Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

as they did almost to certainties, the power of Rome, as it stood at the end of the first Punic war, was a compact dominion, hanging well together, a power which, according to modern ideas, might go on for ages without further extension. But one series of events changed it from one of two great powers of the West into the single dominant power of the West; a second series of events made it the single dominant power of West and East alike.

This last process was the work of the earlier of our two periods, the period which made Rome in the cecumenical sense. Our second period might seem at first sight to have unmade Rome; in truth it made her afresh. By splitting her dominion asunder, it multiplied her centres of influence. It called into being a New Rome alongside of the Old, each continuing in its own way the influence of Rome, one of them continuing for ages the direct heritage of her political pow r. The Old Rome

became the teacher of the nations which first broke her political power in pieces and then brought it together again in their own hands as the most precious of possessions. The New Rome became the teacher of other nations which could neither break her power in pieces nor yet grasp it as their own. The Teuton came to wear the crown of Rome in Rome itself; the Slave could at most wear an imitation of it in Ochrida or Skoupi. And if vast regions fell away alike from the dominion and the teaching of either Rome, if Egypt and Syria were utterly lopped away, if Spain bowed for a long season to Semitic conquerors more abiding than Hamilcar and Asdrubal, if Western Asia and SouthEastern Europe fell under the still abiding rule of invaders more terrible than Mithridates and Chosroes, the loss was more than made up, as lands which have never formed part of Rome's elder political dominion were brought within the range of her moral influence. What the first period called into being, the unique position of Rome in the world, the second period preserved by giving it the only shape in which it could be abiding. No other kingdom or commonwealth before or after held the position to which Rome rose, that of being absolutely alone in the civilized world with

out peer or rival. All the lands and cities which had risen to partial power, Athens, Pella, Antioch, Alexandria, Syracuse, Carthage, Massilia, were all her subjects or dependencies. Her wars were no longer wars with States equal and like to herself, but wars, whether of aggression or of defence, waged against nations which entered the civilized world only by becoming her subjects or disciples. The second period ordered that those who failed to become her subjects, those who became to a great extent her masters, should also become her disciples. By this time, it must be remembered, Rome had wrought for herself a law from within, she had adopted for herself a creed from without. The influence of Rome now meant the influence of her law and of her creed, and the influence of her tongue as the instrument of both. Ataulf once cherished the thought that Romania should pass away, and that the world should become Gothia instead. He came to a better mind, and ruled that the Gothic sword should be the instrument of Roman law and culture.* So it has been ever since the resolve of Ataulf is the very embodiment in words of the work of our second period.

The two periods again agree in this. The Rome that ruled the world was not a purely Roman Rome; it was a Rome which was largely brought under Greek influences, a Rome on which Greece had wrought a work almost as great as Rome was herself to work in after ages on the Teuton and the Slave. It is not too much to say that, wherever Rome conquered, she carried Greece with her. Now it was these too great transitional periods which settled, each in its time, the relations between Rome and Greece.

The memorable declaration of Ataulf comes at the very end of the history of Orosius.

I quote it in full, Comparative Politics,

P. 495. The essence is that Ataulf had once wished, "ut, obliterato Romano nomine, Romanum omne solum Gothorum imperium et faceret et Gothia vocaret, essetque. quod Romania fuisset, fieret nunc Atthaulfus quod quondam Cæsar Augustus." He learns better and makes up his mind, "ut gloriam sibi de restituendo in integrum augendoque Romano nomine Gothorum viribus quæreret, habereturque apud posteros Romania restitutionis auctor, postquam esse non poterat inmutator." These words imply all later history.


The first period was marked by what to all appearance was the subjugation of Greece by Rome, what in truth was her political subjugation. The very essence and result of the period is that Greece and all the lands which had been in any measure hellenized, all the lands whose dominant culture was Greek, should pass, in a political sense, within the range, first of Roman influence and then of Roman dominion. But in the point of view of œcumenical history, this very process was, as even a Roman poet could partly see, the entrance of Rome herself within the range of Hellenic influences of another kind. Rome had long had Greek subjects and allies in Italy, in Sicily, on the coast of Gaul, and Spain. But they became subjects and allies of Rome through their geographical position; outposts of Greek life in the West, they came under the influence, they came under the dominion, of the great power of the West. The relation, the partnership, so to speak, between Rome and Greece which created the culture of the ancient" world, really began when Rome crossed the Hadriatic, and first won Greek subjects and allies on the Greek side of the gulf. When Rome won in Apollônia her first ally or dependency among Greek cities in the Greek peninsula, the march of events began which in the end translated Rome herself to the shores of the Bosporos. When the Macedonian kingdoms in Europe and Asia became, first dependencies, then provinces, of Rome, Rome took upon herself the function which had before been held by the successors of Alexander as the champion of the then civilized world against the barbarians of the north and of the further east. The fights of Kynoskephalai, of Magnêsia, and of Pydna, laid on Rome the duty which she discharged in after ages when successive Emperors had to guard the frontiers of Romania against the incursions of the Slave, the Saracen, and the Turk. To discharge that duty as was needed, a New Rome, a Greek-speaking Rome, had to be called into being; and the calling into being of that New Rome is the most distinctive outward mark of our second period. Our two periods then, our periods of transition, of growth, of the expansion of old ele

ments and of the reception of new, are closely connected with one another. Each wrought a different stage of the same work. The earlier period called into being the cecumenical headship of Rome the later period determined the character which that headship should finally put on. One laid Greece politically at the feet of Rome, in order that Rome might become the disciple and missionary of the intellectual culture of Greece. The other translated Rome herself to Greek soil, and made the new Greek Rome the champion and missionary of the law and the dominion, for a while even of the speech, of the elder Latin Rome. In short, whether we look to the Eastern or to the Western side of European affairs, as we shall find the fact of the Roman dominion to be the central fact of all European history, we shall find that it was these two periods which determined what the history of that dominion should be. Rome could become mistress of all Europe only by putting on more or less of a Greek character, a character which grew and strengthened, till, in a large part of her dominion, Roman and Greek came to be words of the same meaning. So the Teuton and the Slave could not establish themselves within the Roman borders without becoming the disciples as well as the conquerors of Rome. The Teuton in the West could not do his share in the work without so largely putting on a Roman character as to call into being a third thing, a thing which we cannot call either Roman or Teutonic, but which has grown out of the union of the two, the later being of Western Europe and its colonies, above all the being of the Romance nations, their mixed tongue, their mixed national life. Nothing answering to this took place in the East. The East, it must never be forgotten, has its Romance. folk, its Romance speech, to show as well as the West, the folk and speech of that new-born kingdom which alone among the powers of Europe still cleaves to the Roman name. That is to say, wherever in the South-Eastern peninsula Greek influences had not established themselves, Rome, Old Rome, could exercise the same kind of influence which she exercised in the West. That particular kind of influence Greece

seems never to have exercised. She could thoroughly hellenize a people who had in them the power to be hellenized; she could spread a rim, a veneer, of Hellenic culture over a land whose substance remained barbarian; she could, when she had become identified with Rome, become the model to nations which followed her in many things without adopting her tongue. But a thoroughly mixed people, a people formed out of Greek and Slavonic elements, in the same way in which the Romance nations are formed out of Latin and Teutonic elements, there has never been. There are many causes for this difference which would carry us too far from our present subject. In short, as was hinted some way back, the analogies which are suggested by our present subject are more perfect in the West than in the East. The Teuton played both sides of his mixed part, at once as conqueror and as disciple, far more thoroughly than the Slave.

Now it is hardly too much to say that all that comes before, between, after, these two ruling periods of history is but the making ready for them or the results that come of them. The earlier history both of Greece and of Italy is but the history of the days of making ready; it is the history of the process by which the two lands were schooled for their several shares in their joint dominion over mankind. While we dwell in the world of Thucydides, we are making ourselves at home with one of the elements which go to make up the wider world of Polybios. On the other side of the Hadriatic, where we have no Thucydides to guide us, we make our way, dimly and feebly, by such imperfect light as we have, to some conception of the true nature and destiny of the other element. We learn what that Greece was which Rome was in one sense to conquer, and which was in another sense to conquer Rome. We learn less clearly what that Rome was which thus needed, by a twofold process, to take Greece into a partnership

in her dominion. In the time which lies between the two destructive and creative periods, the time that is of the earlier Roman Empire, we mark the fusion of the elements out of which that Empire was formed, the process by

which they grew into the body which the second period was to make the later ruler and teacher of the nations. The second period past, we study its results in the whole later history of the civilized world, that world which still is truly Latinitas, but which became Latinitas only by the Teuton becoming the missionary of his Latin master.

Then again, besides the two great visible periods of crisis, there are some other periods which are, though sometimes, less conspicuously, periods of crisis in another way. They are periods whose work was to make the work of the two great transitional periods possible, specially to do so by clearing away some hindrance which stood in the way of their work. Thus the time of the early Roman Empire, above all the socalled Augustan age, seems at first sight like a moment of rest between the two stirring and creative times. The work of the earlier period seems to be over; the work of the later period seems not to have begun. And yet, from another point of view, the Augustan age itself is one of the periods of crisis, one of the periods which determine that the course of history shall be what it actually has been and not something else. It is this in a much deeper sense than its superficial aspect as the time when the commonwealth of Rome begins to change to the rule of a single man, first virtual, and then avowed. That was necessary result of the establishment of Rome as the ruling city of the world. The old municipal constitution of that city proved itself unequal to the task of ruling the dominion that it had won. Rome could abide as the mistress of the world only by ceasing to be mistress of herself. In the deeper and more cecumenical view, the Augustan age has an importance of another kind, in its likeness to a period with which at first sight it appears to have very little in common. It may sound like a paradox



It might be more accurate to say, the merging of all the offices of the commonwealth

in a single office. The Imperial theory required that the Imperial authority, the union of all earlier authorities, should be supreme and undisputed. It by no means required that that authority should be always vested in a single man. Hence the Imperial office was so often held in partnership by two or more Imperial colleagues.

to say that the Augustan age stands to our second period in much the same relation in which the Punic wars, above all the great war with Hannibal, stands to the first.

At the wars between Rome and Carthage we have already had occasion to glance. The result of the first was to make Rome thoroughly the mistress of Italy by adding to her dominion the great islands which seem natural appendages to Italy. The second, after bringing her nearer to overthrow than she found herself at any other moment between Brennus and Alaric, ended by making Rome the dominant power in Western Europe. The most prominent side of the Augustan age is certainly very different from this. At a superficial glance it is not easy to see any likeness between what seems to be the least stirring time in the whole Roman history, the days when the world seems to sleep unmolested under the Roman Peace, and the days of deadly struggle, when Rome had to fight for her own being on her own soil. And yet these two periods, so widely unlike, act each in a strange way as forerunners severally of the two periods which we have marked out as the special times of transition. The wars with Carthage look both backward and forward; they fixed Rome's position in the West; but they also, above all the war with Hannibal, opened the way for the days when Rome spread, first her influence, then her dominion, over the nations east of the Hadriatic. The earlier Empire, the age of Augustus, opened the way for the days when Rome spread her influence, but not her dominion, over the nations east of the Rhine and north of the Danube. And in each case the way was opened by processes, which though in one sense they seem most opposite to each other, were in a wider view essentially of the same kind. In each case, before the great period of transition came, when it was as yet only foreshadowed, a blow was threatened which might have hindered the work of that period from ever being done at all. In the earlier case it was a blow struck at Rome; in the later case it was a blow struck by Rome. Rome, on the eve of her advance to the head ship of the Mediterranean lands, was

checked by the rivalry of Carthage, by the long campaigns of Hannibal in Italy. The first Punic war came when she had just begun her abiding relations with the Greek nation by establishing her supremacy over the Greeks of Italy. It was itself a war to determine whether Rome or Carthage should hold the headship of Sicily and the Greek cities of that island. The Hannibalian war came when Rome had just begun relations with the more immediate Greek world, when she established herself as a power east of the Hadriatic, when, in becoming the protector of Apollônia, Epidamnos, and Korkyra, she had taken the first step toward her own translation to Byzantion. Rome was just beginning to stretch forth her hands toward the general dominion of Europe when the question came whether Europe should remain Europe at all. As things turned out, the Punic wars were a mere check to the progress of Rome; in Spain and Africa indeed they were not even a check, but rather a step in that progress. In the relations between Western and Eastern Europe they were but an episode, a great and terrible episode, an episode which had great and abiding results, but still only an episode in the main tale. But had things turned the other way, had fortune gone for Carthage and for Hannibal, had Rome been overthrown or even seriously weakened, the history of the world must have been other than what it has been. The world-wide dominion of Rome could never have been reached, or could have been reached only by steps wholly different from those by which in the end it was reached. Such was the blow struck at Rome, a blow which, had it gone fully to its mark, would have been a blow indeed, not only to Rome, but to all that Rome represents in later history. Our admiration for the great Phoenician cominonwealth, for the hero-brood of the Sons of Thunder, even for the foremost of that brood, for Hannibal himself, must not blind us to the fact that the men who fought for Rome against him fought in the same cause, in another stage of the same abiding struggle, as the men who fought at Marathôn and the men who fought at Tours.

So it was in the later time. Then Rome, instead of having a blow struck

[ocr errors]

at her, herself struck a blow.
It was a
blow which, like that which had been
struck at her, failed to go wholly to its
mark; but it was one which, if it had
so gone, might have changed the fate of
the world, above all the destiny of our
own race, forever. As the success of
Hannibal might have hindered Rome
from rising to European headship at all,
so the full success of Drusus and Ger-
manicus might have given her an Euro-
pean headship too great for the future
history of mankind. It was the great
day by the Teutoburg Wood which made
our second period of transition possible,
which opened the way for the whole
later history of Germany, of Britain,
and of America. Had Germany been in-
corporated with the then Roman Empire
like Gaul and Spain, had Rome con-
quered Germany instead of Germany in
after days winning the crown of Rome,
all that the Teutonic race was to do in
our second great determining period, all
that was to follow as the result of that
second determining period, would have
been blotted out from the world's annals
before it had won a place in them. As
it was, Arminius, deliverer of Ger-
many, was the deliverer of mankind
from a danger akin to the danger which
overhung the world in the days of Han-
nibal. For the destined course of the
world's history, it was needful at one
time to check and to overthrow the
enemies of Rome, it was needful at a
later time to check, but not to over-
throw, the power of Rome herself. In
the wider view of history Scipio and
Arminius hold places which strangely
answer to one another. The victory of
the one made that course of events pos-
sible which determined that the head-
ship of Europe should pass to Rome.
The victory of the other made that
course of events possible which deter-
mined the final shape which the head-
ship of Rome should take.

times. Men who would be ashamed if
they did not know everything of the age
of Thucydides, men who would be
ashamed if they did not know at best
the literature of the age of Augustus,
are content to know nothing of the age
of Polybios. Men who are at home in
modern and even in medieval history
have often very vague notions of the age
of Zôsimos and Procopius. Yet it sounds
like attempting to finish the building
without having laid the foundation to
try to master even the mere literature of
the Roman Empire without mastering
the events through which, and the con-
ditions under which, the Empire came
into being. It is much the same to try
to master the history of the nations of
modern Europe without mastering the
transitional period in which some of
those nations came into being, while
others received an impulse which affected
the whole current of their later life.
And, from the purely Greek point of
view, if we look at Greek history, not
simply as the record of the Athenian
democracy, but as the record of the
Greek nation in its place in the general
history of the world, it is impossible
to overrate the importance of either
period. No time is richer in political
teaching than the age of Polybios. If
his inestimable work-inestimable even
in its fragments-taught us only the tale
of the advance of Rome, it would be a
possession for all time worthy to be set
alongside of the earlier possession for
all time.



Now when we look at the general history of the world from this point of view, it certainly seems a strange thing that no periods should be so commonly, one might almost say so universally, neglected as the two which beyond all others, directly determined the course of that history. There are no times which are so little known even to men who are fairly well informed as to other

But he teaches us far more than this. If his political picture is less fresh than that of Thucydides, it is far more varied; it supplies far more direct analogies with modern times. In the age of Thucydides we see nothing but the Greek city-community-ruling, to be sure, whenever it has the chance, over other Greek city-communities-and the vast barbaric kingdom. Federal unions have not spread beyond the less advanced branches of the Greek nation; kingship worthy of the name is not the constitution of any State acknowledged as. Greek. In the Greece of Polybios we come across a far more complicated state of things. The city-community, the democratic the democratic city-community, the maritime city-community is still there; its place only is changed; we have to look for its most brilliant example no

« AnteriorContinuar »