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many cases of men who appear to have been their superiors in individual strength and prowess, the Romans were obliged to rely for their preservation on superior discipline and organization, and to subordinate the interests of the individual to the good of the state. Discipline, as has often been pointed out, was the secret of Rome's success; just as in the athletic contests of our own time 'team-play', the harmonious action of individuals as one body, triumphs over stronger but less perfectly organized opponents
This conclusion is supported by the early legends. We find no great national hero, whose valor or military genius leads to victory and conquest. There is no Roman Achilles, nor even a Pyrrhus or a Hannibal. We read of senators called from the plough to the command of legions, of fathers who put their sons to death because they disobeyed their general's orders. The worthies of old Roman story typify discipline; they were plain men, of moderate ability, but of sterling integrity, and full of devotion to the interests of their country The knowledge of arms of Pyrrhus and Hannibal at first triumphed over them, but Rome's citizen-soldiers always gained the victory as last.
But the conduct of Rome after a victory, which was due to the circumstances of her origin, had a no less important bearing on her progress than the victories themselves. Her leaders were not professional soldiers, but statesmen who were led to take the field by necessity They often made poor generals, but they knew how to make a wise use of the victories which they finally won
Wherever the Romans conquered, they founded colonies, and their colonies were not, like those of Greece, independent of the mother city, nor like those of many modern nations, a
source of weakness and a point of atttack in time of war: but closely welded to the state they were veritable 'bulwarks of the commonwealth. How wonderfully successful the Romans were in this respect is shown by the conduct of her colonies during that dark period when Hannibal swept like a storm over the fertile plains of Italy In the field army after army succumbed to his generalship, but all his art could not induce the allies to forsake the Roman cause.
By thus dealing with the widely different nations which surrounded her, the Etruscans, the Samnites, the Greeks, and the Gauls, Rome learned the lessons which fitted her to rule the world, and developed the institutions and characteristics which were to have so important an influence on the destinies. of the human race.
Of these institutions two had a far-reaching effect on the growth of Christianity, the Roman law and the Roman religion.
While in most cases it was the service of Rome to perpetuate and hand down to us the results reached by others, the Roman law was an original creation, whose development was greatly influenced by the early days of the nation. A state which is composed from the outset of different elements must cast aside tradition, and make its laws for the common good, on the principles of abstract justice, in order to deal equitably by all classes of citizens.
That the Romans very soon busied themselves with the solution of this problem, we may infer from the early legends, which represent Romulus, Numa, and Servius Tullius as legislators. The result was a code, which though at first of inexorable severity, was generally recognized as just, and hence attained the sacredness which only such law can have.
ing the whole of the bitter struggle between the patricians and the plebeians this feeling towards the law was manifest. There was no bloodshed, secession from the community was the only refuge of the oppressed, and the separate steps by which the plebeians gained their rights were taken in due legal form by the regular passage of successive rogations.
During the Republican era the law passed through a process of liberalization and humanization, and finally, through the Code of Justinian, became the basis of the law of all civilized nations. "Every one of us," says Ihne, "is benefitted directly or indirectly by this legacy of the Roman people, a legacy as valuable as the literary and artistic models which we owe to the great sculptors and writers of Greece.'
The influence of the spirit of the Roman law on the Latin Church and the Latin theology may clearly be traced. The organization of the Church was a reproduction, on higher lines, of that of the old Roman common wealth, and such an organization was of the highest importance to the existence of the new faith. As Milman says, "The life and death of Christianity depended on the rise of such a power It is impossible to conceive what had been the confusion, the lawlessness, the chaotic state of the Middle Ages without medieval papacy
Not less significant for the early history of Christianity were the peculiarities of the Roman religion. This was not inspiration; the unimaginative Roman developed no mythology, and his pantheon bore the stamp of his political organization and of the legal bent of his mind. The relation of man and his god was that of debtor and creditor. He struck a bargain with the deities, offering faithful service in exchange for protection and all the good things of life. The relation was
purely legal, and all the subtleties of the law could be employed by either of the contracting parties. Each was bound to carry out his part of the contract with scrupulous exactness; but if the man could take advantage of his god, by substituting the letter for the spirit of the law, it was perfectly proper for him to do so: and we are told that the pious Numa outwitted Jupiter himself, and offered bloodless instead of human sacrifices.
But on the other hand, in dealing with a superior being, of far greater power and knowledge than himself, the mortal must be careful not to run the risk of being overreached himself. He must strive to be letter perfect in all his prayers and ceremonials, since a mistake in a single word, or the omission of a single form, made his devotions of no avail.
Such a religion, with its multiplicity of deified abstractions, with its excessive formalism, naturally failed to impress the mind with reverence and awe, or to satisfy man's natural craving for a superior power to bow to and lean on for protection. After looking in vain to the religions of other nations for this missing element, the educated classes turned to the speculations of Greek philosophy; while the vulgar, longing for the mysterious and the awful, became the prey of soothsayers, fortune-tellers, and religious quacks of all nationalities.
Not a few also, as we may judge from the precepts of Seneca, which, as is well known, correspond in a striking way to those of St. Paul, had an innate desire for a nobler and purer life.
Thus at the dawn of Christianity lack of faith in the existing theology, and the failure of all known creeds to satisfy men, made the times ripe for a true religion. The Christian view of the life after death must have been especially attrac
tive; nothing is more melancholy than the utter lack of hopefulness regarding the hereafter which is manifested by the beautiful Attic sepulchral reliefs and the grave-inscriptions of pagan Rome. Caesar's celebrated speech during the trial of Catiline's fellow conspirators is an index of the feeling of cultivated men of the epoch; while Constantine's words before the Council of Nicea show the change which Christianity had wrought.
The people turned eagerly to a faith which offered forgiveness of sins and an eternal life to great and lowly alike, and the converts were not only from among the wretched and oppressed, within a century all parts of the empire, and all classes of society, were represented in the growing Church.
Another feature of the Roman religion which was important for the early history of the Church, was the tolerance which characterized it from the beginning. To such a religion tolerance was easy; it was even a necessity No war was ever waged by the state against religion. It was considered the duty of a foreigner to worship his own gods when in Rome; and just as the inhabitants of a conquered town might be enrolled among the Roman citizens, so their gods were often formally naturalized and became members of the Roman theogony In any case all established religions were tolerated and even protected.
So long, therefore, as Christianity was regarded as a sect of the Jews, it was unmolested. When, however, it became clear that they had no connection with the Jews, the Christians fell under suspicion as members of one of those secret societies or clubs, which, since they were usually of a political character, were regarded as a menace to the state.
Christianity was therefore unassailed at a very critical