The Judgment of the Gods and Other Verdicts of History: Mystery Stories


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The restoration of the Empire by the Illyrian emperors had to be accompanied by force, even under the best of conditions, and the situation after that inevitably became a permanent state of emergency, even without famine and pestilence. The Empire of the first and second centuries must therefore be regarded as distinct from that of the third. Would the abolition of agricultural slavery and the forcible establishment of arms-bearing free farmers have availed anything in the third century? Many such, but not nearly enough, were actually created through the settling of Germani.

Instead, there was a most pernicious, unalterable financial system. But in an emergency it is difficult to change such a system. At this point, a counterbalance should be drawn up. How much general and inevitable human misery was present and a contributing factor, as it is at any time? Misery is a relative concept and is equal to the degree of discontent within a given situation. One is not miserable until one realizes it and no longer wants to put up with things.

In the late third century the world empire had to reconstruct itself and remain together so that it could become Christian as a unit. Let us have proper respect for the Roman Empire. No other dynasty of the world can boast of five rulers in succession like those from Nerva to Marcus Aurelius mere hereditary dynasties cannot possibly achieve this , as well as a series of rescuers like that from Claudius the Goth to Diocletian. In this designation there was expressed the concept of a very expendable thousand years which may have existed for the chastisement of mankind; this gave it the reputation of barbarism, and its beginnings in fact had been an overcrowding of the world with barbarians.

Hence the special ill-will of the Italians, who had lost their world dominion through the barbarians, although this had actually already happened under Constantine. It seemed to them that, basically, the more modern period could have started directly with the end of Roman history. Something like impatience was felt toward the Middle Ages. It was possible to misjudge the Middle Ages, to be sure, but in the long run one could not despise the period.

The realization prevailed that our existence had its roots in it, even though modern culture was derived predominantly from antiquity. Gradually the specific qualities of the Middle Ages were appreciated in innumerable ways. Certain aspects even inspired veritable enthusiasm which, however, aroused Edition: On the whole, very strong and widespread prejudices against the Middle Ages have prevailed to this day, not to mention the more deeply entrenched ones.

Above all, at our present moment in history, under the conditions of , we have no business sitting in judgment on any past age—now when from every side there are complaints about, and threats against, our general situation as well as specific matters, and the nations are pitted one against the other, armed to the teeth. Now that we are convinced that our knowledge of the Middle Ages belongs among our dearest possessions, that is, the great general knowledge about the continuation of the spirit which distinguishes us from the barbarians including very modern ones , we had better omit any evaluation of the past according to our standards of happiness or unhappiness, since these are illusions.

Very peculiar is the interest of our time in all past things and its judgment of their relative intellectual value. Of course, our time is itself undergoing such great transformations that its judgments about the past vary greatly, too. This much, however, remains certain: The life of mankind is a unit whose fluctuations in time or place constitute an up and down, a weal or woe, only to our weak senses, but in reality follow a higher necessity. To trace the latter in detail remains a dubious and difficult task. Not everything that may now and then appear to an investigator as a decree of world history really deserves this title.

It is a universal human experience that the fringes of existence have always been miserable, because individuals as well as nations always push their existence to the limits of possibility; this is an existence just barely worth living. There is something to be said for the survival of a people as such if at least it neither consumes itself, as the ancient Greeks did, nor is destroyed by other peoples. How many peoples disappeared in the great migrations of the Germanic tribes; as soon as they had no kings of their own, they lost themselves among the others.

How to Love God When You Don’t Feel It

Are we to feel sorry for them at random? If they had existed longer, would they and so many other peoples who had already gone down in early antiquity have done great and good things or perhaps predominantly bad ones? At any rate, the amount of unhappiness felt increases greatly in highly civilized, security-minded periods when conditions become completely insecure and violent, as, e.

But we may properly feel a certain amount of pity and need not excuse ourselves with the barren argument that what fell did so for good reasons, or that after a fall there comes a resurgence. For by no means every destruction has been followed by rejuvenation those involved and their relatives will have none of rejuvenation through decay , and the great destroyers of life remain an enigma to us.

In the face of the ambition of an Attila, who did not have enough time, or of the accomplishments of Genghis Khan and especially Tamerlane, we remain perplexed, and can, at best, stutter that these men destroyed forces which, under certain circumstances, might also have become very harmful to mankind. The capital losses of mankind are enormous. And in particular the destruction of noble and universally admired works of poetry and art fills us with lasting sadness because we are convinced that they are irreplaceable, i. But let us close our eyes; experience teaches us that the human race has over the ages achieved very little of supreme excellence, and will do no better in the future; therefore, for the time being, we may well mourn when things of excellence are destroyed.

Our only consolation—and a very uncertain one—is this: As a rule, however, calling past times happy or pitying them is only partisanship in favor of one untenable thing against another such; and as it is, we are subject to the prejudices of our egoism at best, to the predilections of our time which approves of what seems akin to it and disapproves of what it finds incomprehensible or repugnant. Thus, for instance, we have a powerful antipathy to Islam, with its arid religion, its art tyrannically kept poor, its forcibly restricted poetry, and its invariably tyrannical form of government.

But as soon as the believers are given voice, we and our pity are sent packing. To this day, Islam gives its adherents enormously firm support, and they are proud of it and almost inaccessible to missionary efforts. But if one imagines history without Islam, one must also eliminate the at least temporary rejuvenation which, as an opponent, it brought to the Byzantine Empire and later, through the Crusades, to the West. This great adversary quite materially kept the Byzantine Empire alive.

That it finally did succumb to Islam was due to weakening from the West; remember But the Mongols would have come nevertheless, and it is beyond all speculation in what condition they would have found a non-Islamic Near East and Europe. However, just as dubious as pitying is felicitation. Moreover, the joy of victory does not last long, if only because persisting in the same situation is not granted to peoples nor to individuals, and after some time there recommences, in one way or another, the struggle for existence which can grow to deadly proportions—and not by any means through arms only, but, as is the case today, through customs tariffs because thereby one hits an activity based on free competition, namely, present-day industry, the current index of power and property.

Aside from that, one would have to be able to determine for all peoples and all periods how strong the active, the really free, segment was; for these people alone can have had an exalted feeling of their existence. But we do not even know the proportion of slaves in the Roman Empire, let alone the percentage of the half-free the litae , etc.

Instead of any evaluation according to happiness and unhappiness, in place of any fruitless approval or disapproval, we shall confine ourselves to a consideration and understanding of the living forces, their succession, their interaction, their transmutation. To this end we need to be released from mere narration which may be given by handbooks. We have to group phenomena more according to their inner relations in which they form conditions, lasting states of affairs.

The history of civilization comes into its own. Definitions of the concept vary; it will long have a subjective and dilettante appearance, as well as complicated and uncertain outlines, from the so-called antiquities to the so-called philosophy of history. Each individual will proceed according to his personal insight. However, one does not include in the history of civilization what one likes, but what one believes one should or must include. The designation for what we have in mind is, at any rate, too narrow insofar as it leads us to assume that we are concerned only with the rise or decline of intellectual culture and the material exploitation of the earth; what we really aim at is an understanding of all the more significant and effective forces in general, and thus of the more or less constant conditions created by them.

The history of civilization overlaps with church history, the history of law, literary history, the history of communications, the history of morals, etc. Its selection of data follows its inner principle. Its academic justification, recognized anyway, would, among other things, lie in the fact that it can compress the spiritually Edition: The relationship of the history of civilization to source studies is a very natural one.

Sources are of interest to it as the monument and picture of a certain period and nation, not merely as the places where single events may be found; the historian of civilization reads with different eyes than does the historian. In fact, the history of civilization can be learned usefully only from sources instead of from handbooks. First, those who consider Christianity in general as wrong and a misfortune; second, those who cannot bear the interweaving of great and strongly symbolizing folk imaginations with new religions the imagination of Islam is half-tamed, that of the Christians is not ; further, those who have no understanding for stabilizing elements, or those who are in a hurry to create a situation in which a man may do anything, but so may everybody else, and logically the most insolent fellow may do these things most of all—those who are in a hurry, then, for the unrestricted development of philosophy, the rapid victory of science, untrammeled communication with the remotest as well as the closest people, and the industrial exploitation of the world, from the surface of the earth on.

Finally, count among these enemies all proponents of leveling sameness. We may regard Renan as an adversary of the Middle Ages, with many qualifications; he repeatedly characterizes himself in his Marcus Aurelius. Only by drastically modifying Christianity in the Middle Ages were cities and states able to exist Edition: Large industry becomes impossible. Due to distorted ideas disseminated about usury, all banking and insurance operations are prohibited.

Only Jews can handle money; they are forced to be rich], and then they are reproached with their wealth. A further complaint of his is that work declined so much. Concerning the Celtic, Italic, and other superstitions that infiltrated the Church: The cult of saints has been the cover under which polytheism has reestablished itself. These attempts could have produced a simple Christianity, a continuation of Judaism, something analogous to what Islam was.

How much fanaticism would thus have been avoided! But we will at least concede to the people of the Middle Ages that they were able to live without continual or continually threatening national wars, without forced mass industry with deadly competition, without credit and capitalism, without hatred of albeit inevitable poverty.

If these people had mined hard coal, as is done now, where would we be? The Middle Ages had greatness and sorrows of a kind very different from what Renan is capable of conceiving. Greatness can appear at moments when mere calculation ceases and a way of thinking, a feeling, overwhelms everything.

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And at such moments Edition: III In contrast to the supposition that one has to make excuses for the Middle Ages, it is our task simply to describe the realities of past life, whatever it may be. Whatever to us is worth living for has its roots there. The Middle Ages are not responsible for our present decline! It was a time of natural authority.

It is not its fault that we no longer have this nor can regain it, but are instead flooded by waves of majority from below. The great impact of past times and forces lies not in their kinship with us, but in their naive quality, i. For example, the victory of orthodoxy over Germanic Arianism was not a matter of superior intellectuality, but of a temperament which ipso facto gained control over meager rival forms of the church.

The greatness of an epoch or a cause depends on the proportion of those capable of sacrifice, on whatever side it may be.

In this respect the Middle Ages pass muster rather well. And not a guarantee of regular pay! Where does greatness begin? With devotion to a cause, whatever it may be, with complete extinction of personal vanity. Greatness is not dependent on mental superiority, for this can be paired with a wretched character. When, where, and by whom was the decision made to collect the three synoptic Gospels separately?

It could only have happened at a time when their texts were already regarded as too sacred for anyone to dare to work them into one volume. In what communities did one previously have the gospels separately? Of the Apocrypha, the Gospel Edition: Islam immediately assumed a worldly position of power which at the same time took care not to permit any deviation from the faith.

Christianity, on the other hand, set the imaginations of many in competitive motion at a time of great religious ferment, and for three centuries had to contend with heresies of all kinds, all sorts of secondary religions, magicians, Gnostics, and visionaries, who, in a body, were able to sweep many a community along, and it had to carry on this fight with no resources other than its own strength. People could be enraptured through the mere promise of the imminent Second Coming of Christ on Judgment Day, chiliasm, and the like, but notably through prophecy, as with the Montanists, and with sudden inspirations.

Montanus regarded himself as the Paraclete. With all this, however, one probably kept before him that the most outstanding men belonged to the right-thinking center, and especially the persecutions probably strengthened this center. If any authority ever came into being with enormous dedication, it is that of the church. All Christendom at the time professes the faith; where there is any worldly-wise concealment, any participation in pagan rituals, etc. Miracles, including raising the dead, presented no problems to the Christians from the beginning, and in the community one actually thought that one saw charismata like prophecy and the healing of the sick continue, while all pagan miracles appeared as mere magic.

The mutual support of the Christians until Constantine placed at their disposal the benefices of the state may, practically speaking, have come quite close to the short-lived community of property of Apostolic Edition: Whoever became a Christian hardly remained rich. In Rome under Commodus there were a few conversions of wealthy people and aristocrats. At the persecutions of Lyon Pothinus, Blandina, etc. Of the demonic, pagans and Christians held much the same views, but the pagans were here governed by a wild and colorful imagination, whereas the Christians harbored a rather uniform conviction.

Church literature was evidently very abundant from the beginning. Undoubtedly the collections of letters to colleagues and communities constituted a prime genre; then the refutations of heresies and apologetics directed against the pagans must be considered. Hebrew must have sunk into deep obscurity once there were no longer any real converted Jews. That Origen studied Hebrew is especially emphasized.

By the third century there were already many scholarly theological works and commentaries. After the persecution of Decius, on the occasion of the Novatian dispute, a synod of sixty bishops and numerous presbyters and deacons could already be held in Rome. The Antiochean synods concerning Paul of Samosata after were very large and well attended. Now the disputes over the treatment of the lapsi [backsliders] and the rebaptism of converted heretics increased, and in addition there was a continual dispute over the nature of Christ.

Among all religions Christianity may be the one that has most vividly retained its own advance in its memory through the cult of its believers and martyrs. Buddhism venerates only relics of Buddha himself and has no specific memories of his individual propagators, because none of their performances are worthy of him anyway.

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On the other hand, Christianity, just as it takes seriously the salvation of the individual, also greatly apotheosizes its individual evangels and virtually transfers to their relics and graves a large part of its rituals and concept of God. Where none are demonstrable, they are postulated and expected to reveal themselves; this, to be sure, means a change to the second stage in which every place must have its relics and there arises competition for, and jealousy of, such possessions.

This is the strongest localization of the sacred, comparable in its way to that in Greek mythology. In addition, these are not special places of grace, but only of remembrance. But what about the graves of individual saintly marabouts, etc.? Islam does not spread the efficacy of Allah over places and persons. It was highly important for the veneration of the various Christian saints that one should know something about their legends.

Patroclus has a small shrine, with only one cleric he is later called lector. Loci enim homines parvum exhibebant martyri famulatum, pro eo quod historia passionis eius non haberetur in promptu; mos namque erat hominum rusticorum, ut Sanctos Dei, quorum agones relegunt, attentius venerentur. Quidam igitur de longinquo itinere veniens, libellum huius certaminis detulit, lectori, quem in ipso loco servire diximus, prodidit ad legendum.

Yet soon afterwards a Frankish gentleman went to Italy and brought home from there the very same legend. There is a superiority of martyrs over the other saints; the expressions for martyrdom are passio, agon, certamen. Christianity subsists here essentially on those who died professing it.

It becomes entirely a religion of martyrs, in complete contrast to the religions of antiquity which made no fuss about their believers and had only a mythical view of their original propagators. Dionysus and others; nevertheless, with Dionysus it comes closest to persecution, profession of faith, and martyrdom. I Asceticism does not arise from justification by works it does not become that until late , nor does it come into being as penance by proxy for others who in their lives on earth have no time to do penance this, too, is a late concept , but it is the authentic expression of the Edition: Entirely consistent with this is celibacy—not by any means solely as a denial of sensuality, although this, too, plays a strong part in it sensual enjoyment is a direct contradiction of Christianity which in this respect strongly sunders itself from the nature religions , but because the survival of mankind is not at all desirable.

In the fourth and fifth centuries the will to extinction exists in the noblest minds quite independent of the external fate of the Empire. Side by side with this there lives a mob that in the midst of all the misery is fanatically devoted to circuses. Only after the migrations of the Germanic tribes did the ascetically inclined eo ipso become priests or monks, and only then was the clergy as such obliged to constitute the ascetic caste, something that was often rather badly out of keeping with its real behavior.

Christianity was to be put into consistent practice in at least one definite class.

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This explains the demand for celibacy which appeared repeatedly and finally prevailed. The clergy was to represent that perfection which a layman could not achieve; only in this way could the clergy be worthy of dispensing the means of salvation of the church. Only in return for such renunciation could the clergy demand that show of respect which was based on its being regarded by others as holy.

To be sure, penance by proxy and justification by works already appear here. How early was the intercessory prayer of an ascetic, the precursor of penance by proxy, considered valuable? How early were monasteries endowed for the sake of such prayers? II Asceticism and its complete realization in the monastic life is the New Testament taken literally; the average Christian was no longer rising to its strict observance in his life on earth.

Even by the second century the great Christian community had included also those of moderate virtue, the no longer quite saintly. Side by side with the century Edition: The monks are the consistent Christians, and the laymen salve their consciences with the thought that in addition to themselves such Christians exist and that perfection simply is not the business of the age. In the monasteries, too, charismata which are no longer possible or admissible on the outside may continue. It may be asked how it could come about that Christianity, with the Nicene Creed, was allowed to enter into the fifth century as an enormous social power bringing men closer together, in both languages, and furthermore, through the Greeks who were the people to understand other peoples.

Alexander and the Diadochi had brought close the Near East and brought about understanding between its civilizations and their own Hellenism. Rome, which gradually subjugated this Orient, had at the same time achieved a fusion of its mind with the Greek mind. This hardest of peoples could not resist Greek culture, its only enthusiasm.

Under the emperors, a homogeneous Greco-Roman world had come into being. This was the world that became the scene and the object of the spread of Christianity. The homogeneity of Christendom from Britain and the pillars of Hercules to the Euphrates and the Tigris became the new substructure under the collapsing Empire. And now the peoples could come; in time they were all overpowered by Nicene Christianity.

Without this, the Middle Ages would have been a den of murderers. That is the way it had to happen so that the nations would not treat one another like wild animals. And all times to come will remember this. Christianity as such was superior to paganism, classical and otherwise, with its unholy gods, its orientation to a no longer existent middle class, its exhausted poetry and literature, and its self-accusations concerning general wickedness and so on. But the greatest miracle is that from Christianity an external form of power, the church, was able to take shape and that subsequently world churches, considered as orthodox, maintained themselves; further, that a recognized canon of sacred writings was able to come into being.

The inner characteristic of the Christian doctrine was, from the beginning, the highly personal relationship of the individual to the Christian realities and doctrines. Thus there necessarily resulted differing views, even within the earliest circle around the apostles, as evidenced by the existence of converted Jews and pagans.

Many schisms arose even within the apostolic communities; this is revealed by the Pauline epistles. After the apostles had died off there was danger of there no longer being any sufficient authority. Then, too, there was the requirement of discipline, which certainly served to repel rather than attract. The symbolum apostolicum did not originate until post-apostolic times, possibly as the creed of the candidate for baptism. On the other hand, the charitable love in the communities and the equality before God served as uniting forces, and, above all, the persecutions were the greatest promoters of concord; without them there might have been a lot of sects which paganism could have absorbed again.

But there was also an onrush on the part of Greek philosophy even in the case of Paul , of Oriental theosophy and magic, in addition to asceticism which could be intensified at will. Other religions tried to gain influence; Simon Magus is a case in point. Several messiahs appeared, Bar Kochba and others.

Under circumstances such as these there took place the transposition Edition: The impetus of Christianity is peculiar. It vociferously lays claim to crowding out all other religions completely. Christian doctrine had its perils, the heresies. We may leave out of consideration the entire dualistic Gnosticism with its eon theory as hardly able to form communities, despite its colorful variety and the manifold origin of its systems. We may likewise pass over the Judeo- Christian sects, the Ebionites and others as late as the end of the second century there is the pseudo-Clementine study circle.

Undoubtedly the Jews were too arrogant to bother much with this sort of thing; during persecutions of Christians they used to incite the pagans. Bar Kochba, too, murdered Christians. The strongest pretensions to a church of its own were made by Manichaeism which treated Christianity as merely a varnish of pagan theosophy and ignored Judaism, betraying no Platonic influence, but offering Persian dualism with an admixture of Buddhistic ideas. The re-emergence of Manichaeism in the Middle Ages is evidence of its relative vitality.

The Near East at that time was a veritable vagina religionum [womb of religions]; one should also bear in mind, for later, the situation under the Sassanids prior to Mohammed. Finally there appeared around Montanism with its ecstatic prophecies that proclaimed the beginning of the age of the Paraclete and produced a new outpouring of the spirit. Montanus regarded himself as the Paraclete? The sect was characterized by violent asceticism and fanaticism; it professed chiliasm.

In somewhat toned-down form, Montanism had also an aftereffect on the East. More dangerous were the schisms over the Trinity, the Patripassians, a Paul of Samosata, etc. It not only sloughed off false doctrines and immorality, but also fought, as it had to, every deviation in external forms, constitution, and ritual. It achieved the complete sovereignty of the episcopate and the beginning of the Roman primateship. Irenaeus, III, 3, says: For within it there has always been preserved by Christians everywhere that tradition which stems from the Apostles.

Without the last persecutions under Decius, Valerian, and others, the spirit of contradiction, of dialectics, and of ambition would most likely have split the church into sects, and paganism would then probably have overpowered them or at least stood its ground side by side with it. All this would have been dealt a mortal blow by a split-up into sects, and the specific power to conquer the pagans would thereby have vanished, regardless of the religious zeal of the individual sects.

When, under Diocletian, Christianity got ready to gain control of the Imperium, it was caught up in those dangerous schisms over the Trinity. And when Constantine had dealings with Christianity, he encountered a firm ecumenical organization as an established tradition. Without it he would probably not have shown Christianity any consideration. If good sense had some say in matters of belief and opinion, most heresies would not have been promulgated, so that the church might remain powerful.

However, the same force that made the church mighty also engendered the capacity for, and disposition toward, heresy—to be sure, with the help of much personal dogmatism. There is such a thing as a born sectarian. If one imagines Julian without the Persian War and with a reign of about ten years, he could have achieved a great deal.

Of course, it was impossible to organize paganism into a rival church ; but the farm population and the people in many cities would have been available for great demonstrations. Presumably paganism would at least have established itself on a permanent basis, secure from any further abolition, and would then have maintained itself alongside Christianity for who knows how long as a religion inaccessible to any conversionary argument, especially through the possession of the benefice.

On the other hand, it is conceivable that in the face of such a situation the Christian theologians would have ceased their wrangling about the Trinity; the true forces would have become paramount again; the situation Edition: Nevertheless, there would have been another great danger not present before or since: In Rome there would probably have been a real battle in which paganism would have carried the day and the diocese could easily have lost completely its beginning pristine preeminence.

The Jews in Visigothic Spain were evidently very numerous; here they took revenge by agreements with the Arabs who were ready for invasion. The entire orthodox Middle Ages then kept the Jews down and persecuted them periodically, i. If, however, Western European Arianism had held its own, the Jews would in a century or two have become the masters of the entire property and would have made the Germanic and the Romanic peoples work for them even at that time. There would have been no Middle Ages, or they would have been quite different.

If one judges according to desirability, one has this choice: It is a general pathological fact that when a great organism comes to its end, a whole number of maladies and terrible accidents occur simultaneously or in rapid succession. Whether accidental or not, there was the special circumstance that the Empire was represented not by strong emperors by adoption, choice, or usurpation, but by two legitimate weaklings whose leadership in decisive moments could or had to become a matter of competition, so that instead of vigorous harmony there was disharmony, created by subordinates.

Added to this was the problematic nature of the army. The crises within the army assume the aspect of unpredictable elemental events. To be added to all this is the pressure from the outside. The great barbarian world senses all at once that the day of its power has come Radagaisus; the Germani in Gaul, It need no longer be satisfied with mercenary pay, partial colonization, and so on; the dominant will of world history passes over to it. As shortcomings of tradition these are to be emphasized: However, the course of events is of necessity inwardly obscure, judged by the causalities, and unavoidably burdened with false motivations.

Gigantic and inevitable destinies are, after all, conceived of as the faults of individuals. With the general suffering and misery there are fancies and fictions and, especially, recriminations, and the mania for accusation grips even Edition: And so it is that the nexus causalis [causal connection], of which we are now and then informed, either was not present at all, or had an entirely different form.

In Claudian and Zosimus there is a garrulity which forcibly presses after the most secret intrigues and intentions. But in addition it is unfortunately true that at world-decisive moments base personal intrigues did play some part.

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No historian has affirmed the weight of human freedom against historical necessity Edition: The Phoenician cities were the first polities, constitutional states with city areas, community life, albeit under kings; some formed self- perpetuating aristocracies which not only had to be consulted, but must have had direct control of the most important matters. However, just as dubious as pitying is felicitation. Works by Darrell Schweitzer. Then, too, there was the requirement of discipline, which certainly served to repel rather than attract. Definitions of the concept vary; it will long have a subjective and dilettante appearance, as well as complicated and uncertain outlines, from the so-called antiquities to the so-called philosophy of history.

Finally we must take into consideration the all-confusing sectarian hatred of the orthodox for Stilicho. In the Eastern as well as the Western Roman Empire, every defection of a province, every barbarian irruption is regarded as instigated by the competitor. He passed from one stage of his power to another with complete assurance: As lord over the largest part of Gaul he then did away with his Frankish fellow rulers, apparently with the full approval of the populations concerned.

All his creations are shot through with crime. But one must not let every filthy wretch believe that when he is committing crimes, he is founding a state. At the time of his death Clovis is: And all—the people, the ruler and the ruled—are or become Nicene-Orthodox. The addition of Burgundy had to be the next consequence. As a state , the Frankish kingdom is still unwieldy and provisional. But it is a viable construction as compared to the artificial jerry-building of the conquering Arian peoples who think they can rule permanently over orthodox Romanic masses.

In spite of everything the dynasty lasted for two centuries and a half, while among the Visigoths, the Lombards, the Anglo-Saxons, etc. A brilliant people, capable of self-denial, with boundless self-reliance of individuals and tribes, was to be summoned to a new faith and to world hegemony in the name of this faith. There was a great variety of religions in Arabia; paganism glittered in every hue, and side by side with it there existed an old belief in Allah; Jewish tribes and Christians of diverse origin were living in the country; in front of them the Byzantines were engaged in a dispute among one another about the natures in Christ; the Sassanids had their dualistic religion; both empires were shaken to their foundations politically and militarily.

The specific thing that Mohammed encountered was the rite of the pilgrimage to the Kaaba toward which the entire existence of Mecca had been oriented from ancient times. Since Mohammed could not evade the Kaaba and the pilgrimage although they had per se no necessary connection with his faith , he had not only to incorporate them in his system, but to make them the center of his entire cult.

For a while he has to flee from Mecca; then the enthusiasm of his entire following becomes all the more the desire for the Kaaba, and his decisive victory is then the capture of Mecca. That in the future all peoples would be infected with the longing for the Kaaba he can hardly have suspected. For the time being he enjoined all non-believers from the Kaaba and the pilgrimage. With his scanty preaching alone he would have achieved only a modest Edition: To this there immediately attaches as something natural the holy war against the outside as well.

World empire is a simple corollary. Mohammed is personally very fanatical; that is his basic strength. His fanaticism is that of a radical simplifier and to that extent is quite genuine. It is of the toughest variety, namely, doctrinaire passion, and his victory is one of the greatest victories of fanaticism and triviality. All idolatry, everything mythical, everything free in religion, all the multifarious ramifications of the hitherto existing faith, transport him into a real rage, and he hits upon a moment when large strata of his nation were evidently highly receptive to an extreme simplification of the religious; his genius lies in his divining this.

And the peoples who were now attacked may also have been somewhat tired of their existing theology and mythology. From his youth on, Mohammed, with the aid of at least ten people, looks over the faiths of the Jews, Christians, and Parsis, and steals from them any scraps that he can use, shaping these elements according to his imagination. The very extraordinary thing is that with all this Mohammed achieved not merely lifetime success, the homage of Arabia, but founded a world religion that is viable to this day and has a tremendously high opinion of itself.

In this new religion, everything had to be within the common range of the Arabs, i. Therefore Islam has the simplest catechism, and the main elements of this simplicity are as follows:. Revelations by the prophets Adam, Noah, Moses, Christ, and Mohammed as the last of the prophets, but with intimations of a Mahdi. Aside from any absolute value, it may be assumed that this religion and Weltanschauung corresponds in large measure to the universally human on a certain level of inner development.

Genuine devotion, mysticism, and philosophy can and have been able to attach themselves to this religion. But the more profound elements in Islam come to it from forces outside it. Islam trains its heads and hearts in such a manner that afterwards they produce only this form of state and culture and no other, whether or not Mohammed planned it that way. This paltry religion did it have a better moral effect than Arabian idolatry?

It holds sway from the Atlantic to deep into India and China, and makes advances among the Negroes to this day. Only few countries could be wrested away again from Islam, and this only with the utmost exertion. Where Christian governments rule over Islamitic populations today, they wisely leave them their faith; the Christian religion has no effect on it whatsoever. Does it not also contain such seeds? But as of now, this religion has lasted for a desperately long time, and the Islamic world at present subsists on this narrowness!

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For the Islamitic peoples, no matter how they fare, regard it as a vast misfortune for anyone not to belong to this religion and culture. This world religion has a high opinion of itself and considers the unbelievers unfortunate. However, it is possible to be in error sometime with this deduction regarding greatness and to mistake mere might for greatness. In this instance it is rather the low qualities of human nature that have received a powerful presentation.

Islam is a triumph of triviality, and the great majority of mankind is trivial. Present-day admirers of Mohammed pay themselves the compliment of mediocrity. But triviality likes to be tyrannical and is fond of imposing its yoke upon nobler spirits. Islam wanted to deprive distinguished old nations of their myths, the Persians of their Book of Kings, and for years it has actually prohibited sculpture and painting to tremendously large populations.

Was Mohammed a soothsayer? He is none of these, but rather a prophet. The crisis of his life and his religion begins with the alliance with Arabs living outside of Mecca. His adherents begin to emigrate. In July of his own hegira takes place. All religions are exclusive, but Islam is quite notably so, and immediately it developed into a state which seemed to be all of a piece with the religion. The Koran is its spiritual and secular book of law. This is the power of Islam in itself. The very reason and excuse for existence, the holy war, and the possible world conquest do not brook any other form.

But the tradition encountered is nothing but absolutism anyway Byzantines, Sassanids, etc. Then there quickly appears vulgar sultanism. Only when genuine religious strife flares up does Islam again become honorable for a time. There once more appear rulers who live only for the cause, and the Moslem community again becomes the true master of the state although it is never allowed to vote. Then the ruler is only the treasurer of the believers, as with Nureddin; and in the battles he seeks martyrdom.

But as soon as this stimulus is gone, ordinary despotism makes its appearance again. It tolerates and, under certain circumstances, desires material prosperity, but never and nowhere does it provide secure conditions for earning a living. Upon occasion it loves high intellectual culture, but on the other hand keeps it within definite bounds through religion.

This way it escapes: To be sure, it has learned to raise a loan, Edition: Through the sensuous delineation of a future life, Mohammed gives his own measure. It is a low religion of slight inwardness, although it can combine with whatever asceticism and religious absorption it now and again finds among the nations. Something very peculiar and rather unparalleled in the history of religion is the enormous degree to which pride is taken in this religion, the feeling of absolute superiority over all others, the utter inaccessibility to any influences; these characteristics grow into innate arrogance and boundless presumption in general.

This is in keeping, in praxi , with the lack of any deeper culture and of clear judgment in matters of everyday living. Further characteristics are consequences of the thoroughly despotic state form which passes over from the caliphates to all splinters thereof. This is an advantage; a Moslem simply is at home in the whole Islamitic world.

That is why a call to arms is not issued in the name of a political home, but only in the name of the faith, ed-Din; the war preacher concerned knows that his listeners can be stirred up only through fanaticism, even though the real purpose of the war may have nothing to do with the faith.

Further consequences of despotism, at least in substance, are the following:. In all activities, tortuous paths are preferred to straight ones. Everything is spun fine and dragged out.

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In Islam, slavery has an important source, among others, in the harem system, which is inconceivable without eunuchs and black servants. The strongest proof of real, extremely despotic power in Islam is the fact that it has been able to invalidate, in such large measure, the entire history customs, religion, previous way of looking at things, earlier imagination of the peoples converted to it. It accomplished this only by instilling into them a new religious arrogance which was stronger than everything and induced them to be ashamed of their past.

The dismemberment of Italy had been taking place since the Lombard invasion, as yet without the participation of the papacy. Now, however, this becomes the policy of the papacy, since it must want no one to be politically very powerful in Italy, while it will never itself be able to constitute the government of all Italy, as may have been the intent of the Donation of Constantine. It has a dread of too powerful Lombard kings and Italic national emperors. But it must desire to possess Edition: To be sure, its local position for the time being is such that it must wish it would never be defined exactly.

But above all it must evade close dependence upon any state and especially the fate of the Byzantine church, though it cannot always do without the aid of one secular power or force or another. Thereby it becomes, under certain circumstances, the cause of outside intervention and of the continuing multiplicity, and therefore weakness, of Italy.

Europe searches for forms and forces for the totality of life, a higher unity.

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The Judgment of the Gods and Other Verdicts of History by Robert Reginald consists of four stories, three originally. ARLETTE LEES is a rapidly rising writer of hard-boiled mysteries. but they always deliver sharp, exciting, intense crime stories you can really sink your The Judgment of the Gods and Other Verdicts of History, Borgo Press, , p.

One such form was found in the Roman church, another in the emperorship of Charlemagne. The unity of the West with all its corollaries was substantially dependent on the papacy; only ecclesiastical unity brought peoples closer together and was able to become a social bond of prime strength. The question now arises as to whether such unity could have been achieved without the papacy, or whether it could have been maintained without it. Would the Benedictine order, for example, alone have been able to save Christianity as the religion of unity?

Our present view of the world empire and its desirability is determined by whether the viri eruditi [savants] of the individual peoples who once belonged to it regard the development of their nations since then as a good or a bad job; in this, the desirability of power is, as a rule, a principle taken for granted.

Also, it will in general move as far away as possible from popular rule and incline toward a bureaucracy in which all energies of the Edition: In proportion to the size of such a state, its purposes appear the more tyrannical the more incomprehensible they become to the individual countries within the empire. In the case under discussion the Roman Empire was the best-known prototype. Even the ruling people which supplies the dynasty will hardly be in a better position.

But on this large scale, as on smaller ones, the real political purposes are traditionally replaced, in a greater or lesser degree, by dynastic, personal momentary interests. Such empires cannot be imagined as really politically alive, with independent participation of the federated peoples in the general volition and action; a centralistic empire is more suitable for aged peoples that have passed their prime.

As soon as political and individual-national life of any kind asserts itself again, no matter under what name, the empire goes to pieces. And whatever remnants of the empire do survive are then permanently inconvenienced by having to drag along the former obligations. In recent times people have tried to tell Charlemagne that he had a legitimate and adequate task in the incorporation of the Saxons, the expansion of Germanic civilization plus classical culture, the spread of Christianity to the slave countries, and defense against the Normans, and that instead of these things he wrongfully strove for world dominion and waged world wars as a conqueror.

This entire censure is actually directed only at his conquest of Italy and his relationship to the papacy. However, by the thoroughgoing subjection of the Saxons he made a Germany possible for the first time. He annihilated the Avars; the Normans he knew only in their primary stage, but he was quite worried about them; no one will demand that he should have sought them out in their homeland in order to nip the danger in the bud. We simply must accept as a psychological phenomenon of the first order that one and the same individual force subdued the Saxons and at the same Edition: He who was able to do the one thing merely desired the other too.

However, the papacy, which was invited by Charlemagne to co-rulership of the world, remained whole, whereas his empire went to pieces. And this might perhaps have been the dark supreme will of world history.

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For the time being, there remain certain the value of the memory of a great man, and, as the value of the Carolingian period, these facts: The peoples in question were powerful for about a hundred years; they were equipped for the future with a great common premise and memory, with their culture infinitely more homogeneous than it had previously been.

After further intervals of barbarism, the peoples approached and understood one another again and again; a Western community feeling had come into being. They are pirates, but no ordinary ones; their leaders want to win glory and glamor at home by taking booty. Moreover, their habitat, the North Sea, requires the utmost in boldness, strength, and sacrificial spirit.

Enormous sacrifices of human life had to be expected, and this presupposes a greater wealth of vigorous Edition: One can scarcely picture these predatory fellowships under their jarls as powerful and astonishing enough; breeding and elemental strength must have presented an appearance full of wonder and awe.

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Everything that they encountered must have seemed withered next to them. They were destined to do the following things: Everywhere the Normans create viable states capable of keeping willfulness and sacrilege in check and of pursuing great goals. Its main test of strength came in its leadership in the contest against Islam. After huge initial losses the entire East, Africa, Sicily the Byzantine Empire stood its ground and kept advancing in Asia Minor, even as far as Mesopotamia. How would the multi-divided Europe, the dismembered Carolingian empire have fared without this state?

It was impossible for the Byzantine Empire to come to sensible terms with the Western crusaders, to achieve a real collaboration. The Crusades did only harm in the East; they resuscitated the entire heroic fanaticism of Islam, which would not have awakened from the fight against the Eastern Empire alone; they took an ever worsening course and finally, in —, the crusaders captured the Byzantine Empire Edition: The Latin Empire was wretched; only now did the opposition to Islam weaken fatally, and finally the Palaeologi actually succumbed to the Turks.

And subsequently, at such a late stage of Islam, Europe had to tremble before the Turks for centuries, except where it had an alliance with them. However, as long as the Palaeologi had some strength left, they helped to protect Europe. In addition, Islam acquainted them with a state structure which, through the identity of rulership and religion, seemed a degree stronger than the Byzantine state where these still were different things. They were military men and had very big ideas about the compulsory force by which all adversaries could be destroyed; any non-military resistance or opposition made them furious and ready to do anything.

Thus they waged an internal war at a time when the Empire would have needed the utmost harmony. The external form of this struggle is one part of the church against the other, i. The methods are partly those of Orthodoxy, namely, synods, church decrees, and so on, but also a bottomless brutality, in and by which one got to know the Empire as it looked when it was no longer restrained by any religious considerations. Now one had to let destruction rage until generals, like those of Empress Irene, appeared, men who had realized what influence could be gained by siding with a horribly ill-treated majority of the people.

The second phase of the iconoclastic controversy, in the ninth century, was determined by the facts that in sections of the army the tradition still lived on and that Michael the Stammerer, a heretic general and a Judaizer to boot, ascended the throne and founded a dynasty. Leo the Armenian started in again, at first with religious indifference cf. Leo, Mittelalter , p. The overall result was that the church was somewhat degraded, among other things in a main organ, the patriarchate. But image-worship and monasticism won a complete victory.

Islamistic optimists could draw up a counter-reckoning something like this: It was the greatest good fortune that the Byzantines were so disunited, through a church persecution, under such militarily efficient emperors! Otherwise they might have overpowered us. In his History of the Byzantines and the Ottoman Empire pp. But Leo, according to Hertzberg, had had the alluring model of predecessors like Theodosius the Great who had done away with Arians and pagans alike. Whether Leo had also hoped to win Jews and Arabs is a moot point, he continues.

Against him were the masses and especially the women. The omnibus's constituent collections were not published separately. A Collection of Mysterious Tales by Darrell Schweitzer consists of nine stories originally published from in various mystery anthologies and two magazines. Four stories are set in imperial Rome and Byzantium the first two with Pliny the Younger as the detective , two have Shakespearian settings, and three feature Sherlock Holmes in the Victorian era.

The Judgment of the Gods and Other Verdicts of History by Robert Reginald consists of four stories, three originally published from in various mystery anthologies and one published for the first time in the collection. One investigates the events surrounding the murder of King Sennacherib of ancient Assyria ; the other three are set in the time of William of Occam and utilize him as their protagonist.

The Occam stories can be regarded as fantasy mysteries, as he and his young assistant Thaddeus utilize magic in their investigations; in "Occam's Measure" original to the collection their opponents do as well. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Works by Darrell Schweitzer.