Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/37

This page needs to be proofread.


THEOCRACY 23

not in consonance with that right. Always Antigone met death at the hands of Creon. It was forever in vain that Socrates attempted to win Callicles over to the truth that our life as it speeds on and chafes insatiably at the bit is not the world as it should be, but rather the world as it ought not to exist.

The living religions of the Greeks and Romans were less imbued with theocratic ideas than were their political teachings. They were and remained systems which seemed to afford protection to a people's well-being. During the early age of tribal states, the King as the protector of justice and worship represented the god from whom his authority camd. Later a common feeling of solidarity expressed it- self in the god, who then in turn represented the state. In either case the religious relationship was always based on consciousness of a sanc- tioned superiority, to maintain which one expected the help of the gods one served. But with Alexander the Great a different situation arose. To the dislike of all true Greeks, including Aristotle who had coun- selled his famous pupil to make the Hellenes the ruling people of a new epoch and to deal with the Asiatics as if they were plants and beasts now given a master, the conqueror threw round himself a mantle studded with stars, and with the gesture of an Oriental god- king founded a universal reign superseding national boundaries. Thus the way was opened for a conception that all the peoples of earth formed one humanity. Yet the idea of a world monarchy always and everywhere met with resistance when men began to fear that it would bring about the loss of priority and render equalization immi- nent* Caesar, who laid claim to divine honours, took up the sceptre over the world against the will of the Romans. When the crown was given to Augustus, he was wisely cautious and refused to be a god- king or a king-god. As a priest-king or imperial-priest he united principality and pontificate civil and religious authority in his one hand. Therewith he represented the Roman people in the pres- ence of the gods. State worship was now designed to strengthen sentiment for the monarchy but also to surround the ruler himself with a sacred aura. The man who, while still alive, called himself Son of the Gods, Augustus, the Holy One, who was exalted above the sphere of the mortal and the subservient, received after death the honours of apotheosis. The Romans could honestly feel that thek


24