SPARTA IN GERMANY
FOR all the mass of works dealing with German thought and German writers in their relation to die Antike, there seems to be no special study of the German attitude to Sparta1--perhaps because the Spartans are here so often concealed under the more general rubric of Dorians, or even of Greeks. But the story is of some interest. It could only be properly told by someone very familiar with the intellectual history of Germany during the past two centuries; but the following pages may provide a basis for further investigation.
The complex developments may, in simplified form, be stated thus: according to a long-supreme tradition, Sparta appeared as a relatively unimportant, even sometimes as an un-Greek, element in the Hellenic world--over-harsh and, as compared with other states (Usually Athens in particular), lacking in respect for the individual and for his full mental and spiritual unfolding. This, somewhat adapted, is still the view of Hegel, even though the power of the state now balances the importance of the individual; and, adapted in a different direction, of Nietzsche, despite his rejection of so much in the traditional German picture of Greece. There was a second tradition, however, according to which the Dorians, and thus especially the Spartans, were the most truly and typically Hellenic of all the Greeks. It found its inspiration in Pindar, and Sparta's literary and artistic achievements (and therefore concentrated on a very early period); but it also approved more or less strongly of her political system. This second tradition has roots almost as old as the first--it was originally formulated by Friedrich von Schlegel--but only became dominant in the present century; the two interact--Nietzsche, indeed, contributed with some effect to the picture of the Dorians. The leading personages____________________