The Glory That Was Greece Essay Research

The Glory That Was Greece Essay, Research Paper The education of the Greeks exhibits a progressive development. … The ideal of Athenian education was the completely developed man. Beauty

The Glory That Was Greece Essay, Research Paper

The education of the Greeks exhibits a progressive development. …

The ideal of Athenian education was the completely developed man. Beauty

of mind and body, the cultivation of every inborn faculty and energy,

harmony between thought and life, decorum, temperance, and regularity –

such were the results aimed at in the home and in the school, in social

intercourse, and in civic relations. ‘We are lovers of the beautiful,’ said

Pericles, ‘yet simple in our tastes,’ and we cultivate the mind without loss

of manliness’ (Thucydides, II, 40). …

“The Greeks indeed laid stress on courage, temperance, and obedience

to law; and if their theoretical disquisitions — [or those of the Christians,

for that matter] — could be taken as fair accounts of their actual practice, it

would be difficult to find, among the products of human thinking, a more

exalted ideal. The essential weakness of their moral education was the failure

to provide any adequate sanction — [e.g., the fear of Hell and damnation] –

for the principles they formulated and the counsels they gave their youth.

… The practice of religion, whether in public services or in household

worship, exercised but little influence upon the formation of character.

… As to the future life, the Greeks believed in the immortality of the soul;

but this belief had little or no practical significance [as to them, virtue

was its own reward]. …

“Thus the motive for virtuous action was found, not in respect for

Divine law nor in the hope of eternal reward, but simply in the desire to

temper in due proportion the elements of human nature. Virtue is not

self-possession for the sake of duty, but, as Plato says, ‘a kind of health and

good habit of the soul,’ while vice is ‘a disease and deformity and sickness

of it.’ The just man ‘will so regulate his own character as to be on good

terms with himself, and to set those three principles (reason, passion, and

desire) in tune together, as if they were verily three chords of a harmony, a

higher, a lower, and a middle, and whatever may lie between these; and

after he has bound all three together and reduced the many elements of

his nature to a real unity as a temperate and duly harmonized man, he will

then at length proceed to do whatever he has to do’ (Republic, IV, 443).

This conception of virtue as a self-balancing was closely bound up with

that idea of personal worth which has already been mentioned as the

central element in Greek life and education. … The aim of education,

therefore, is to develop knowledge of the GOOD.” (CE. v, 296-7.)

Saving their depraved want of respect for “Divine law” –

(proclaimed by priests), and their woeful neglect to provide “adequate

sanction” of “bribe of Heaven and threat of Hell” (priest-devised),

for inducement to their Nature-harmonized character, the godless

Greeks did fairly well in “developing the knowledge of the good” and

attaining the most “exalted ideal” — outside of Jewish-Christian

revelation — to be found among mankind, of personal and civic virtue,

due alone to their high “idea of personal worth,” rather than to the

revealed concept of humanity pre-damned, “conceived in sin and born

in iniquity,” crawling through this Vale of Tears as “Vile worms of the

dust,” of Christian self-confession. But then, God in his inscrutable

Wisdom had withheld his precious revelation of Total Depravity from

the Greeks, — knowing, probably, that they did not need it, and had

bestowed it only on the obscure tribe of barbarian polygamous

Hebrews, who eminently fitted the revelation. So it was not the Greeks’

fault that they were no worse off, without the revelation, than were the

Jews with it. We will come to the Christians anon.

Though, thus, the “Sun of Righteousness” did not illumine the

revelationless skies of Greek Culture, the most splendrous stars of

intellect and soul which ever — (before the Star of Bethlehem arose) –

shone down the vistas of Time, blazed in its zenith. The name of every

star in that Pagan Greek galaxy is known to every intelligent person

throughout Christendom today; the light from these or those of them

illuminates every page and every phase of Art, Literature and Science

known today to the inestimable glory of man and boon of humanity.

The living germ of some, the unsurpassed perfection of others, is the

product of the intellect and the soul of the poor Pagan Greeks who

had no Divine Revelation and were bereft of the priceless “benefit of

Clergy” as a teaching institution.

Let us gaze for a moment as through the telescope of Time and scan

the brilliant luminaries of the heavens of Pagan Greek genius,

undimmed then by the Light of the Cross. Beginning with those who were

about contemporary in their appearance with post-exilic Hebrew

revelation, say about 600 B.C., we will name only those immortally

known to every high school student, skipping among the galaxies down

to the time, about 400 A.D., when they were for a thousand years

eclipsed by the Light of the Cross shining in the “Dark Ages” of

Christian Faith.

The Pagan Greeks, unfamiliar with the Hebrew revelation of the

Divine Right of Kings — (anointed by priests) — to rule mankind,

invented Democracy, the right of the people to rule themselves, –

a heresy recognized in the Declaration as a self-evident proposition, that

all just powers of government are derived from the consent of the

governed. News about Moses and his Divine laws not having penetrated

into Pagan Greece, a scheme of purely human codes for human conduct

was devised by the heathen Lawgivers, Draco, Solon, Lycurgus. The

revealed Mosaic History of the Hebrews not being available as a

model, the poor Pagan Greeks had to make shift with Herodotus,

“Father of History,” Thucydides, Xenophon, Strabo, Plutarch, Pausanius,

Polybius, Claudius Ptolemy, Dion Cassius. The God-drafted plans

of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and of Solomon’s Temple not

being at hand to imitate, uninspired Greeks planned and built the

Parthenon, the Erechtheum, the Prophyl a, the Temple of Diana of

Ephesus, the Temple of Apollo at Corinth, the Serapion and the

Museum, “Home of all the Muses,” at Alexandria. The summit of

human art in sculpture was reached in Pagan Greece, the Apollo

Belvidere, the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory, the Laocoon, the

friezes of the Parthenon; consummate masters of the “Old Masters”

were the Pagans Phidias, Praxiteles, Callimachus, Scopas, Polyclitus,

with the chisel; Apelles, Zeuxis, Polygnotus, Parrhasius, Pausias, with

the brush. Statesmen and military leaders unknown to Hebrew History,

yet whose names are immortal, led the Pagan Greeks to greatness

and glory: Themistocles, Pericles, Aristides the Just, Lycurgus,

Miltiades, Leonidas, Alexander the Great, who conquered the

God-led Jews. Poor heathen orators, who never heard Jehovah speak

from Sinai, nor the Christ on the Mount, — their supreme eloquence has

echoed down the ages: Demosthenes, Democrates, +schines, Lysias,


Literature and the Theatre were born in Pagan Greece; the

“Classics” of Pagan thought and dramatic majesty came from the

minds and pens of uninspired heathen who knew no line of the inspired

“Law and Prophets” of the Hebrews, made semi-intelligible and

sonorous only by the very free treatment of skilled translators into

Elizabethan English; they are the immortal and inimitable standards

of literary form, style, culture, in every university, high school, playhouse,

and cultured home in Christendom today. For poetry: Homer,

Hesiod, Pindar, Anacreon, Theocritus, the burning Sappho; for

drama: +schylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, besides the

historians and orators named, the delightful old +sop, the philosophers

and scholars yet to name. The drama, tragedy, comedy, the chorus,

melodrama; the epic, the ode, the lyric, the elegy, poetic form

and measure, the very words for all these things, pure Pagan Greek.

Philosophy — the love of Wisdom — the highest reach of the uninspired

human intellect into the mysteries, not of faith and godliness, but of

mind and soul, in search of the first principles of being, — the “ousia of

the on,” and for the Supreme Good, the noblest rules of human conduct

and happiness: Thales, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Empedocles,

Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Leucippus, Democritus, Protagoras, Socrates,

Plato of the Academy, Aristotle of the Lyceum, Epicurus, Pythagoras,

Zeno the Stoic, Antisthenes the Cynic, whose lofty moral systems

have exalted mankind ever since, and whose words and works

have dominated civilization and made their names immortal, though

none of them knew of Moses, the Christ, or the Apostles, — although

Heraclitus invented the “Logos” which St. John worked up into the

creative “Word of God” for Christian consumption.

Science, supremest handmaid of civilization, the true “God of this

world,” its splendid dawn was in Pagan Greece, unshackled by Genesis

and Divine Mosaic revelation. Here Greek thought, undeterred by

priestly ban and unafrighted by Popish Inquisition, sought to fathom

the secrets of Creation and of Nature, to explain the Riddle of the

Universe, to make the forces of Nature the obedient servitors of Man.

Astronomy was born with Thales [640-546 B.C.], the first of the

Seven Sages of Greece. Utterly ignorant of the Divine handiwork of

the Six Days, and of universal creation out of universal Nothing, and

not having travelled enough to verify the four corners of the flat earth,

guarded by the Four Angels of the Corners, guardians of the Four Winds,

he sought for the First Principle, the arche’, of Creation, attributing

all matter to changes in atoms; not knowing the revelation that

the sun was set in a solid “firmament” arched over the flat earth,

and somehow trundled across it daily to light Adam and his progeny,

and had been stopped still for Joshua and turned backward ten degrees

for Hezekiah, but fancying that it was governed by fixed natural law,

by unaided power of mind he calculated and predicted the eclipse of

565 B.C., and discovered the Solstices and Equinoxes; he calculated so

nearly the solar revolutions, that he corrected the calendar and divided

the year into 365 days, which it still has; he taught the Egyptians to

measure the height of the Pyramids by triangulation from the shadow

of a rod he set up near them, and invented several of the theorems

adopted by Euclid. Anaximander (610-546 B.C.), like his master

ignorant of Mosaic astronomy, discovered and taught the obliquity of

the ecliptic, due to the erratic behavior of the equator of the earth in

swinging round the sun; he approximated the sizes and distances of

the planets — not all set on the same solid plane; he discovered the

phases of the moon, and constructed the first astronomical globes; he

was the first to discard oral teaching, and commit the principles of

natural science to writing.

Pythagoras of Samos (c. 584 B.C.), was a universal genius; he

coined the word “philosopher,” according to Cicero; made discoveries

in music, which he conceived as a science based on mathematical

principles, and fancied the “music of the spheres.” As he hadn’t read

Genesis, he defiantly (through such ignorance) proclaimed that the

earth was a globe revolving around the sun or central fire, and had

inhabitable Antipodes, — heathen notions which got several Christian

gentlemen into more or less trouble some 2000 years later when they

revived the idea. He speculated on eclipses as natural phenomena

rather than special dispensations of Providence; he disputed Moses on

Geology by claiming that the earth-surface hadn’t always been just so,

but that the sea had once been land, the land sea; that islands had once

formed parts of continents; that mountains were forever being washed

down by rivers and new mountains thus formed; that volcanoes were

outlets for subterranean fires, rather than public entrances into Hell;

that fossils were the buried remains of ancient plants and animals

turned into stone, rather than theological proofs of Noah’s Flood

embedded for confutation of Infidels in the Rock of Faith.

Democritus (e. 460 B.C.), the “Laughing Philosopher,” the most

learned thinker of his day and renowned for all the moral virtues; he

wrote some 72 books on physics, mathematics, ethics, grammar;

totally unlearned in Bible science, he scouted the idea of Design in

Nature, declaring it lapped in universal law; he upheld belief in secondary

or physical causes, but not in a primary immaterial First Cause,

declaring that by natural law could all the phenomena of the universe

be accounted for; that there was no need of, no room for, supernatural

interference or Divine Providence. He left [an] immortal mark on

the world of knowledge by his elaborated theory of atoms, or

constituents of matter too small to be cut or divided; boldly and logically

he applied this theory to the gods themselves, holding that they were

mere aggregates of material atoms — (seemingly verified by the fact

of eating the body of deity in wafers) — only mightier and more

powerful than men, — and seemingly, to walk and talk, hate and kill,

there must be something material about them. Modern chemistry, the

most universal and useful of the sciences, is founded on modifications

of the atomic theory of Democritus.

Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 377 B.C.) is known as the “Father of Medicine.”

He was the first physician to differentiate diseases, and to ascribe

them to different causes, on the basis of accurate observation and

common sense. His great axiom was: “To know is one thing; merely to

believe one knows is another. To know is science, but merely to believe

one knows is ignorance.” In his days all sickness and ailments were

considered as inflicted directly by the gods; the later revelation that it

was all due to devils in the inner works of man was not then known.

But the result was the same: all curing was the monopoly of the priests,

the friends and favorites of the gods and possessors of all godly lore.

As the only physicians, the priests had great revenues and a fine

livelihood from the offerings made by patients who flocked for relief

to the temples of +sculapius, which filled the ancient world. Hippocrates

sought to separate medicine from religion, thus incurring the

venomous attacks of the priests and pious quacks. Never having

heard of “fig leaf poultices,” or spittle to oust devils, “He laid down

certain principles of science upon which modern medicine is built:

There is no authority except facts; 2. Facts are obtained by

accurate observation; 3. Deductions are to be made only from facts.”

Not knowing the Christian art of casting out devils, the heathen

“Hippocrates introduced a new system of treatment; he began by

making a careful study of the patient’s body, and having diagnosed

the complaint, set about curing it by giving directions to the sufferer as

to his diet and the routine of his daily life, leaving Nature largely to

heal herself.” As about ninety percent of all ills are such as would

heal themselves if let alone, or if treated with simple hygienic means,

and many cures are greatly aided by “faith” even in Pagan gods, the

element of the miraculous is greatly discounted in the successes of the

priests of +sculapius, and possibly in those of Loreto and Lourdes.

He had no real successor until Vesalius, the first real surgeon; the

Inquisition nearly got him because his anatomical researches disclosed

that man had the same number of ribs as woman, not one less to

represent that taken for Eve; and he disproved the Church’s sacred

science of the “Resurrection Bone.”

Aristotle (384-322 iii. c.) the Stagarite, friend and tutor of

Alexander the Great, besides being one of the greatest philosophers, was

the foremost man of science of his day, and in his encyclopedic works

laid the foundation of Natural science or physics, Natural History,

meteorology or the phenomena of the heavens, animal anatomy, to all

which he applied the processes of closest research and experiment and

the principles of inductive reasoning. By reason of the limitations of

his process, and over-dogmatism rather than experiment in some lines,

he made many curious mistakes, which ham-strung the human mind

for ages. One was the assertion that two objects of different weight,

dropped from the same height to the earth, would strike the earth at

different intervals of time, the heavier first; when Galileo denied this

theory and offered to disprove it by experiment, the pious Christians

of Pisa scouted and scorned him; when he ascended the Leaning Tower

and dropped two iron balls, one of one pound weight, the other of one

hundred, and both struck the ground at the same instant, they refused

to accept the demonstration, and drove him out of the city; so strong

was the hold of even the errors of Pagan Aristotle on Christian credulity.

Aristotle had not read the cosmic revelations of Moses, and was

ignorant of the true history of Creation as revealed through him. He

discovered sea shells and the fossil remains of marine animals on the

tops of the mountains of Greece, and embedded far down from the

surface in the sides of the mountain gorges; he noted that the rocks lay

in great layers or strata one above another, with different kinds of

fossils in the several strata. In his Pagan imagination Aristotle

commented on this: that if sea-shells were on the tops of mountains far

from the sea, why, to get there the tops of the mountains must once have

been in the bottom of the sea, the rocks formed under the sea, and

the shells and other animal remains embedded in them must once have

lived and died in the sea and there have been deposited in the mud of

the bottom before it hardened into rock. If Aristotle had climbed Pike’s

Peak, he would have found great beds of ocean coral in the rocks there;

sea shell-fish and sponges — (which Aristotle himself first discovered

to be animals) — in the rocky walls of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.

Theophrastus (c. 373-287 B.C.), disciple and successor of Aristotle

as head of the Peripatetic School of philosophy; his chief renown

was as the first of the botanists, on which study he left some sixteen

books; for 1800 years after his death the science lay dormant; not a

single new discovery in that subject was made until after the close of

the millennium of the Christian Ages of Faith.

Aristarchus (c. 220-143 B.C.) was a celebrated astronomer of the

new school at Alexandria. From his predecessors he knew that the

earth revolved around the sun, and how the plane of the ecliptic was

designed; he calculated the inclination of earth’s axis to the pole as the

angle of 23 1/2 degrees, and thus verified the obliquity of the ecliptic,

and explained the succession of the seasons. Aristarchus had not read

Moses on the solid firmament and flat earth; he clearly maintained that

day and night were due to the spinning of the earth on its own axis

every twenty-four hours; his only extant work is “On the Sizes and

Distances of the Sun and Moon,” wherein by rigorous and elegant

geometry and reasoning he reached results inaccurate only because of

the imperfect state of knowledge in his time. By exquisite calculations

he added 1/1623 of a day to Callipsus’ estimate of 365 1/2 days for the

length of the solar year; and is said to have invented a hemispherical


Hipparchus (c. 150 B.C.) made the first catalogue of stars, to the

number of over 1,000; but his master achievement was the discovery

and calculation of the “precession of the equinoxes” about 130 B.C.

Without telescope or instruments, and with no Mosaic Manual on

Astronomy to muddle his thought, by the powers of mathematical

reasoning from observation he detected the complex movements of

the earth, first in rapid rotation on its own axis, and a much slower

circular and irregular movement around the region of the poles, which

causes the equator to cut the plane of the ecliptic at a slightly different

point each year; this he estimated at not more than fifty seconds

of a degree each year, and that the forward revolution in “precession”

was completed in about 26,000 years. Such are the powers of the

human mind untrammeled by revelation.

Archimedes (287-212 B.C.), one of the most distinguished men of

science who ever lived. He discovered the law of specific gravity, in

connection with the fraudulent alloys put into Hiero’s crown; so excited

was he when the thought struck him that, crying “Eureka” he jumped

from his bath and ran home naked to proclaim the discovery. He

discovered the laws governing the lever, and the principles of the pulley,

and the famous endless water-screw used to this day in Egypt to

raise water from the Nile for irrigation; he was the first to determine

the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle, calculating

“pi” to be smaller than 3-1/7 and greater than 3-10/71, which is

pretty close for a heathen not having the “Book of Numbers” before

him. He made other discoveries and inventions too numerous to relate;

he disregarded his mechanical contrivances as beneath the dignity of

pure science.

Euclid (c. 300 B.C.) is too well known for his “Principles of Geometry”

to need more than mention. Erastosthenes (c. 276-194 B.C.) was

the Librarian of the great Library of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, at

Alexandria, containing some 700,000 volumes. He invented the

imaginary lines, parallels of longitude and latitude, which adorn all our

globes and maps to this day. Not knowing the revelation that the earth

is flat, he measured its circumference. Noticing that a pillar set up at

Alexandria cast a certain shadow at noon on the summer solstice,

while a similar pillar at Syene cast no shadow at that time, and was

thus on the tropic; he measured the distance between the two places,

as 5,000 stadia, about 574 miles; described a circle with a radius equal

to the height of the pillar at Alexandria, found the length of the small

are formed on it by the shadow, which was 1/50 of the circle, and

represented the arc of the earth’s circle between Alexandria and

Syene; multiplying the distance by 50 he obtained 28,700 miles as

the circumference of the earth; a figure excessive due to mismeasurement,

but a magnificent intellectual accomplishment. Erastosthenes was

also the founder of scientific chronology, calculating the dates of the

chief political and literary events back to the supposed time of the

fall of Troy; a date quite as uncertain as that of the later birth of

Jesus Christ from which the monk Dennis the Little essayed to fix

the subsequent chronology of Christian history.

Hero of Alexandria (c. 130 B.C.) discovered the principle of the

working-power of steam and devised the first steam-engines. In his

Pneumatica he describes the olipyle, which may be called a primitive

steam reaction turbine; he also mentions another device which may be

described as the prototype of the pressure engine. (Encyc. Brit. xxi, 351-2.)

Strabo (c. 63 B.C.-19 A.D.), the most famous early geographer

and a noted historian; he left a Geography of the world, as then known,

in seventeen books, and made a map of the world; travelled over much

of it, and described what he saw. From a comparison of the shape

of Vesuvius, not then a “burning mountain,” with the active +tna, he

forecast that it might some day become active, as it did in 79 A.D. to

the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, described by the Roman

philosopher and natural historian, Pliny, who overlooked the Star of

Bethlehem, and the earthquake and eclipse of Calvary. Strabo was

ignorant of the cosmogony of Moses and the Flood of Noah; so he

declared that the fossil shells which he discovered in rocks far inland from

the sea proved that those rocks had been formed under the sea by silt

brought down by rivers, in which living shell animals had become

embedded. If Moses had revealed this interesting fact, much human

persecution and suffering would have been avoided.

The principles of Evolution were discovered and taught by most

of the ancient Greek philosophers above named and many others, all of

whom were profoundly ignorant of the cosmogony of Genesis, and who

“endeavored to substitute a natural explanation of the cosmos for

the old myths.” Anaximander (588-624 B.C.), though he had not

read Genesis, anticipated to the very word “slime” used in the True

Bible as the material of animal and human creation; “he introduced

the idea of primordial terrestrial slime, a mixture of earth and water,

from which, under the influence of the sun’s heat, plants, animals, and

human beings were directly produced.” Empedocles of Agrigentum

(495-435 B.C.) “may justly be called the father of the evolution idea.

… All organisms arose through the fortuitous play of the two

great forces of Nature upon the four elements.” Anaxagoras

(500-428) “was the first to trace the origin of animals and plants

to pre-existing germs in the air and ether.” Aristotle (384-322 B.C.),

the first great naturalist, shows “in his four essays upon the parts,

locomotion, generation, and vital principles of animals, that he fully

understood adaptation in its modern sense; … he rightly conceived

of life as the function of the organism, not as a separate principle;

… he develops the idea of purposive progresses in the development of

bodily parts and functions.” The doctrine is very substantially

developed by the Roman Lucretius, 99-55 B.C. (H.F. Osborn, From the

Greeks to Darwin, pp. 50, et seq.)

The vital germs of virtually every modern science had thus their

origin and some notable development in the fertile minds of the Greek

thinkers and in their great schools of thought, in the centuries which

preceded the Advent of the “Perfect Teacher” and his divinely

instituted successors in schoolcraft. If these profound researches into

Nature had been included in the Curriculum of the Church, rather than

fire and sword employed to extirpate them and all who ventured to

pursue them, Holy Church would not have had the “Dark Ages of

Faith” to record and apologize for. To what perfection of Civilization

and Knowledge might Humanity have arrived in these 2000 years

wasted on the Supernatural, and the “Sacred Science of Christianity”!