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These holy women, who were held in very great esteem, prepared the way for the reception of Mariolatry. Instead of 'temples --rock-altars, cromlechs, and other rustio structures were used among the Celtic nations by the Druids who were at the same time priests, magicians, and medicine-men. Their religious doctrines, which recall in many particulars those of the Rig-Vedla, were perpetuated from generation to generation by the aid of songs.
The essential features of this system were its purely local form and its want of a well-organized hierarchy. Even the Celts offer no exception, though they had a subordination from the Arch-Druid downward. This was the reason of the weakness of the old faith and eventually the cause of its fall. When the German nations migrated to the south in their warlike expeditions, they left behind them their consecrated groves and sacred oaks, hallowed by immemorial ages.
These objects the devotee and « bj cts of could not carry with him, and no equivalent sub- adoration. stitute could be obtained for them. In the civilized countries to which they came they met with a very different state of things : a priesthood thoroughly organized and modelled according to the ancient Roman political system; its objects of reverence tied to no particular locality; its institutions capable of universal action ; its sacred writings easy of transportation anywhere; its emblems moveable to all countries – the cross on the standards of its armies, the crucifix on the bosom of its saints. In the midst of the noble architecture of Italy and the splendid remains of those Romans who had once given laws to the world, in the midst of a worship distinguished by the magnificence of its ceremonial and the solemnity of its mysteries, they found a people whose faith taught thein to regard the present life as offering only a transi- Christianity tory occupation, and not for a moment to be weighed against the eternal existence hereafter- an existence very different from that of the base transmigration of Druidism or the Drunken Paradise of Woden, where the brave solace themselves with mead from cups made of the skulls of their enemies killed in their days upon earth.
The European age of inquiry is therefore essentially connected with Roman affairs. It is distinguished by the
religious direction it took. In place of the dogmas of
rival philosophical schools, we have now to deal Importance of
with the tenets of conflicting sects. The whole tory in thison history of those unhappy times displays the investigation.
organizing and practical spirit characteristic of Rome. Greek democracy, tending to the decomposition of things, led to the Sophists and Sceptics. Roman imperialism, ever constructive, sought to bring unity out of discords, and draw the line between orthodoxy and heresy by the authority of councils like that of Nicea. Following the ideas of St. Augustine in his work, “ The City of God,” I adopt, as the most convenient termination of this age, the sack of Rome by Alaric. This makes it overlap the age of Faith, which had, as its unmistakable beginning, the foundation of Constantinople.
Greek intellectual life displays all its phases completely, but not so was it with that of the Romans, who came to an untimely end. They were men of violence, who disappeared in consequence of their own conquests and crimes. The consumption of them by war bore, however, an insignificant proportion to that fatal diminution, that mortal adulteration occasioned by their merging in the vast mass of humanity with which they came in contact.
I approach the consideration of Roman affairs, which is thus the next portion of my task, with no little diffidence. It is hard to rise to a point of view sufficiently elevated and clear, where the extent of dominion is so great geographically, and the reasons of policy are obscured by
the dimness and clouds of so many centuries. culty ot tieut- Living in a social state the origin of which is in
the events now to be examined, our mental vision can hardly free itself from the illusions of historical perspective, or bring things into their just proportions and position. Of a thousand acts, all of surpassing interest and importance, how shall we identify the master ones ? how shall we discern with correctness the true relation of the parts of this wonderful phenomenon of empire, the vanishing events of which glide like dissolving views into each other? Warned by the example of those who have permitted the shadows of their own imagination to fall upon the scene, and have inistaken them for a part of it, I
The first thco
shall endeavour to apply the test of common sense to the facts of which it will be necessary to treat; and, believing that man has ever been the same in his modes of thought and motives of action, I shall judge of past occurrences in the same way as of those of our own times.
In its entire form the Roman power consists of two theocracies, with a nilitary domination intercalated. The first of these theocracies corresponds to Triple form of the fabulous period of the kings; the military Ronan power. domination to the time of the republic and earlier Cæsars; the second theocracy to that of the Christian emperors and the Popes.
The first theocracy is so enveloped in legends and fictions that it is impossible to give a satisfactory account of it. The biographies of the kings offer such undeniable evidence of being mere romances, that, since the time of Niebuhr, they have been received by historians in that light. But during the reigns of the pagan emperors it was not safe in Rome to insinuate cracy and publicly any disbelief in such honoured legends legendary as those of the wolf that suckled the foundlings; the ascent of Romulus into heaven; the nymph Egeria; the duel of the Horatii and Curiatii; the leaping of Curtius into the gulf on his horse ; the cutting of a flint with a razor by Tarquin; the Sibyl and her books. The modern historian has, therefore, only very little reliable material. He may admit that the Romans and Sabines coalesced ; that they cinquered the Albans and Latins; that thousands of the latter were transplanted to Mount Aventine and made plebeians; these movements being the origin of the castes which long afflicted Rome, Early Roman the vanquished people constitnting a subor- history. dinate class; that at first the chief occupation was agriculture, the nature of which is not only to accustom mien to the gradations of rank, such as the proprietor of the land, the overseer, the labourer, but also to the cultivation of religious sentiment, and even the cherishing of superstition ; that, besides the more honourable occupations in which the rising state was engaged, she had, from the beginning, indulged in aggressive war, and was therefore perpetually liable to reprisal—one of her first acts was the founding of the town of Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, on account of piracy; that, through some conspiracy in the army, indicated in the legend of Lucretia, since armies have often been known to do such things, the kings were expelled, and a military domination fancifully called a republic, but consisting of a league of some powerful families, arose.
Throughout the regal times, and far into the republican, the chief domestic incidents turn on the strife of the upper caste or patricians with the lower or plebeians, manifesting itself by the latter asserting their right to a share in the lands conquered by their valour ; by the extortion of the Valerian law; by the admission of the Latins and Hernicans to conditions of equality ; by the transference of the election of tribunes from the centuries to the tribes ; by the repeal of the law prohibiting the marriage of plebeians with patricians and by the eventual concession to the former of the offices of consul, dictator, censor, and prætor. In these domestic disputes we see the origin of the
Roman necessity for war. The high caste is necessity for steadily diminishing in number, the low caste
as steadily increasing. In imperious pride, the patrician fills his private jail with debtors and delinquents; he usurps the lands that have been conquered. Insurrection is the inevitable consequence, foreign war the only relief. As the circle of operations extends, both parties see their interest in a cordial coalescence on equal terms, and jointly tyrannize exteriorly.
The geographical dominion of Rome was extended at first with infinite difficulty. Up to the time of the capture of the city by the Gauls a doubtful existence was maintained in perpetual struggles with the adjacent towns and chieftains. There is reason to believe that in the very infancy of the republic, in the contest that ensued upon the expulsion of the kings, the city was taken by Porsenna. The direction in which her influence first
spread was toward the south of the peninsula. spread of
Tarentum, one of the southern states, brought fluence to the over to its assistance Pyrrhus the Epirot. He
did little in the way of assisting his allies he only saw Rome from the Acropolis of Præneste; but
from him the Romans learned the art of fortifying camps, and caught the idea of invading Sicily. Here the rising republic came in contact with the Carthaginians, and in the conflict that ensued discovered the military valut of Spain and Gaul, from which the Carthaginians drew an immense supply of mercenaries and munitions of war. The advance to greatness which Rome now made was prodigious. She saw that everything turned Rome builds on the possession of the sea, and with admir- a navy, able energy built a navy. In this her expectations were more than realized. The assertion is quite true that she spent more time in acquiring a little earth in Italy than was necessary for subduing the world after she had once obtained possession of the Mediterranean. From the experience of Agathocles she learned that the true method of controlling Carthage was by invading Africa. and invades The principles involved in the contest, and the Africa. position of Rome at its close, are shown by the terms of the treaty of the first Punic War—that Carthage should evacuate every island in the Mediterranean, and pay a war-fine of six hundred thousand pounds. first Punic In her devotion to the acquisition of wealth Carthage had become very rich; she had reached a high state of cultivation of art, yet her prosperity, or rather the mode by which she had attained it, had greatly weakened her, as also had the political anomaly under which she was living, for it is an anomaly that an Asiatic people should place itself under democratic forms. Her condition in this respect was evidently the consequence of her original subordinate position as a Tyrian trading station, her rich men having long been habituated to look to the mother city for distinction. As in other commercial states, her citizens became soldiers with reluct: ance, and hence she had often to rely on mercenary troops. From her the Romans received lessons of the utmost importance. She confirmed them in the estimate they had formed of the value of naval power; taught them how to build ships properly and handle them; how to make military roads. The tribes of Northern Italy were hardly included in the circle of Roman dominion when a fleet was built in the Adriatic, and, under the pretence of
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