Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/political-theory.asp?pg=2

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

A. Zimmern 
Ancient Greek Political Theory

From, A. Zimmern, Political Thought,
in R.W. Livingstone (ed.), The Legacy of Greece, Oxford University Press, 1921.

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Page 2

This is not the place to enlarge on the features of Greek political organization or to point out the various elements in Greek political theory or practice which have proved of permanent value. Only a very summary appreciation can be attempted. But certain points can be picked out as being of special interest to the citizen of to-day.

In the first place, the Greeks, having made clear to themselves that public or common affairs existed, sat down resolutely to study them. Convinced believers in reason, they did not fall into the convenient English fallacy of believing that institutions are not made but 'grow', or that difficulties which seem too thorny for timid fingers to touch will settle themselves by being left alone. Political problems, they felt, were caused by men, by the interaction of human wills and desires, and by men, by the conscious and deliberate application of human intelligence, they could and must be solved. In spite of their belief in mysterious powers which control the destinies of men and nations, they did not think it decent to abandon public affairs to Providence; nor did they avert their gaze from them as too mundane for the squeamish intellectual to handle and turn them over to the tender mercies of the ignorant and less scrupulous demagogue or doctrinaire. Their public affairs were no more interesting than ours: they were indeed considerably less interesting—unless we are prepared to argue that the election of generals to command an army far smaller than the Swiss is a more arresting issue than the choice of a government to bear rule over 400 millions of men on five continents, or that the question of peace or war between two small neighbouring mountain territories outweighs in interest the discussion of the relations between the white and yellow races of mankind. And, if Greek politics were not interesting in themselves, they suffered still further by comparison with the other topics which lay ready to claim the Greek citizen's attention.


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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/political-theory.asp?pg=2