Ellopos Home

Home of the European Prospect

Home of the European Prospect
Start ||| The Philosophical Europe ||| The Political Progress ||| European Witness ||| EU News
European Forum ||| Special Homages: Meister Eckhart / David Copperfield

THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

VII. THE LATER EMPIRE: CHRISTIANITY IN THE ROMAN WORLD, 180-395 A.D.

Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


» Contents of this Chapter
Page 9

THE PREPARATION FOR CHRISTIANITY

DECLINE OF PAGANISM

Several centuries before the rise of Christianity many Greek thinkers began to feel a growing dissatisfaction with the crude faith that had come down to them from prehistoric times. They found it more and more difficult to believe in the Olympian deities, who were fashioned like themselves and had all the faults of mortal men. An adulterous Zeus, a bloodthirsty Ares, and a scolding Hera, as Homer represents them, were hardly divinities that a cultured Greek could love and worship. For educated Romans, also, the rites and ceremonies of the ancient religion came gradually to lose their meaning. The worship of the Roman gods had never appealed to the emotions. Now it tended to pass into the mere mechanical repetition of prayers and sacrifices. Even the worship of the Caesars, which did much to hold the empire together, failed to satisfy the spiritual wants of mankind. It made no appeal to the moral nature; it brought no message, either of fear or hope, about a future world and a life beyond the grave.

STOICISM

During these centuries a system of Greek philosophy, called Stoicism, gained many adherents among the Romans. Any one who will read the Stoic writings, such as those of the noble emperor, Marcus Aurelius, will see how nearly Christian was the Stoic faith. It urged men to forgive injuries—to "bear and forbear." It preached the brotherhood of man. It expressed a humble and unfaltering reliance on a divine Providence. To many persons of refinement Stoicism became a real religion. But since Stoic philosophy could reach and influence only the educated classes, it could not become a religion for all sorts and conditions of men.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

 

THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

url: www.ellopos.net/politics/european-history/default.asp


IN PRINT

Rediscovering the Path to Europe Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

Learned Freeware

 

Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

Home of the European Prospect

get updates 
RSS feed / Ellopos Blog
sign up for Ellopos newsletter:

Donations
 
 CONTACT   JOIN   SEARCH   HOME  TOP 

ELLOPOSnet