Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

[No title]









WHEN CHReST CAME- AND NOW. CHANGES IN THE EUROPEAN KALE!DOSCOPE. AN INTERESTING PARALLEL IN HISTORY. (SPECIAL TO THE HERALD.") ,I ,I 1 rom tmv beginnings arose the great race of Romans that from a small area on the banks of the Tiber became the dominant force over nearly all the then known world. The community had passed through various phases, from tribal rule to political, until Rome became a nation. Various forms of government came into being and passed away; some- thing in the form of a senate was tried and broke down; then there wa.s the con- sulship that in its turn broke down; then the dictatorship broke down, and Augustus became Emperor. He had an empire that reached from the Atlantic to the Euphrates. The whole i of northern Africa, then known as Maure- tania, Numidia, Cyrenaica, and Egypt, | was joined in this empire to Judea, jo Syria and Asia Minor, and then right across the South of Europe until it in- cluded the Iberian Peninsula, Gallia, Hnd I then the South of Britain. The Mediter- ranean Sea became a Roman lake, and the territories surrounding it one va-st Roman farm. The legions ot Rome were arrested by the snows of Sarmaha (now Russia) and Germauia (now Germany and Prussia), just as they were by the terrible wa.stes of Scythia, but within those borders all the races received their laws from the Italian capital and paid their tribute to Rome. Within a population of about 120 millions was included all the world's wealth and all the world's intelligence; included, too, many races that were tierce and strong, but were subjygated by the dominating force that had made Rome great, namely, organisation and political strenffth. Armed v:ith weapons fliat were primi- tive, defended by armour that would be useless nowadays, and wearing helmets surmounted, by eagles whose beaks were of brass and whose talons were of steel, legions that numbered 300,000 men were able to enforce the will and the power of the emperor whenever he chose to exert that power from his seven-billed capital. There came a time when there was prac- tically an all-world peace. The great generalship of Julius Ciesar had subdued all possible rivals. The death of Pompey and the conclusion of the cil war had left Rome an undivided empire, swayed by a single autocrat. Pagan culture had been brought to its highest pitch, but the temples of learning in (Ireece had begun to crumble. No new Pythagoras, no new Socrates, arose to inspire and instil the students of the academies. In Rome, and Rome only, was there any resemblance to intellectual superiority. Even there, the great masters were becoming a dwindling band. Seneca Wifg born in the same yetir as John the Baptist, but the wisdom of Cicero and the sublime speculations of Lucretius were remembered by but a few. Virgil had died but a short time, and the tomb of Miecenas had been opened to re- ceive the bones of Horace. At that time Rome had not-enteroo upon the age of giantism that ruled its build- ings, but was rapidly becoming a collec- tion of remarkable pa-laces, luxurious baths, spacious theatres, and of temples in which were gathered all the brilliant adornment in which the pagan delighted. The Roman citizen claimed lordly rights over the citizens of the subjugated areas, and Rome had sunk into the habits of eal;o and demoralisation. In the past the Romans had suffered from the misrule of the senates, with their corrupt management of finance, mis- government of the provinces, and mal- administration of justice, but now that many of the subjugated races were pay- ing tribute to the empire's centre the people of Rome succumbed to the allure- ments of ease and depravity. The evil effects of this depravity soon spread through the vast empire until they reached away into Germany, on the north, even to Britain on the west, and to Palestine on the east. Throughout it there was the cruel jealousy for power of the emperor and his tetrarchs, which found its expression later on in such acts as the Massacre of Innocents. Culture and cruelty were then a com- bination that, Strange to say, finds a re- ma.rka.ble counterpart to-day. The man whose refinement and learning and whose affectation of the muses led him to writhe if a single note were misplayed by the musi- cians, if a single daub of unharmonious colour were introduced by the painter, or a single slip made by an actor, would turn from his graceful agonies to gloat over the convulsions of a dying gladiator and the spectacle of victillii-nicli, and animals—in the arena. The time had come for a change. For 4,000 years a great experiment had been going on: man had been allowed to do his best to retrieve the ruin of the Fall, but his struggle was in vain and ended in only a deeper plunge. The exploded nostrums of philosophy, the corruption of political and social practices, made the world weary of itself; dry rot had got into the ancient worships; idolatry and iPS Ad olatrV all( hero-worship tottered on their crumbling pillars; satiety and disgust were the pre- vailing mood of the wealthy; revenge and despair gnawed at the hearts oi the down- trodden millions. Tribes who had lost their nationality, the ci tizens whose hereditary freedom had been robbed, found no comfort in the ministrations of priests and temples, for people had lost faith in one another, and there was lilt tIc to inspire them with the fervotir of patriotism. The Hebrew Scriptures were known, but their lessons were not observed, and the Warnings of the prophets fell on heedless ears. Pagan mythology, it was true, had been brought to a fine art, but its elaborate system was too elaborate to maintain a hold on the people save under the compulsion of a cruel political sys- tem. It Feemed that the fulnesa of time had come when the Almighty should send his Son to found a new dispensation and to turn men's minds to run their course in better channels. Since then the map of Europe 1mis been an ever-chttfiging ka leidoweojie. The Roman empire broke, warriors and war- like troops from other quarters arose to assert their power, people who were few and wook became mighty races and nations that warred against each other, so that hardly a century has passed since the commencement of the Christian era until now without the map of Europe being altered. If we compa.re this con- tinent with its 6titp nearly 2,000 years ago, we .find that everything has changed. The then known world has become but a small portion of the territories of the globe. Asia has been' explored America has been discovered, populated and organised; Africa is a series of large coJonies from Carthage to Table -Niotinj bain; and in the Antipodes the great continent of Australia i* rapidly becoming a political entity, virile and wealthy. Dacia has been swept out of existence more surely than has Macedonia; Germania became a series of small nations that were not united into one until less than luilf a oentury ago. SarmaA-la "d Scythia have become one under the rule of the Tsars. Even Scandinavia is now occupied by naitions that bid fair to take their place in the community of the world. Two thousands years ago the tendency of Europe was to be united in one, but to-day we find she is undergoing the greatest shock the world has ever known, in which the forces of disruption are warring with the forces of reconstruction, and millions of people now await; not the coming of a new Saviour, but the final phase of retribution that may Blake that Saviour's work more easy.





[No title]


[No title]