Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Separation versus Coalition

M. Rostovtzeff (1870-1952), A History of the Ancient World, Vol. I: The Orient and Greece, tr. J.D. Duff (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926), pp. 237-238:
The Greek, however strongly he felt himself a part of the Greek nation, was, first and foremost, a citizen of his own community and would sink his individuality for it, and for it alone. The interests of that community touched him nearly and often blinded him to the interests of Greece as a whole. Throughout Greek history the forces of disruption were stronger and more active than those of centralization; rivalry and separation, which found vent in wars between the states, were stronger than the tendency to agreement and coalition—a tendency which showed itself in treaties, alliances, and national arbitration, and laid the foundations of European international law. To the Athenian, the temple of his native goddess, Athena, on the Acropolis, the symbol of a united community and kingdom, was dearer than the temple of Poseidon in Calauria, the centre of a religious alliance between several communities akin to Athens, and dearer than the shrine of Apollo at Delos, the religious centre of all who used the Ionic dialect.

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