Greeks & Barbarians

Greeks & Barbarians

Greeks & Barbarians

Greeks & Barbarians

Excerpt

There have been many explanations of ancient Greece and its peculiar spirit. If I may say so, the only original thing about the explanation offered in this book is its want of originality; for it is the explanation of the Greeks themselves. They believed that Hellenism was born of the conflict between the Greeks and the Barbarians. As Thucydides puts it (I. 3), "Greek" and "Barbarian" are correlative terms; and Herodotus wrote his great book, "seeking," as he says, "digressions of set purpose," to illustrate just that. About such an explanation there is obviously nothing startling at all. It is indeed (at first sight) so colourless and negative, that it must be dissatisfaction with it which has provoked all the other explanations. Scholars must have said to themselves, "What is the use of repeating that Hellenism is the opposite of Barbarism? We know that already." But they knew it only in a formal or abstract way. It is but the other day that classical scholars have begun to study the Barbarian and to work out the contrast which alone can give us the material for a rich understanding of the Greek himself. Without this study one's ideas of the Greek could not fail to be somewhat empty and colourless. But any one who cares to read even the meagre outline which these essays supply will hardly complain that there is a lack of colour.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.