Quote of the Day
I am presently (blissfully) suffering from a temporary fit of monomania regarding ancient Greece, so I apologize if this seems a bit much for some of you. My primary motivation for publishing this blog is selfish, however, so I am taking the liberty of posting yet another quote on Greek civilization. I always like to think of these quotations as reports from the library; I read through all the text, and deliver the "choice" portions for those who might be interested.
So, by all means, enjoy! This quote gives a good summary of the context in which ancient Greece flourished:
This, then, was the environment of Greece: civilizations like Egypt, Crete, and Mesopotamia that gave it those elements of technology, science, and art which it would transform into the brightest picture in history; empires like Persia and Carthage that would feel the challenge of Greek commerce, and would unite in a war to crush Greece between them into a harmless vassalage; and, in the north, warlike hordes recklessly breeding, recklessly marching, who would sooner or later pour down over the mountain barriers and do what the Dorians had done - break through what Cicero was to call the Greek border woven on the barbarian robe, and destroy a civilization that they could not understand. Hardly any of these surrounding nations cared for what to the Greeks was the very essence of life - liberty to be, to think, to speak, and to do. Every one of these peoples except the Phoenicians lived under despots, surrendered their souls to superstition, and had small experience of the stimulus of freedom or the life of reason. That was why the Greeks called them all, too indiscriminately, barbaroi, barbarians; a barbarian was a man content to believe without reason and to live without liberty.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 3:07 PM
- Will Durant, The Life of Greece, pg. 70