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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/787

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THE MILITANT TYPE OF SOCIETY.

tion as its members are endowed with bodily vigor and courage. And, on the average, among conflicting societies there will be a survival and spread of those in which the physical and mental powers called for in battle are not only most marked but also most honored. Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures and inscriptions show us that prowess was the thing above all others thought most worthy of record. Of the words good, just, etc., as used by the ancient Greeks, Grote remarks that they "signify the man of birth, wealth, influence, and daring, whose arm is strong to destroy or to protect, whatever may be the turn of his moral sentiments; while the opposite epithet, bad, designates the poor, lowly, and weak, from whose dispositions, be they ever so virtuous, society has little to hope or to fear." In the identification of virtue with bravery among the Romans, we have a like implication. During early turbulent times throughout Europe, the knightly character, which was the honorable character, primarily included fearlessness: lacking this, good qualities were of no account; but, with this, sins of many kinds were condoned.

If, among antagonist groups of primitive men, some tolerated more than others the killing of their members—if, while some always retaliated, others did not—those which did not retaliate, continually aggressed on with impunity, would either gradually disappear or have to take refuge in undesirable habitats. Hence there is a survival of the unforgiving. Further, the lex talionis, primarily arising between antagonist groups, becomes the law within the group; and chronic feuds between component families and clans everywhere proceed upon the general principle of life for life. Under the militant régime revenge becomes a virtue, and failure to revenge a disgrace. Among the Feejeeans, who foster anger in their children, it is not infrequent for a man to commit suicide rather than live under an insult—rather than submit to an unavenged injury; and in other cases the dying Feejeean bequeaths the duty of inflicting vengeance to his children. This sentiment and resulting practices we trace among peoples otherwise wholly alien, who are, or have been, actively militant. In the remote East may be instanced. the Japanese. They are taught that "with the slayer of his father a man may not live under the same heaven; against the slayer of his brother a man must never have to go home to fetch a weapon; with the slayer of his friend a man may not live in the same state." And in the West may be instanced France during feudal days, when the relations of one killed or injured were required by custom to retaliate on any relations of the offender even those living at a distance, and knowing nothing of the matter. Down even to the time of the Abbé Brantôme the spirit was such that that ecclesiastic, bequeathing to his nephews the duty of avenging any unredressed wrongs done to him in his old age, says of himself: "I may boast, and I thank God for it, that I never received an injury without being revenged on the author of it." That, where militancy is active,