiences and revelations the devout
gained assurance of divine aid here and hereafter. Furthermore these
oriental religions had proselyting priests who recruited the number
of devotees by their appeals, and each religion numbered among its
followers considerable bodies of men who followed a certain holy
life—they were known as sacrati, “the consecrated.” There was, in
fact, much in common between these oriental mysteries and the greater
mysteries of Greece and the Orphic religion.

These oriental gods, moreover, were adaptable. They were sometimes
identified with familiar Greek and Roman divinities, in the same
fashion as Greek gods had been given Italian names; but their
adaptability went much further. Freed from all local restrictions, the
Orientals could take on the characteristics and functions required by
their new environment without losing their individualities, and their
systems could be easily modified and elevated to meet the needs and
demands of successive generations. Unmoral or even immoral when first
brought into the Greco-Roman world, a number of them adopted first the
current secular morality and eventually became strong moral agencies.
Finally they all displayed a pantheistic tendency. We have already seen
how philosophy inclined from the first toward pantheism or monotheism;
that the general attitude which first belonged to the philosopher
became finally common to large numbers of men, for the human mind
naturally tends to see resemblances and through them affinities,
rather than their opposites. Therefore in religious thought men,
acting consciously or unconsciously under the influence of philosophy
and of this syncretistic tendency, now looked through the variety of
popular polytheism and found unity in the divine; they did not deny the
multiplicity of gods, but they rather regarded each of the many gods as
a manifestation of the one divine principle in the world. So religion
was in agreement with Stoicism and the later mystic philosophies.

The devotees of the oriental gods generally adopted this syncretistic
view, so that most, if not all, saw in their god the supreme
all-embracing divinity whose divine nature was manifest in countless
other gods. This belief is best expressed by Apuleius, who composed his
famous Metamorphoses in the middle of the second century of our era.
After his hero Lucius had passed through many hardships and adventures,
the saving goddess Isis appeared in a vision and thus declared herself:
“Lo, I am here, Lucius, moved by thy prayers, I, the parent of the
universe, mistress of the elements, the primal offspring of the ages,
greatest of divinities, queen of the dead, first among the celestials,
the single form of gods and goddesses; I, who by my word rule the
bright heights of heaven, the healthful breezes of the sea, the gloomy
silent shades below. To my divinity, one in itself, the entire world
does reverence under many forms, with varied rites, and manifold names.
Hence it is that the primal Phrygians call me at Pessinus the Mother of
the Gods, hence the Athenians, who are sprung from the ground on which
they dwell, name me Cecropian Minerva, the wave-beat Cyprians Paphian
Venus, the archer Cretans Dictynnan Diana, the Sicilians with their
triple speech Stygian Proserpina, the people of Eleusis ancient Ceres,
others Juno, others Bellona, some Hecate, again Rhamnusia; but the
Aethiopians on whom shine the growing rays of the sun at his birth, the
Arians, and the Egyptians, mighty in their ancient learning, worship me
with the proper rites and call me by my true name Queen Isis.”[288]

This revelation by the goddess not only squares with the pantheism
of philosophic thought and with the doctrine of emanations of the
divine, such as were believed in by the Neoplatonists, but it is also
in harmony with the popular polytheism. At the beginning of the second
century of our era the genial Plutarch first stated a philosophy of a
universal syncretistic religion: “Not different gods among different
peoples—gods of Barbarians, of Greeks, of the South, or of the North;
but even as sun and moon, heaven and earth and sea are common to all,
yet have different names among different peoples, so there is one
Intelligence which rules in the world, one Providence which directs it;
the same powers act everywhere. Honors, names, and symbols vary.”[289]
This statement represents the attitude of all the more enlightened
classes after the beginning of the second century. A pantheism, which
made abundant provision for a subordinate polytheism, was the dominant
belief. In fact Greco-Roman paganism ended in such a pantheism, in
which the sun was the symbol of the supreme and all-embracing divinity.

Although many, if not most, of these eastern religions were probably
mysteries, requiring that their devotees should undergo certain
initiatory rites before being admitted to full participation in the
sacred service, we shall confine ourselves to sure ground and shall
consider briefly the mysteries of Isis, of Mithras, and of the Great
Mother of the Gods—especially those of Isis, because Apuleius, from
whose work I quoted a moment ago, has left us a rather full account of
the initiation of his hero Lucius, whose experiences in this part of
the Metamorphoses are apparently the author’s own.

Isis and Osiris were ancient gods whose worship had been wide spread in
Egypt from very early times; they had been carried by Egyptian traders
to some other parts of the Mediterranean world before the conquests
of Alexander. But the form of the Isiac religion which ultimately
spread over the Greco-Roman world was a conscious mingling of Egyptian
and Hellenic elements. The Ptolemies naturally desired to unite the
Greeks and Egyptians under their rule, and Ptolemy Soter (306-285
B.C.), the first of the line, according to Plutarch, employed
Manetho, a priest at Heliopolis in Egypt, and Timotheus, one of the
sacred family of the Eumolpidae in Eleusis, to work out a modified
religion of Isis, with whom was now associated a new divinity, Serapis,
said to have been originally Hades of Sinope, a Greek colony on the
south shore of the Black Sea. Thus Greek elements were grafted on the
Egyptian stock, Serapis being identified with Osiris. The ancient
forms apparently were largely retained, and the priesthood remained
Egyptian; but Greek became the common language for the ritual, while
Greek artists made statues of Isis and her consort, and Greek poets
sang the goddess’s praise. Thus the spread of this composite religion
was rendered easy, especially as its mysteries claimed to give that
assurance of salvation for which men longed.

The mysteries were based on the story of Osiris, the brother and
husband of Isis. According to the tale Set, or Typhon, killed Osiris,
but the body was discovered by Isis. However while Isis was visiting
her son Horus, Set again gained possession of the body, tore it in
pieces, and scattered its fragments far and wide. But these Isis once
more found and buried, and now Osiris lives again and reigns in the
lower world, and also in heaven, as the sun; that is, Osiris-Serapis
is lord of life and death. The story was early brought into relation
with the Egyptian doctrine of immortality. It is another myth of a god
who dies and lives again, whose rebirth, like that of Dionysus, Attis,
and Adonis, becomes the warrant of man’s future existence. The story
was early acted as a kind of passion play at Abydos; this element was
kept in the Ptolemaic creation, so that in Rome, at least beginning
with the reigns of Caligula and of Claudius, Isis’ hunt for her
murdered consort, her mourning for him, and her joy over the discovery
of his body and over his revival were experienced again yearly by
her priests during the days from October 28 to November 3. The final
joy of the participants in this sacred season was indicated by the
name, _Hilaria_, given to the last day. The Empire also knew a spring
festival of the goddess as ruler of the sea and protectress of sailors.

There were three grades of initiation into the Isiac mysteries. The
first was that of Isis, the second of Osiris-Serapis, the third led
to the priesthood. In Apuleius’ story his hero Lucius had through
over-curious tampering with a magic unguent been changed into the
shape of an ass. In this form he suffered various adventures which
fill the greater part of the extraordinary work; but at last, through
the favor of the goddess, he was restored to his human form, and in a
vision was commanded to devote himself to the divine service. Although
most eager to be initiated, he was informed that he must wait until the
goddess should indicate her willingness to receive him. Finally another
vision told him that the happy day had arrived. At dawn the priest met
him and conducted him to the temple, where the matin service of opening
the shrine was solemnly performed. Then he told Lucius that he must
provide certain things before the initiation took place—evidently
gifts to the temple and the priests and something in the nature of a
fee. After these had been secured, Lucius was taken to a public bath
nearby, where after prayer the priest sprinkled him with holy water and
duly purified him. Then Lucius was led back to the temple, set at the
feet of the goddess, and secretly given many instructions “too sacred
for utterance”; openly he was charged to abstain for ten consecutive
days from all pleasures of the table, to eat no animal food, and to
drink no wine.

After the ten days of preparation had been reverently observed, toward
nightfall great numbers of the initiates assembled bringing gifts to
the neophyte. When the uninitiate had been excluded from the temple
area, a fresh robe was placed about Lucius and he was led into the
holiest part of the shrine. What there took place he might not tell;
only this much he could say: “I approached the bounds of death. I trod
the threshold of Proserpina. I was carried through all the elements
and returned again to the upper air. At dead of night I saw the sun
all glowing with a brilliant light. The gods of heaven and of hell I
approached in very person and worshipped face to face.”[290]

Our imagination may busy itself as much as it will with trying to
conceive the means which were employed to produce this effect; it is
most probable that a hypnotic condition was induced in the neophyte
and that in this state he was made to see the proper visions. But
that must remain uncertain. This, however, is clear: the initiate,
through a series of emotional experiences, was inspired with the belief
that he had seen a divine vision. Like the seer in the Apocalypse,
he knew that there was no night in the final abode of those who had
been consecrated. By passing through the elements he had acquired a
knowledge of holy things, which no uninitiated could possibly gain: he
had been given assurance that he was to be ever after under the divine
protection—in fact he had attained the certainty of salvation.

But let us follow Apuleius’ hero through his later experiences. The
morning after his secret initiation Lucius was clothed in twelve sacred
articles of dress and placed on a wooden dais in the middle of the
shrine before the statue of the goddess; over him was thrown a linen
garment, richly embroidered in various colors with marvellous animals,
with Indian dragons and hyperborean gryphons. In his right hand was
put a lighted torch, while on his head was placed a garland of palm
leaves, which stood out like the rays of the sun. Then the curtains
were drawn back and the neophyte was displayed to the assembled people.
The meaning of this ceremony also is evident: by initiation Lucius had
become one with the god, and therefore this exhibition of him is the
epiphany of the initiate as the Sun God. The last is clearly indicated
by the garland of palm leaves which represented the rays of the sun.
The meaning of the dress is obscure to us, but naturally it was
effective in the impression which it made on the wearer and on those
who viewed him. After this epiphany certain minor rites followed on the
next day, completing the initiation of Lucius into the first degree,
that of Isis.

After continuing for some days enjoying the inexpressible bliss
afforded him by the sight of the goddess and receiving the blessings
which her power bestowed, Lucius set out from Corinth for Rome in
obedience to a vision which the goddess had granted him. There, when a
year had rolled round, he was divinely warned that he was to advance
to the second degree, that of the invincible Osiris; and shortly
after this he was ordered in like manner to take the highest degree
of initiation; henceforth he was a priest and an official in the
sacred association. For the second and third degrees the same days of
preparation were required as for the first, and like ceremonies were
performed. When the final initiation had been undergone, Lucius was
marked by a shaven head, and apparently also by a sign branded on his
forehead, as one who had consecrated his life to Isis.[291]

This is a brief summary of the fullest account which we possess of
an initiation into any of these oriental mysteries. We see from it
not only how the initiate was given the satisfaction of feeling that
he had seen divinity face to face—a vision by which he obtained a
foretaste of the final knowledge of god and received assurance of his
own salvation; but also how his religious life was constantly fed and
supported by daily religious services, by matins and vespers in the
temple. In these his emotions were stimulated and his consecration
renewed by a ritual made impressive through every means which an
immemorial history had sanctified and by every suggestion which an
elaborate symbolism could give. He realized that he had become a member
of a body set apart from the rest of the world. The members of this
holy company were called “the consecrated ones,” sacrati. They had been
born again indeed through initiation into the Isiac life. The term
reborn, renatus, is used frequently of the initiates, the day of whose
initiation was often referred to and celebrated as their birthday.

More widely spread and more powerful than the religion of Isis was the
religion of Mithras. Into the details of its early history we may not
now go, but we must limit ourselves to a few points only. Mithraism
had its origin in Persia, yet it was greatly influenced by the ancient
theology of the Chaldeans and by Babylonian astrology, as well as
later by the more barbarous religions of Asia Minor, whither it was
carried by Persian colonists during the last three centuries before
the Christian era. The Romans first came into contact with it during
Pompey’s campaign against the pirates of Cilicia in 67 B.C.,
but the soldiers seem not to have been greatly impressed at that time,
for it was about a hundred and fifty years later that Mithraism began
to be influential in the West. Soldiers, traders, and slaves all aided
in its spread. For the most part it followed in the steps of the Syrian
gods, with whom it was closely associated. Along the borders of the
Roman Empire, at the military stations on the Danube, on the Rhine,
and by Hadrian’s Wall in Britain inscriptions and ruined chapels still
attest the popularity of the cult; there are few Roman military centers
in Europe, outside of Greece, or in the African provinces, which have
not given evidence of its existence. In the ports of Italy, Puteoli and
Ostia, in Rome, and in all the chief cities of the West, traders and
slaves introduced the Persian religion; and the cult attracted many
Roman citizens; it found favor with the imperial house, especially from
Commodus to Diocletian. In fact during the second and third centuries
Christianity found in Mithraism its chief rival.

Mithras himself was an extremely ancient divinity known to the
ancestors of both the Iranian and Indian peoples. In early
Zoroastrianism he had no place, but later appeared as one of the
inferior divinities. Under the manifold influences to which Persian
Mazdaism was exposed, the position of Mithras gradually rose in
importance. The details of the theology at the time the religion became
known to the Romans cannot be determined, but it seems evident that
the main features were these: the Mazdaists conceived of the world as
a battleground in which the powers of light and of righteousness
were ever fighting against the powers of darkness and of evil; at the
head of the powers of light was Ahura Mazda, Oromasdes, or, to use
the form more familiar to us, Ormuzd; opposed to him was Ahriman, the
archfiend and adversary, lord of the world of darkness, who with his
demons was thought to strive continually to spread evil in the world;
midway was Mithras whose function was to help mankind and to hasten the
destruction of wickedness. So far as we can judge from the sculptured
monuments, Mithras in the sacred myths was not identified with the sun,
yet it is clear that he was regarded by the Roman devotees as the chief
divinity of light. This position was the more easily assured him by the
fact that he had been originally such a god, so that the Chaldeans had
identified him with Shamash, their solar divinity, just as the Greeks
in Asia Minor had made him equivalent to their sun god, Helios. Later
philosophy too lent its aid in that it took the sun as the supreme
symbol of divinity. On Roman dedications Mithras is often called simply
“The Invincible Sun,” Sol Invictus.

For all its exotic character Mithraism could offer nothing essentially
new in point of theology which would attract devotees, nor could
it win them simply by its elaborate and distinctive ritual. The
characteristic which distinguished it from the other religions of its
time save Christianity was the thoroughgoing dualism to which I have
just referred—I mean that dualism which divided the world into two
opposing armies, the one the legions of light and righteousness, the
other the forces of sin and darkness. The evil principle was deified
in the same way as the principle of good. It is quite true that the
Greeks and other peoples had conceived of evil powers, like the Titans
for example, but nowhere was the opposition between the two made so
sharp or the conflict regarded as so constant. In the cosmic struggle
the Mithraist believed man shared; for he too, the microcosm, was both
good and evil, so that the same battle had to be waged within him
as everywhere in the world. This religion, then, was able to supply
a strong moral motive for the individual: he was bound to struggle
continually against the powers of sin to aid in bringing about the
final victory of the powers of righteousness, and he was taught that in
this struggle Mithras gave the faithful constant aid.

Mithraism therefore was well suited to stir and energize the individual
in a time when the ancient fibre of the Romans was relaxing and when
the signs of social and economic decay were evident. In the first three
centuries of the Empire, as we have already had occasion to observe
more than once, the loss of political power and the weakening of the
satisfactions which a vigorous society can give, led men to search for
other rewards and assurances than those of this world; in the mystic
philosophies and religions they found their strength and hope. No
oriental pagan cult had so much to offer as Mithraism. Its compelling
system of ethics, the high ideal of moral purity which it inherited
from its Persian source, the fraternity which its associations
fostered, and the confidence which the promise of Mithras’ aid gave
the individual, all combined to extend its sway to the westernmost
boundaries of the Roman Empire and to maintain its power until it was
forced to yield before the victorious advance of a nobler faith.

The Mithraic worship was carried on in small chapels which would seldom
hold as many as a hundred worshippers at once, so that when the number
of devotees was considerable more than one chapel was required. No
less than five have been found at Ostia, the seaport at the mouth of
the Tiber, and in the capital some sixty have been discovered. These
structures were generally half-subterranean, recalling the sacred cave
of the Mithraic legend. Before each was a pronaos, an anteroom, from
which steps led down to the chapel proper. Through the middle of this
ran an aisle flanked on either side by a raised platform for the
devotees. In the floor were often represented the signs of the Zodiac,
which played an important part in the belief. The farther end of the
chapel contained a relief which always reproduced the same scene in the
type which some Pergamene sculptor had established in the Hellenistic
period. The god Mithras was shown in the act of slaying the sacred
bull; subordinate figures and creatures were also represented, and on
some reliefs a series of scenes from the sacred legends formed a frame
for the central representation. We can readily understand something
of the effect produced on the mind of the neophyte when he was first
introduced into the lighted chapel from the darkness without. The rows
of worshippers on either side, the symbolic figures and signs, and
especially the sacred relief which was doubtless brightly illuminated,
must have all combined to stimulate acutely the tiro’s imagination,
already stirred by his anticipations.

There were seven grades of initiation, each with its symbol and magic
name. The first stage was that of the Raven (corax), the second that of
the Hidden One (κρύφιος), and the third that of the Soldier (miles).
These first three degrees seem to have been preliminary, so that the
initiate was not admitted to full participation in the privileges of
the sacred community until he had been inducted into the fourth degree,
the Lion (leo). The succeeding degrees were the Persian (Persa), the
Courier of the Sun (ἡλιοδρόμος), and the Father (pater); the head of a
number of Mithraic communities was apparently the Pater Patrum. Each
stage had its proper initiatory ceremonies, admission to which required
abstinence, lustrations and ablutions, and many symbolic acts.
The courage and constancy of the neophyte were tested; oaths were
administered to him; a seal was set on his forehead; he was bound to
secrecy; and doubtless many other vows were required. The candidate
for the degree of the Soldier was presented with a crown which he was
expected to thrust aside and to say that Mithras was his only crown. He
was made to feel that he had enlisted for a sacred warfare against the
powers of evil and to realize that perfect purity was the goal toward
which the faithful must strive. Apparently the culminating point of the
tests and trials which the neophyte underwent was a symbolic death in
which he died at the hands of the priest and rose again into a new and
purified existence. Such rites are common in similar mysteries, but
there is some reason to suspect that in Mithraism the symbolic act had
an especially terrifying nature.

The religious life of the devotees was fed by meetings held in the
half-underground chapels. A part of the services evidently consisted
of a sacred communion, which, with consecrated cup and loaf, recalled
the sacred meal which Mithras had once celebrated with the Sun after
he had completed his service upon the earth. This is shown on a relief
discovered some years since at Konjica in Dalmatia, in which Mithras
and the Sun are shown reclining at table, where they are served by
attendants, one of whom wears a Phrygian cap, another a mask of a crow,
a third that of a lion, while the head of the fourth is hopelessly
mutilated.[292] It was believed that this mystic communion on earth gave
the devotees strength and wisdom, that it imparted the power necessary
to combat the emissaries of evil, and conferred immortality upon those
who partook of it. The parallelism with the Christian eucharist is
self-evident, and it is not strange that the church fathers claimed
that the Mithraists had stolen from Christianity.

According to the Mithraic doctrine the divine essence in man survived,
and was susceptible of rewards and punishments after this life. When
the body died the emissaries from heaven and the powers of darkness
contended for the possession of the soul. It stood on trial before
Mithras, the final judge. If the man had been impure, his soul was
dragged below for torture, but if virtuous, then his soul rose to the
celestial regions. At this point we come upon a doctrine which seems
to be foreign to Mazdaism, and which was doubtless borrowed from alien
sources. The heavens were conceived to be seven spheres presided over
by the seven planets, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus,
and Saturn. In each sphere was a gate guarded by an angel of Ormuzd.
To open these gates magic names and passwords were necessary, which
were known only to the initiates. The souls of men were thought to have
descended from the empyrean through these spheres, receiving from the
planets that presided over them the passions and qualities which they
exhibited when incarnate on earth. As the righteous soul returned, it
dropped at each stage of its ascent its earthly passions and faculties
like garments, until, stripped and pure, it entered into eternal bliss.
In the realms of everlasting light beyond the stars, it enjoyed the
companionship of the gods themselves.

With this concept of the final fate of the soul there was
inconsistently united a doctrine of a final resurrection of the flesh
when the world should come to an end. It may be that the sublimated
doctrine of the bliss of the purified soul did not appeal to the
ordinary man, and that, therefore, there was introduced from some
external source this belief that the whole man, flesh and spirit alike,
would ultimately enjoy a blissful existence. In any case the Mithraist
believed that the struggle between the contending powers of good and
evil was not to continue forever; that in the fullness of time the
evil powers would destroy the world, but that Mithras would once more
descend, wake the dead, and separate the good from the evil; with a new
communion he would then confer immortality on all the just, while the
wicked would be consumed with Ahriman and his fiends, and Mithras would
reign in a new and sinless world forever.

These are some of the essential features of Mithraism. It was a
religion which called for unceasing effort, for action on the part of
men, and which promised them divine aid in their efforts. It is little
wonder that it was popular in the Roman Empire, or that it appealed to
soldiers and to civilians alike. The remains of its chapels and the
dedications to its god furnish more abundant evidence than we possess
for any other oriental religion. Although in common with other cults
of this sort it had fallen into decay in the provinces of the western
world before the end of the third century, yet it was kept alive by the
pagan revival at Rome until nearly 400 A.D.

In the cult of the Great Mother of the Gods and Attis also there
developed certain rites which gave the promise of security here and of
salvation after death—the greatest religious concern of the opening
centuries of the Roman Empire. Down to the close of the Republic the
Great Mother apparently exerted no very wide or deep influence on the
people. She had quickly accomplished the purpose for which she had
been brought in 204 B.C., and therefore, with the exceptions
of which I spoke earlier in this lecture, her worship was left to the
Phrygian priests. Attis certainly played a small part at Rome before
the Empire, but by the second century of our era, if not before, he
overshadowed to a considerable extent the Great Goddess herself.

The story of Attis has many forms in detail, due no doubt to original
local differences and to the influences of later environment. The
kernel of the literary myth is as follows: Attis, a beautiful shepherd,
was loved by the Great Goddess; when he refused her advances, he was
driven mad by her, and in his frenzy mutilated himself at the foot of a
pine tree, into which his spirit departed, while from his blood sprang
violets. But in answer to the prayers of the mourning goddess Attis was
presently restored to life. The primitive elements from which this myth
developed we need not now discuss, but it will be sufficient to note
that in Attis, as in Adonis, we have an eastern vegetation-divinity,
a god who dies and lives again, thus becoming a symbol of man’s
resurrection into immortality and an earnest of his hope. The parallel
cases of Osiris, Dionysus, and Persephone will also occur to all.

In honor of Attis a spring festival was held in which the drama of
the myth was repeated by the priests and devotees. This festival was
introduced at Rome during the reign of Claudius (41-54 A.D.),
from which time the god’s importance there may be dated.[293] The
celebration began on March 15, which is designated in a calendar of the
fourth century by _Canna intrat_. These obscure words must be brought
into connection with the colleges of the Cannophori, “reed-bearers,”
which are known to us from inscriptions, but the significance of the
day is not clear; apparently it is to be connected with the story of
the discovery of the infant Attis, who had been exposed among the
reeds by the banks of the river Gallus. On March 22, _Arbor intrat_,
the dendrophori, “tree-bearers,” cut down a pine tree and in solemn
procession brought its trunk, decorated with violets and woolen
fillets, to the temple of the Great Mother on the Palatine. This act
was obviously in memory of the pine tree into which the spirit of Attis
passed at his death. Two days later came the “day of blood,” _Sanguen,
dies Sanguinis_, which marked the height of the mourning for Attis.
Stimulated by wild music and dances, the Galli scourged themselves
with whips loaded with pieces of bone or metal, slashed their arms
with knives, offering their blood on the altar of the goddess, while
the would-be Galli mutilated themselves. The whole period from the
first day was a time of sorrow, during which fasting and continence
were required; it was followed on March 25th, _Hilaria_, “rejoicing,”
by the wildest outbursts of joy in celebration of the resurrection of
Attis.[294] The next day was that of “rest,” _Requietio_; and on the
27th, the festival closed with the solemn bathing in the brook Almo of
the sacred meteoric stone, which was the symbol of the Great Mother. It
is clear that this festival, centering in the spring equinox, had its
origin in rites which were intended to recall the vegetation from its
winter’s death into vernal life again, but like other similar festivals
it had long had a deeper meaning before it came to Rome. As the Orphic
devotee by participation in the holy rites became a Bacchus, the Isiac
an Osiris, so here the orgiastic participant became an Attis and
received assurance of his own resurrection. The result was identical in
all essentials with that in other mysteries.

But from the second century of our era there was celebrated in the
western part of the Roman Empire another mystic rite in the worship of
the Great Mother to which we must now turn our attention for a moment.
I mean that ritual of purification and regeneration by means of the
blood of a slain bull which the ancients called the _taurobolium_.
Without much doubt this rite developed from the sacrifice of a bull to
the Great Mother, such as was made annually on March 15 at Rome. But
the taurobolium was no ordinary sacrifice. It is first mentioned in the
west in an inscription from Puteoli of 134 A.D.;[295] thence
it quickly spread to Rome, from there to Lyons; and it was celebrated
in many parts of the western provinces during the second and third
centuries. Like the other oriental rites it lived on at Rome long after
it had died in the provinces, the last celebration being near the
close of the fourth century. One of the earliest places at Rome for
the performance of the taurobolium was in the Vatican district close
by the circus erected by the Emperor Caligula and enlarged by Nero.
There, certainly from the time of Antoninus Pius to the end of the
fourth century, this purifying and regenerating ritual was performed,
never with more passionate hope of its efficacy than during the fourth
century, when for some seventy years this pagan shrine and St. Peter’s
first basilica stood side by side, fanes of the dying faith and of
the triumphing religion. It stirs the imagination to recall that when
in the early seventeenth century certain changes were being made in
the present St. Peter’s, a considerable number of inscriptions were
discovered buried in the ground, recording the celebration of the
taurobolium by members of the nobility after the first St. Peter’s had
been built.[296] So side by side the two rival religions contended for
the mastery.

The two descriptions of the ritual we have date from the fourth
century.[297] The one who was to be purified, after first laying aside
his ordinary garments and dressing himself in rags as a suppliant and
beggar, descended into a pit. This was covered with planks pierced
with holes; then the sacred bull was slain over the planks that his
blood, falling on the devotee, might cleanse him and give him freedom
from his sin. The recipient endeavored to have every part of his
person—especially his eyes, nose, and ears—washed by the cleansing
streams; he opened his mouth to catch the falling blood and swallowed
it. When he issued forth from the pit, dripping with his horrible
purification, he was greeted by his fellow consecrates as one who
had been born again. Usually the efficacy of the new birth given by
the taurobolium was thought to last only twenty years (renatus in XX
annos), at the expiration of which time the ritual was apparently
repeated;[298] once, however, we have the confident assertion that the
devotee was “born again for eternity.”[299]

In all these mystic rites there were many common elements. First,
all gave assurance of the salvation of the soul through the exact
performance of the rites of initiation and through the ritual
of service. As we have earlier seen, philosophy, especially
Neopythagoreanism and Neoplatonism, aimed at the same object as these
oriental faiths; the means were different but the end was one. The
devotee of Mithras, of Isis, of Cybele and Attis,—whatever the god
might be—believed that by initiation he had been born into a new life,
that the rites which he celebrated had a purifying power, and that
they protected him against the assaults of evil spirits. Furthermore
his religious life was constantly fed and nourished by membership in
a brotherhood which was consecrated and set apart from the rest of
the world, as well as by regular services within the shrine of his
divinity. Again the gods of Greece and Rome required only occasional
and rare service; the Orientals claimed the whole of a man’s life:
not only at the great festivals but apparently at daily matins and
vespers they received the praise and worship of their followers.
The priests were no longer civilians, sharing in the ordinary life
of their communities, but persons withdrawn for the divine service,
distinguished by their dress and other signs. Moreover these oriental
mystic religions were practically universal, in spite of the fact that
only men were admitted to the mysteries of Mithras; membership in the
sacred associations did not depend on birth, wealth, or learning, but
on devotion. Advance in religious proficiency was usually marked by
different grades, to which the devotee received a divine call. In these
initiations the individual obtained direct revelations which gave him
knowledge and freedom. He was made to feel his relation to the universe
both visible and invisible, and to find himself in unity with it.
Rebirth into a new life, constant support of faith through membership
in a sacred community and by religious services, confident assurance
of salvation—these were the common characteristics of the oriental
religions which go far to explain their hold on the Roman world in the
early centuries of our era.

The question may well be asked how far these religions inculcated
morality and what their ethical characters were. It is certainly true
that originally they were not moral or concerned with morality any
more than most other religions have been; indeed in the stories of
Cybele and Attis, of Isis and Osiris, and of many other gods, there
were obscene elements almost as offensive to the enlightened ancient
as to us. Mithraism on the other hand was singularly free from coarse
myths. In time the baser tales were allegorized and their symbolism
universally accepted, so that, as St. Augustine tells us, the ancient
stories were interpreted to the people for their moral edification.
Isis became the everpresent divine mother and kind providence; Serapis
was a god of gracious pity toward men; the Great Mother laid aside
her wild Phrygian character and changed into the beneficent mother
of all Nature, while Attis became the Sun-god, the common symbol of
all-embracing divinity. With such changes as these came a response to
what we may call secular ethics, and there can be no question that
from the second century of our era at least the oriental faiths taught
a morality which would win our approval in large measure today. There
were indeed many elements in them which made for righteousness. The
concept of divinity as a kindly providence which cared for the
individual and exacted the same good qualities from man, the
unremitting devotion demanded of the devotees, the sense of moral
pollution and the longing for moral purification, the shifting of
men’s eyes from the material gains of this world to the ideal rewards
of the next—all these and many other things gave to the oriental
cults distinct and positive ethical and spiritual values. Furthermore,
the self-restraint, the gentle asceticism, the obligation to strive
unceasingly on the side of righteousness against the evil powers,
which these religions imposed, are not to be neglected. Within the
religious bodies, whose members were brothers (fratres, consecranei)
the individual learned submission to the head of the society (pater),
gained self-control and courage for his struggle against the evils of
life. No one can read the evidence we possess and not be impressed
by the earnestness and devotion of the faithful. That the oriental
religions actually contributed to the higher moral and spiritual life
of the Roman Empire during the second, third, and fourth centuries is

It is very true that these pagan religions from the East had their
charlatans and quacks in abundance, that their noblest elements were
often entangled in a mesh of magic, superstitions, and false beliefs;
but Christianity too suffered from the same evils. Christianity
triumphed because of its own inherent superiority to the other
religions, not because its rivals were wholly evil and degrading. To
fail to recognize the real moral value of oriental Paganism is to fail
to understand the first centuries of our era, and so to remain blind
to the true nature of the world in which Christianity established its
greater worth.

Yet even if we were inclined to doubt the value of these religions
from our present point of view, there could be no question of their
effect upon their devotees. No one who reads the prayer of praise to
Isis which Lucius offered before leaving Corinth for Rome, can mistake
its sincerity: “O thou holy and eternal protectress of the human race,
thou who art ever kind to care for mortals and who showest unceasingly
the sweet affection of a mother for the misfortunes of wretched men,
neither day nor any night, nor even the slightest moment of time
passes without thy blessings; thou carest for men on land and sea,
thou drivest from them the storms of life and ever extendest a saving
hand, wherewith thou unravellest even the inextricable web of Fate;
thou assuagest the tempests of Fortune, and thou holdest in restraint
the baneful courses of the stars. Thee the gods of heaven above adore,
the gods of the world below obey; thou spinnest the sphere of heaven,
thou lightest the sun, guidest the universe, and tramplest Tartarus
beneath thy feet. To thee the stars make answer, the seasons return,
the divinities show their joy, the elements do their service. At thy
nod the breezes blow, the clouds send their nourishing rains, seeds
swell, and buds increase. Before thy majesty the birds who traverse the
heavens are in awe, the beasts that roam the mountains, the serpents
that lurk beneath the ground, the monsters that swim the deep. But I am
all too weak in wit to render thy praises, too poor in purse to offer
thee due sacrifice; my voice has not the eloquence to express all
that I feel concerning thy majesty. Nay, had I a thousand mouths and
tongues or eternal continuance of speech unbroken, it were not enough.
Therefore will I try to do that which alone a devotee faithful, but
poor withal, can accomplish. I will guard the memory of thy divine
features and thy most holy god-head deep within my heart’s secret
shrine and there keep that image forever.”[300]

It may have seemed strange to some of you that in this course of
lectures we should be considering matters which at first sight appear
so alien to Greek thinking as these oriental mysteries. The reason is
to be found in the goal toward which we are aiming, for it has been
our purpose from the beginning to trace the history of Greek religious
thought through to the time when it had in large measure determined
the form of Christian thought and had provided the means by which the
latter could be made intelligible to the contemporary world. It is
necessary therefore to examine the several elements which made up the
sum total of the religious thought of the earlier Christian centuries.
Moreover, as we have now seen, the purpose of the oriental mysteries
was one with the aim of the Greek mysteries and with the object of the
Greek mystic philosophies. Therefore we have been obliged to bring into
our plan these eastern religions.

But I need not remind you that at this time there was another oriental
religion spreading over the world which we have not yet considered.
When Christianity was introduced to the West, it must have presented
itself as a new eastern mystery. Men had long been accustomed to such
religions; for centuries they had sought either through mysteries such
as were celebrated at Eleusis or like those brought in from the East,
to find the satisfaction of their hopes for a happy immortality. In
these mysteries, as in the mystic philosophies, one of the central
ideas was that of the direct vision of the divine which was a
revelation of God to man. This act of grace had supplanted, or rather
had been added to, the use of the reason or of the will which the
philosophers had urged as the means of man’s salvation. Through a long
course of centuries men had been trained by philosophy, by mystery,
and by political events, until an environment had been created which
was favorable to the ideas of Christianity—an environment also which
was destined to influence profoundly this new religion in its earlier
centuries, so that it ultimately received a form different from
that foreshadowed in the teachings of its founder. The relation of
Christianity to the world into which it entered and some of the reasons
for its triumph will be the subject of our final lectures.


[287] _CIL._ III, 4413. III, 4796 from Tanzenberg in southern Austria,
is an important witness here, for it records the restoration in 311
by the governor of the province of a Mithraic shrine which had been
deserted for over fifty years.

[288] Apuleius, _Met._ XI, 5.

[289] Plutarch, _de Is. et Osir._, 67.

[290] Apuleius, _Met._ XI, 23.

[291] Apuleius, _Met._ XI, 19-30.

[292] Published by Cumont, _Mystères de Mithra_^2, p. 132, fig. 18.

[293] Lydus, _de mens._ IV, 59. Cf. Cumont, _The Oriental Religions_,
pp. 55 ff. Some scholars doubt the evidence and would place the
introduction of the festivals in the time of the Antonines; so Wissowa,
_Religion und Kultus der Römer_^2, p. 322.

[294] The same name was used in the festival of Isis. Cf. p. 273.

[295] _CIL._ X, 1596.

[296] _Ibid._ VI, 497-504; cf. _IGSI._ 1019, 1020.

[297] Prudentius, _Persiteph._ 10, 1011 ff.; Anon., _Carmen contra
Paganos_ 57 ff.

[298] _CIL._ VI, 512, iterato viginti annis expletis taurobolii sui.
Probably we should read taurobolio suo.

[299] _Ibid._ VI, 510.

[300] Apuleius, _Met._ XI, 25.



In the previous lectures we have traced the development of Greek
religious thought from the Homeric poems to the third century of
our era; we have seen how Greece extended her intellectual dominion
over the entire Mediterranean world which the military and political
genius of Rome bound into one empire; and we have examined the chief
oriental mysteries which spread throughout the same area. We now turn
to Christianity. In dealing with this it will be necessary to review at
some length the work of Jesus and the doctrines of Paul, that we may
have in mind the material which was later brought into accord with the
philosophic thought and the intellectual habits of the Roman Empire
outside that district in which Christianity had its birth. But before
we do this we should recall some characteristics of the ancient world
in the earliest centuries of our era.

In the first place we must realize that it was a Greco-Roman world, one
in which the civilizations of two great peoples—the one intellectual,
the other political—had been compounded. In the eastern half of the
Empire Greek influence dominated. Alexander’s conquests had made Greek
the common language of a great area with the result that in the East
Greek thought and Greek habits of expression—that is to say, Greek
philosophy and Greek rhetoric—were practically native. The West
also, as I have earlier tried to show, had received Greek philosophy
and Greek rhetoric more than a century and a half before our era, so
that indeed over all the Roman Empire common habits of thought and
universal modes of expression prevailed. The eastern half of the Empire
contained Alexandria, which had been the chief intellectual center from
the third century before our era; in the West was Rome, the center of
that imperial power which made the world a political unit; yet western
thought owed not merely its form but almost its existence to Greek

In the second place the East was the home of the learning of the world.
The Greeks furnished the West not only philosophy and rhetoric but
the sciences as well. Building on the mathematics and astronomy which
they had learned from their Eastern neighbors and the Egyptians they
soon developed these two sister sciences. Tradition says that in the
sixth century B.C. the philosopher Thales predicted an eclipse of the
sun; certainly a century later the Greeks had made great advances; and
such were their attainments by the opening of our era that only in
comparatively modern times has a new period in the history of astronomy
and mathematics begun. In the descriptive sciences of botany and
zoölogy especially the Greeks had reached a high position by the fourth
century B.C. The work of Aristotle, of Theophrastus, and of
others still holds the profound respect of all modern scientists who
are familiar with the history of their subjects. In geography and
mineralogy also their accomplishments were not inconsiderable;
likewise in many branches of physics they did notable work; while
Greek scientific medicine, already highly developed in Hippocrates’
day (c. 460-377 B.C.), was further advanced in the succeeding
centuries. The works of Galen (129-c. 199 A.D.) remained the
authoritative treatises for more than fourteen hundred years. All
these sciences the Romans learned from the Greeks, and although in
some fields they made notable application of their lessons, they never
surpassed their teachers.

Moreover Greece and Hellenized Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt had a
knowledge of the conduct of business, of banking, and of the details
of administration which they gave to the western half of the Empire.
Indeed Roman history between the battle of Actium and the reign of
Diocletian from one point of view is the history of the spread of
eastern ideas to the West and of their absorption there. Not only did
captive Greece take her captor captive, but in a sense Egypt, Syria,
and Asia Minor won their conquests as well. Many causes operated to
further this intellectual domination of the Hellenized East over the
Roman West. The eastern provinces had not suffered in the civil wars
at the end of the Republic as had many parts of the West; their wealth
was not wasted, and in general their social and economic relations
were comparatively undisturbed. Under the wise administration of the
Emperors these provinces grew richer; their inhabitants, especially the
Greeks among them, gained a consciousness of their own intellectual
superiority which they had not had in the last two centuries before our
era. The influence of the East, therefore, was in many ways consciously

Thirdly we must bear in mind that the world was cosmopolitan. For
centuries traders had carried not only wares but ideas from one part
of the ancient world to another, slaves had done their part, which
was not small, since many of them were educated; and from the time of
Augustus the soldiers drawn from every province of the Empire exerted a
great influence in breaking down the barriers between the nations. For
the idea of a cosmopolitan world Stoicism had furnished a philosophic
basis; the actuality was realized in large measure by the natural
developments under Roman imperial rule. Separate nations had ceased
to exist; and in the universal levelling which a growing autocracy
produced, the differences between citizens, provincials, and slaves
were diminished and an approach was made to a cosmopolitan equality.

Furthermore the Roman world of the first three centuries was virtually
a world of peace. Merchants and traders, tourists and missionaries
moved freely from one end of the Empire to the other. The value of
this Roman peace was recognized by the Christians; near the end of the
second century the Christian writer Irenaeus declared: “The Romans have
given the world peace and we travel without fear along the roads and
across the sea wherever we will.”[301]

The world was also one of religious unrest and inquiry. The traditional
religions and the inherited forms of religious expression had in
large part failed. There was, as has been said in an earlier lecture,
a sense of weariness and dissatisfaction which showed itself in the
large resort of all classes to Stoic philosophy, in the devotion among
the cultured to the mystic philosophies, in conversions to Judaism,
and later in the ready reception of oriental religions, including
Christianity. We have already seen how both philosophy and mysticism
recognized that men had a sense of moral guilt and were conscious of an
estrangement from God through sin, from which they desired to secure
purification, that is, to attain freedom from the common lot of the
bondage of wickedness. Philosophy and mysticism also agreed in holding
that the means at man’s disposal were not sufficient to accomplish
his release, that the reason and the will unaided could not free him,
and that therefore external help was necessary—that an act of grace
made known by a divine revelation was required. This escape from sin,
this freeing of man’s spirit, for which they longed, was regarded as a
reunion with God, which gave the promise of security and salvation here
and hereafter, and which thereby answered man’s hope for an unbroken
and a perfected existence. It was into a world of such a nature and
with such religious thoughts as these that Christianity entered.

But Christianity grew out of Judaism. It will be well therefore to
recall briefly to our minds those religious ideas of the Jews to which
the mission and the teaching of Jesus were immediately related. At the
beginning of our era a majority of the Jews had abandoned the earlier
notion of a golden age, a material kingdom of God, which was to be
set up on earth, for a belief in a more spiritual kingdom, which was
to be established at some future time either on a transformed earth
or in a supermundane heaven. They no longer expected that the whole
nation would share in the supreme happiness of this kingdom, but only
those individuals who by righteousness and through God’s mercy had
won a place therein; the wicked were to be either utterly destroyed
or punished forever in Sheol. Moreover the Jews generally entertained
Messianic expectations of various kinds; they did not, however, look
forward with confidence, as their forefathers had done, to the coming
of one who should be a national king on earth. There were besides hopes
of revelation from God on which we must not pause. Nor is it necessary
to speak of the weaknesses of Judaism, its tendency to make the
practice of religion a matter of conformity to the minute regulations
of the law, its frequent disregard of moral motives, its pride and
religious pretence.

       *       *       *       *       *

All thoughtful readers of the New Testament are aware that within it
are represented three stages in the early development of Christianity.
In the first the disciples of Jesus formed a group and then a sect
within the Jewish nation. The second was that in which the gospel was
carried outside Judea into the Roman Empire to Gentiles as well as to
Jews. Thus the transformation of Christianity into a universal religion
was begun. In that movement, as we all know, Paul was the chief figure.
The third stage was that in which philosophic thought began to operate
upon the doctrines of this new religion. It was the period in which
Christian theology started to develop; the time in which Christian
thought began to be expressed in philosophic form and squared with the
philosophy of the day. The fourth Gospel is the document in our canon
in which the use of a great philosophic conception for the expression
of Christian ideas is first obvious.

Let us now consider briefly the teachings that belong to these three
stages, as they are represented by Jesus, by Paul, and by the writer of
the Johannine books.

Like every great spiritual teacher Jesus built on the beliefs of
his time, refining, enlarging, ennobling, and transforming men’s
conceptions of God and of his kingdom, of man and of his salvation.
His teachings were concrete; he made no attempt to present his views
in philosophic form, but inculcated his lessons as occasion offered
or required. His words and the history of his life are preserved to
us in imperfect and fragmentary forms, having been recorded after
his death at a time when his followers had considerably increased in
numbers and were to be found at many places outside Judea and Syria.
For our present purpose we must confine ourselves to the three synoptic
gospels. Of these Mark in essentially its present form was written
shortly after 70; Matthew and Luke can hardly be earlier than 80-90
A.D. These gospels are necessarily both historical and interpretative;
their writers were children of their own day and shared in its beliefs
and superstitions. They were naturally credulous toward the myths and
legends which had rapidly grown up about Jesus. When we consider their
great eschatological interest, we realize that the authors actually
tell us an extraordinary amount concerning Jesus’ life and teachings.
The historical interpretation of the gospels must take all these
matters into account.

It is impossible to understand Jesus’ teachings if we detach them from
his person, for in a very real sense he was himself the gospel. Only by
grasping so far as possible his personality can we comprehend in any
adequate degree the impression which he made on his followers. Their
discipleship at the time and the whole development of Christianity
after Jesus’ death depended on that personality. Nor is there anything
strange in this fact; we are in a degree familiar with it in our own
experience, whenever any great teacher or leader appears.

Let us now consider Jesus’ views as to the nature of God and as to
man’s relation to him. First of all he taught his disciples that they
must regard God as their Father. This idea was by no means new or
foreign to the thoughts of his hearers. In the Old Testament we not
infrequently find Israel spoken of as the son of God; it was said that
God took a special and gracious interest in the people of Israel, that
he cared for them wholly, or especially, and that they were his beloved
people whom he had chosen to be the agents of his revelation. Jesus
taught that God’s fatherhood expresses itself in infinite love for men,
that this love extends not only to the righteous but to the wicked as
well, so that both receive his care and blessings: “But I say unto
you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye
may be sons of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun
to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the
unjust.”[302] Furthermore he showed that the divine care is given to
the humblest and smallest parts of the universe, so that the heavenly
Father marks even the fall of a sparrow to the ground. The perfect
nature of God’s love Jesus made the measure of God’s perfection; and,
although he recognized man’s limitations and the moral value of an
honest advance in righteousness, he set as man’s ultimate goal nothing
less than the perfection of God himself as shown in perfect love.[303]
Again he gave a new hope to outcasts and sinners by declaring that
those who repented of their sins and desired to enter into right
relations with God would not be despised. That was the meaning of the
parable of the Prodigal Son: it illustrated the generosity of God’s
affection and showed that it reached to the poorest and worst of men.
To realize fully the significance of this teaching we must remind
ourselves of the attitude of self-righteous Pharisees not only toward
publicans and sinners but toward the common people, association with
whom they scrupulously shunned and among whom they hardly admitted
that true piety could exist. It was a scandal in their eyes that Jesus
mingled freely with the classes whose contact was defilement and whose
intimacy was shame, while he declared that he came to call not the
righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Man’s proper relation to God Jesus held to be the exact converse of
God’s to man: he taught that man’s sonship consists in a likeness
to God, which will express itself in love toward God and toward all
men. This teaching is nowhere more clearly set forth than in the
words which I have just quoted: “Love your enemies, and pray for them
that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father which is in
heaven;”[304] the same lesson he inculcated in the prayer which he
taught his disciples: “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven
our debtors.” On another occasion he charged his followers: “Whensoever
ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against anyone; that your
Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”[305]
So Jesus held that love and forgiveness, the characteristics of God
himself, are required of men as sons of their heavenly Father; that
those who wish to claim such a relationship to God must exercise the
same generous affection toward their fellows that God shows to them;
and that with this must go such love of God as was taught in the law:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all
thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy
neighbour as thyself.”[306]

Salvation Jesus would no doubt have defined in part as peace and
confidence of mind in this world and eternal happiness in the next.
Our data clearly show that he held that man secures salvation when he
enters on the life which belongs to the sons of God, and that the basis
of this life, as we have just seen, is love, while its outward signs
are acts prompted by whole hearted affection for one’s fellow-men and
for God. This life Jesus evidently regarded as the natural one from
which man departs through sin, and therefore he taught that repentance
from sin is the antecedent condition of entrance into right relations
with God, that is to say, into salvation. At the beginning of his
ministry he preached in Galilee that the kingdom of Heaven was at
hand and called on men to repent and to believe in the good news; and
at the end of his work he charged his disciples to preach repentance
and the remission of sins to all peoples.[307] But it is important
that we should keep clearly before us the fact that Jesus did not
lay so much emphasis on the negative element of repentance as on the
positive motive of love. He taught that the man who had that motive
would naturally exhibit it in a trustful dependence on God and in a
righteousness of life which would be of a very different character
from that of a life directed by mere obedience to legal and ritual
requirements. A man whose thoughts and acts were prompted by love of
God and of his fellow-men had attained salvation—that is to say, Jesus
held salvation to be a present experience, one which could be realized
at any time by any man who recognized God as his father with all
which that implied, and who consequently devoted himself to a life of
unselfish service. He declared that such a man had already entered into
a joy and blessedness which no earthly misfortunes could disturb. Jesus
therefore not only gave his followers a sure hope of salvation in the
future, when they should realize in heaven the supreme ideal of life
and complete happiness, but he also taught them that they could have a
real experience of salvation in their present every-day lives.

It should be observed that Jesus laid the greatest stress on the
motives for righteousness, and that he paid little attention to the
negative and restrictive elements which are inevitably large in any
legalistic system of ethics or religion. For him mere external acts
and observances were not enough, but righteousness and service must be
prompted from within. Furthermore, although the record of his life and
teachings show that he attached much importance to the social elements
in religion, he dwelt on the responsibility of the individual, who
must for himself, by his motives, character, and actions fulfill the
requirements for entrance into salvation.

With regard to Jesus’ conception of his own person it is difficult to
speak with certainty on many points. It is beyond question, however,
that he regarded himself as one divinely commissioned to present the
fatherhood of God and to set forth man’s proper relations to God and to
his fellow-men. Faith in the validity of his commission and in
his teachings as showing the way of salvation was required of his
followers, for only by such faith could they be moved to transmute his
teachings into action. Yet it is intimated that up to the time of his
last arrival at Jerusalem Jesus made no effort to be popularly regarded
as the Messiah for whom the Jews had looked. When at Caesarea Philippi
Peter declared that he was the Christ, Jesus “charged the disciples
that they should tell no man.”[308] His reasons for such caution seem
evident when we consider the varied character of the Jews’ Messianic
hopes, and the great probability that if he had allowed himself to be
recognized as the one whom they expected, his proper work would have
been greatly hampered, if not utterly checked. The danger is well
illustrated by the incident recorded in John, when the people wished to
take him by force and make him king, so that he was obliged to withdraw
from them.[309]

But in spite of Jesus’ unwillingness to put forward Messianic claims
for himself, it is clear that he considered his relation to God as
unique in its knowledge and perfection. When he asked his followers to
believe on him, he seems obviously to have called on them to trust him
as the one who had been divinely commissioned to interpret God to men,
and to accept the validity of his teaching as to man’s proper relations
to God and his fellow-men, that is, as to the life which they should
follow as the sons of their Father. The dogmatic associations which
today are attached to the idea of a “belief in Christ,” obscure Jesus’
plain teaching for many. But when his ministry had been brought to its
tragic close, his disciples saw him in a new light, and thereafter made
his person a matter of supreme moment, as the Church on the whole has
done ever since.

Again there has been much debate as to the significance of the
sufferings and death of Jesus. From our data we must conclude that
Jesus did not give to his passion the interpretation which his
disciples naturally gave after the event, and which succeeding
generations have given it. Yet toward the end of his ministry Jesus
recalled and applied to himself the doctrine that the good may suffer
death, not for his own faults, but for the sins of others, as found in
the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah; and it seems clear that he regarded
his rejection and crucifixion as essential factors in bringing men into
the kingdom of God.

What relation now did the teachings of Jesus bear to the religious
beliefs and hopes of the Jewish people? Certainly his words on most
matters did not appear to his hearers opposed to Jewish doctrines, but
rather they seemed to enlarge and to give a nobler content to their own
ideas. With the current doctrine that the salvation of the individual
depended on his own righteousness he was thoroughly in accord. He gave,
however, a deeper meaning to the idea of righteousness: in opposition
to the extreme legalistic notions which were emphasized especially by
some of the Pharisees, he taught that there must first exist the inner
motive of love for God and man from which alone right actions could
flow; that one who had recognized his true relations to God and his
fellows and whose transformed character showed itself in filial
dependence on God and in loving and generous service towards men, and
in the practice of humility, was already delivered from the bondage
of sin and had entered into a new spiritual life. Although his
contemporaries had abandoned their hopes of a prompt realization of the
kingdom of God on earth, Jesus showed that that kingdom was already
present in its beginning wherever men displayed the character and did
the deeds which belonged to the kingdom—in other words, that the
kingdom could be realized here by changing present conditions so that
God’s will should be done on earth as in heaven. God, to Jesus’ mind,
was not to be conceived as a king ruling over his people, but rather
as a universal loving father, whose affection extended to the wicked
as well as to the good, and embraced every class of mankind. He taught
further that from this divine love flowed an infinite grace which left
no man outside the possibility of salvation. But beyond all these
elements in the teachings of Jesus, which, because of their supreme
moral demands, made the way of salvation at once most simple and most
severe, more than the fact that his teachings dealt primarily with
the health of the soul, the personality of Jesus, his belief that he
had received a divine commission, and his consciousness of his unique
relation to God must be taken into account if we are to understand
adequately the effect of his teaching. His immediate disciples never
dreamed of separating themselves from the Jews until events forced them
to take that step, but they were filled with the conviction that their
Master was the Messiah and that a new revelation had come to them.

After Jesus’ death his followers made the central theme of their
preaching the proclamation of him as the Christ, who by his sufferings
and death had brought salvation to men; they taught that through him
men might be delivered from their sin and enter into the blessings
promised by his gospel. In general they laid more stress on eschatology
than Jesus had done, for they confidently expected an early end of
the world and the reappearance of Christ in glory. Quietly no doubt
at first they began to make converts in Jerusalem. Then a persecution
broke out and conversions were made outside Judea among other peoples
than the Jews. About the year 45 a church, largely Gentile, was formed
at Antioch,[310] the third city of importance in the Empire. The
founding of this church definitely began the expansion of Christianity
beyond the bounds of Judaism.

Paul was the chief leader in extending the gospel to the Gentiles,
and so much did he overshadow the other missionaries that his work
and teaching mark the second period in the history of Christianity.
Although no account can here be given of his life and experiences,
it is necessary to have these in mind to understand his influence.
Especially important is it to remember that he was a trained Jew,
familiar with the Old Testament and with the theological doctrines of
his people; nor was he unacquainted with the ideas and the language
of the Greek world, or untouched by the mysticism of his day. A Roman
citizen by birth, a Hebrew of the Hebrews by descent and education,
he was well fitted to play his great rôle as the apostle who was to
carry Christianity out of Judaism to the Gentiles. He was, however, no
systematic theologian to lay down a logical body of doctrine as a Greek
might have done, and his writings were all occasional. Furthermore he
had not been a companion of Jesus, but was one who believed that by an
extraordinary experience he had come directly into knowledge of the
risen Christ.

Yet if Paul was not a systematic theologian, he combined with his
intense religious devotion a keen habit of mind which made the
fundamental elements of his thought stand out clearly. To him Christ’s
death and resurrection were the great facts of salvation, the means
whereby man was redeemed from sin. If we read the Epistle to the
Galatians, perhaps the earliest of the Pauline epistles (c. 46-50
A.D.), which contains much autobiographical material, we find
certain ideas set forth there which are repeated again and again in his
other writings. We can hardly do better than to begin with this letter.

First, Christ is stated to be the redeemer of men from their sins; this
is shown by the words of the greeting: “Grace to you and peace from God
the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins,
that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to
the will of our God and Father.” The suffering of the good for the sins
of others, as we have already seen, was an idea familiar to the Jews,
and it was easy for a Jewish convert to relate the death of Jesus to
the prophecy in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. Paul saw in the
death and the resurrection of Jesus the proof that he was the Christ.
The vicarious character of Christ’s death was probably an element in
all apostolic teaching. On it and the mystic indwelling of Christ, Paul
wholly based his preaching.

Paul, however, did not teach that the death of Christ in itself
saved men without effort on their part; on the contrary he held that
man could attain redemption only through faith in Jesus Christ. Now
“faith” meant to him something more than mere belief or trust; it was
trust marked by an attitude of sympathy with the divine nature and a
readiness to receive that nature into one’s self so that Christ could
dwell in man, and the human and the divine natures could be united. In
this way to Paul’s mind the Jew was set free from the requirements of
the law and obtained justification, that is, gained forgiveness of his
sins and reconciliation with God. Faith supplanted law, and made men
sons of God. So he wrote: “We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of
the Gentiles, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of
the law, save through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ
Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the
works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be
justified.”[311] And again: “But before faith came, we were kept in
ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be
revealed. So that the law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith is come, we
are no longer under a tutor. For ye are all the sons of God, through
faith, in Christ Jesus.”[312] This attitude of the apostle was due in
part to his own experience, which had shown him the insufficiency of
the Jewish law, and also in part to the polemic against Judaism which
was a necessary part of his ministry. But his doctrine of justification
by faith was not developed for forensic purposes; it was one of his
firmest convictions.

When Paul spoke of Christ dwelling in a man, as he frequently did
in the Epistle to the Galatians,[313] he meant his words to be taken
literally: he held that Christ enters into the man, frees him from the
domination of the sinful flesh, and, being a life-giving spirit, brings
the Christian from death to life; and that in this way the believer by
faith shares in Christ’s death, resurrection, and triumph. Therefore he
exhorted the Colossians: “If then ye were raised together with Christ,
seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right
hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the
things that are upon the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with
Christ in God.”[314] Faith to Paul’s mind was a present union with the
risen and glorified Christ; it was for him the means of salvation,
or rather it was salvation. As he wrote in the sixth chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans, he held that through union with Christ man dies
to sin and rises to freedom from the bondage of wickedness; he is
reborn a new creature and enters into a new spiritual life.[315]

Closely associated with faith is Paul’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
The word itself (πνεῦμα) was intelligible to both the Greek and Jewish
world, but since Paul was not a systematic theologian, it is a matter
of much dispute as to what his exact concept of the Holy Spirit was. He
evidently thought of the Spirit as a divine objective reality. In some
passages he identifies Christ and the spirit of Christ or the spirit
of God;[316] from this we may conclude that he probably thought the Holy
Spirit to be a mode of the indwelling Christ. But if his concept is not
clear to us, we have no difficulty in understanding his ideas as to the
operation of the Spirit. He taught that it is the Spirit which assures
men of their sonship so that they may address God as their Father; that
it transforms the inner man; and that it demands the sanctification of
the body, for the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.[317] From the
Spirit come the fundamental virtues—“love, joy, peace, long-suffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance.”[318] Thus the
Spirit is the means of continuing the believer in his course and of
perfecting him in the Christian life. In common with his contemporaries
Paul of course believed that many ecstatic phenomena—speaking with
tongues and prophesying, for example—were the gifts of the Spirit; but
his instructions to the excitable Corinthians show his good sense and

In all his teaching Paul was highly practical. It is not certain that
he held a dualistic view of man’s nature in the Greek or Persian sense,
but he was well acquainted with the struggle between man’s lower and
higher natures and he knew the warring elements within the individual.
He frequently contrasted the flesh and the spirit, meaning by the first
man’s sinful nature which keeps him in the bondage of wickedness. From
this bondage and consequent death he held that man cannot escape by his
own powers; but that Christ delivers man from sin and its consequences.
This deliverance is an act of grace, a gift from God. We have only to
read the Epistles which bear his name to see how wisely he dealt with
actual errors and sins, or stirred to concrete acts of righteousness
the members of the churches which he had founded.

In most of his writing Paul dwelt on the present salvation which
the mystic union with Christ secured, but at times he treated the
eschatological nature of salvation, teaching that the full effects of
it would be realized when Christ should come to be glorified in his
saints. That this day would come quickly the apostle fully believed;
then the faithful, dead and living alike, would receive their full
reward and the wicked their punishment.

These, briefly, are the fundamental elements in Paul’s doctrine: first,
the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus; second, faith
which secures the mystic union with Christ; third, the indwelling
Holy Spirit, which completes man’s redemption and moral regeneration.
For all Paul doubtless found warrant in the life and words of Jesus,
although he seems to have neglected the ethical teachings of the
Master. Paul’s views have formed the basis of much of the doctrine
of the Church since his time, although his idea of union with Christ
through faith soon fell into the background; when it was revived it
took on a form very unlike the apostle’s teaching.

We have thus far seen two tendencies in Christian thought. The first
appears in the synoptic gospels where Jesus is represented as the
mediator and teacher, who interpreted to men the universal loving
fatherhood of God and showed them their proper relations to God and to
their fellow-men; the other is seen in Paul who taught that through
the indwelling Christ salvation was secured. It was inevitable that
reflective thought should act upon these teachings, and that in the
philosophic environment of the Christian churches, at least outside
Judea, attempts should be made to apprehend and to formulate in
intellectual terms the nature, life, and mission of Jesus—in other
words to create a Christian philosophy or theology. When in the period
between 50 and 100 A.D., Christianity came into conflict
with Hellenistic philosophy and theosophy this work of building up a
Christian philosophy began. This stage is the third represented in the
New Testament.

The so-called Epistle to the Hebrews (c. 90 A.D.) is the first
document of the New Testament in which the Greek intellectual habit
clearly appears. Although the unknown author was writing to Gentile
Christians for practical and not doctrinal ends, there is good evidence
that he had been influenced by Alexandrian thought. He presents
Christianity as the final and absolute religion, emphasizes Christ’s
priestly office and his sacrifice, and gives a more philosophical
and abstract definition of faith than any other writer of the New
Testament. The great example, however, of the effect of the contact of
Christianity with Greek thought is furnished by the Gospel of John and
the Johannine Epistles.

This fourth Gospel was apparently written at Ephesus, probably between
100 and 110 A.D., by one who was well acquainted with the
philosophy and mysticism of his time; he was also strongly influenced
by Paul. If the Johannine Epistles are not by the same author, they
represent the same range of ideas as the Gospel, and we are therefore
justified in using them together with it.

The fourth Gospel is much more an interpretation than a history of
Jesus’ person and life; it takes for granted that its readers are
acquainted with the facts; and it assumes that the church is one
universal body.

Let us now consider the opening words of this Gospel: “In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same
was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without
him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the
life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and
the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose
name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of
the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light,
but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true
light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew
him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him
not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become
children of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were
born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of
man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we
beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full
of grace and truth.”[320]

Here then are two fundamental ideas: first, the eternal existence and
divine nature of Christ who is the Word, the Logos of philosophic
speech, and second, the revelation of God to man through the incarnate
Word—“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The concept of the
Logos as the world-reason we saw first appear in the philosophy of
Heraclitus; then the idea developed through the centuries until the
Logos was equivalent to the reason of God, at once existing in God and
being his expression. As such it was a part of Alexandrian thought,
being found, for example, in Philo. The Logos of the philosopher,
however, was the agent connecting a transcendental god with the divine
creation, making and sustaining the world. In so far the Johannine
statement is in accord with current thought and expression, although
we should probably be wrong if we affirmed that the author was drawing
on Philo directly; it is far more probable that he was simply using
ideas and language common in the intellectual circles of the day. But
if we compare the idea of the Logos in the Johannine prologue with that
in Philo we observe a profound and striking difference between the
two. For Philo, as we have just said, the Logos was an abstract entity
which existed for cosmological purposes; in the Johannine thought,
although the Logos is the creator of the world, he is much more: he is
incarnate in mortal flesh that he may reveal God to man and bring man
salvation. The author wished to show that the creator and revealer were
one, that the Logos had appeared as a man on earth. Now this emphasis
on the human side of Jesus, the son of God, was in all probability due
to the arguments of some incipient Gnostics who denied that the Christ
had come in the flesh, and this polemic purpose goes far to explain
the abruptness of the prologue. When once the statement has been made
the philosophical language dealing with the Logos is dropped; yet the
position and emphasis of the ideas in the prologue were calculated to
assure the enlightened readers of the fourth Gospel that the witness of
the generation which had seen Jesus was true and must be accepted.[321]
The first purpose of the author was to set forth the prime significance
of the personal human Jesus, with whom men had lived on familiar terms
and from whom they had learned the deepest truths.[322]

How then, according to this writer, does the incarnation of the Word
of God in the human Jesus bring salvation to men? The first answer is
given by the use of a symbol which is employed in six passages in the
Gospel:[323] Christ is the light which lighteth every man; that is, the
function of the incarnate Word is to bring the light of true insight,
which is knowledge of God,—and Jesus in himself brings that knowledge.
So Jesus declared that he was the light of the world, come to illumine
the darkness of sin and ignorance in which men dwelt by manifesting the
Father to them. He said in answer to Philip: “He that hath seen me hath
seen the Father; how sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Believest thou
not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I say
unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth
his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or
else believe me for the very works’ sake.”[324] These words show also
that knowledge could come only from belief; hence followed the
necessity of believing in Jesus as the incarnation of the Word of God,
and in the truth of his teachings. It is the knowledge of the truth
thus acquired which sets men free.[325]

Yet the knowledge of God revealed to the believer through faith in
Christ was not to the author’s mind the sole factor in securing
salvation. We have seen how prominent love is in the teachings of
Christ, as reported by the synoptic writers; to this element the
Johannine writer returned and made it almost preëminent. Love is the
definition of God himself in the First Epistle;[326] love was the
motive which prompted God to reveal himself to the world through his
only begotten son who by that revelation and in his person brought
salvation to men.[327] To love one another was the new commandment
which Christ gave his followers, and the measure of their love was his
love for them; it was also to be the proof to the world that they were
his disciples.[328] Love, then, was at once the warrant of their hope
and the evidence of the new life into which they were reborn through
belief in Christ and acceptance of him as the revealer of God to men.

This new life is expressed in the fourth Gospel as a mystical union
with Christ which cannot be distinguished in its essence from that of
the Pauline epistles; only the way of entrance into it is differently
described. Paul makes faith the gate; although the Johannine author
does not lay less emphasis on faith than Paul,[329] he does not look at
it in quite the same way as the earlier writer, and he speaks of the
entrance into the true relation with Christ as a new birth—using the
same idea as the pagan mystics. The new birth was described as of the
spirit, whereas the first was of the flesh,[330] and the believer’s
vital relation to Christ was symbolized by the figures of the vine, of
the bread, and of the water of life.[331]

Pauline influence may possibly be seen also in the Johannine doctrine
of the Holy Spirit—at any rate the fourth Gospel shows that at the time
it was written a belief in the Holy Spirit was well established, so
that the germ of the doctrine of the Trinity was already planted.[332]
The Holy Spirit is variously referred to as the Advocate or Helper,
and the Spirit of Truth, which was to be the active agent in edifying
believers and rebuking the world when Christ was no longer in the

The purpose of the fourth Gospel then was first to prove that Jesus
was the Christ, the Son of God, and secondly to bring men to a belief
in this fact which would give them life in Christ.[334] The idea that
salvation is present spiritual experience culminates in the Johannine
writings; the doctrine that those who hear and believe have already
entered into eternal life is clearly stated.[335]

Let us now summarize the fundamental ideas of primitive Christianity
which we have been examining in this lecture. In the first place,
because of his nature and his teachings Jesus was regarded as the
revealer of God to men, and at the same time, being the Christ, he was
held to be their saviour and redeemer. Paul emphasized Christ’s death
and resurrection, John the incarnation as the great central facts.
Secondly, love and faith and their effects on man’s relation to God and
to his fellow-men were made the essential elements in the Christian
life. Thirdly, the doctrine of the mystic union of the believer
with the divine Christ and that of the indwelling Holy Spirit were
fundamental in both the Pauline and Johannine writings. Revelation,
faith, mystic union with the Divine, salvation—our previous studies
have shown us that these ideas were both familiar and welcome in the
Greco-Roman world of the first century of our era.

We have now reviewed the essential elements in each of the three stages
represented in the writings of the New Testament. In the first, the
teachings of Jesus show no trace of any influence exerted by Greek
philosophic or religious thought. With Paul we begin to detect the
signs of such influence—the germs of the doctrine of Logos, for
example, are found in the later epistles (Philippians, Ephesians, and
Colossians), which set forth a belief in the eternal existence of
Christ, the Son of God. But it remained for the Johannine writer to
give a fuller philosophic statement to this doctrine, and in general
to bring Christianity well within the province of Greek thought and
expression. Thenceforth Christianity belonged to the Greek intellectual


[301] _Adv. haer._ IV, 30, 3.

[302] _Matt._ V, 44-45.

[303] _Matt._ V, 43-48; cf. _Luke_ VI, 27-36.

[304] _Matt._ V, 44-45; _Luke_ VI, 35.

[305] _Mark_ XI, 25.

[306] _Deut._ VI, 5; _Matt._ XXII, 37; _Mark_ XII, 30; _Luke_ X, 27.

[307] _Matt._ IV, 17; _Luke_ XXIV, 47.

[308] _Matt._ XVI, 13-20; _Mark_ VIII, 27-30; _Luke_ IX, 18-21. Cf.
_Mark_ XIV, 61; _Matt._ XXVI, 63.

[309] _John_ VI, 15.

[310] _Acts_ XI, 19-26.

[311] _Gal._ II, 15-16.

[312] _Gal._ III, 23-26.

[313] _Gal._ I, 16; II, 20; III, 27; IV, 19. So _Rom._ VIII, 10. Cf.
also _2 Cor._ IV, 6-7.

[314] _Col._ III, 1-3.

[315] Cf. _Rom._ VII, 4 ff.; _Phil._ III, 10 f.; and the passages
referred to p. 314.

[316] _2 Cor._ III, 17; _Rom._ VIII, 10 f.

[317] _Rom._ VIII, 15; _Gal._ III, 26 f.; IV, 6; _1 Cor._ III, 16 f.;
VI, 19.

[318] _Gal._ V, 22 f. Cf. _Rom._ XIV, 17.

[319] _1 Cor._ XII-XIV.

[320] _John_ I, 1-14.

[321] Harnack and some other scholars incline to regard the prologue as
“not the key to [the Gospel’s] comprehension”; but when we consider the
importance which John attaches to the incarnation, it is difficult to
separate the body of the book from the opening passage.

[322] Cf. _1 John_ IV, 2-3.

[323] _John_ I, 9; III, 19-21; V, 35; VIII, 12; IX, 5; XII, 35-36.

[324] _John_ XIV, 9-11.

[325] _John_ VIII, 31 ff.

[326] _1 John_ IV, 8, 16.

[327] _John_ III, 16-17; _1 John_ IV, 9-10.

[328] _John_ XIII, 34-35.

[329] Cf. _John_ XX, 31.

[330] _John_ III, 3, 6; cf. V, 24.

[331] _John_ XV, 1 ff.; IV, 7 ff.; VI, 33 ff.

[332] Theophilus, _Ad Autol._ 2, 15 (c. 180 A.D.), is the first among
our extant Greek sources to use the word Trinity (τριάς) of the nature
of God; Tertullian, _Adv. Valent._ 17 (c. 200), the first Latin writer
to employ trinitas in the same sense.

[333] The preparatory discourse put into the mouth of Jesus in _John_
XIV-XVI contains the Johannine doctrine. This discourse may be built
up from traditional sayings of Jesus, but in its present form it bears
unmistakable marks of its literary origin.

[334] _John_ XX, 31.

[335] _John_ V, 24; _1 John_ III, 14.



In the last lecture we traced the growth of Christianity through the
three stages that are represented in the New Testament, and we saw
that when the new religion passed beyond the bounds of Palestine and
entered on a campaign for converts among the Gentiles, it came into
contact with Greek philosophic thought and perforce began to state its
doctrines in terms which should be intelligible to educated men. For
in spite of the fact that the majority of its adherents—like those
of every other contemporary religion—were naturally of humble birth
and station, it is certain that from the first it appealed also to men
of position and education, and that such were among its followers.
Therefore when it put forth its claims to be the universal religion, it
had to meet and satisfy the demands of the intellectual classes.

Not only were the various forms of Greek philosophy rivals of
Christianity, but the oriental mysteries also proved serious opponents.
In our discussion of the most important of these mystery religions
in an earlier lecture we tried to show the reasons for the wide
appeal which they made during the first two centuries and a half of
our era. Christianity therefore had to offer a greater assurance and
satisfaction than these religions if it was to make headway against
them. Thus Christianity was forced to meet two classes of opponents.

But it was inevitable that while the new religion was seeking to
influence the environment into which it had come, it should itself be
influenced by the world it had entered. No living belief or institution
can exist without being affected by the life of which it is a part.
Christianity accordingly ran many dangers, received many accretions,
and was in some ways transformed during the first few centuries of its
history. In this final lecture we shall consider briefly, by means of
significant illustrations, first, the way in which Christianity during
the second and third centuries accommodated itself to the intellectual
world; secondly, the influence which the pagan environment had on
Christian thought; and finally, the causes of its triumph.

By the beginning of the second century it was evident that in its
conflict with pagan polytheism and philosophy Christianity could hope
to win the victory only by taking into itself the fundamental elements
of that intellectual life and civilization which the Greco-Roman world
had been establishing through centuries. Its claim that the gospel
was universal, that it solved the deepest mysteries and satisfied the
highest human aspirations, inevitably brought it into the arena of
contemporaneous life. It not only was obliged to defend itself in terms
current in Greek thought, and to carry on a successful polemic against
polytheism, but it had to prove that it offered the fullest, indeed the
only true satisfaction of that longing for salvation which men felt.
From these necessities of attack and defense came the Greek Apologists
of the second century, the most important of whom were Aristides,
Justin, Tatian, and Athenagoras.

Moreover as the Christian communities multiplied, their members were
exposed to many influences which tended to injure or destroy the unity
and purity of their belief, so that for self-protection Christianity
was forced to develop a formal statement of its faith, that is, to
create a dogmatic theology. By formal dogma the common doctrine of
the church could be maintained comparatively unimpaired and at the
same time the faith could be made intelligible and attractive to the
learned of the pagan world. But to give philosophic expression to
Christianity’s beliefs meant the Hellenization of this religion.

The Gnostics—to whom we shall presently return—were perhaps the
first to undertake the construction of a Christian theology, but their
aberrations were so extreme and violent that the growing church had
to rid itself of them so far as possible. The work of building up a
dogmatic system was carried on more slowly in the great catechetical
school of Alexandria.

We have already seen the beginning of both the apologetic and the
theological movements in the Pauline and Johannine writings of the New
Testament. Let us now consider the work of the Apologists of the second

These defenders were all educated converts; indeed some of them, like
Aristides and Athenagoras, called themselves philosophers. Naturally
they did not give up their philosophic custom when they went over to
Christianity, but rather applied their intellectual habit to their
new faith. We should be wrong, however, in thinking that they wished
to reconcile Greek philosophy and Christianity; on the contrary they
wished to show that Christianity was the only true philosophy. Still
all, with the exception of Tatian, treated Greek philosophy and
civilization with respect and were ready to recognize God’s revelations
among the Greeks as well as the Jews. They labored, however, with the
fundamental antagonism between revelation and reason, and were often
obliged somewhat illogically to blame Greek thinkers while praising
them. Yet the sway of Hellenic philosophy was so complete and the means
of defense which it furnished so powerful, that the Christians readily
disregarded logical difficulties and gladly used the weapons which
pagan thought had forged.

It is impossible here to distinguish in full detail the contributions
of the several Apologists; we must therefore be content with a
summarized statement of their positions.

First of all they accepted the historic tradition of the person, work,
and teachings of Christ as authentic, and made no attempt to enlarge or
diminish that tradition. They endeavored rather to present Christianity
as a rational religion in such a way as to win the approval of the
intellectual world. As Harnack says: “These Christian philosophers
formulated the content of the Gospel in a manner which appealed to the
common sense of all the serious thinkers and intelligent men of the
age. Moreover, they contrived to use the positive material of
tradition, including the life and worship of Christ, in such a way as
to furnish this reasonable religion with a confirmation and proof that
had hitherto been eagerly sought, but sought in vain.”[336]

They all set forth Christianity as a revelation from God, given in
the Old Testament through the inspired prophets, who had foretold
the supreme revelation in Jesus Christ. Christianity therefore was
something which had existed from the beginning of the world; it
was a thing which revelation had continuously attested, and which
consequently was ultimate truth.[337] According to Justin not only the
prophets of the Old Testament but also the Greek philosophers had borne
witness to the truth and had been in a measure Christians. This power
of insight and of prophecy he would ascribe in the latter case as in
the former to the operation of the reason of God, a seed of which was
granted to every man by nature; all therefore that was reasonable in
Greek thought was due to divine inspiration. He found the cause of
the Greeks’ failure to expound the whole truth in the view that man’s
natural endowment was insufficient to enable him to resist the evil
demons which beset him.[338] Although Athenagoras did not say that every
man had within him a germ of the divine wisdom, he no less than Justin
granted that the pagan poets and philosophers had known the truth in
part;[339] their errors had been due to their dependence on themselves.
The full truth then was to be found in revelation, which gave the
Apologists the sole and sufficient warrant of their faith and the
complete rule of life.

But, as I have said, the Apologists represented Christianity as the one
valid philosophy. We must now examine briefly its principles.

First as to the nature of God. In dealing with this subject the
Apologists used a method of thought and of expression very much like
that employed by Philo and the later Platonists. They contrasted
God and the world: the latter they said was created, temporal, and
conditioned; the former, unconditioned, eternal, and self-existent;
the material world was apprehended by the senses, God by the mind and
reason alone.[340] God, therefore, to them was the One, pure spirit,
unchanging, requiring nothing. It followed from this idea of God that
he must be regarded as supramundane, if not transcendent. As a matter
of fact, these writers were perhaps unconsciously trying to reconcile
the personal attributes of God the Father, which the common Christian
faith ascribed to the Godhead, and the current concept of God as
a transcendent and ineffable being. A variety of expressions, too
numerous to be quoted here, was employed to suggest God’s exalted and
perfect nature. Furthermore God was not regarded as a passive, but as a
living and active spirit, who must express himself in creations; he was
therefore the First Cause, the Lord, Father, and Creator of all. The
perfection of his nature made him also the source of moral good.

The complete contrast between the perfect, supramundane God and the
imperfect, transient world required the Apologists, like the later
pagan philosophers, to postulate some agent connecting the two, and
they, like Philo and others, found this in the Logos, which to them
was the operative reason of God, regarded as a person. But there is
this significant fact to be noted, that the Apologists reached their
views with regard to God and the Logos from a contemplation of the
world itself in which they saw reason and order, and detected spiritual
forces working toward good ends. Therefore they believed that the world
was created and directed by God’s reason. Reflection on the chain of
rational causation had led them to their conclusions. But Philo and
the later Platonists we might say conceived of the Logos as a remedial
being, for through his mediation they saved the perfection of God from
contamination with evil matter. To the Apologists, however, matter was
only an indifferent finite substance.

The Logos, as the reason of God, was identical with God in essence; but
as a projection by God from himself, made for the purpose of creation
and revelation, the Logos had a being distinct from God, not in essence
but in number, so that he was a second God; yet at the same time the
Logos, being a mode of God, God’s operative reason, was included in
God; therefore no polytheistic ideas were admitted here.[341]

The Logos then was regarded as a creature and a servant of God, but he
was held to be above all other creatures, being one in essence with
the Divine. Moreover being created and therefore finite from the point
of view of time, the Logos could enter into the finite and thus do the
work of creation and revelation; by the Logos the world was made out of
finite matter, and man was endowed with reason and freedom of the will.
It is a striking fact, however, that with the exception of Justin, the
Apologists betray comparatively little interest in the incarnation
of the Logos in Jesus Christ. Their efforts were directed rather to
establishing against the pagan world their claim that God is One and
that the Logos is the operative reason of God which exercises his
powers. Furthermore they had little or nothing to say about the Holy
Spirit as a separate person, but for the most part they identified the
Logos and the Spirit.[342]

The problem of evil the Apologists solved by connecting it with a
belief in the freedom of choice given spirits or angels who chose to
depart from righteousness, and, thus becoming evil demons, have from
the first beset man and still do beset him with temptations which cause
him to sin. They regarded man, by virtue of his endowments of reason
and of freedom of the will, as capable of immortal life or of complete
death. The conditions of immortality were first, the maintenance of the
knowledge of God and of his relation through the Logos to the created
world, and secondly, persistence in a life aimed at moral perfection,
a life which followed after the Spirit and did not yield to the bodily
passions. In Tatian especially there is a distinct ascetic strain.[343]

The best exposition of man’s moral obligations the Apologists believed
to be found in the words of Jesus, but at the same time they agreed
in holding that the essential element in a life of virtue was a clear
knowledge of divine things through which man was at once raised above
the things of this world into a pure and noble existence. Thus man was
assured now of salvation, and in the future life was destined to enjoy
immortality and the perfection of knowledge which would come with the
direct vision of God.[344]

But such a doctrine presupposes a revelation of God. This, as I have
already pointed out, the Apologists said had been made in the beginning
by the Logos who disclosed himself in the created universe and in man
as a part thereof. Man, however, by yielding to sin, had lost that
divine knowledge which had been his through the original revelation,
with the result that repeated revelations had been necessary. The
agents of these had been the inspired prophets of the Old Testament
and to a slight degree the philosophers of Greece. The revelation of
the Logos in Jesus Christ was simply an attestation and guarantee of
the truths and predictions of the prophets, the highest stage in the
history of revelation, confirming that revelation without changing its
content in any way.

But all this is something very different from the teachings of Jesus,
or of Paul, or of the Fourth Gospel; indeed the relations of the
Apologists to Stoicism, to Philo and the later Platonists, seem fully
as close as to the New Testament. Of the writers in question Justin
alone—and he somewhat unsuccessfully—tried to set forth Jesus as the
redeemer in the strict sense of the word and to see in him a unique
revelation of the Logos.[345] Side by side with the tendency to seek
religious satisfaction in mysticism there existed even more strongly
in intellectual circles a desire to find the principles of right
conduct in a correct theory of the world. Such was, for example, the
aim of the Stoic. In attempting to satisfy this desire the Apologists
probably represented the views of the majority of educated Christians
of their day who felt that the noble morality of Christianity was its
most edifying characteristic; at any rate they knew that it was the
strongest argument for the validity of their religion.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have already seen many times that the idea that supreme knowledge
was conferred by direct revelation and that such knowledge led to
perfection was widespread not only among later Greek thinkers and
Hellenized Jews like Philo, but also among the devotees of the oriental
mysteries. Lucius, the hero of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, believed that
through the rites of initiation into the mysteries of Isis he had
been allowed to see the gods face to face and to acquire a knowledge
which only such revelation could convey.[346] Magical papyri describe
their contents as knowledge (γνῶσις), meaning thereby the supernatural
knowledge which they impart. From the other extreme we can cite the
case of the Apostle Paul, who claimed that his knowledge and the gospel
which he preached had come to him not from man, but “by the revelation
of Jesus Christ.”[347] It was then a common belief of the day that
through direct revelation one might obtain a secret knowledge (γνῶσις)
of divine things which no teaching could give. Such a revelation,
however gained, was recognized as an act of grace toward men, whereby
they attained salvation.

It was this idea of a secret revealed knowledge which gave the name of
Gnostic to a series of movements in the early Christian centuries to
which we must now turn.

The Gnostics never formed any single community or school, but they
comprised groups which exhibited the greatest diversity and range of
beliefs and of morals; the most famous and influential individuals
were Basilides, who taught at Alexandria in the time of Hadrian, and
Valentinus, who was active at Rome in the middle of the second century
(c. 140-c. 165). Gnosticism did not originate within Christianity,
but rather antedated it. All its forms arose from some combination of
oriental religions and mythologies with Greek modes of philosophic
thought, which in many ways remind one of later Neoplatonism. When
Christianity was taken into the Gnostic systems, it was inevitable
that it should be modified, reshaped, and stated in forms which might
contain gross error. Yet it would be a mistake to regard the Gnostics
as fundamentally foes of Christianity. Even if we cannot go so far
as Harnack and call them “the theologians of the first century,”
and attribute to them the first place in the early formation of a
Christian theology,[348] we must recognize that they did a great, and
in some ways a permanent, service to the new faith. They were seekers
after a philosophy of history; they interpreted Christianity as the
religion which replaced both paganism and Judaism, and they held that
the appearance of the redeemer had completed the development of the
human race and had consummated the history of the universe. Such a
view, which in itself was quite in accord with the views of Christians
generally, led the Gnostics to reject the Old Testament because it was
supplanted by the new revelation; the Apostolic writings they believed
to contain first of all the rule of faith when taken at their face
value, and secondly to hold a secret and deeper meaning, which could
be obtained only by allegorical, that is, by esoteric interpretation.
But thus far the Gnostics and the mass of Christians were still in
essential agreement, although the latter held to faith (πίστις) as the
basic element in their religion, while the former exalted knowledge
(γνῶσις) above it.

The Christians, however, commonly believed the world to be the creation
of God and wholly subject to him, as we just now saw when examining
the position of the Apologists. The Gnostics on the other hand almost
universally adopted some form of dualism which set off God and matter
against each other as more or less independent entities. In matter
they saw the basis of evil; at the other pole was the perfect supreme
Being who was wholly transcendent, above all thought; from this Being,
according to Basilides, proceeded a series of emanations, no less
than three hundred and sixty-five in number, the lowest of which were
the angels who occupy the visible heaven; they were the creators and
rulers of all things on earth. The chief of these angels was the God
of the Jews, as he was made known in the Old Testament.[349] Valentinus,
too, described a series of thirty Eons, descended from the perfect,
pre-existent Eon and his feminine counterpart, Ennoea, in which appear
fantastic combinations of abstract ideas, mathematical concepts, and
conjugal relations, betraying the manifold origin of this bizarre
system.[350] Yet such doctrines represent only extravagant efforts to
bridge the gap between a transcendent God and the world, a task which
Philo and the later Platonists accomplished in a more restrained manner.

The common Gnostic explanation of the origin of the universe was
that the cosmos arose from the descent into matter of some sparks of
the divine. The Creator of the cosmos, the Demiurge, was regarded as
an intermediate creature, sometimes as an evil one; but he is never
identical with the supreme Being.[351]

Man, also, in their views, was a dual creature, made up of corruptible
flesh and divine spirit. Some Gnostics also divided mankind into two
classes: the spiritual who were capable of salvation, and the material
who were doomed to perish. The Valentinians, however, conceived of
three kinds, corresponding to the three forms of existence found
throughout the world: the spiritual, the animal, and the material. Of
these the material men were predestined to destruction; the animal by
right choice might find rest in an “intermediate space”; but the
spiritual were to attain perfection and become “as brides to the angels
of the Saviour.”[352] The Gnostics of course were spiritual and destined
for the supreme bliss.

As regards their views concerning the person of Christ we may not
now go into detail. We can simply state the views of the two chief
Gnostics. Basilides identified Christ with the first-born of the
Father, the emanation Mind (Νοῦς), who came to destroy the God of the
Jews and all evil men, but to save those who believed on him.[353]
Valentinus made Christ one of the Eons, forming a conjugal pair of
Christ and the Holy Spirit; but Jesus who appeared on earth was
another, the perfect product of the whole pleroma of Eons.[354] We
may say that generally Christ was regarded by the Gnostics as one of
the emanations of the supreme Being, by which the divine principle
entered the visible world and made God known, whereas he had been
hidden hitherto. Christ, therefore, was a power, a heavenly Eon, which
was to be distinguished from his earthly appearance as the man Jesus.
This view was in accord with other beliefs that Christ had not actually
appeared and suffered in the flesh, to which is given the name docetism.

The Gnostic ethics were based on the dual concept of man, with the
natural result that in many groups a marked asceticism was practised.
On the other hand the belief that the revelation brought by Christ had
freed men from law—an exaggeration of Paul’s position, unchecked by
Paul’s good-sense—led to the extremes of libertinism.

The Gnostics laid much stress also on the magic value of the
sacraments of baptism, the Lord’s supper, and anointing with oil. They
treated them as the means of initiation into the holy mysteries of
Christianity, whereby the initiate obtained, as in pagan mysteries,
the higher knowledge (γνῶσις), which was salvation. Beyond this they
resorted to the crassest magic, playing with names and numbers,
employing images, incantations, invocations, and many kinds of curious
arts.[355] But in this respect they were hardly in disaccord with their

From the foregoing it will appear that the Gnostic movement represented
in general exaggerations of the normal Christian tenets, produced by an
attempt to combine Christianity with many Greek and oriental elements.
The results varied from a doctrine which differed from that, for
example, of the Johannine writings chiefly in denying the actual human
existence of Christ, to the most extravagant perversions of Christian
belief. Many Gnostics remained within the Church undisturbed, others
were bitterly attacked.

The entire movement which we have been considering is instructive, for
it illustrates in a striking way the danger which the growing Church
ran of being swamped in the confused floods of Hellenic and oriental
thought and mysticism. The conflict with such foes as the Gnostics
was one of the chief causes which led to the formation of a body of
accepted catholic doctrine, for in dogma lay in part the protection
of Christianity. Although the Church was able to free itself of most
Gnostic heresies, she could not wholly escape their influence, as we
shall presently see.

       *       *       *       *       *

The heir of both the Gnostics and the Apologists was the catechetical
school at Alexandria under the leadership of Clement and Origen (c.
200-231). The early history of this school is unknown, but it became
important at the close of the second century. In it both the Greek
sciences and the holy Scriptures were studied, so that it was a natural
place for the fusion of secular learning and Christian theology.

Clement, who was first a pupil, then a teacher in this school, and at
last its head for three years (200-203), was the first to attempt an
exposition of Christianity with all the aid that heretical speculation
and Greek learning alike could give. We possess from his hand three
works of systematic edification. The Protrepticus is addressed to
converts, and in it he employs arguments similar to those of the
Apologists, Justin and Athenagoras; the Paedagogus gives practical
directions for the Christian life; and the Stromateis, “Miscellanies,”
is intended to present and establish Christianity as the true
philosophy, and so to lead the reader to supreme knowledge (γνῶσις),
as its full title announces.[356] From this it is at once evident that
the Gnostic movements had had their influence on Clement; and indeed,
after combatting Gnostic errors frequently, especially in the third
book, he devotes a considerable part of his sixth book and the whole
of his seventh to a presentation of the true Gnostic.[357] His view as
to the service done mankind by the Greek intellect is summed up in the
often-quoted words: “Philosophy was a tutor to bring the Greeks, as the
law was to bring the Hebrews, to Christ.”[358]

But since it was Clement’s great pupil and successor, Origen,
who actually founded Christian theology as a philosophy, and who
established his views so firmly that although the Church has rejected
much in detail, its dogmas still bear the stamp of his system, we shall
pass at once to him and endeavor to set forth in summary the most
important elements of his doctrine.

Origen held fast to the traditional teaching of the Apostles and to the
Old Testament which he felt contained the sum of Christian truth,[359]
and at the same time he worked freely as a speculative thinker. For
the greater part of the period during which he was the head of the
Alexandrian School, (c. 203-231) he was undisturbed by persecution and
could work in the clear atmosphere of scientific study. His theology
was built on the secular theology of his day.[360]

God he regarded as wholly transcendent, but potentially everywhere
present, incomprehensible to man save in so far as man could behold
the revelation of him in nature and in Christ. He predicated justice,
goodness, and omnipotence of God, not simply as potentialities, but
as attributes exercised fully and eternally in the universe. Still to
leave man a free agent, Origen was obliged to hold that God limited his
own omnipotence. The belief in the eternal exercise of God’s attributes
required him to regard creation as eternal, so that he held that God
and his creatures had eternally existed; God therefore, he said, had
never existed apart from his creation, but the two were coëternal.
This does not mean that Origen regarded the present world as existing
in visible form from eternity, for he taught quite the contrary: this
present world did begin and will end in time, but it is only one in an
infinite series of worlds, a single expression of the eternal creative
activity of God.[361]

The Logos in Origen’s system stands midway between God and the world.
In opposition to those who claimed that the Logos had been begotten
in time and was therefore a temporal creature, he insisted that the
Logos was without beginning, but was eternally generated by God.
In attempting to make his view clear he employed familiar figures,
saying that the Logos, the eternal Son, was related to the Father, as
the gleam to the source of light, or the will to the mind of man. He
was the wisdom, the consciousness, and the activity of God; and he
likewise was God’s perfect image, a second God. Yet in essence he was
not independent, but rather one with the Father by whose will he was
eternally created. Being created, however, he was one stage removed
from God toward the multiple creation; being the medium of the Divine,
he was the Creator of the world.[362]

It will be observed that in this philosophical system there is no
necessity for the redeemer, and indeed Origen made somewhat less
use of this concept of Christ than most other writers. On Christ’s
incarnation he insisted, but the essential work of the human Christ was

Nor did Origen’s system require the Holy Spirit, but to comply with
the Christian belief he gave the Spirit a place with God the Father,
and Christ the Son, and made him the inspirer of the prophets and
apostles. The functions of the three persons in one, so far as man is
concerned, he defined by saying that God gave man existence, the Son
supplied reason, and the Spirit holiness. Although he held the Spirit
to be of the eternal essence of God, he made him subordinate to the
Son, being the first creation through the Logos. Thus Origen in reality
established two stages of creation: the Logos and the Holy Spirit.[364]

Below these he placed an infinite number of lesser spirits, endowed
with freedom and bound for a time with matter: angels, men, and demons.
By the exercise of their freedom certain spirits have fallen from
perfect holiness and, entering into bodies, have become the souls of
men, aided by those spirits which have held fast to purity and are
God’s angels, and hindered by the demons who have fallen lower than
men and who prefer evil and find pleasure in it.[365] The chief of
the fallen angels is the devil.[366] Yet the world is ruled by divine
providence toward ultimate good; evil therefore will not finally
conquer: men who now choose the good become the sons of God and rise
to the rank of angels. Ultimately, by a process which will go on
imperceptibly through countless ages, even the evil spirits will be
brought back to God and so all wickedness shall be purged away.[367]
Then this course will begin again.

Origen’s human psychology was probably taken from his teacher
Clement; but the views of both, like those of the Gnostics, go back
ultimately to Plato.[368] Accordingly Origen held that the human body
has two souls, the first the animal or the passionate, the second the
reasonable soul or the spirit. The latter is man’s divine essence
which enters him from above; the former becomes his at the time of
his conception.[369] To human spirits, as to all others, God granted
freedom, and through their evil choice they fell, so that all men are
born in a condition of sin. The duty of man is to endeavor to give his
divine soul the mastery in him that he may thereby become like God and
attain eternal happiness; his inherent sin must be overcome by his own
will and determined aspiration. Not that Origen believed that man could
fully accomplish his own salvation; on the contrary he held most firmly
that divine grace was needed; but he maintained that the first step,
an act of faith, did depend on the individual’s free choice.[370] The
historical revelation of the Logos and the redemptive work of Christ,
who by his death dealt the first blow in the struggle to overthrow
the devil, were both made a part of the plan of salvation by Origen,
although, as I have said, redemption is not logically an indispensable
element in his system.[371]

There are three stages of Christian progress, according to Origen. In
the first and lowest man may advance through faith and by a belief in
the redemptive death of the historic Christ to a state of sinlessness
and to fellowship with God. Here the Logos incarnate in Jesus acts
through revelation and redemption as a physician to cure men of
their sins. But beyond is a higher stage in which through love and
knowledge the soul may mount from its view of the phenomenal world
to the “invisible things of God,” that is, to an understanding of
the whole creation; and still further soar from these upward to “the
eternal power of God, in short, to God’s own divinity.” In these higher
stages the Logos is the teacher of the divine mysteries; they make the
contemplative life in which the Christian may obtain perfect knowledge.
To such a Gnostic as the Christian becomes who has been granted the
vision, the historic Christ is no longer significant; the Logos in his
manifold revelations teaches him the supreme truth.[372]

Thus we see that Origen assumed that there were two forms of
Christianity, an exoteric for the mass, who were capable only of faith
and who could not grasp the deeper truths, and an esoteric, reserved
for the few who could understand the mysteries of God and whose souls
could rise to the knowledge of God himself. This double view depended
in part on his Gnostic tendencies, in part on his interpretation of
Scripture, to which we shall presently turn.

We have now followed the development of Christianity from the simple
teachings of Jesus into a Greek philosophy, as illustrated by the
later writings of the New Testament, the Apologists, the Gnostics, and
Origen. The last of these completed the process which began in Paul
and the Epistle to the Hebrews, for he united successfully and fully,
the religious principles of the Christian religion with the content of
Hellenic philosophy. It must be evident furthermore that Origen and
those who prepared the way for him, were no less debtors to the Greeks
than they were to the Hebrews, to Jesus, and to Paul, since the form
and in no small degree the very matter of their philosophy had been
provided by secular thought. Indeed Porphyry with some reason charged
Origen with being more Greek than Christian.[373]

It will be observed that Origen, and his predecessors also in large
measure, made man’s salvation a part of a philosophy of the entire
universe, each portion of which was to be fully understood only through
a comprehension of the whole. That is to say, the scheme of salvation
was an element in cosmological speculation. The earliest Greek
philosophers had been concerned with a solution of the physical cosmos;
soon thinkers began to search for the causes of change, without,
however, troubling themselves with ethics or religion; but from the end
of the fifth century B.C., the position of man, his obligations
and his happiness, the nature of the Divine and the relation between
God and the world, became dominant themes. In Plato we see first fully
developed a religious philosophy of the cosmos of which man’s salvation
is an inseparable part. The line from Plato to Origen, and we may add
to the present day, is unbroken. Thus we find that Greek philosophy
furnished the general plan for a statement of Christianity which should
not only be intelligible, attractive, and convincing to the learned
and the simple alike, but which should also prove triumphant over the
Gnostics and other aberrant thinkers.

This transformation of the rule of faith into an Hellenic philosophy
was contemporaneous with the growth of the separate churches into one
body politic with an organization fitted for present defense and for
future aggression.

       *       *       *       *       *

If space allowed, numerous illustrations might be adduced to show how
pagan philosophy and mysticism had influenced Christian theologians in
details. Many examples we have already seen in passing, such as the
view held by both Clement and Origen, as well as by the Gnostics and
perhaps by Paul, that the supreme Christian truth was to be obtained by
direct revelation, by a vision of the Divine. This was a current belief
not only in the later mystic philosophies, like Neopythagoreanism
and Neoplatonism, but also in the mystic religions, and in the Greek
mysteries likewise. Again it would be possible to show that Origen’s
ethical system owed much more to Stoicism and to later Platonism
than to the teachings of Christ, which, however, were easily brought
into accord with the philosophers’ doctrines. Or once more we might
enlarge on the development of the triune nature of God, whereby the
transcendent God and the Logos of pagan theology were united with
a varying concept of the spirit of God, also familiar in Hellenic
thought, to produce the Trinity of Christian dogma.

Thus in examining the ways in which Christianity accommodated itself to
the intellectual world for purposes of defense and conquest, we have
been seeing many examples of the influence which the pagan environment
had on Christianity. Let us now examine a few further illustrations.

The first of these shall be the method of interpretation which was
applied to the sacred writings. As early as the sixth century B.C.,
the Homeric mythology had aroused a protest from Xenophanes and
others;[374] and in defense a new form of interpretation was adopted by
the supporters of Homer who declared that there was a deeper meaning
to the myths than appeared on the surface. Theagenes of Rhegium (c.
525 B.C.) suggested that the Homeric gods expressed either human
faculties or natural elements, and thus he began the long history of
allegorical exegesis.[375] From this time such interpretation of myths
became a common practice; it was adopted by the Stoics; at Alexandria
Jewish scholars took it over and applied it to the writings of the
Old Testament, so that before the beginning of our era the sacred
writings were regularly so explained. Philo shows how universal the
procedure was. By it of course the historical character of the Old
Testament was thrust into the background, and thus many difficulties
of interpretation were avoided which otherwise would vex a man who
regarded every part of the sacred books as perfect. Naturally the
early Christians followed their predecessors, and in fact allegorical
interpretation of the Old Testament has lasted down to our own time.
Origen helped to fix the standard system, so to speak; there were,
according to him, three senses in which the Scriptures were to be
understood, corresponding to the triple nature of man: first, the
literal sense which was for the “flesh,” the simple man; secondly, the
psychic which fitted the moral man; and finally the pneumatic sense,
for the spiritual man.[376]

The development of Christian asceticism will serve as another
illustration of our present theme. It will be remembered that the
Orphics and the Pythagoreans imposed on their followers a mode of
life in which certain things were forbidden. These two sects were
the first to grasp the meaning of the dualism of the flesh and
spirit which we have found significant throughout the course of our
investigation. Plato and the later philosophic schools developed the
higher significance of man’s dual nature until asceticism in greater
or less degree became the normal regimen for the philosopher of almost
every school. In the oriental religions also certain abstentions were
required as preparation for initiation into their mysteries.

On the whole asceticism was foreign to both Judaism and early
Christianity.[377] In the Pauline epistles it is true that we find
passages in which the flesh and the spirit are contrasted; virginity is
moderately approved in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, but the
Epistle to the Colossians contains a direct argument against the errors
of ascetic teachers in Asia Minor, and the non-Pauline First Epistle to
Timothy combats celibacy and vegetarianism.[378] It was indeed somewhat
difficult to find a satisfactory warrant for an ascetic life in the New
Testament. Christianity, however, could not escape its environment.
Presently in the second century certain sects like the Gnostics,
Montanists, and Encratites appeared which laid great stress on ascetic
practice; at the same time the habit of fasting generally increased;
many bound themselves to perpetual virginity; and riches were regarded
as incompatible with the highest Christian character. In the third
century numbers began to withdraw from the world, and by the fifth
century monasticism was established in both the East and the West. But
it was paganism which had given men the ideal of the ascetic saint,
and the Church writers who furnished the warrant for the Christian
practice, drew their arguments from Greek philosophers, and sometimes
found it difficult to meet the criticisms of the Jewish defenders of a
normal human life.

The almost universal rite of baptism as a means of ritual purification
was employed by the early Christians. Jesus had been baptized by John,
but he never made baptism a condition of discipleship. The Apostles
baptized with water immediately after conversion. Confession of sins,
repentance, and the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Christ were the
antecedent requirements; the act itself was believed to mark the
remission of sins and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. But by the
early second century we find that the convert went through a period of
instruction and was obliged to fast before he could be baptized.[379]
From the middle of this century a new group of ideas drawn from
the mysteries was associated with the rite. It became a mystery
(μυστήριον), the one who conferred it was a mystagogue (μυσταγωγός);
many forms of speech used in pagan initiations were employed; and
the pagan expression “enlightenment” (φωτισμός, φωτίζεσθαι) became
a Christian term. Likewise those who had been initiated into the
Christian mysteries were said to bear a seal (σφραγίς) on their
foreheads.[380] In general it was commonly thought that baptism—the
Christian initiation—had a magic power to secure salvation similar
to that which the pagan initiatory ritual was believed to possess.
Moreover a long period of preparation was required, a sharp distinction
was made between those who had received this Christian initiation and
those who had not; and the Church became a secret association.[381]
Later the Lord’s Prayer and the formula of baptism became a pass word
(σύμβολον), which was kept from the catechumens until shortly before

Likewise the Lord’s Supper in time assumed the character of a
mystery. Ignatius, Justin, and Irenaeus, all natives of the East and
familiar with pagan mysteries, ascribe an extraordinary efficacy
to its celebration. The elements were believed to become the flesh
and blood of Christ,[382] or to take on a heavenly nature in addition
to the earthly, whereby the partaker gained the hope of eternal
resurrection.[383] Ignatius early in the century had called the bread
“the medicine of immortality and antidote against death.”[384] As such
it had a magic value.

If time and subject allowed, we might draw further illustrations of the
influence of paganism from the calendar of the Church, which would show
how pagan festivals were supplanted by Christian; or we might examine
the list of accepted saints, some of whom have heathen origins—others
are composites, so to speak; or again we might turn to Christian art
and see how pagan types were adapted to Christian uses. But although
such studies might prove interesting, we may not enter on them now, for
we have already departed somewhat from our proper theme.

Yet great as the influence of the pagan environment was on
Christianity, there is always a possibility that in such a study as
the present we may get a wrong point of view. We should remember that
Christianity was a positive religion, which in being transformed into
a Greek philosophy did not lose its own character; indeed it was not
obscured by the Greek intellectual habit, but it appropriated that
habit and in the end made it its own. Pagan thought and practice
affected Christianity in countless ways, but they did not overwhelm it.
Nor must we underestimate the service which paganism rendered the faith
which was to overthrow it. The philosopher’s long search for a rule of
life, the Greek and oriental mysteries, and the mystic theosophies,
all provided an environment ready and favorable to Christianity. The
rapid spread of this new religion, at first in Syria and Asia Minor,
was not due simply to the propinquity of these countries to Palestine.
They had been for centuries familiar with mystic religions which in a
crude way aimed to give what Christianity promised in nobler fashion.
The same thing was true in a measure of the great centers of the West.
Without an environment already prepared for it Christianity would have
had a very different history from the one we know. Moreover we have
now abundantly seen how Greek rhetoric and philosophy furnished the
forms by which Christianity made itself understood, and how they gave
the intellectual weapons by which in part it gained its victory over

       *       *       *       *       *

Now we may ask what were some of the chief reasons for Christianity’s
triumph. Sometimes it is lightly said that its victory was due to
the fact that it “promised immortality to a hopeless world.” But we
know that there were many contemporaneous religions which promised
immortality and that the world was not without hope. We must try to
look somewhat more deeply, and we cannot limit ourselves wholly to
intellectual causes.

The first, although not the most significant, reason may be found in
the positive and noble monotheism of Christianity. Other religions
by syncretistic processes arrived at a doctrine of the unity of the
Divine, of one God who embraced in himself a multitude of divinities;
but the new faith, supported by its Jewish inheritance, taught that God
was but One and that there was no other.

Yet the most important causes are to be found in the person and
mission of Jesus. He brought a new revelation of God to men; and it
was a revelation which men believed the Old Testament had foretold.
The Jewish Scriptures were the one body of sacred writings known to
the Greco-Roman world, and their authority was enormous wherever
anti-Jewish prejudices were overcome, or when, as in Christian thought,
Jesus was related to its prophecies. This influence had extended to
Greeks, especially in such places as Alexandria, long before Jesus
began his ministry. Therefore it was natural that the Gentiles’ desire
for revelation as well as the Jews’ Messianic hopes should be attached
to the Old Testament, so that Christianity had the support of its
weighty authority.

Again Christianity knew its saviour and redeemer not as some god whose
history was contained in a myth filled with rude, primitive, and even
offensive elements, as were the stories of Attis, of Osiris, and to a
degree of Dionysus. Such myths required violent interpretation to make
them acceptable to enlightened minds. On the contrary the Christian
saviour had lived and associated with men, whose minds and senses
had apprehended his person, acts, and character. These witnesses had
transmitted their knowledge directly, and they had testified that
the life of Jesus corresponded to his teachings. Jesus was then an
historical, not a mythical being. No remote or foul myth obtruded
itself on the Christian believer; his faith was founded on positive,
historical, and acceptable facts.

Christianity showed a superior power of adaptation to every class;
it was a practical guide of life for all, a guide which was soon
recognized by its opponents to be of the highest ethical value. In
spite of the human weaknesses of Christians, their superior morality
was generally recognized from the time of Pliny.[385] Their motives for
righteous living sprang from love and faith rather than from any social
or rational sanctions; and the fruits were “love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance.”
These virtues and the belief that Christ’s revelation and the mystic
union of man with the Divine brought salvation, could be understood
by the most unlettered. The intellectual classes found Christianity
fulfilling the aim of both Greek thought and of Old Testament prophecy;
in it they saw the ultimate philosophy. Christianity therefore proved
itself a religion which satisfied men’s desires and hopes as well
as their philosophic aims in a more complete and spiritual way than
oriental mysticism or Greek rationalism; and it gave a nobler assurance
of salvation.

Finally, experience taught the value of Christianity; already in the
second century the Apologists could make the appeal to common knowledge
of the Christians to show the superiority of their faith.

Yet by the close of the second century Christianity had not won many
adherents outside of Syria and Asia Minor, save in the greater cities.
The third century was the period in which paganism rapidly decayed
and Christianity swiftly advanced toward its triumph; by the year
300 it had filled the Mediterranean world, and the proud claim which
Tertullian had made a century before, began to be justified: “We are of
yesterday, and yet we have filled all your holdings, cities, houses,
castles, towns, councils, your very camps, tribes, wards, the palace,
the senate, the forum—we have left you only your temples.”[386] The
victory over pagan religions and philosophies was indeed certain;
but this success had been secured on the intellectual side by the
transformation of the teachings of Jesus and of the apostles into a
Greek philosophy. It is as such that Christianity has the final place
in a history of Greek religious thought.


[336] _History of Dogma_, II, 170.

[337] Vid. Justin’s arguments, _Apol._ I, 31-53. Athenagoras, _Legat._
9, limits himself to the testimonies of the prophets as to the nature
of God. Cf. also Tatian, 20, at the end.

[338] Justin, _Apol._ II, 8 ff.; cf. I, 46. In two passages (_Apol._ I,
44 and 59) Justin illogically declares that the Greeks owed all their
true knowledge to their borrowings from Moses. Herein he was simply
following the Alexandrian Jews.

[339] _Legat._ 7.

[340] Tatian, _Orat._ 5; cf. Athen., _Legat._ 4. The ideas recur
frequently in nearly all the Apologists.

[341] (Justin) _Dial. cum Tryphone_ 61, 62, 105, 128; Tatian, _Orat._
5-7; Athen., _Legat._ 10, 16, 24.

[342] Cf. Justin, _Apol._ I, 5, 13, 61, 65, 67; _Dial._ 7, 29, 116;
Tatian, _Orat._ 13; Athen., _Legat._ 10.

[343] Justin, _Apol._ I, 5, 15, 21, 56; II, 5-7; Tatian, _Orat._ 7 f.,
11; Athen., _Legat._ 24 ff.

[344] Justin, _Apol._ I, 15 ff., and often in the apologetic writings.

[345] Cf. _Apol._ I, 23, 63; II, 6.

[346] Cf. p. 274.

[347] _Gal._ I, 11-12; _Eph._ III, 3-4.

[348] _History of Dogma_, I, 222 ff.

[349] Irenaeus, _Adv. Haer._ I, 24, 3-4.

[350] Irenaeus, _Adv. Haer._ I, 1-3.

[351] Cf. Ptolemaeus, apud Epiphan., _Haer._ XXXIII, 3-7, _Epist. ad
Floram_, at the beginning.

[352] Irenaeus, _Adv. Haer._ I, 5-8. The Valentinian idea of the triple
nature of man is as old as Plato.

[353] Irenaeus, _Adv. Haer._ I, 24, 2-4.

[354] Ibid., I, 2, 5-6.

[355] Cf. Irenaeus, _Adv. Haer._ I, 23, 4; 24, 5.

[356] Τῶν κατὰ τὴν ἀληθῆ φιλοσοφἰαν γνωστικῶν ὑπομνημἀτων στρωματεῖς.

[357] Cf. also _Strom._ II, 19-20.

[358] _Strom._ I, 5, 28, 3; cf. I, 20, 97; VI, 7, 59.

[359] Cf. _De prin._ Praef. 1.

[360] Tradition says that Origen heard the discourses of Ammonius
Saccas, the founder of the Neoplatonic School. Porphyr. apud Euseb. _H.
E._ VI, 19, 6.

[361] _De prin._ I, 1; III, 5.

[362] _De prin._ I, 1 and 2 deal with God and Christ respectively in a
systematic way; cf. also II, 5 and 6. Besides there are many passages
in Origen’s extant works, too numerous for reference here, which show
his views.

[363] _De prin._ II, 6.

[364] _De prin._ I, 3; II, 7.

[365] Origen adopted the popular belief in the existence of angels and
demons and made great use of it in explaining the present state of the
world. The passages in his works are too numerous to be all named here;
but _De prin._ I, 8, entire is devoted to the topic.

[366] _C. Cels._ IV, 65; _De prin._ I, 5.

[367] _De prin._ III, 6; cf. I, 5, 3.

[368] Clement, _Paed._ III, 1, 1. _Strom._ V, 14, 94; VI, 16, 134 f.
Cf. Plato, _Rep._ IV, 436 A-441 C; _Tim._ 42 A.

[369] _De prin._ III, 4; cf. II, 8.

[370] _De prin._ III, 1; _In Matt._, ser. 69; _in Rom._ IV, 5; IX, 3.

[371] _C. Cels._ VII, 17; cf. I, 31; _Exhort. ad Mart._ entire.

[372] _C. Cel._ III, 59-62; VII, 46. Cf. _in Joh._ I, 20-22; _C. Cel._
II, 66-69; IV, 15-18; VI, 68.

[373] Apud Euseb. _H. E._ VI, 19, 7 f.

[374] Cf. pp. 119 ff.

[375] Schol. Venet. ad _Il._ XX, 67.

[376] _De prin._ IV, 11ff.

[377] The Essenes seem to have been a Jewish sect strongly under
the influence of Orphic and Pythagorean ideas. Neither they nor the
Therapeutae influenced Judaism or Christianity to any considerable

[378] _1 Cor._ VII entire; _Col._ II, 20-23; _1 Tim._ IV, 1-3.

[379] _Didache_ 7.

[380] Cf. Clement, _Protrep._ 12; _Paed._ I, 6; _Strom._ II, 3.
Although we cannot be quite certain that φωτισμός and σφραγίς were
technical terms of the Greek mysteries, they undoubtedly corresponded
to ideas and practices found in both Hellenic and oriental mystic
religions. For a full list of authorities see the works of Hatch,
Anrich, Wobbermin, and Clemen named, p. 368.

[381] Cf. Celsus’ charges, Origen, _C. Cel._ 1, 1, and Origen’s reply,
_ibid._, 1, 7. Origen defends an esoteric Christianity by the examples
of philosophy and the pagan mysteries.

[382] Justin, _Apol._ I, 66.

[383] Iren., _Adv. Haer._ IV, 31, 4; frg. 36 Harvey.

[384] Ignatius, _ad Eph._ 20.

[385] Plin., _Ep._ X, 96.

[386] _Apol._ 37.




The relevant articles in the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, 11 ed., are
often valuable, being written by specialists. Of other encyclopedic
works the following are most useful: Hastings: _Encyclopaedia
of Religion and Ethics_, I-VIII, A-Mulla, 1908-. W. Roscher:
_Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie_,
A-Tan, 1884-. Pauly-Wissowa: _Real-Encyclopädie der classischen
Altertumswissenschaft_, A-Imperator, Ra-Ryton, 1894-. Daremberg et
Saglio: _Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines_, A-Via,

GREEK RELIGION.—L. R. Farnell: _The Cults of the Greek
States_, 5 vols., 1896-1907. A comprehensive study of the greater
divinities. Id.: _The Higher Aspects of Greek Religion_, 1912. L.
Campbell: _Religion in Greek Literature_, 1898. J. Adam: _The Religious
Teachers of Greece_, 2 ed., 1909. An interesting and valuable book
for the period from Homer to Plato. A. Fairbanks: _A Handbook of
Greek Religion_, 1910. An admirable treatment of the subject in
moderate compass with excellent bibliographies. G. F. Moore: _History
of Religions_, I, pp. 406-602, on Greek and Roman Religions, 1913.
The work of a master in the entire field. Ed. Meyer: _Geschichte des
Altertums_, II-V, 1893-1902. The religion of the Greeks is nowhere else
so well treated from the historical point of view. G. F. v. Schoemann:
_Griechische Altertümer_, 4 ed., by Lipsius, II, pp. 133-607, 1902.
P. Stengel: _Die griechischen Kultusaltertümer_, 2 ed., 1898. The
best treatment of the religious antiquities of the Greeks. O. Gruppe:
_Griechische Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte_, 2 vols., 1897, 1906.
This is the most comprehensive work dealing with the subject; its
value is somewhat impaired by the author’s peculiar views. S. Wide:
_Griechische und Römische Religion_, in Gercke und Norden: _Einleitung
in die Altertumswissenschaft_, 2 ed., II, pp. 169-271, 1912.

MYTHOLOGY.—_The Mythology of all Races_, I, _Greek and
Roman_, by W. S. Fox, 1916. A modern presentation of the myths
connected with the chief gods; the book is well illustrated and is
provided with an ample bibliography. Preller: _Griechische Mythologie_,
I, 4 ed., by Robert, 1894; II, 3 ed., by Plew, 1872.

ETHICS.—L. Schmidt: _Die Ethik der alten Griechen_, 2 vols.,
1882. The standard treatment of the subject. J. Denis: _Histoire des
théories et des idées morales dans l’antiquité_, 2 ed., 2 vols., 1879.
An historical account of Greek morals to the end of the fifth century
of our era. M. Wundt: _Geschichte der griechischen Ethik_, 2 vols.,
1908, 1911. This book covers the periods from Homer to Marcus Aurelius.
W. E. H. Lecky: _History of European Morals_, I, pp. 169-356. The
period from Augustus to Neoplatonism, 1869. C. Martha: _Études morales
sur l’antiquité_, Paris, 1896. W. H. S. Jones: _Greek Morality in
Relation to Institutions_, 1906.

PHILOSOPHY.—Ed. Zeller: _Die Philosophie der Griechen_: I,
1 and 2, 5 ed., 1892; II, 1, 4 ed., 1889; II, 2, 3 ed., 1879; III,
1, 4 ed., 1909; III, 2, 4 ed., 1903. English translations from the
fourth or third German editions: _Pre-Socratic Philosophy_, 2 vols.,
1881; _Socrates and the Socratic Schools_, 1885; _Plato and the Older
Academy_, 1888; _Aristotle and the Early Peripatetics_, 2 vols.,
1897; _The Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics_, 1892. The best history
of ancient philosophy, containing full references to the sources.
Th. Gomperz: _Griechische Denker_, 3 vols., 2 ed., 1903-09. English
translation: _Greek Thinkers_, 4 vols., 1901-12. A stimulating book,
but less useful than Zeller’s. J. Burnet: _Early Greek Philosophy_, 2
ed., 1908; id.: _Greek Philosophy_, I, _Thales to Plato_, 1914. A. W.
Benn: _The Greek Philosophers_, 2 ed., 1914. Three valuable books. M.
Louis: _Doctrines religieuses des philosophes Grecs_, 1909.


T. D. Seymour: _Life in the Homeric Age_, chaps. xiv-xvi, 1907. Gives
the facts with regard to religion in the Iliad and Odyssey. J. Adam:
_Religious Teachers_, pp. 21-83. E. Rohde: _Psyche_ I^3, pp. 1 ff.,
1903. Nägelsbach: _Homerische Theologie_, 3 ed., 1884. O. Gruppe:
_Griechische Mythologie_, pp. 987-1015. Campbell: _Religion in Greek
Literature_, pp. 53-113. J. Girard: _Le sentiment religieux en Grèce
d’Homère à Eschyle_, 3 ed., pp. 1-133, 1887.

P. Waltz: _Hésiode et son poème moral_, 1906. The most valuable
treatment of Hesiod’s Works and Days. Ed. Meyer: _Hesiods Erga und das
Gedicht von den fünf Menschengeschlectern_, in _Genethliakon_, 1910. O.
Gruppe: _Die griechischen Culte und Mythen_, I, pp. 567-612, 1887. P.
Decharme: _La critique des traditions religieuses chez les Grecs_, pp.
1-26, 1904.


The Orphic fragments are quoted from the edition by Abel, 1885; the
tablets found in graves from Diels: _Fragmente der Vorsokratiker_, 3
ed., II, pp. 163 ff., 1912.

Lobeck: _Aglaophamus sive de theologiae mysticae Graecorum causis_,
1829. The classic work. Rohde: _Psyche_, I^3, pp. 278 ff., on the
Mysteries; II^3, pp. 1 ff., on Dionysiac religion and Orphism.
Adam: _Religious Teachers_, chap. v. Campbell: _Religion in Greek
Literature_, pp. 238-266. Fairbanks: _Handbook of Greek Religion_, pp.
128-137; 230-248. J. E. Harrison: _Prolegomena to the Study of Greek
Religion_, 2 ed., chaps, viii-xii, 1908. This book must be used with
caution. B. I. Wheeler: _Dionysus and Immortality_, 1899. The Ingersoll
Lecture for 1898-99. Girard: _Le sentiment religieux_, pp. 171-297.
Gruppe: _Griechische Culte und Mythen_, I, pp. 612-675; _Griechische
Mythologie_, 1016-1041. E. Maass: _Orpheus. Untersuchungen zur
griechischen, römischen, altchristlichen Jenseitsdichtung und
Religion_, 1895. A. Dieterich: _Nekyia. Beiträge zur Erklärung der
neuentdeckten Petrusapokalypse_, 2 ed., 1913. Although the two
preceding books deal primarily with early Christianity, they contain
much matter bearing on early Orphism and the Mysteries. Farnell: _Cults
of the Greek States_, III, pp. 126-213; 343-367; V, 85-181. A. Mommsen:
_Feste der Stadt Athen_, pp. 204-277; 405-421, 1898. P. Foucart, _Les
mystères d’Eleusis_, 1914. The author’s hypothesis of the Egyptian
origin of the Eleusinian mysteries is untenable. K. H. E. De Jong: _Das
antike Mysterienwesen_, 1909. A discussion of the phenomena connected
with the several mysteries.


The fragments of Archilochus, Solon, Theognis, and Simonides are
quoted from Bergk: _Poetae Lyrici Graeci_, 3 ed., II and III; those of
Aeschylus and Sophocles from Nauck: _Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta_, 2
ed., 1889.

Adam: _Religious Teachers_, pp. 83-183. Campbell: _Religion in Greek
Literature_, pp. 114-121; 169-180; 195-208; 267-290. Girard: _Le
sentiment religieux_, pp. 135-170; 247-448. Decharme: _Critique des
traditions religieuses_, pp. 91-112. Gruppe: _Griechische Mythologie_,
pp. 1041-1058. E. Buchholz: _Die sittlichen Weltanschauung des Pindaros
und Aeschylos_, 1869. F. F. C. Fischer: _De deo Aeschyleo_, 1912.
Dronke: _Die religiösen und sittlichen Vorstellungen des Aeschylos und
Sophocles_, Jahrbb. für klass. Phil., Suppl. IV, pp. 1-116. F. Lübker:
_Die sophokleische Theologie und Ethik_, 1851, 1855.


The fragments of the pre-Socratic philosophers are quoted from Diels:
_Fragmente der Vorsokratiker_, 2 vols., 3 ed., 1912; those of Euripides
from Nauck: _Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta_, 2 ed., 1889.

Adam: _Religious Teachers_, pp. 184-355. Campbell: _Religion in Greek
Literature_, pp. 291-337. Zeller: _Philosophie der Griechen_, I, 1^5,
pp. 521-552; I, 2^5, pp. 623-837; 968-1164; English translation,
_Pre-Socratic Philosophy_, II, pp. 1-206; 321-516. _Socrates and the
Socratic Schools_, pp. 39-236. Gomperz: _Griechische Denker_, I^2,
pp. 127-134; 168-204; 331-396; II^2, pp. 3-95; English translation,
I, 155-164; 208-254; 412-496; II, pp. 3-118. G. Grote: _History of
Greece_, chaps. 67-68. Burnet: _Early Greek Philosophy_, pp. 143-191;
227-318; _Greek Philosophy_, pp. 57-81; 105-192. Benn: _Greek
Philosophers_, pp. 65-143. Louis: _Doctrines religieuses_, pp. 1-95.

Decharme: _Critique des traditions religieuses_, pp. 43-63; 113-140;
_Euripide et l’esprit de son theâtre_, 1893; English translation by
James Loeb: _Euripides and the Spirit of his Dramas_, 1906. A. Verrall:
_Euripides the Rationalist_, 1895. W. Nestle: _Euripides der Dichter
der griechischen Aufklärung_, 1902.


Adam: _Religious Teachers_, pp. 356-460. On Plato by one of the best
of recent English Platonists. Zeller: _Philosophie der Griechen_, II,
1^4, pp. 389-982; II, 2^3, pp. 1-806; English translation, _Plato and
the Older Academy_, pp. 1-552; _Aristotle and the Early Peripatetics_,
I-II, pp. 1-347. Gomperz: _Griechische Denker_, II^2, pp. 203-533;
III^2, entire; English translation, II, pp. 249-397, III and IV,
entire. Burnet: _Greek Philosophy_: I, pp. 205-350. Benn: _Greek
Philosophers_, pp. 144-326. E. Caird: _The Evolution of Theology in
the Greek Philosophers_, I, pp. 58-382; II, pp. 1-30. 1904. Louis:
_Doctrines religieuses_, pp. 99-164. Decharme: _Critique des traditions
religieuses_, pp. 181-219; 233-242. Campbell, _Religion in Greek
Literature_, pp. 342-367.


The fragments of the early Stoics are quoted from von Arnim: _Stoicorum
Veterum Fragmenta_, I-III, 1903-05 (_S V F_).

Benn: _Greek Philosophers_, pp. 326-364; 452-473; 523-588. Caird:
_Theology in Greek Philosophers_: II, pp. 31-316. Louis: _Doctrines
religieuses_, pp. 199-343. Decharme: _Critique des traditions
religieuses_, pp. 259-501. Zeller: _Philosophie der Griechen_: III,
1^4, pp. I-373; III, 2^4, pp. 82-218; 254-735. The English volume:
_Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics_, includes no more than its title
indicates. E. V. Arnold: _Roman Stoicism_, 1911. A useful book. E.
Bevan: _Stoics and Sceptics_, 1913. Renan: _Marc-Aurèle_, 1882. E.
Bréhier: _Les idées philosophiques et religieuses de Philo_, 1908. J.
Martin, _Philon_, 1908. Whittaker: _The Neo-Platonists_, 1901. B. A. G.
Fuller: _The Problem of Evil in Plotinus_, 1912.


For the political relations of Italy to Greece and the East reference
should be had to the standard histories of Rome; the following books
deal primarily with religion.

G. Wissowa: _Religion und Kultus der Römer_, 2 ed., 1912. The Standard
book on the subject; a comprehensive work of sound learning. Marquardt:
_Römische Staatsverwaltung_, III, 2 ed., 1885. W. Warde Fowler: _The
Religious Experience of the Roman People from the Earliest Times to the
Age of Augustus_, 1911. The best book for the period. Id.: _Roman Ideas
of Deity in the last Century before the Christian Era_, 1914; _The
Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic_, 1899. J. B. Carter:
_The Religion of Numa_, 1906; _The Religious Life of Ancient Rome_,
chaps, i-iii, 1911. G. Boissier: _La religion romaine d’Auguste aux
Antonines_, 6 ed., 1906. A valuable book written by a master. Dill:
_Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius_, 2 ed., pp. 289-546, 1911.
E. Beurlier: _Le culte impérial_, 1891.


Dill: _Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius_, pp. 547-626.
Glover: _The Conflict of Religions in the Early Empire_, 3 ed., 1909.
Benn: _Greek Philosophers_, pp. 487-522. J. Reville: _La religion à
Rome sous les Sévères_, 1886. F. Cumont: _Textes et monuments relatifs
aux mystères de Mithra_, 2 vols., 1894-1900. The only treatment of
any of the oriental religions which takes fully into account the
monumental, epigraphical, and literary evidence. Id.: _Les mystères
de Mithra_, 2 ed., 1902; English translation, 1910; _Les religions
orientales dans le paganisme romaine_, 1907; English translation, 1911;
_Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans_, 1912. J. Toutain:
_Les cultes païens dans l’empire romain_, II, 1 _Les cultes orientaux_,
1911. A valuable treatment of the oriental religions in the Latin
provinces. The geographical distribution of these religions in Britain,
the Gauls and Germanies, and in Spain has been discussed by C. H. Moore
in the following places: _Harvard Studies in Classical Philology_, XI,
pp. 47 ff.; _Transactions of the American Philological Association_,
XXXVIII, pp. 109 ff.; and in _Studies in the History of Religions
presented to C. H. Toy_, 1912. G. Showerman: _The Great Mother of the
Gods_, 1901. Hepding: _Attis_, 1903. G. Lafaye: _Histoire der culte des
divinités d’Alexandrie hors de l’Egypte_, 1884. R. Reitzenstein: _Die
hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen_, 1910.


Many of the pertinent articles in Hastings’ _Dictionary of the Bible
and Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics_, in the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_, 11 ed., and in similar works are written by specialists
and are valuable.

A. Harnack: _Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte_, I, 4 ed., 1909; English
translation from the third German edition, I and II, 1901. The most
valuable book on the subject. F. Loofs: _Leitfaden zum Studium der
Dogmengeschichte_, 4 ed., Halle, 1906. The opening chapters cover the
early period. G. B. Stevens: _The Theology of the New Testament_, 1903.
H. Holtzmann: _Lehrbuch der neutestamentlichen Theologie_, 2 vols., 2
ed., 1911.

A. C. McGiffert: _History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age_, 1897.
J. H. Ropes: _The Apostolic Age_, 1906.

S. J. Case: _The Evolution of Early Christianity_, 1914. K. Lake: _The
Earlier Epistles of St. Paul_, 1911; _The Stewardship of Faith_, 1915.
T. R. Glover: _The Conflict of Religions in the Roman Empire_, 1909.

J. Geffcken: _Zwei griechischen Apologeten_, 1907. An important
commentary to Aristides and Athenagoras, preceded by an introduction
dealing with the history and characteristics of the Greek Apologists,
and followed by a sketch of the development of the apologetic
literature after Athenagoras to Augustine. A. Puech: _Les apologistes
grecs du II^e siècle de notre ère_, 1912.

H. S. Mansel: _The Gnostic Heresies_, 1875. E. de Faye: _Gnostiques et
gnosticisme_, 1913.

C. Bigg: _The Christian Platonists of Alexandria_, 1886. E. de Faye:
_Clément d’Alexandrie_, 2 ed., 1906.

P. Wendland: _Die hellenistisch-römische Kultur in ihren Beziehungen
zu Judentum und Christentum_, 2 ed., 1912. A book of prime importance
on the conditions of the ancient world during the beginnings of
Christianity. E. Hatch: _The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages
upon the Christian Church_, 8 ed., 1901. G. Anrich, _Das antike
Mysterienwesen in seinem Einfluss auf das Christentum_, 1894. G.
Wobbermin: _Religionsgeschichtliche Studien zur Frage der Beeinflussung
des Urchristentums durch das antike Mysterienwesen_, 1896. C. Clemen:
_Religionsgeschichtliche Erklärung des Neuen Testaments_, 1909; English
translation: _Primitive Christianity and its Non-Jewish Sources_, 1912;
_Der Einfluss der Mysterienreligionen auf das älteste Christentum_,
1913. C. H. Moore: _Greek and Roman Ascetic Tendencies in Harvard
Essays on Classical Subjects_, pp. 97-140, 1912. H. Streithman:
_Geschichte der frühchristlichen Askese in der Umgebung des werdenden
Christentums_, 1914. This book I have been unable to see. A. Deissman:
_Licht vom Osten_, 3 ed., 1909; English translation, _Light from the
Ancient East_, chap. iv, 1910. R. Reitzenstein: _Die hellenistischen
Mysterienreligionen_, 1910. E. Maass: _Orpheus. Untersuchungen zur
grieschischen, römischen, altchristlichen Jenseitsdichtung und
Religion_, 1895. A. Dieterich: _Nekyia_, 2 ed., 1913.

A. Harnack: _Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten
drei Jahrhunderten_, 2 vols., 3 ed., 1915; English translation: _The
Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries_, 2 ed., 2
vols., 1908.



Taken from the _Fasti Praenestini_, which were composed between 4 and
10 A.D.

The letters of the first column show the eight days of the Roman
_nundinae_, which are repeated for the successive nundinal periods; the
second column gives the number of days before the Calends, Nones, or
Ides as the case may be; in the third column the character of the day
is indicated by C = _comitialis_, F = _fastus_, N and NP = _nefastus_,
and the oldest festivals are given: VIN = _Vinalia_, ROB = _Robigalia_,
etc.; the small capitals give the festivals added within the historical
period and sundry other notices.

     APRIL 23-30





  E  V      C


  G  III    C LVDI

  H  PR     C LVDI



Absolute: in Plato, 152, 163 f., 166.
Academus, 145.
  Platonic, 145 ff.;
  influence of later A. on Romans, 244.
Acropolis, 109 ff.
Actium: the battle of, 245, 246, 247.
_Acts_, XI, 19-26: 311.
Adad, 263.
Adam, James, quoted, 143.
Adonis, 51, 272.
Aelian, _V. H._, IX, 12: 240.
Aeschylus, 79, 81, 88, 90 ff., 117, 137, 164;
  on conflict of duties, 97 f.;
  concept of Zeus, 92 ff.;
  Fate, 93 f.;
  freedom of choice, 95 ff.;
  justice as attribute of Zeus, 94;
  man’s obligations, 94 ff.;
  nature of universe, 91 f.;
  pantheism, 93;
  punishment after death, 99.
  _Ag._, 160 ff.: 92 f.;
  _Choeph._, 306 ff., 400 ff.: 98; 1055 ff.: 96 f.;
  _Eum._, 264 ff.: 99;
  _Pers._, 827 ff.: 95;
  _Sept._, 597-608: 95;
  _Suppl._, 524 f., 574: 92;
  _Frg._ 70: 93.
Aesculapius, 231.
Aesop, 236.
Aetius, I, 27, 5: 194.
Ages of man: Hesiod’s five, 37 f.
Ahriman, 278.
Ahura Mazda, 278.
Alaric, 66.
Albertus Magnus, 171.
Alexander the Great, 169;
  effect of conquests, 183, 185 f., 205 f., 257 f., 296 f.
Alexandria, 205 ff., 297;
  Jews at, 205 f., 258, 262.
Allegorical interpretation, 350 f.
Ammonius Saccas, 207.
Anaxagoras, 117 ff., 148, 152, 192.
Anaximander, 43.
Anaximenes, 43.
Andania: mysteries at, 71.
Andocides: _de Myst._ 31: 72.
Antigone, 97 f., 104, 106, 107.
Anniceris, 145.
Antioch: church at, 311.
Antiochus of Ascalon, 244.
Antisthenes, 184.
Antony, 246.
Anubis, 262.
ἀπάθεια, 189.
Aphrodite, 17, 136, 231.
Apollo, 16 f., 96 f., 230, 233, 247.
Apollonius of Tyana, 206, 209.
  the Greek, 327 ff.;
  attitude toward Greek culture and philosophy, 329 ff., 335;
  on creation, 333;
  Holy Spirit, 333;
  Logos, 332 f.;
  incarnation, 333;
  morality, 334 f.;
  nature of God, 331 f.;
  problem of evil, 333 f.;
  revelation, 333 ff.;
  salvation, 334.
    See also Aristides, Athenagoras, Justin, and Tatian.
Apuleius, 335 f.;
  _Met._ X, 5: 269 f.;
  19-30: 273-6;
  23: 274;
  25: 293 f.
Archilochus, 76, 79, 121. _Frgg._, 56, 74, 3 ff.: 76; 88: 79.
Ares, 17, 237.
Aristides, 328.
Aristobulus, 258.
Aristocracies, 40.
Aristophanes, _Frogs_, 454 ff.: 71.
Aristotle, 70, 146, 169 ff., 183, 186, 187, 191, 209, 210, 297;
  attitude toward traditional religion, 180 f.;
  on the contemplative life, 178 f.;
  cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence
      of God, 174, 179;
  creative intelligence, 174;
  criticism of Plato’s ideas, 169, 171 f.;
  ethics, 177 ff.;
  first and final causes, 173 f.;
  four causes, 172 f.;
  God, 173 ff.;
  ideal state, 186;
  immortality, 177;
  influence of, 170 f.;
  matter and God, 174 f.;
  monotheism, 175 f.;
  teleology, 173 f.;
  transcendence of God, 176, 179;
  psychology, 176 ff.
    _De anima_, II, 1; III, 4, 5, 177;
    _de caelo_, I, 4, 271a, 33: 174;
    _Ethica Nic. et Eud._: 179;
    _Met._, I, 3, 983a, 24 ff.; 9, 990b ff.: 172; VI, 8: 172;
               VII, 6, 1045b, 18 f.: 175; 7, 1032a, 13 ff.: 172;
               VII, 4, 1044a, 32 ff.: 172; XI, 7: 174; XI, entire: 175;
               XII, 10: 172; XIII, 3: 172;
    _Phys._, I, 9, 192a, 3 ff.: 166; II, 3, 194b, 16 ff.: 172;
                 II, 7, 198a, 22 ff.: 173; IV, 2, 209b, 11 ff.: 166;
               VIII, 6, 258b, 10 ff.: 174;
    _Pol._, VI, 8, 1322b, 18 ff.; VII, 8, 1328b, 12 ff.; 1329a,
                     27 ff.; 1330a, 8 f.; 1381b, 4-6, 17 f.: 181;
    _Frg._, 45: 70.
Army: and oriental religions, 259 f.
Art: influence of Greek on Roman concepts of gods, 231, 236 f.
Artemis, 17, 135.
Arval Brothers, 227.
Asceticism, 158 f., 208, 209, 212 f., 214, 218, 351 ff.
Associations: religious, 53 f., 268, 276, 290 f.
ἀαταραξία, 242.
Atargatis, 263.
Athena, 16, 51, 96, 102, 110, 111 ff.
Athenaeus, _Deip._, XI, p. 496: 69; XIII, p. 547 A: 240.
Athenagoras, 328 ff.; _Legat_. 4, 7: 331; 9: 330; 10, 16, 24: 333;
             24 ff.: 334.
Athens, 41, 48, 53, 109 ff.
Atreus: the house of, 96 f.
Attalus, 261.
Atticus, 244.
Attis, 51, 272, 285 ff., 357.
Augustine, Saint, 214; _Civ. Dei_, IV, 27: 243.
Augustus, 231, 246 ff.
Aulus Gellius, _N. A._ XV, 11, 1: 241.

  of Damascus, 264;
  of Doliche, 264;
  of Heliopolis, 263.
_Bacchae_, of Euripides, 142 f.
βάκχος, 51.
Bacchylides, 14, 50-63: 87 f.
Bacon, Roger, 171.
Baptism, 340, 353 f.
Basilides, 336 ff.
Beyrout, 263.
Birth, the new, 323.
Body: tomb of soul, 55, 160.
Brotherhood of man, 197 ff., 202.
Burnet: on Plato, 147.
Business: knowledge of, possessed by the East, 298.

Calamis, 83.
Calendars, Roman, 223.
Callichoros, 63.
Caesar, Julius, 246, 247.
Capitoline Triad, 222, 224 f., 231.
Carneades, 241.
_Carmen contra Paganos_, 57 ff.: 289.
Castor and Pollux, 230, 237.
Catechetical School of Alexandria, 341 f.
Cato the Censor, 235, 241.
Cato of Utica, 254.
Ceres, 225, 230, 233.
Chalcis, 42.
Charondas, 41.
  in Gnostic systems, 339;
  the indwelling, 314, 317, 322 f.;
  the light of men, 321 f.;
  the Logos, 318 ff.;
  in Origen, 344;
  the theme of apostolic preaching, 311, 312 f.
    See also Jesus and Messiah.
Christianity, 296 ff., 301 ff.;
  and Paganism, 181, 326 ff.;
  Apologists, 327 ff.;
  debt to Paganism, 355 f.;
  dogma as safeguard of faith, 328;
  ethical value, 357 f.;
  fundamental ideas of primitive Christianity, 324 f.;
  Gnostics, 336 ff.;
  modification by philosophy, 326 ff.;
  a mystery, 295, 340;
  Origen, 342;
  reason for triumph, 356 ff.;
  relation to Greek philosophy, 302, 317 f., 324 ff., 355;
  teachings of Jesus, 302 ff.;
    of Johannine writings, 318 ff.;
    of Paul, 311 ff.;
  spread in the third century, 358;
  the ultimate philosophy, 358.
Chrysippus, 186.
Cicero, 187, 244; _de Fin._, III, 64: 197.
Cimon, 110.
Cinna, 246.
Claudian, 235.
Cleanthes, _Hymn_, 193 ff.
Clement of Alexandria, 55, 69, 85, 93;
  _Paed_., I, 6: 353; III, 1, 1: 346;
  _Protrep_, 12: 353; pp. 12, 18 P:69;
  _Strom_. I, 5, 28, 3; I, 20: 97; II, 19, 20: 342; II, 3: 353;
                V, 14, 94: 346; VI, 7, 59: 342; VI, 16, 134 f.: 346.
Clytemnestra, 98.
Colonization, 41 ff.
_Colossians: Epistle to_, II, 20-23: 352; III, 1-3: 314.
Communion, Mithraic, 282 f.;
           Christian, 354.
Constantinople: the conquest of, 170.
Contemplative life: according to Aristotle, 178 f.;
  Neoplatonists, 219;
  Origen, 347.
Convention, the basis of institutions, 127.
   _1 Epistle to_, III, 16 f.; VI, 19: 315; VII: 352; XII-XIV: 316;
   _2 Epistle to_, III, 17: 315; IV, 6-7: 314.
_Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum_ (_CIL_), VI, 497-504: 288;
       VI, 510, 512: 289; X, 1596: 288.
Cosmopolitanism: Stoic, 196 ff.;
  of Roman Empire, 299.
Crassus, 246.
Creon, 104 f.
Critias, _Frg._ 25 = 1 N^2: 128.
Criticism of gods, 80 f.
Critolaus, 241.
Cronos, 237, 238.
Croton, 53.
Cult of dead, 26, 44.
_Cultores Iovis Heliopolitani Berytenses_, 263.
Cybele, 83.
Cynics, 184 f., 188, 208.

Dea Syria, 263.
Death: life after. See Future Life.
Deianeira, 105 ff.
Delos, 260, 262.
Delphi, 53, 109.
Demeter, 18, 62 ff., 230.
Democracy at Athens, 112.
Democritus, 241.
Deo, 69.
_Deuteronomy_ VI, 5: 305.
Dialogues: the Platonic, 146 ff.
Diana, 233, 247.
_Didache_, 7: 353.
_Digest_ I, 1, 4.5: 4; XVII, 32: 198.
Dio Chrysostom, _Or._ XII, 51: 27.
Diogenes of Apollonia, 140.
Diogenes Laertius, VII, 149: 194.
Diogenes of Sinope, 72, 184.
Diogenes the Stoic, 241.
Dion, 145.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus, IV, 62: 221.
Dionysius of Syracuse, 145.
Dionysus, 18, 47 ff., 142 f., 230, 272, 286, 357.
Dispater, 231.
Dittenberger, _Sylloge_^2 653: 71.
Docetism, 320, 339.
Draco, 41.
Drama: effect at Rome, 233 f.
  Gnostic, 338 f.;
  Mithraic, 279;
  Orphic, 50 ff., 55 f.;
  Platonic, 148 ff., cf. 208, 212, 216;
  Pythagorean, 62;
  Stoic, 191.
δρώμενα, 69.
δυνάμεις, 211.

Ecstacy, 213 f., 218 ff.
Education, Roman, 235 ff.
εἶδος, 149.
Eleusinian mysteries, 62 ff., 116.
Eleusinion at Athens, 65 f.
Eleusis, 62 ff., 116.
Empedocles, 52, 53, 55, 57, 122; _Frg._ 115: 57 f.
Emperor, worship of, 247 f.
Ennius, 234, 235, 236, 238 f.; _Scen._ 316 ff.: 238.
Envy of the gods, 24, 87, 94 f., 164.
_Ephemeris Arch._, III (1883), p. 81, 8: 71.
_Ephesians: Epistle to_, III, 3-4: 336.
Epictetus, 187, 201, 204 f., 250 ff.;
  _Diss._, I, 1: 189;
    I, 3: 197; I, 14, 6: 202; I, 15, 1: 250; I, 16: 255;
    I, 16, 15-21: 200;
    II, 5, 13: 189; II, 8, 11: 202; II, 16, 45-47: 255;
    III, 10, 2: 251; III, 10, 8: 253; III, 12: 252; III, 13, 9 ff.: 255;
    IV, 1: 196; _Gnomol. Stobaei_, 31: 196.
_Epicurea_, pp. 59, 72; _Frg_. 506: 249.
Epicureanism: at Rome, 238, 241 ff.
Epicurus, 254.
Epoptae, 67.
Er the Pamphylian, 162.
Eretria, 42.
Eteocles, 97.
Ethics, 242, 249. See Morality.
Etruscan influence at Rome, 222 ff.
Eucharist: an initiation or mystery, 340, 354.
Euclides, 145.
Euhemerus: Sacred History, 238 f.
Eumolpidae and Ceryces, 67.
Euripides, 82, 107, 117, 133 ff.;
    on cosmic reason, 139 ff.;
    future life, 141 f., 160;
    humanity, 142;
    traditional religion, 134 ff.;
    a religious poet, 143.
  _Bacch._, 395: 143;
  _Hel._, 1014 ff.: 142;
  _Heracl._, 592 ff.: 141 f.;
  _H.F._, 1307 ff., 1341 ff.: 137;
  _Hipp._, 451 ff., 473 ff., 1365 ff.: 136; 1102 ff.: 141;
  _I.A._, 956 f.: 139;
  _I.T._, 569, 570 ff.: 138;
  _Phoen._, 954 ff.: 139;
  _Tro._, 884 ff.: 139;
  _Frgg._, 151, 255: 141; 292, 7: 135; 506: 141; 593: 140;
                 757: 141; 794: 138; 816: 141; 941: 140; 946: 138.
Evil: origin and problem of:
  in Apologists, 333 f.;
  Gnostics, 338 f.;
  Hesiod, 36 ff.;
  Homer, 14;
  Orphism, 52;
  Plato, 157, 165 ff.;
  Stoicism, 194 ff.

Faith, 308 f., 313 ff., 321 ff.
Fate: in Homer, II ff.; Stoicism, 194 ff.
Fire: in Heraclitus, 120 f.; Stoicism, 192.
First cause: Aristotle’s, 173 f.
Flora, 225, 231.
Florentinus, 198.
Folk-religion in Homer, 26.
Fons, 225.
Freedom of the will, 88, 195 ff., 333 f., 345.
Furies, 96.
Future life, 24 ff., 39, 46, 48, 56, 88 ff., 99, 107 f., 141 f.,
             274, 283 ff., 316 f., 339, 345 f.

_Galatians: Epistle to_, I, 1 ff.: 312 f.; I, 11-12: 336;
          I, 16: 314; II, 15-16, 20: 314; III, 23-26, 27: 314;
        III, 26-27: 315; IV, 6: 315; IV, 19: 314; V, 22 f.: 315.
Galen, 169, 298.
Galileo, 118.
Games in the circus, 222.
Genius, 228.
Getae, 49.
Giants, 87.
γνῶσις, 336 ff., 340, 342.
Gnostics, 328, 336 ff.;
  on Christ, 339 f.;
  doctrine of emanations, 338;
  dualism, 338 f.;
  ethics, 340;
  nature of god, 338;
  origin of evil, 338;
  revelation, 337;
  sacraments, 340.
    See also Basilides and Valentinus.
God: immanence of, 193, 203, 209;
  kingdom of, 301, 310;
  nature of, according to the Apologists, 333 f.;
  Aristotle, 173 ff.;
  Gnostics, 338;
  Jesus, 303 ff.;
  Origen, 343;
  Plato, 151 ff., 157, 163 ff.;
  Stoics, 192 ff., 203;
  personal concept of in Plato, 163 f.;
  Stoicism, 193 f.;
  transcendence of, 176, 208 ff., 215 ff., 331 f., 338, 343, 350.
Gods: concept of in
   Aeschylus, 91 ff.;
   Archilochus, 76, 79 f.;
   Critias, 128;
   Epicureans, 241 f.;
   Euripides, 134 ff.;
   Hesiod, 29 ff.;
   Homer, 6 ff.;
   Pindar, 83 ff.;
   Protagoras, 128;
   Sophocles, 100 ff.;
   Theognis, 76 ff.;
   Xenophanes, 118 f.
Good: the Platonic idea of, and god, 151 f.
Goodness, attribute of god, 164.
Gorgias, 124.
  Homeric, 15, 40;
  effect of changes in, 40 ff., 183 f.
Gracchi, 246.
Great Mother of the Gods, 261, 267, 285 ff.
Greece and Rome, 221 ff.
Greek colonies: influence on Rome, 222 f.
Greek language: knowledge of in Republican Rome, 233 ff.;
  universally understood in Roman Empire, 296 f.
Greek religion: phase treated, 4.

  the Homeric, 19;
  as place of penance, 56 ff., 88 f., 161 f.
Harnack, quoted, 321, 329 f., 337.
_Hebrews: Epistle to_, 318, 348.
Hecateus, 121.
Hellenization of Roman religion, 229 ff.
Hephaestus, 17 f.
Hera, 15 f., 136, 237.
Heraclea, 53.
Heraclitus, 93, 107, 120 ff., 148, 183, 191 f., 212, 319;
  _Frgg._, 1, 2, 14, 15, 29, 30-32, 40-42, 57, 67, 90, 128: 121.
Hercules, 137, 230.
Hermes, 19, 230.
Hermias, 169, 181.
Herodotus, 3, 49, 71, 124, 164;
  _Hist._, II, 53: 3.
Hesiod, 3, 28 ff., 43, 80, 118, 119, 121;
  _Theog._, 220 ff.: 30;
  _W. and D._, 47-104, 109 ff.: 37;
    174 f., 182 ff.: 38; 213 ff.: 32;
    225 ff.: 33; 252 ff., 256 ff.: 35;
    265 f.: 33; 274 ff.: 34;
    303 ff., 311: 31; 333 f.: 33;
    336 ff.: 36; 694: 87; 709 ff.: 34.
Hippolytus, 135 f.
Hippolytus, _Philos._, p. 115 M: 70.
Hippocrates, 298.
Holy Spirit, 315 f., 322, 333, 339, 345, 353
Homer, 3 ff., 119, 121, 236.
  _Il._, I, 37 ff.: 22; I, 65: 23; I, 258: 20; I, 517 ff.: 15;
    I, 528 ff.: 27; I, 544: 15; I, 592 ff.: 16; II, 5 ff.: 19;
    II, 202, 273: 20; II, 371: 17; II, 549: 16; III, 179: 20;
    III, 276: 15; IV, 1 ff.: 20; VI, 297 ff.: 16; VIII, 236 ff.: 22;
    IX, 533 ff.: 22; XIII, 296 ff., 331 ff.: 16; XV, 18 ff.: 16;
    XVII, 446 f.: 25; XVIII, 369 ff.: 17; XVIII, 417 ff., 478 ff.: 18;
    XX, 1 ff.: 15; XXI, 442 ff.: 18; XXII, 365 f.: 23;
    XXIV, 334 ff., 525 f.: 25;
  _Od_. I, 45: 15; IV, 115 ff.: 17; IV, 351 ff.: 22;
    IV, 502 ff.: 23; V, 28 ff.: 18; VII, 81: 16; VII, 91 ff.: 17;
    XI, 488 ff.: 24; XIII, 162 ff.: 18; XV, 115 ff.: 17.
Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 62 ff., 480 f.: 70.
Honor: personal in Homer, 21.
Horace, 76, 234, 236, 246.
Horus, 272.
Haruspices, 222.
ὕβρις, 78 ff. See Insolence.

Iacchos, 68 f.
Icaria, 48.
ἰδέα, ἰδέαι, 149, 211.
Ideas: doctrine of in Plato, 147 ff.; in Philo, 211; Plotinus, 215.
Ignatius, _ad Eph._, 20: 354.
_I G S I_, 1019, 1020: 288.
_Iliad_ and _Odyssey_:
  characteristics of, 5 ff., 25 ff.;
  contain no theogonies, 8;
  contributions to later religious ideas, 27;
  date, 5;
  freedom in treatment of gods, 16 f.;
  purpose, 5 ff.;
  religion in, 6 ff.;
  show little reflection, 8, 21.
Immanence of God, 193, 203, 209, 216.
Immateriality of Plato’s ideas, 152.
Immortality, 48, 59, 152 ff., 177, 202, 283 f., 286, 289, 306,
             316 f., 334, 339.
Incarnation, 319 ff., 333, 344.
Individualism, 43, 47, 196.
  significance of, 60, 72;
  Christian, 353 f.;
  Eleusinian, 65 ff.;
  Isiac, 273 ff.;
  Mithraic, 281 f.
Insolence, 32, 78 ff., 86 ff.
Iphigenia, 98, 138.
Irenaeus, _adv. Haer._ I, 1-3; 24, 3-4: 338; I, 2, 5-6, 5-8;
        24, 2-4: 339; I, 23, 4; 24, 5: 340; IV, 30, 3: 299;
        IV, 31, 4: 354; _Frg._ 36 Harvey: 354.
Isis, 262 ff., 335;
  festivals introduced at Rome, 272 f.;
  initiation, 273 ff.;
  matins and vespers, 273, 276;
  modification of religion by Ptolemy Soter, 271 f.;
  mysteries, 271, 273 ff.;
  supreme divinity, 269 f.
Islands of the Blest, 38 f., 90.

Janus, 225, 226.
Jesus, 301 ff.;
  concept of own person, 307 f., 310;
  of relation to God, 308;
  of passion and death, 309;
  on kingdom of God, 310;
  and the Logos, 318 ff., 333;
  person and mission, 303, 356 f.;
  redeemer and saviour, 312 ff., 321 f.; 357;
  relation of teachings to Jewish ideas, 309 f.;
  required belief of his followers, 308 f.;
  significance of personality, 303, 310;
  teachings, 302 ff.
Jocasta, 97.
John, 302, 318 ff.;
  character of gospel, 318;
  on Christ as Logos, 318 ff.;
  faith, 321 f.;
  Holy Spirit, 323;
  incarnation, 321;
  love, 322;
  salvation, 321 f.;
  union with Christ, 322 f.
 _Gospel_, I, 9: 321; III, 3, 6: 323; III, 16-17: 322;
        III, 19-21: 321; IV, 7 ff.: 323; V, 24: 323 f.;
        V, 35: 321; VI, 15: 308; VI, 33 ff.: 323; VIII, 12: 321;
        VIII, 31 ff.: 322; IX, 5: 321; XII, 35 f.: 321;
        XIII, 34 f: 322; XIV, 9-11: 322; XIV-XVI: 323;
        XV, 1 ff.: 323; XX, 31: 323.
 _Epistles_: 1 John III, 14: 324; IV, 2 f.: 321;
        IV, 8, 9 f., 16: 322; V, 24: 324.
Judaism, 300 f.
Judeo-Alexandrian philosophy, 206 ff.
Julian, 66.
Juno, 222, 224, 225, 226, 230, 233, 237.
Jupiter, 222, 224, 225, 226, 229, 230, 233, 237, 263, 264.
Justice, 19, 21, 32 ff., 35, 78 ff., 85 ff., 94 f., 141.
Justin, 328 ff.; _Apol._, I, 5, 13, 61, 65, 67: 333;
    I, 5, 15 ff., 21, 56: 334; I, 23, 63: 335; I, 31-53, 56: 330;
    I, 66: 354; II, 6: 335; II, 8 ff.: 330;
  _Dial. c. Tryph._, 7, 29, 61, 62, 105, 116, 128: 333.
Justinian, 118.

Kabeiroi, 71 f.
Keleos, 62 f.
Kingdom of God, 301, 306.
Knowledge, and Virtue, 131 f.;
  relativity of, 126 f.;
  revealed, 335 ff.
Kore, 62, 64, 69, 230.

Laelius, 187, 254.
Laius, house of, 97.
Lar, 228.
Latin literature:
  founded by Livius Andronicus, 233;
  influenced by Greek, 233 ff.
Law, written, 41.
λεγόμενα, 69.
Lepidus, 246.
Liber = Dionysus, 230.
Libera = Kore, 230.
Life after death. See Future life and Immortality.
Livius Andronicus, 233, 236.
Livy, 234;
  _Hist._, X, 19, 17: 228; XXII, 10, 2 ff.: 228; XXII, 10, 9: 233;
                XXXIX, 8 ff.: 239; XL, 29: 240.
λογιστικόν, τό, 155.
    in Apologists, 332 f.;
       Heraclitus, 192, 319 f.;
       John, 318 ff.;
       Origen, 344 f.;
       Philo, 211 f.;
   and trinity, 350.
λόγος σπερματικός, 192.
Love: cardinal principles of Christianity, 304 ff., 322.
Lucretius, 242.
Ludi Megalenses, 261.
Luke: _Gospel_, 302 f.; VI, 27-36: 304; VI, 35: 305;
     IX, 18-21: 308; X, 27: 305; XXIV, 47: 306.
Lydus, _de Mens._, IV, 59: 286.

Mâ, 263.
Macaria, 141.
Magic, lacking in Homer, 24.
Magna Mater. See Great Mother of the Gods.
Manes, 228.
Marcus Aurelius, 78, 188, 204 f.;
  _Reflections_, II, 2: 201; IV, 41: 201;
    IV, 23: 256; VI, 44: 199.
Marius, 246.
Mars, 226, 233, 237.
Matter, 166 ff., 172 f., 215 ff., 331, 332, 338.
Matthew: _Gospel_, 302 f.;
    IV, 17: 306; V, 43-48, 44-45: 304, 305; XVI, 13-20: 308;
    XXII, 37: 305; XXVI, 63: 308.
Mark: _Gospel_, 302 f.;
    VIII, 27-30: 308; XI, 25; XII, 30: 305; XIV, 61: 308.
Megara, 42, 75, 145.
Menander, 236.
Mercury, 230, 232, 233.
Mercy, attribute of gods, 106.
Messiah, 212, 308, 311.
Messianic hopes, 301.
Metempsychosis, 56 ff., 61.
Miletus, 42, 43.
Mind, as formative principles, 123 f.
Minerva, 222, 224, 225, 230, 232, 233, 237.
Minoan Age, 3.
Mithras, 264, 267, 277 ff.;
  chapels, 280 f.;
  communion, 282 f.;
  destruction of world, 284;
  dualism, 279;
  ethics, 280;
  final judgment, 284;
  identified with sun, 279;
  initiation, 281 f.;
  popularity, 277 f.;
  religion, origin and history, 277 f.;
  resurrection of body, 284;
  rewards and punishments, 283 f.
Mommsen, Theodor, 223.
Monotheism, Christian, 356.
Morality, 20 f., 35, 45, 60, 72, 156 ff., 169, 177, 184 f., 188 ff.,
          201 f., 213, 219, 249, 251 ff., 268, 279 f., 291, 305 f.,
          314 f., 334, 340, 345 ff.
Multiplicity and unity, 120 ff.
Murder, 45.
Musonius, 199.
Mycenaean Age, 3.
Mystae, 67.
  not mentioned in Homer, 18;
  Bacchic at Rome, 239 f.;
  Eleusinian, 62 ff., 116;
  Oriental, 268 ff., 289 f.;
  influence on Christianity, 353 f.
μυσταγωγός, 353.
μυστήριον, 65, 353.
Mystery religions, 52 ff., 62 ff., 268 ff.
Mysticism, in later Greek philosophy, 214 ff.

Naevius, 234, 235.
Nature, in Stoicism: 191, 196.
Neoplatonism, 206 ff.; 214 ff.
Neopythagoreanism, 206 ff.
Neptunus, 230, 233.
Nestle, quoted, 134.
New Testament: three stages of Christianity represented therein, 301 f.
Nigidius Figulus, 206.
νοῦς, 123, 152, 215, 217, 219, 339.
Numa, 227.

Octavian, 246.
Odysseus, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, 26, 104.
Odyssey: translated by Livius Andronicus, 233.
Oedipus, 97, 103, 105, 106, 107.
Old Testament, 216, 217, 258, 303, 351, 356 f.
Olympian religion, 25 ff., 110 ff.
Onomacritus, 53.
Orestes, 96 ff.
Orgiastic cults: not mentioned in Homer, 18.
Oriental influence on Greek thought, 257 f.
Oriental religions, 257 ff.:
   character, 266 ff.:
   chronology, 265 f.:
   common elements, 289 f.:
   decay, 265, 357;
   distribution, 260, 264 f.;
   effect on devotees, 293 f.;
   morality, 268, 291 ff.;
   mysteries, 268, 271;
   opponents of Christianity, 326;
   pantheistic tendencies, 268 ff.;
   revival at Rome, 266.
Origen, 207, 214, 341 ff.;
   on angels, men, and demons, 345;
   Christ, 344;
   creation, 343 f.;
   esoteric and exoteric Christianity, 347 f.;
   the founder of Christian philosophy, 342 ff., 348;
   on freedom, 346; Holy Spirit, 345;
   incarnation, 344, 347;
   Logos, 344 f., 347;
   nature of God, 343;
   psychology, 346;
   revelation, 343, 344, 347;
   salvation, 346 f., 348 f.;
   ultimate destruction of wickedness, 346.
  _C. Cels._, I, 1.7: 354; I, 31: 347; II, 66.69: 347;
                 III, 59-62, 347; IV, 15.18: 347; IV, 65: 345;
                 VI, 68: 347; VII, 17: 347;
  _Exhort. ad Mart._, 347;
  _in Ioh._, I, 20-22: 347;
  _in Matt._, ser. 69: 346;
  _de Prin._, praef., I: 343;
    I, 1.2: 344; I, 3.5.8: 345; I, 5, 3: 346; II, 5.6: 344;
    II, 7: 345; II, 8: 346; III, 1. 4. 6: 346; III, 5: 344;
    IV, 11 ff.: 351; _in Rom._, IV, 5; IX, 3: 346.
Ormuzd, 278, 283.
Oromasdes, 278.
Orpheus, 52.
Orpheus of Croton, 53.
    _Frgg._, 7: 54; 14: 55; 46: 54; 115: 55;
            117: 57; 154: 56; 223: 57;
    _Tab. Orph._ 18: 58.
Orphism, 52 ff., 93, 118, 145, 208, 257, 351;
  ascetic tendency, 59;
  contributions to Greek religious ideas, 59;
  rule of life, 56;
  theogonies, 54.
Osiris, 51, 267, 271 f., 286, 357.

  influence on Christian thought, 349 ff.;
  service to Christianity, 355 f.
Pan, 83, 130.
Panaetius, 186 f., 243.
Panathenaic festival, 111.
Pandora, 36 f.
Pantheism, 13, 46, 54, 84 f., 93, 119, 140, 163 f., 192 ff., 268 ff.
Parthenon, 110 f., 112.
Pathos in Homer, 25, 46.
Paul, 161, 302, 311 ff., 348, 349;
  on Christ’s death and resurrection, 312 f.;
  dualism, 316;
  faith, 313 ff.;
  Holy Spirit, 315 f.;
  indwelling Christ, 314;
  salvation, 312 ff.
    See also Colossians, Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians.
Paulus, Julius, 198.
Pausanias, 83.
Pax Romana, 245, 246, 299.
Peloponnesian War, 124, 127, 133.
Penates, 228, 237.
Pericles, 110, 113 ff., 117 f., 124, 133 f.
Persephone, 19, 62 ff., 231, 286.
Persian Wars, 82, 83, 109, 117.
  in Theognis, 77;
  under Roman Empire, 204 f.
Phaedra, 135 f.
Pharisees, 304 f., 309.
Phidias, 26, 110, 117.
_Philippians: Epistle to_, III, 10 f.: 315.
Philo of Alexandria, 207, 210 ff., 216, 258, 320, 331, 332, 338, 351.
  _De alleg. leg._, III, 29 ff.: 214;
  _quis rer. div. her._ 205 f.: 212;
  _de somn._, I, 149: 213;
  _de special. legib._, I, 329: 211.
Philo of Larissa, 244.
Philoctetes, 101.
Philodemus, 93.
Philolaus, 55.
Philosophers, banished from Rome, 240 f.
Philosophic schools at Athens closed, 118.
  Greek, and Apologists, 328 ff.;
  beginnings of, 43 f.;
  Clement’s attitude toward, 342;
  enemy of traditional religion, 117 ff.;
  function of according to Plato, 158;
  influence on Christianity, 302, 317 f., 324 ff., 355 f., 358;
  influence at Rome, 239 ff.;
  practical guide of life, 184 ff., 201 f.;
  reconciliation with Jewish theology, 206 f., 258; and
      religion, 179 ff.;
  rival of Christianity, 358;
  spread to the West, 297.
    See also Aristotle, Epicureanism, Philo, Plato,
             Socrates, Sophists, Stoics, etc.
Philostratus, 206.
φωτισμός φωτίζεσθαι, 353.
Pindar, 52, 81 ff., 117, 137;
  _Isth._, III, 5 f.: 85; V, 13 ff.: 87; VI, 71: 87;
  _Nem._, VI, 1 ff.: 83; XI, 13 ff.: 87; _Ol._, I, 52: 86;
    I, 64: 85; II, 63 ff.: 90; X, 3: 85; XIII, 83: 84;
  _Pyth._, II, 49 ff.: 84; III, 29: 85; III, 78 f.: 83;
                IX, 44 ff.; X, 49: 84;
  _Frgg._, 131: 89; 137: 71; 140: 85; 142: 84; 205: 85.
Pisistratidae, 48.
Pisistratus, 53, 110 f.
Plato, 144 ff., 183, 184, 186, 187, 199, 208, 209, 210,
                211, 212, 216, 217, 257, 346, 349, 351;
  ascetic tendencies, 158;
  on creation, 167 f.;
  debt to Orphics and Pythagoreans, 156, 160 ff.;
  debt to Socrates, 146 ff.;
  doctrine of recollection, 153 f.;
  dualism, 148;
  on final fate of soul, 163;
  goodness as attribute of god, 164;
  on highest good of man, 156;
  human reason, 152;
  ideas, 148 ff.:
    immortality, 152 ff.;
    matter, 165 f.;
    morality, 156 ff., 169;
    nature of god, 151 f.;
    and Orphic dualism, 156;
    pantheism, 163 f.;
    on problem of evil, 165 ff.;
    psychology, 155 f.;
    transmigration of souls, 161 f.
  _Alc._, II, 149 D ff.: 23; _Apol._, 37 E: 105;
  _Crat._, 399 f.: 160; 389 f.: 166;
  _Euth._, 14 E: 23; _Gorgias_, 492 E-493 A: 160;
  _Laws_, VI, 759: 180; X, 894 B ff.: 153;
                X entire: 180; XII, 966 E: 153;
  _Meno_, 81 ff.: 153;
  _Phaedo_, 63 ff.: 160; 66 E ff.: 159; 72 ff.: 153;
                 82 f.: 158; 86 ff., 105: 154;
  _Phaedrus_, 245: 153; 246 f.: 155; 248 f.: 163;
  _Phil._, 22 C: 152; _Rep._, IV, 427 ff.: 155;
    IV, 438 A-441 C: 346; VI, 440 E-441 A: 155; VI, 484 ff.: 156;
    VI, 504: 155; VIII, 550: 155; IX, 580 f.: 155; X, 613: 157;
    X, 614 ff.: 163;
  _Statesm_., 272 ff.: 165, 167;
  _Theaet._, 176: 157, 165, 167;
  _Tim._, 28 A-29 E, 37 A: 152; 42 ff.: 165, 346;
             49 E-52 B: 166; 69-72: 155 f.; 92 C: 152.
Plautus, 234.
Pliny the Elder, _N. H._, VII, 112: 241; XIII, 84 ff.: 240.
Pliny the Younger, _Epist._, X, 96.
Plotinus, 207, 209, 215 ff.;
  _Enn._, I, 2: 219; IV entire, 215; IV, 3, 7, 9: 217;
    V entire: 215; V, 1: 215, 217, 218; V, 9, 1: 219;
    VI entire: 215; VI, 9, 3: 215; VI, 9, 11: 219.
Plutarch: philosophy of religion, 270;
  _de aud. poet._, 21 F: 72;
  _de Is. et Osir._, 67: 270;
  _C. M._, 22: 241.
Pluto, 63 f., 231.
Politics, Roman: in relation to religion, 232.
Polynices, 97, 104.
Pompeii, 262.
Pompey, 187, 246, 263.
Pontifex maximus, 229.
Pontifices, 229.
Porphyry, 207, 209, 218, 219;
  _de abst._, I, 31: 218;
  _ad Marc._, 32: 218;
  _vita Plot._, 1 ff.: 218; 23: 215, 220; apud Euseb.,
  _H. E._, VI, 19, 6: 343; VI, 19, 7 f.: 348.
Poseidon, 18, 230.
Priesthoods, Roman, 229.
Proclus, _ad Plat. Tim._, p. 293 C: 69.
Prodicus, _Frg._, 5: 128.
_Prometheus Bound_, 91 ff.
Prometheus, myth of, 36 f.
Proserpina, 231. See Kore.
Protagoras, 124, 126 f., 128, 151; _Frg._, 1: 127; 4: 128.
Providence, 13, 194 f.
Prudentius, _Peristeph._, X, 1011 ff.: 289.
ψυχή: in Plotinus, 215.
  Aristotelian, 176 ff.;
  Gnostic, 339;
  Homeric, 24;
  Origen’s, 346;
  Orphic, 55;
  Platonic, 155;
  Stoic, 192, 195.
Ptolomaeus, _Epist. ad Floram_, 339.
Ptolemy Soter, 271 f.
Purification, 45.
Puteoli, 262, 263, 264.
Pythagoras, 60 f., 251.
Pythagorean books at Rome, 240.
Pythagoreanism, 52, 60 ff., 145, 206, 209, 216, 217, 257, 351.

Quirinus, 226.

Reason, the cosmic, 123, 139 ff.
Relativity of knowledge, 126 f.
Religion, Greek:
  of common man, 181 f.;
  in Athens of fifth century B.C., 112 ff.
Religion, Roman, 223 ff.
_Renatus_, 277, 289.
Repentance, in teachings of Jesus, 306.
Revelation, 209, 214, 217, 300, 334 ff., 349, 356 f.
Rhetoric, Greek: spread to West, 297.
Rhetoricians, Greek: banished from Rome, 241.
Roman Empire: characteristics at beginning of the Christian era, 296 ff.
_Romans: Epistle to_, VI; VII, 4 ff.: 315; VIII, 10 f.: 314, 315;
                           VIII, 15; XIV, 17: 315.
Rome, and Greece, 221 ff.;
  connection with Troy, 233;
  political power of, 259 ff.
Romulus, 227.

_Sacrati_, 268, 276.
Sacrifice: obligation of, 21 ff., 35 f.
St. Demetra, 66.
Salamis: battle of, 109.
Salii, 227.
Salvation, 47, 55, 58, 60, 212 f., 274 f., 306 f., 324, 334.
Sanctity: ideal of, 209.
Samothrace: mysteries of, 71.
Saturn, 225, 237.
Saturninus, 246.
Scaevola, 243, 245.
Scepticism, of Sophists, 126 ff.
Sceptics, 244.
_Scholia Venet. ad Il._, XX, 67: 350.
Science: East home of, 297 f.
Scipio, 187, 254.
Second Punic War, 235, 259.
Secular games, 231.
Self-consciousness, 8, 21, 41 ff.
Seneca, 187, 188, 204, 250 ff.;
  _de Ben._, III, 18, 2. 20. 28: 198;
  _Epist._, 11, 8-10; 25, 5. 6: 254; 41, 2: 255; 41, 8: 254;
       68, 2: 199; 92, 2 f.: 254; 95, 47-50: 200, 255;
       95, 52: 197; 115, 5: 200, 255;
  _de Ira_, III, 36, 1-4: 251;
  _de Otio_, 4, 1: 199;
  _de Vita Beata_, 17: 189, 253.
Serapis, 262, 271 f.
Seven Wise Men, 43.
Shamash, 278.
Sibyl: Cumaean, 221.
Sibylline Books, 221 ff., 230 ff., 260 ff.
Sicilian expedition, 133.
Simonides, _Frg._, 61: 76.
Socrates, 104 f., 129 ff., 144 ff., 184, 185, 188, 252.
Sol invictus, 279.
Solon, 41, 79, 81;
  _Frgg._, 4, 1-16: 79; 13: 79 f.; 13, 31 f.: 81.
Sophists, 124 ff., 151, 183, 244.
Sophocles, 81, 90 f., 99 ff., 117, 133 ff.;
  attitude toward gods, 100 f.;
  concept of divine ordinances, 103 f.;
  criticism of gods, 100 ff.;
  and Eleusinian mysteries, 108;
  on good and evil, 100;
  life after death, 107 ff.;
  suffering, 105 ff.
  _Ai._, 127 ff.: 102 f.; 1343 f.: 104;
  _Antig._, 450 ff.: 104; 621 ff.: 100; 1347 ff.: 102;
  _O. C._, 495 ff.: 103; 1267 ff.: 106; 1381 f.: 100;
  _O. T._, 863 ff.: 103;
  _Phil._, 446 ff.: 101; 1440 ff.: 102;
  _Trach._, 1136: 105;
  _Frgg._, 103: 101; 226: 102, 135; 600: 105; 753: 71, 108.
σωφροσύνη, 94, 102.
σφραγίς, 353.
στέρησις, 166.
Stobaeus, Ecl., I, 1, 12: 194; _Flor._, 40, 9: 199.
_Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta_ (_SVF_), I, 175, 176, 537;
    II, 974 ff.: 194.
Stoics and Stoicism, 184 ff., 208, 209, 212, 213, 241, 243 f.,
                     245, 249 ff., 254 f., 335, 350;
  allegorical interpretation of myths, 203, 350;
  ascetic tendency, 201;
  on brotherhood of man, 197 f., 202;
  and Christianity, 197 f.;
  cosmopolitanism, 196 ff., 254;
  eclectic character, 185 ff.;
  ethics, 187 ff.;
  on evil, 194 ff.;
  failure of, 256;
  on Fate, 194;
  freedom of the will, 195 f.;
  όγος σπερματικός, 192;
  on immanence of god, 193, 203;
  individualism, 196;
  missionary impulse, 199;
  modified by Panaetius and Posidonius, 187 ff.;
  a moral philosophy, 187 f.,
  on Nature, 191;
  pantheism, 192 f.;
  on Providence, 194;
  psychology, 192, 195;
  on worship, 199 f., 255.
Suetonius, _de Rhet._, 1: 241.
Sulla, 246, 263.
σύμβολον, 354.
Syncretism, 268 ff.

Tarquins, 221, 222, 229 f.
Tatian, 328; _Orat._, 5: 331; 5-7: 333; 7 f., 11: 334;
                          13: 333; 20: 330.
Taurobolium, 288 ff.
Terence, 234.
Tertullian, _Apol._, 37: 358; _adv. Valent._, 17: 323.
Thales, 43, 297.
Theagenes, 350.
Thebes, 50, 72.
Theophrastus, 297.
Theophilus, _ad Autol._, 2, 15: 323.
Theognis, 75 ff.; 165 f.: 76; 167 f.: 77; 171 f.: 76; 319 ff.: 78;
                 373-380: 80; 383 ff.: 78; 425-431: 77; 583 f.: 77;
                 731 ff.: 81; 1029 ff.: 78; 1075 ff.: 77.
Theogony, of Hesiod, 28 ff.
θεός, τὸ θεῖον, in Plato, 164.
Theseus, 105.
Thomas Aquinas, 171.
Thucydides, 113 ff., 124; _Hist._, II, 43-44: 113.
θυμοειδές, 155.
Thurii, 124.
Tibur, 230.
_Timothy: 1 Epistle to_, IV, I-3: 352.
Tiresias, 139.
Titans, 51 f.
Transcendence of god, 176, 208 ff., 215 ff., 331 f., 338, 343, 350.
Transmigration of souls, 161 f.
Trinity, 350.
Triumph, 222.
Tusculum, 230.
Typhon, 272.
Tyrannies, 41.

Ulpian, 198.
Union with god, 47 ff., 213, 219 f., 300, 314, 317, 322 f., 358.
Uranus, 238.

Valentinian I, 66.
Valentinus, 336 ff.
Varro, 225, 243 f., 245.
Vesta, 225, 226, 228, 233.
Virgil, 234, 236, 246; _Aen._, VI: 248.
Vision of God, 213 f., 219 f., 347, 349.
Volcanus, 233.
Vows, 227 f.

_Wisdom of Solomon_, 258.
Wordsworth, quoted, 154.
_Works and Days_, of Hesiod, 30 ff.

Xenophanes, 118 ff., 350; _Frgg._, 11, 14-16, 18, 23-26: 119.
Xenophon, apud Stob. _Flor._, 88, 14: 76.
Xerxes, 94 f.

Zaleucus, 41.
Zama, battle of, 221.
Zeno, 185 ff.
Zeus, 14 f., 19 f., 26 f., 54, 75 ff., 79, 80, 83, 92 ff.,
      193 f., 203, 237, 238.
Zopyrus, 53.

Transcriber's Notes:

  Underscores "_" before and after a word or phrase indicate _italics_
    in the original text.
  Carat symbol "^" designates a superscript.
  Small capitals have been converted to SOLID capitals.
  Old or antiquated spellings have been preserved.
  Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations
    in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.

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