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jeudi, 25 octobre 2018

Tacite et le message anti-impérialiste

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Tacite et le message anti-impérialiste 

Les Carnets de Nicolas Bonnal

Ex: http://www.dedefensa.org

Les extraits que vous allez lire sont de Tacite (Agricola, XXX-XXXII). Ils exposent le message national, rebelle et anti-impérial du chef de la résistance bretonne à l’envahisseur romain qui l’attaque avec son armée mondialisée, ses mœurs sexuelles dépravées et ses impôts incroyables et son esclavage assorti. Ils sont d’une actualité brûlante et valent tous les écrits de résistance postérieurs. Lisez-les bien par conséquent :

 « Parmi les chefs, Calgacus se distinguait par sa bravoure et son lignage. Devant la foule qui s’agglutinait et réclamait le combat, il prit la parole.

51X1TNV36PL._SX210_.jpgVoici les propos qu’on lui prête :

XXX. 1. « Chaque fois que je pense à nos raisons de faire le guerre et à l’état d’urgence où nous sommes réduits, j’ai vraiment l’espoir que cette journée, qui scelle aujourd’hui notre entente, marquera pour toute la Bretagne le début de sa liberté. Car c’est tous ensemble que vous êtes ici réunis, vous qui n’avez jamais connu l’esclavage. Au-delà de notre terre, il n’y a plus rien. La mer ne nous protège même plus : la flotte romaine nous y attend. 2. Alors, prendre les armes pour combattre – un honneur que revendiquent les braves – c’est le choix le plus sûr, même pour les pleutres ! 3. Ceux qui autrefois, avec des fortunes diverses, ont combattu les Romains, voyaient dans notre force armée l’espoir d’être secourus. Pourquoi ? »

 On se croyait loin des invasions impériales en Bretagne. Mais comme a dit Guy Debord à la fin des années 80, « dans un monde unifié, on ne peut s’exiler » :

« Nous étions de toute la Bretagne les plus dignes et, pour cette raison, nous vivions dans son cœur même, sans voir les rivages où vivent des hommes asservis. Nous préservions même nos regards à l’abri des atteintes de l’oppression. 4. Nous occupons les confins du monde, la terre des derniers hommes libres, car c’est notre éloignement même et tout ce qui entoure notre réputation qui, jusqu’aujourd’hui, nous ont protégés ; or tout ce qui est inconnu est magnifié. 5. Mais maintenant voilà que s’ouvre l’extrémité de la Bretagne. Au-delà, il n’y a plus un seul peuple. Il n’y a plus rien. Rien que des vagues, des écueils et une menace encore plus grande, celle des Romains. Ne croyez surtout pas que vous échapperez à leur fierté méprisante en vous effaçant dans l’obéissance. »

 L’empire romain ressemble à notre empire actuel néolibéral. Il pille, il est omniprésent, il est sexuellement dépravé et insatiable ; il profane le monde et notre humanité.

« 6. Le monde entier est leur proie. Ces Romains, qui veulent tout, ne trouvent plus de terre à ruiner. Alors, c’est la mer qu’ils fouillent ! Riche, leur ennemi déchaîne leur cupidité, pauvre, il subit leur tyrannie. L’Orient, pas plus que l’Occident, n’a calmé leurs appétits. Ils sont les seuls au monde qui convoitent avec la même passion les terres d’abondance et d’indigence. 7. Rafler, massacrer, saccager, c’est ce qu’ils appellent à tort asseoir leur pouvoir. Font-ils d’une terre un désert ? Ils diront qu’ils la pacifient. XXXI. 1. La nature a voulu que les enfants et les proches soient aux yeux de chacun les êtres les plus chers. Les conscriptions les arrachent pour en faire ailleurs des esclaves. Même si en temps de guerre, épouses et sœurs ont échappé aux appétits sexuels des envahisseurs, ceux-ci attentent à leur pudeur en invoquant l’amitié et les lois de l’hospitalité. »

823773.jpgSelon ce grandiose Calgacus, on est là aussi pour être rincés par les impôts qui n’ont jamais été aussi élevés (France, Allemagne, USA) pour les couches faibles et moyennes dans ce monde pourtant si libéral :

« 2. Les revenus des biens sont dévorés par l’impôt, chaque année les récoltes passent à donner du blé, les corps eux-mêmes et les bras s’épuisent, sous les coups et les injures, à défricher des forêts et assécher des marais. 3. Ceux qui sont nés pour servir ne sont qu’une seule fois pour toutes destinés à être vendus comme esclaves. Mieux, ils sont nourris par leurs maîtres. Mais la Bretagne, c’est chaque jour qu’elle achète son asservissement, chaque jour qu’elle le repaît. 4. Au sein du personnel domestique, tout esclave acheté en dernier lieu est tourné en ridicule, même par ses compagnons d’esclavage. De la même façon, dans ce monde domestiqué depuis bien longtemps, on nous voue à l’extermination: nous qui sommes les derniers venus, nous ne valons rien ! »

 Extraordinaire Calgacus ou Tacite ! Les peuples n’ont plus de patrie et ils sont remplacés comme dans notre nouvelle économie de plantation (on déplace les esclaves, on remplace les locaux, on envoie les bénéfices à Dubaï ou Wall Street). Description des envahisseurs romains si proches des anglo-américains contemporains (le thème est repris par Geoffroy de  Monmouth, X, voyez mon livre sur Perceval et la reine) :

 « XXXII. 1. Croyez-vous vraiment que les Romains soient aussi vaillants à la guerre que dévergondés dans la paix ? Il n’y a que nos divergences et nos différends pour mettre en valeur ces gens, qui font des défauts de leurs ennemis la gloire de leur propre armée. Or cette armée n’est qu’un ramassis des peuples les plus disparates. Seules des circonstances favorables préservent son unité, que des revers réduiront en miettes. Mais, peut-être, pensez-vous que, tout en offrant leur sang pour asseoir ce pouvoir étranger, des Gaulois et des Germains et – quelle honte ! – bien des Bretons, qui furent plus longtemps les ennemis que leurs esclaves, se sentiront retenus par des sentiments de fidélité et d’attachement ? 2. La crainte et l’effroi sont de bien faibles liens d’amitié et, quand ils sont dépassés, ceux qui n’ont plus peur se mettent à haïr ».

Calgacus espère faire reculer l’armée de l’envahisseur en évoquant la patrie et la famille, les deux réalités les plus massacrées à notre époque.

« 3. Tout ce qui fait vaincre est de notre côté. Ici, les Romains n’ont pas d’épouses qui enflamment leur courage, pas de familles pour les blâmer s’ils ont fui. Beaucoup n’ont pas de patrie ou peut-être est-ce une autre que Rome. 4. Ils ne sont que peu nombreux. Ils ne connaissent rien de cette terre et cela les fait trembler : le ciel lui- même, la mer, les forêts, c’est l’inconnu tout autour d’eux ! Tout se passe comme si les dieux nous avaient livrés des prisonniers enchaînés ! 5. Ne vous laissez pas impressionner par de vains dehors ni par l’éclat de l’or et de l’argent, qui ne protège ni ne blesse. 6. C’est dans les rangs mêmes de l’ennemi que nous recruterons nos propres troupes. 7. Les Bretons reconnaîtront leur propre cause ! Les Gaulois se souviendront de leur liberté perdue ! Tout comme viennent de le faire des Usipiens, tous les autres Germains déserteront ! 8. »

On a peur de résister, sauf quand on a plus mal que peur. La résistance ne doit alors plus effrayer car c’est cela ou l’esclavage et la mine :

« Après cela, qu’est-ce qui nous fera encore peur ? Des fortins vides ? Des colonies de vieillards ? Des municipes en mauvaise posture où se déchirent ceux qui se soumettent de mauvais gré et ceux qui les dominent injustement ?

Ici, il n’y a que leur général, ici, il n’y a que leur armée. Là d’où ils viennent, on paie des impôts, on peine dans les mines et tous les autres sévices s’abattent sur ceux qui sont asservis. Subirons-nous ces outrages à jamais ou nous en vengerons-nous tout de suite dans cette plaine ? Marchez au combat en pensant à vos aïeux et à vos fils ! »

Rassurons le système : Calgacus fut tué, les bretons écrasés (XXXVII),  et les héritiers anglo-saxons devinrent les meilleurs impérialistes de l’histoire !

Bibliographie

Nicolas Bonnal – Perceval et la reine

Guy Debord – Commentaires sur la Société du Spectacle

Niall Ferguson – Empire_How Britain made the modern world

Geoffrey of Monmouth – History of the kings of Britain – book X – In Parentheses publications

Tacite – Agricola (sur Wikisource_ traduction Danielle De Clercq-Douillet)

dimanche, 05 août 2018

Invoquons Mars, père des Européens !

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Invoquons Mars, père des Européens !

Mars, père des Européens

par Thomas Ferrier

Ex: http://thomasferrier.hautetfort.com

Il est le dieu latin de la guerre, et si son nom de Mars est connu de tous, il était également appelé Mamers et surtout Mavors, directement issu de son nom indo-européen originel *Maworts (génitif *Mawertos), désignant le dieu de l’orage et de la guerre, correspondant au dieu letton Martins et aux divinités indiennes de l’orage, les Maruts, qui font partie du cortège d’Indra. Sous d’autres noms indo-européens, Mars correspond au Thor scandinave ou au Perun slave, et bien sûr à l’Arès grec.

C’est le dieu du « printemps sacré » (uer sacrum), lorsque toute la jeunesse d’une tribu est envoyée fonder une nouvelle cité guidée par un animal sacré associée au dieu. Les Mamertins furent guidés par le dieu en personne sous sa forme physique, comme leur nom l’indique. Les Eques furent guidés par un cheval envoyé par Mars, tandis que les Taurins avaient été guidés par un taureau, les Hirpins pas un loup, les Picéniens par un pivert, et toute la nation italique, le nom originel étant Vitalia, le pays des (troupeaux de) veaux, est en réalité associée au dieu Mars.

Parmi tous les peuples et au sein des peuples latins, la cité de Rome est des plus éminentes. La tradition attribue sa fondation à deux jumeaux, Romulus et Rémus, fils de Mars et de la vestale Rhea Silvia, elle-même fille de Numitor, le roi d’Albe, et que son oncle Amulius avait fait enfermer. Les jumeaux furent protégés par un pivert et une louve envoyés par leur père. Et un couple de bergers les adopta, ignorant leur origine divine et royale. C’est ainsi que Mars fut qualifié de « père des Romains ».

Lorsque Romulus et ses hommes enlevèrent les filles sabines, les mariages furent bénis par Venus Cloacina, épouse de Mars. C’est ainsi que Rutilius Namatianus, douze siècles plus tard, dira des Romains qu’ils associent les qualités réunies de Mars et de Venus, mère d’Enée par ailleurs. C’est sous la forme d’un nuage d’orage que Mars enlèvera par la suite son fils Romulus, devenu alors le dieu Quirinus, et l’emmènera sur l’Olympe.

Père des Romains, il s’assura toujours d’intervenir aux côtés des légions face au danger et plusieurs soldats à plusieurs époques témoigneront de la présence à leur côté d’une figure puissante galvanisant leur élan guerrier. Il est vrai que les Grecs aussi chantaient le péan afin qu’Arès soit parmi eux. Protecteur de César, qui dédaigna malgré tout ses avertissements, comme lorsque le dieu fit tinter ses lances dans la Regia la veille de son assassinat, il veilla auprès d’Octavien et d’Antoine afin que le dictateur soit vengé. C’est Mars Vengeur (Ultor) qui porta la colère des légions contre Brutus et Cassius. C’était aussi Mars Vengeur qui avait incité Brutus l’ancien à chasser les rois étrusques, Brutus qui avait dédié le poignard de Lucrèce au dieu puis offert un champ à celui-ci, le Champ de Mars (Campus Martius).

A la tête des armées de la république, il était Mars Gradivus, qui parcourt le champ de bataille afin d’occire les ennemis de la cité. Et en temps de paix, il devenait Mars Quirinus, « rassembleur du peuple », et à l’occasion protecteur du blé contre la rouille, agissant en guerrier même sur le champ du paysan latin.

Par la guerre, il amenait la paix. On l’honorait comme Mars Pacifer, lorsqu’il apportait la paix, et comme Mars Pacator, quand il revenait vainqueur de la bataille. Bien avant le dieu du soleil (Sol Invictus), Mars était dit Invictus, c’est-à-dire invaincu et invincible. Il était souvent simplement vainqueur, Mars Victor, aux côtés d’une Venus Victrix l’accompagnant tout comme Nerio, Bellone et Minerve au combat.

Au sein de la légion, Mars était devant et harcelait l’ennemi, il était Propugnator. Les cris de colère des Gaulois invoquant leur dieu champion, Camulos, lui répondaient. Et lorsque la légion était triomphante, et que l’empire s’étendait, il était honoré comme dieu Propagator. C’est ainsi que les valeurs de la Rome italique s’étendaient jusque dans les provinces orientales, sans grand succès ceci dit dans ce dernier cas.
L’empereur Maxence, face à Constantin qui se tournait vers un dieu étranger, honora à son tour Mars Propagator et donna même à son propre fils le prénom de Romulus. Il reconstruit quatre-vingt temples à Rome comme l’empereur Auguste en son temps s’en était vanté dans ses Res Gestae. Et Julien lui-même voulut sacrifier à Mars avant sa guerre contre les Perses. Mais le dieu ayant envoyé des signes contraires, tout comme César avant lui, Julien négligea son message et trouva la mort au combat, transpercé d’une lance revendiquée par le parti chrétien.

Mais Mars était là en témoin silencieux lorsque l’armée européenne d’Arbogast fut écrasée par l’armée chrétienne de l’empereur Théodose. Il ne sauva pas Rome car il avait promis douze siècles, et pas un de plus, à Romulus, comme les douze vautours que ce dernier avait vus dans le ciel.

Et aujourd’hui, alors que l’Europe est menacée comme jamais elle ne l’a été de toute son histoire, et que son existence même est en question, il est temps d’invoquer la puissance de celui qui ne fut pas seulement le père des Romains mais qui est aussi celui de tous les Européens, amis de la bravoure comme les qualifiait Hippocrate il y a 2.500 ans, de tous ces *Āryōs ancestraux dont Arès porte le nom.

Mars, uigila !

dimanche, 01 juillet 2018

The Ancients on Speaking Rightly

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The Ancients on Speaking Rightly

We are all faced with the challenge of speaking, and living, truths which are felt to be offensive by a great many of our countrymen, not to mention the powers that be. This is not a new problem. By definition, the natural diversity of men means that knowledge of the truth is highly unequally distributed and those who know most about the truth are necessarily a tiny minority. This minority must alone face the prejudices and ignorance of the masses and the violence of the state. The Ancients are in universal agreement in saying that the truth must be spoken carefully, with due regard for one’s social position, social harmony, and the general society’s necessarily limited ability to grasp the truth.

Hesiod, that most practical Grecian poet, said: “The tongue’s best treasure among men is when it is sparing, and its greatest charm is when it goes in measure. If you speak ill, you may well hear greater yourself” (Works and Days, 720-25). He advised to “never venture to insult a man for accursed soul-destroying poverty, which is the dispensation of the blessed ones who are for ever” (W&D, 715-20). And ought we not to be even kinder to those suffering from poverty of culture and soul?

On the positive side, Hesiod also eloquently described the almost magical ability of the heaven-blessed king to unite his community through right speech: “upon his tongue” the Muses “shed sweet dew, and out of his mouth the words flow honeyed; and the peoples all look to him as he decides what is to prevail with his straight judgments” (Theogony, 80-90). There was a unique ideal of isogoria – equality or freedom of speech, the right for each citizen to speak before the public –  in ancient Greece. This right however was, even for citizens, not unqualified and entailed responsibility, particularly with regard to the social consequences of one’s words.

In a faraway India, the followers of the Buddha paired gracious, truthful speech with perfect self-control. According to the Gandharan Dharmapada, Gautama said:

One who utters speech that isn’t rough
But instructive and truthful
So that he offends no one,
Him I call a Brahmin.

The one who does no wrong
Through body, speech, or mind,
Restrained in the three ways,
Him I call a Brahmin.

One perfectly calmed, ceased,
A gentle speaker, not puffed up,
Who illuminates the meaning and the Dharma,
Him I call a Brahmin. (Dharmapada, 1.22-24)

Lest one think this is but the fearful self-censorship of peasants and monks, the Norse poets have Odin say much the same thing. The Sayings of the High One (Hávamál) contain several verses advising caution in speech. Odin says:

He’s a wretched man, of evil disposition,
the one who makes fun of everything,
he doesn’t know the one thing he ought to know:
that he is not devoid of faults (Hávamál, 22)

Wise that man seems who retreats
when one guest is insulting another;
the man who mocks at a feast doesn’t know for sure
whether he shoots off his mouth amid enemies. (Háv., 31)[1] [2]

For, as Odin adds: “For those words which one man says to another, often he gets paid back” (Háv., 65). The foul-speaking, friendless man goes to the Assembly and finds himself “among the multitude and has few people to speak for him” (Háv., 62).[2] [3]

One must have the right speech, the most truthful speech possible, according to time and place and audience. The most important truths – those about life and death, about purpose and community – are rarely apprehended explicitly and rationally, nor do they need to be, operating at a far deeper psychological level. Your whole demeanor, your generous attitude ought to, without words, invite your kinsmen to live seriously and love their people. For as Aristotle said, so far as persuasion is concerned, the speaker’s “character contains almost the strongest proof of all” (Rhetoric, 1.2)

Unless you are a prophet (feel free to “announce yourself”), you must work with existing, living traditions, national and spiritual, whatever their imperfections, for these resonate with people and, if appealed to, invite them to higher purposes. (Actually, even the prophets, both ancient and modern, appealed to, expanded upon, and transformed existing traditions.) That which is bad in a tradition can be graciously understated, that which is good celebrated and glorified. You do not convince people with statistics and syllogisms, but by touching their soul. In terms of ethics, a living tradition is worth more than all the libraries and databases in the world.

All this is not to say that one should not say anything offensive to society. All the traditions are equally clear: there are times when truth must be adhered to openly, necessarily meaning the breaking of ties with society, one’s own family, one’s life. The point I would make is that this must not be done carelessly, but with self-mastery and effectiveness. The gains in terms of knowledge of truth must outweigh the costs in terms of social entropy, division, and hatred. Your words are actions. A generation cannot, and should not, be expected to abandon the religion and fundamental values it was brought up with (we ought to have a compassionate thought for the Boomers here). In all this, one should trust one’s instincts rather than calculate. Some truths are spoken in vain if one lacks power. As a Spartan once said: “My friend, your words require the backing of a city” (Plutarch, “Sayings of Lysander,” 8). Socrates lived cryptically his entire life, confounding convention and encouraging the good, choosing to die at precisely the moment when this would make truth resonate for the ages.

aristotelesrhetoric.jpgAbove all, we must shed from within ourselves the idea that we, personally, are “entitled” to free speech or that the masses can welcome the whole truth. If we still have these notions, then we are in fact still slaves to our time’s democratic naïveté. No, free speech is at once a duty and a prize, to be exercised only once we have become worthy, by our own personal excellence and self-mastery. That was, at any rate, the way Diogenes the Cynic saw things, calling free speech “the finest thing of all in life.”[3] [4] But this free speech was not to be used carelessly: the Dog’s notoriously vicious wit and outrageous behavior were always meant to benefit others educationally, metaphorically biting his “friends, so as to save them.”[4] [5] Do not worry about your right to freedom of speech: try to be worthy of freedom of speech.

On this point, I can do better here than quote the philosopher-emperor Julian, in his letter denouncing the so-called “Cynics” of his day, who had degenerated into something like a band of lazy and offensive hippies (my emphasis):

Therefore let him who wishes to be a Cynic philosopher not adopt merely their long cloak or wallet or staff or their way of wearing the hair, as though he were like a man walking unshaved and illiterate in a village that lacked barbers’ shops and schools, but let him consider that reason rather than a staff and a certain plan of life rather than a wallet are the mintmarks of the Cynic philosophy. And freedom of speech he must not employ until he have first proved how much he is worth, as I believe was the case with Crates and Diogenes. For they were so far from bearing with a bad grace any threat of fortune, whether one call such threats caprice or wanton insult, that once when he had been captured by pirates Diogenes joked with them; as for Crates he gave his property to the state, and being physically deformed he made fun of his own lame leg and hunched shoulders. But when his friends gave an entertainment he used to go, whether invited or not, and would reconcile his nearest friends if he learned that they had quarrelled. He used to reprove them not harshly but with a charming manner and not so as to seem to persecute those whom he wished to reform, but as though he wished to be of use both to them and to the bystanders. Yet this was not the chief end and aim of those Cynics, but as I said their main concern was how they might themselves attain to happiness and, as I think, they occupied themselves with other men only in so far as they comprehended that man is by nature a social and political animal; and so they aided their fellow-citizens, not only by practicing but by preaching as well. (To the Uneducated Cynics, 201-02)

Your words are a side effect, a very secondary one, of your way of life. How are you living?

Bibliography

 Aristotle (trans. H. C. Lawson-Tancred), The Art of Rhetoric (London: Penguin, 2004).

Hard, Robin, (ed. and trans.), Diogenes the Cynic: Sayings and Anecdotes with Other Popular Moralists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Hesiod (trans. M. L. West), Theogony and Works and Days (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Julian (trans. Emily Wright), To the Uneducated Cynics: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/To_the_uneducated_Cynics [6]

Larrington, Carolyne (trans.), The Poetic Edda (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Plutarch (trans. Richard Talbert and Ian Scott-Kilvert), On Sparta (London: Penguin, 2005)

Roebuck, Valerie (trans.), The Dhammapada (London: Penguin, 2010).

Notes

[1] [7] One could also cite verse 32:

Many men are devoted to one another
and yet they fight at feasts;
amongst men there will always be strife,
guest squabbling with guest.

[2] [8] More generally, one is struck at the degree to which the ethos of the Hávamál are in harmony with those of Homer and Hesiod, no doubt reflecting similar ways of life as farmers, wanderers, and conquerors.

[3] [9] Robin Hard (ed. and trans.), Diogenes the Cynic: Sayings and Anecdotes with Other Popular Moralists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 50.

[4] [10] Ibid., 24.

 

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mardi, 23 janvier 2018

Religious Piety in Sparta & Rome

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Religious Piety in Sparta & Rome

As (post-)Christian moderns, we are twice handicapped in trying to understand the religions of the ancient pagan states such as Sparta and Rome. Where we tend to think of religious belief as universalistic, other-worldly, monolatrous, and dogmatic, ancient paganism was particularistic, world-embracing, polytheistic (almost ecumenical), and non-dogmatic (but ritualistic). 

FdC-CA.jpgThe nineteenth-century French historian Fustel de Coulanges memorably showed, in his La Cité antique, the fundamental role which the religion had in shaping the laws, families, and very statehood of Greek and Roman societies. The ancient family and state were presided over by fathers also playing the role of priests. Participation in the religion defined who was a member of the community, whether familial or political, what were the inviolable sacred spaces were (the household, the city, the federal sanctuary), what were the duties of each, and who were the ancestors and gods one had to live up to. The religious-familial-political community – all the associated sentiments reinforcing one another in wondrous harmony – and its rules were constantly reinforced by regular and mandatory ritualistic activity featuring sacrifices, a set calendar, festivals, and so on. Coulanges says:

The comparison of the beliefs and laws [of the Greco-Romans] shows that the primitive religion created the Greek and Roman family, established marriage and paternal authority, fixed the categories of kinship, consecrated the right of property and the right of inheritance. This same religion, after having enlarged and extended the family, shaped a wider association, the city, and reigned in it as in the family.[1] [2]

He stresses furthermore: “There was not a single act of public life in which one did not have the gods intervene.”[2] [3] This cannot be overemphasized: all ancient Greco-Roman government buildings (including the treasury) were in fact temples. Assembly meetings and court cases were held under the auspices of the gods. Hence, selection of officials by lot was thought to be the gods’ choice and meetings could only be held on propitious religious days. Even on military campaigns, one finds the general acting as head priest, making regular sacrifices to the gods and looking for omens, and making decisions on that basis. Where Christianity has often been separated from the state (“Render unto Caesar . . .”), Coulanges is at pains to emphasize that in pagan Greece and Rome, religion was the state.

We are struck at how “scientific” the Greeks could be. Sophists, historians, and philosophers could explain phenomena in often surprisingly naturalistic and rational ways: that dreams are the return of what concerned us during the day, that the Nile Delta was formed by the river’s steady depositing, or that fossilized shells found in the mountains are proof that the seas used to be high. We find philosophers like Xenophanes criticizing the inherited tales about the gods in a surprisingly free spirit. Then there is Anaxagoras’ memorable claim that the sun was a “a hot stone larger than the Peloponnese”! The historian Thucydides is also remarkable for his lack of religious interpretation.

Yet, these “rationalists” seem to have been very much the exception in these societies, or at least, religious piety and superstition nonetheless dominated daily life. The ancient religion seems to us exceedingly superstitious in many ways. Look at what the most pious Xenophon has his idealized Cyrus say on his death-bed:

Zeus, god of my fathers, and you, O Sun, and all you gods, accept this sacrifice, my offering for many a noble enterprise, and suffer me to thank you for the grace you have shown me, telling me all my life, by victims and by signs from heaven, by birds and by the voices of men, what things I ought to do and what I ought to refrain from.[3] [4]

xenophon03.jpgWe are shocked to see, throughout Greco-Roman history, government and even military business being significantly affected by apparently trivial “omens” such as the weather, the entrails of animals, the flight of birds, dreams, sneezes, the inscrutable sayings of the oracles, to not speak of more significant events such as earthquakes and eclipses. All these were interpreted not as chance occurrences but as manifestations of divine will.

This was not merely a matter of form: one constantly sees ancient generals, say, delaying their action because of a religious festival or because the day’s sacrifice has not yielded an “auspicious” omen (e.g. the Spartans’ not coming to help the Athenians at Marathon, the Athenian Nicias’ passivity in Sicily). We also see religious controversies – such as the vandalization of the Athenian herms or the failure to to recover bodies at the Battle of Arginusae – leading to serious political crises.

On the subjective level, the Ancients experienced the world in a different way from us. Mystery and meaning were everywhere, and that is why they saw “omens” everywhere. On the sociological level, however, the religion clearly served a useful social purpose (otherwise, some tribe of atheists would have conquered their superstitious counterparts, something which never happened until the modern era).[4] [5]

Requiring all members of the community (family or city) to participate in given rituals and festivals no doubt fostered social unity. If men could agree on the interpretation of an omen, this could create social consensus when a decision had to be made, as the decision was considered to have been made by the gods. These decisions could indeed concern whether to undertake a particular military course of action or whether to launch a colonial expedition. We also witness occasional manipulation of omens for political ends. Wandering “seers” also seem to have used claims of divine insight for economic ends, and were sometimes dismissed as charlatans.

In any event, the piety of ancient societies, and in particular of the most successful states, is beyond doubt. Take Sparta for instance. The Spartans were famously pious and punctilious in respect of ritual. Herodotus says that for them “divine matters took precedence over human ones.”[5] [6] Xenophon, in his account of the Spartan state, unsurprisingly emphasizes Spartan martial prowess. However, it is after giving an account of the excellence of the Spartans’ rituals while on campaign that he says: “if you witnessed this you would think that militarily others are amateurs, whereas Spartans alone are real masters of the craft of war.”[6] [7] How telling that the warrior Xenophon reserves the term “craftsmen of war” for experts in religious ritual.

The social sense in this is no doubt in the powerful psychological impact of communal religious ritual in creating feelings of harmony, purpose, and steadfastness. On one occasion, Xenophon says that the Spartans were inspired with confidence, not only by the presence of many weapons in the city, but by the sight of their priest-king:

And here was another sight to warm the heart – the soldiers, with Agesilaus at the head of them, coming back from the gymnasia with their garlands and then dedicating them to Artemis. For where you find men honoring the gods, disciplining themselves for war and practicing obedience, you may be sure that there everything will be full of good hope.[7] [8]

We emphasize: the sight of and participation in a familiar ritual makes everything “full of good hope.”

PLU-VP.JPGPlutarch, in his Life of Lycurgus, attributes a similar role to religious ritual in promoting hope and courage (my emphasis):

Once their phalanx was marshaled together in sight of the enemy, the king sacrificed the customary she-goat, instructed everyone to put on garlands, and ordered the pipers to play Castor’s Air. At the same time he began the marching paean, so that it was a sight at once solemn and terrifying to see them marching in step to the pipes, creating no gap in the phalanx nor suffering any disturbance of spirit, but approaching the confrontation calmly and happily in time to the music. In all likelihood men in this frame of mind feel neither fear nor exceptional anger, but with hope and courage they steadily maintain their purpose, believing heaven to be with them.[8] [9]

Nor are such comments restricted to Sparta. We find similar observations on Rome, that other very great martial republic of the ancient world. Religious life was just as pervasive in Rome as in Greece. Livy says of Rome: “There was nowhere in this city that was not imbued with religion and which was not occupied by some divinity . . . The gods dwell there.”[9] [10] Indeed, one has to walk amidst the ruins of the Roman Forum to realize this: one is stunned to see such a concentration of religious-governmental buildings, the inevitable urban over-development produced by a vast empire.

The Greco-Roman historian Polybius, who like Xenophon was also an experienced politician and military officer, explicitly cites religious piety as a fundamental source of Roman power:

But the respect in which, in my opinion, the Roman constitution is most markedly superior is in its view of the gods. It seems to me that superstition, which we criticize in other people, is precisely what gives the Roman state its cohesion. In Rome, nothing plays a more elaborate or extensive role in people’s private lives and in the political sphere than superstition. Many of my readers might find this strange, but it seems to me that it has been done for the sake of the common people. In a state of enlightened citizens, there would presumably be no need for such a course. But since the common people everywhere are fickle – since they are driven by lawless impulses, blind anger, and violent passion – the only option is to use mysterious terrors and all this elaborate drama to restrain them.[10] [11]

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Again, it is striking that Polybius claims that religious piety was the aspect of Rome which was most superior to other states, promoting cohesion and morality among the people. It is also noteworthy that the emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose religious beliefs could be deemed deist or sometimes agnostic, took his role as Rome’s head priest very seriously: the father of the family and the state, by his pious example, shows the way for his flock.

Religion then played a fundamental role in the construction and cohesion of Greco-Roman societies. Religious practice, no doubt, reflects not only custom but deep-seated and in-born human psychological mechanisms, which seek to find meaning in the world and community with others. These mechanisms find their satisfaction through compelling existential narratives and pious rituals in common. The powerful effects are plain for all to see, both in the history of religions, and, for those who have not fully severed themselves from the ancestral ways, in individual experience.

Notes

[1] [12] Fustel de Coulanges, La Cité antique (Paris: Flammarion, 2009 [1864]), 36.

[2] [13] Ibid., 230.

[3] [14] Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus, trans. Henry Graham Dakyns (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1914), 8.7.3.

[4] [15] Actually, we should not think that atheistic liberals and communists, when they have engaged in some “crusade,” were not acting in a de facto religious spirit of fanaticism.

[5] [16] Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 5.63.

[6] [17] Xenophon, Spartan Constitution, 13, in Plutarch, On Sparta, trans. Richard Talbert (London: Penguin, 2005).

[7] [18] Xenophon, A History of My Times [Hellenica], trans. Rex Warner (London: Penguin, 1966), 3.4.18.

[8] [19] Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus, 22, in Plutarch, On Sparta.

[9] [20] Quoted in Coulanges, La Cité, p. 202.

[10] [21] Polybius, The Histories, trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2010), 6.56.

mercredi, 17 janvier 2018

Stoic Spiritual Hygiene with Regard to Normies

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Stoic Spiritual Hygiene with Regard to Normies

Ancient philosophy, as Pierre Hadot has argued, was not merely a set of ideas but meant to include something far more practical: the leading of a good life in the pursuit of truth. In the case of Stoicism, as with Cynicism, the notion of leading a philosophical way of life is particularly explicit and central.[1] [2]

The philosopher is interested in living a life according to purpose and principle, as opposed to the frivolous or the popular. This necessarily can make him seem a bit of a kill-joy and can make interacting with what we call “normies” problematic. This is not a new problem. Here is Epictetus’ advice on avoiding gossip, chit-chat about the ball-game, and other small talk:

Lay down from this moment a certain character and pattern of behavior for yourself, which you are to preserve both when you’re alone and when you’re with others.

Remain silent for the most part, or say only what is essential, and in few words. Very infrequently, however, when the occasion demands, do speak, but not about any of the usual topics, not about gladiators, not about horse-races, not about athletes, not about food and drink, the subjects of everyday talk; but above all, don’t talk abut people, either to praise or criticize them, or to compare them. If you’re able to so, then, through the manner of your own conversation bring that of your companions round to what is fit and proper. But if you happen to find yourself alone among strangers, keep silent. (Handbook, 33)

stoique.jpg“Show, don’t tell,” besides being good writing advice, is then an important Stoic principle concerning philosophy. One will always be tempted to make a philosophical and political point in order to show off or best another in argument, which of course defeats the whole purpose. Epictetus reiterates the point:

Never call yourself a philosopher, and don’t talk among laymen for the most part about philosophical principles, but act in accordance with those principles. At a banquet, for example, don’t talk about how one ought to eat, but eat as one ought. . . . And accordingly, if any talk should arise among laymen about some philosophical principle, keep silent for the most part, for there is great danger that you’ll simply vomit up what you haven’t properly digested. (Handbook, 46)

Epictetus is quite explicit that adoption of the Stoic way of life means a radical change, perhaps analogous to religious conversion. The change is so radical that one must be careful who one associates with. Obviously, one’s own spiritual practice will be all the greater insofar as one associates with like-minded people. Conversely, this also means one may have to abandon boorish old friends:

This is a point to which you should attend before all others, that you should never become so intimately associated with any of your former friends and acquaintances that you sink down to the same level as them; for otherwise, you’ll destroy yourself. But if this thought worms its way into your mind, that “I’ll seem churlish to him, and he won’t be as friendly to me as before,” remember that nothing is gained without cost, and that it is impossible for someone to remain the same as he was if he is no longer acting the same way. Choose, then, which you prefer: to be held in the same affection as before by your former friends by remaining as you used to be, or else become better than you were and no longer meet with the same affect . . . if you’re caught between two paths, you’ll incur a double penalty, since you’ll neither make progress as you ought nor acquire the things that you used to enjoy. (Discourses, 4.2.1-5).

Epictetus_Enchiridion_1683_page1.jpgThe message is clear: the low spiritual and intellectual condition of “normies” is highly contagious, one must exercise the utmost caution. No doubt this bad condition has been severely aggravated and magnified by television and pop culture.

By these metrics, I observe that the modern university experience is something of an anti-education: the stupidities of youth are exaggerated and made fashionable, rather than curtailed. The soul grows obese with pleasure and pride, rather than being moderated and cultivated. (I note in passing that Plato would no doubt be surprised, to not say worse, to learn that “academia” would grant degrees to 40 percent of the population.)

The Stoic will manage his social relations with moderation. He will economically support himself, honor his parents, and find a wife and raise of family of his own. Nonetheless, to the extent possible within the web of relations implied by his social role, he will live a philosophical life, and raise his peers by his example. In this, I should think, a shared spiritual practice with the wife and other immediate family is a great aid, to not say fundamental: by prayer, meditation, readings, song, and other rituals in common, one can lift up souls away from the sensuous and the frivolous, and towards principle.

References

Epictetus, Discourses, Fragments, Handbook, trans. Robin Hard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

[1] [3] Epictetus scolds those who adopt the name Stoic but prefer to talk about philosophical principles than live them:

What difference does it make, in fact, whether you expound these teachings or those of another school? Sit down and give a technical account of the teachings of Epicurus, and perhaps you’ll give a better account than Epicurus himself! Why call yourself a Stoic, then; why mislead the crowd; why act the part of a Jew when you’re Greek? Don’t you know why it is that a person is called a Jew, Syrian, or Egyptian? And when we see someone hesitating between two creeds, we’re accustomed to say, “He is no Jew, but is merely acting the part.” But when he assumes the frame of mind of one who has been baptized and has made his choice, then he really is a Jew, and is called by that name. And so we too are baptized in name alone, while in fact being someone quite different, since we’re not in sympathy with our own doctrines, and are far from making any practical application of the principles we express, even though we take pride in knowing them. (Discourses, 2.9.19-22)

Epictetus repeatedly contrasts Middle-Eastern “Jews, Syrians, and Egyptians” with “Romans,” as culturally and perhaps ethnically others.

 

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mercredi, 06 décembre 2017

‘Caesar was de volmaakte staatsman, niet Bismarck!’

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‘Caesar was de volmaakte staatsman, niet Bismarck!’

De beroemde historicus Theodor Mommsen beschouwde Caesar als de 'volmaakte staatsman'. Als liberaal bestreed hij rijkskanselier Otto von Bismarck.

Bijzonder mag het toch wel genoemd worden wanneer een historicus op 30 november, de tweehonderdste verjaardag  van zijn geboorte, een ‘Gedenktafel’, een herdenkingsplaat, krijgt in de twee steden, Berlijn en Leipzig, waar hij als professor voor respectievelijk Romeins Recht en Romeinse Oudheidkunde had gewerkt. Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) speelde dan ook een grote rol als ‘politischer Professor’, politiek geëngageerde professor, in het Duitsland van de 19de eeuw. Hij was de eerste Duitser – en tot nog toe de enige historicus – die in 1902 de Nobelprijs voor Literatuur in de wacht sleepte, en dat voor een werk dat hij 50 jaar daarvoor had geschreven, een werk dat de nuchtere titel ‘Römische Geschichte’ draagt. In een meesterlijke taal schilderde Mommsen daarin de geschiedenis van Rome vanaf zijn ontstaan als boerendorp aan de Tiber tot aan zijn opkomst als wereldmacht onder Julius Caesar, de staatsman die ‘das Römertum gerettet und erneuert’, gered en hernieuwd had, en zo na tweeduizend jaar nog voortleeft ‘im Gedächtnis der Nationen’, in het collectieve geheugen van de naties, als ‘der erste und doch auch der einzige Imperator Cäsar’.

Revolutie

mommsen_postcard.jpgWas de geschiedenis van Rome een voorafspiegeling van die van het Duitsland waarin Theodor Mommsen leefde en stierf? Toen hij in 1817 in het Noord-Duitse Garding het levenslicht zag, vormde Duitsland nog een confederatie van 38 kleine en middelgrote staten. Maar toen hij in 1903 overleed, was Duitsland al een Keizerrijk en een geduchte Europese grootmacht met grootste ambities op het wereldtoneel. Als journalist, professor en later lid van het Pruisische parlement zou de jonge Mommsen ijveren voor een vrij en verenigd Duitsland. In 1849 had hij in Dresden zelfs de barricades van de (mislukte) revolutie beklommen, wat tot zijn ontslag als professor aan de universiteit van Leipzig leidde.

Wedergeboorte

Was Otto von Bismarck, de architect van de Duitse eenmaking in 1871, dan in zijn ogen een staatsman zoals Caesar voor wie het hoogste doel bestond in ‘die politische, militärische, geistige und sittliche Wiedergeburt der tief gesunkenen eigenen Nation’ (de politieke, militaire, geestelijke en morele wedergeboorte van de diep gezonken eigen natie)? Nee. Als volbloed liberaal vond Mommsen dat de Duitse eenmaking ten koste van de vrijheid was gegaan. Rijkskanselier Bismarck wilde met zijn protectionistische ‘Schutzzollpolitik’ de Duitse industrie en landbouw beschermen tegen de invoer van onder meer ijzer en goedkoper graan uit het buitenland. Dat kon Mommsen in zijn afschuw voor de staalbaronnen en de ‘Junker’, de kaste van adellijke grootgrondbezitters, niet pruimen. Bismarck wilde ook met een pakketje sociale wetten de sociaaldemocraten de wind uit de zeilen halen. De liberale Fortschrittspartei, waarvan Mommsen een van de oprichters was, deed dit alles af als ‘zwendel’ en ‘demagogische Volksbeglückung’ (een demagogisch paaien van het volk). Mommsen relativeerde ook de macht die Duitsland onder Bismarck had gewonnen, want bij de eerstvolgende ‘storm van de wereldgeschiedenis’ zou die weer verloren gaan – het klinkt haast profetisch – , terwijl de ‘Knechtung der deutschen Persönlichkeit, des deutschen Geistes’ iets noodlottigs was dat niet meer goedgemaakt kon worden.

Dominantie

Roemische_Geschichte-210x300.jpegZijn die harde woorden, die harde oordelen van Mommsen over Bismarck en het door hem verenigde Duitsland wel gerechtvaardigd? Het Duitse keizerrijk (1871-1918) was beter dan zijn reputatie. Wetenschappen en kunsten bloeiden, de ene na de andere universiteit werd opgericht, duizenden kranten- en tijdschriftentitels verschenen, iedere (weliswaar mannelijke) burger genoot stemrecht en waar in Groot-Brittannië 70% van de gronden in handen van de adel was, gold dat in Duitsland voor ‘slechts’ 30%. Had Bismarck niet ook met zijn ‘Sozialgesetze’ de kiemen gelegd voor de sociale zekerheid? En was de ‘Schutzzoll’ (de ‘beschermende tol’) niet revolutionair, zoals Paul Lensch (1873-1926), journalist en sociaaldemocratisch lid van de Reichstag, stelde in zijn boek ‘Drei Jahre Weltrevolution’ (Leipzig 1917)? Deze tol zou immers de opkomende Duitse industrie tegen de Britse concurrentie beschermd en uiteindelijk naar haar dominantie op de wereldmarkt geleid hebben.

Geest

Mommsen was het prototype van de ‘politischer Professor’. Duitsland heeft er zo heel wat gekend, maar de auteur van meer dan 1500 publicaties was misschien wel een van de scherpste. Het ‘Rasiermesser’, het scheermes, zo noemden zijn studenten hem omwille van zijn strijdlustig, maar ook opvliegend karakter. Als liberaal streed hij niet alleen voor een economisch systeem, waaruit de staat zich moest buiten houden, maar ook voor een samenleving waarin de vrijheid van alle burgers zou gewaarborgd zijn. Zo haalde hij hard uit naar zijn collega-historicus Heinrich von Treitschke die met zijn beruchte uitspraak ‘Die Juden sind unser Unglück’ de haat tegen de Duitse burgers van joodse origine aanzwengelde.

Mommsen was in 1890 een van de oprichters van de ‘Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus’, maar besefte al gauw dat de Jodenhaters niet overtuigd kon worden met ‘logische en morele argumenten’.  De geest van Theodor Mommsen leeft niet alleen in zijn werken, maar ook in zijn nakomelingen voort. Kleinzoon Wilhelm Mommsen was professor geschiedenis aan de universiteit van Marburg, en diens beide zonen, Hans (1930-2015) en Wolfgang (1930-2004), behoorden tot de beroemdste historici van de Bondsrepubliek Duitsland. Een van de dochters van Theodor Mommsen was gehuwd met de grote classicus Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1848-1931). Deze werd in de grotere openbaarheid bekend door een vete met de dichter-filosoof Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) die hij een in de ogen van filologen onwetenschappelijke want intuïtieve werkwijze aanwreef.

mardi, 21 novembre 2017

Populisme antique: les institutions romaines avant Jules César

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Populisme antique: les institutions romaines avant Jules César

Bernard Plouvier
Auteur, essayiste

Ex: https://metamag.fr

Ce que l’on sait, par la tradition, des institutions romaines est tiré pour l’essentiel des ouvrages de  Tite-Live et Denys d’Halicarnasse, qui furent deux contemporains d’Octave-Auguste. C’est assez dire que ces deux historiens ont travaillé sur des archives que l’on avait eu largement le loisir de caviarder et de remanier durant un demi-millénaire, chaque nouvelle version vantant une philosophie politique édifiée sur mesure pour conforter les prétentions du potentat ou les intérêts de la caste dominante à l’époque de sa rédaction.

Il est exact qu’au milieu du 5e siècle avant J.-C., la célèbre Loi des XII Tables a, en principe, ouvert l’accès à une justice égalitaire entre tous les citoyens romains. Qu’elle ait été appliquée est une autre affaire. Officiellement, la vie publique de la République romaine est fondée sur l’entente entre deux groupes sociaux : les patriciens, riches et titulaires des charges de magistrats, et les plébéiens, qui ont pour seul rôle public d’élire les candidats officiellement sélectionnés par les augures et les sénateurs. Longtemps ces deux groupes vivent en vase clos, les mariages mixtes étant formellement prohibés.

La civilisation romaine est mâle en ses valeurs, opposées à la mollesse féminine

Elle est de type féodal : un chef de famille patricienne a autant de clients plébéiens qu’il le veut bien. Ils lui doivent assistance physique en cas de danger ; en contrepartie, il les aide au plan pécuniaire et les défend le cas échéant devant les tribunaux. Entre patriciens, l’amicia est une entente fondée sur la réciprocité de services bien plus que sur des unions matrimoniales. L’hostilité entre groupes rivaux dégénère très vite en batailles de rues.

C’est une rude oligarchie qui atteint son bref apogée au 2e siècle, une fois écrasée Carthage, la concurrente de langue. C’est à cette époque que débute l’hellénomanie. De ce fait, l’on introduit dans la bonne société les réflexions philosophiques, on méprise davantage qu’auparavant les esclaves – d’où la révolte de – 73 à – 71, semble-t-il dirigée par le Thrace Spartacus – et plus que jamais l’aristocratie domine la vie publique.

Tout au plus, les sénateurs, les seuls qui puissent accéder aux magistratures élevées, distinguent-ils la partie la plus riche de la plèbe pour en faire la classe équestre, à qui est dévolue l’inspection des comptes et des actes des magistrats en fin d’exercice, ainsi que la cavalerie en cas de guerre. À compter du 3e siècle, les familles sénatoriales ruinées condescendent à des unions matrimoniales avec cette nouvelle caste équestre pour redorer leur blason.

Seuls les riches, ayant les moyens de se payer le coûteux armement (glaive et bouclier, pique, casque et armure, chevaux) sont des citoyens de grande importance, qui, versant leur sang pour la défense ou l’agrandissement de la Patrie, sont dispensés d’impôt, sauf cas exceptionnel. Comme en Grèce, les plus riches n’acquittent que l’impôt du sang. Cette tradition perdurera en France jusqu’au règne de Louis XIV. 60% des citoyens, les moins riches ou proletarii, s’associent pour armer quelques-unes des 175 centuries de fantassins et leurs voix ne comptent guère, comparées à celles des sénateurs et des chevaliers, sauf pour élire leurs propres magistrats, les tribuns de la plèbe… encore les choisissent-ils presque toujours dans les familles sénatoriales ou équestres.

Aux 3e et 2e siècles, la loi affermant entre guerriers victorieux les terres étrangères conquises (l’ager publicus) n’est en pratique plus appliquée : les sénateurs et les chevaliers les plus influents se les font attribuer. Le principe non écrit, mais tacitement reconnu par tous, est que seuls les propriétaires sont de bons soldats, car ils doivent défendre (ou accroître) leur patrimoine.

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Ce serait une erreur  que de prendre les Gracques, Tiberius et Caius, pour des populistes

Ces deux frères, issus d’une famille sénatoriale, commencent leur carrière dans le dernier tiers du 2e siècle, en protestant à juste titre contre les conditions de partage de l’ager publicus. Mais au lieu de le faire affermer aux seuls Anciens Combattants, ils veulent le distribuer aux pauvres citoyens de Rome, qui ne sont nullement des paysans, mais qui sont des électeurs, et Tiberius instaure, pour ce faire, une commission où ne figurent que ses parents et amis.

De la même façon, Caius fait vendre, aux frais de l’État, des céréales à prix bradés aux chômeurs et aux petits artisans de l’Urbs. Il cherche à fidéliser une clientèle plébéienne, parvenant à obtenir sa réélection plusieurs fois de suite au tribunat, grâce à une loi qui est une entorse grave au système institutionnel. Parallèlement, il fait octroyer aux chevaliers la perception des taxes perçues dans les provinces conquises. S’il est abattu, c’est pour avoir voulu unifier les castes équestre et sénatoriale un siècle trop tôt.

Ces très riches transfuges de la classe sénatoriale se sont comportés en démagogues, s’assurant une popularité facile en période de crise économique, sans recourir à la mesure efficace, mais peu prisée des paresseux : fournir du travail aux chômeurs plutôt que de les assister. Ils furent les prédécesseurs des modernes socialistes de salon, issus de la très riche bourgeoisie, généreux avec l’argent de l’État et promettant la lune sans effort.
Objectivement, ils ne reculèrent pas devant le risque de guerre civile pour imposer leur domination. Toutefois ils appartenaient à la gens Scipio et divers chroniqueurs leur étaient apparentés ou faisaient partie de la clientèle de leur très noble famille. Ils furent donc fort bien traités par l’historiographie conventionnelle, au point d’être encensés de tous bords depuis plus de deux millénaires… un observateur doué d’un rien de malice pourrait soutenir que cette réputation même les exclut du groupe des populistes qui, toujours et partout, furent réprouvés des auteurs bien-pensants et bien-narrants.

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Caius Julius Caesar, le premier grand populiste romain

Appartenant à la très aristocratique gens Julii, il est, par sa mère, le neveu d’un très grand chef de guerre, Caius Marius, le vainqueur des Cimbres du Jutland, des Teutons des rivages méridionaux de la Baltique, des Maures et des Noirs de Numidie (le Maghreb occidental). Marius fit œuvre de populiste : il ouvrit largement l’accès au corps des officiers aux plus valeureux des légionnaires d’origine obscure (des plébéiens pauvres) et ordonna une équitable distribution des terres conquises entre tous les soldats parvenus à leur « congé honorable ».

Il fut le créateur d’un symbole populiste destiné à défier les siècles. Durant la guerre qui l’opposa, à la fin du 2e siècle, aux sénateurs, dirigés par son ex-chef d’état-major Lucius Cornelius Sylla, il rassembla ses partisans par le logo de la botte de foin plantée sur un pilum. Leur guerre, durant laquelle ni l’un ni l’autre n’hésita devant le franchissement du modeste Rubicon ni ne recula devant le pillage des demeures romaines des adversaires, fut le prélude d’un siècle de guerres civiles qui ne se terminèrent que par la victoire, en – 30, d’Octave, héritier et neveu de César. Premier titulaire de l’imperium majus, en – 27, avec le titre de princeps senatus, soit en français moderne les pouvoirs d’un empereur, Octave-Auguste fut le premier chef permanent, civil, militaire, mais aussi religieux de Rome, titulaire de l’Auctoritas – la primauté morale et spirituelle – et de la Potestas – la toute-puissance temporelle….

Caius Julius Caesar,  né en – 100, ne fut jamais « empereur », mais sous l’Empire romain, l’héritier, associé au trône d’un Augustus (l’empereur), était appelé un Caesar… Kaiser et tsar furent des titres impériaux se référant à l’illustre Jules. Épargné par Sylla, César est d’abord l’ami du chevalier et grand général Pompée, tous deux s’associant au plus riche des Romains, Marcus Lucius Crassus. César parcourt à très vive allure le traditionnel cursus honorum : Flamine de Jupiter (prêtre) à 17 ans, tribun militaire à 27, Pontifex maximus (grand-prêtre) à 38 ans, il accède pour la première fois au consulat en – 59, puis devient le proconsul des Gaules (de – 58 à – 51), ce qui lui apporte gloire et fortune. De – 49 à – 46, il mène la lutte contre Pompée et divers sénateurs, d’Italie en Espagne, d’Afrique du Nord en Égypte, puis en Asie Mineure. Élu dictateur par les Comices (l’assemblée des citoyens de Rome) à compter de – 49, il meurt assassiné en mars – 44, six mois après avoir désigné Octave comme successeur.

Qu’il ait été victime d’épilepsie et bisexuel n’est d’aucun intérêt pour l’historien. Ce fut en revanche, un génie politique et militaire comme l’on en a rarement vu dans l’histoire. Plutarque ne s’y est pas trompé qui mit en parallèle les vies d’Alexandre le Grand et de César. Toutes les réformes de César ont pour finalité de lutter contre le parlementarisme (le Sénat) et sa corruption électoraliste (entre bien d’autres exemples possibles, il n’est pas exagéré d’affirmer que Marcus Tullius Cicero – Cicéron – fut un démagogue). Il peuple le Sénat, accru d’un tiers de ses membres, de Celtes et d’Ibères, mais aussi de plébéiens de talent, les espérant moins corruptibles que les aristocrates.

Parallèlement, il diminue d’un tiers le montant des fermages publics et celui des impôts, mais il fait désormais payer sénateurs et chevaliers. Il protège les provinciaux de l’avidité des gouverneurs (issus des deux castes riches de Rome), puis décide de remplacer les gouverneurs issus du sénat ou de la classe équestre par des fonctionnaires, révocables par le chef de l’Exécutif. Il lutte contre la prévarication et le trafic d’influence des magistrats… on comprend son impopularité chez les chroniqueurs issus de la caste sénatoriale et sa popularité extrême du côté de la plèbe, qui exige pour ses funérailles une innovation : l’incinération dans les limites de l’Urbs.

Il a indéniablement créé un culte de la personnalité, moins par goût de la gloriole que pour asseoir son autorité. S’il fut « divinisé » après sa mort, ce fut pour signifier que son esprit s’était rendu digne d’être admis en la présence des dieux, où qu’ils demeurent. C’est ce que les Juifs et les chrétiens, intoxiqués par leur fanatisme monothéiste, n’ont jamais compris… pourtant les « saints » ont la même prérogative que les sujets « divinisés » par les païens : contempler la gloire divine.

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Toute l’œuvre de César, poursuivie par son exceptionnel neveu, a pour but de créer un État centralisé, fort, de type monarchique, où la Justice soit réellement égalitaire. Octave-Auguste fait ensuite adopter par le Sénat une loi permettant à chaque libre ressortissant de l’Empire, citoyen romain ou non, d’être jugé selon les coutumes de sa Nation, avec un droit d’appel au princeps senatus. César tente de moderniser la civilisation romaine, acceptant ainsi une mise à jour du calendrier, qui sera réactualisée au XVIe siècle… mais en pays antipapistes, on restera longtemps fidèle au calendrier julien.

Les droits de douane, qui font rugir tant de riches chroniqueurs, ne sont que la contrepartie de la Pax romana régnant en Méditerranée et sur les routes, de la fin de la guerre civile jusqu’au IIIe siècle. Seuls les citoyens romains ont le privilège de posséder une habitation n’importe où dans l’Empire, tandis que les hommes libres qui ont droit de cité ne peuvent en posséder une ou plusieurs que dans les limites de cette cité et de son terroir… Saül-Paul ne fut jamais citoyen romain, mais citoyen de Tarse.

Tout changera avec le grotesque édit de Caracalla, en 212, étendant le droit de citoyenneté romaine à tous les hommes libres de l’Empire. La décision (de motivation fiscale) de ce berbère par son père et syrien par sa mère, fut l’une des causes majeures de la destruction de l’Empire, conjuguant ses effets désastreux avec l’affaissement moral de l’élite, le fanatisme religieux et la très niaise charité des chrétiens, en une époque où les ennemis, avides de richesses, étaient innombrables.

Avant cet édit désastreux, durant le long apogée de l’Empire, le princeps senatus devait, pour plaire aux aristocratiques chroniqueurs, se comporter en digne personnage, sage et respectueux des formes (sinon des lois), étant « le bon berger du troupeau impérial »… la phraséologie chrétienne n’a fait que reprendre une expression païenne qui date du règne d’Octave-Auguste, manifestement reprise par Jésus de Nazareth lors de son enseignement semi-public, sous le règne de Tibère.

Texte tiré pour l’essentiel de Bernard Plouvier : Le populisme ou la véritable démocratie, Les Bouquins de Synthèse Nationale, 2017

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jeudi, 25 mai 2017

Cicero’s “On Old Age” and Modernity’s Obsession with Newness

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Cicero’s “On Old Age” and Modernity’s Obsession with Newness

Ex: https://neociceroniantimes.wordpress.com 

I don’t believe that it will come as a surprise to most readers that Western Civilization is obsessed with the idea of being “modern,” and has been for quite a while. Concomitant with this concept is that of “newness.” If something is new, then this is equated with it being better. Conversely, things which are old are viewed as out-of-date or even useless.  This mentality has wormed its way into practically every facet of life in the West. Indeed many of our industries operate on the principle of planned obsolescence – purposefully engineering their products to be superseded buy newer models on a regular basis.

Coupled with this tendency is the one similar to it that fetishizes youth while disdaining old age. Our shallow societies equate youth with beauty, and give preference to those in our societies who have the least knowledge and wisdom. Youthful foolishness is honored over staid, grumpy old wisdom. Westerners spend billions of dollars every year on surgeries and pharmaceuticals, vainly trying to stave off the inevitable effects of both entropy and their degenerate lifestyles.  Nearly the entirety of our entertainment, advertising, and related establishments are focused on catering to the young – when is the last time you saw an older person hawking the latest electronic gadget or starring in the hottest new sitcom?

In his essay “On Old Age,” Cicero lauds the blessing of the aged, giving four reasons why men fear growing old and then refuting those reasons.

First, there is the reason that old age withdraws a man from the public life.  Because he is not as physically vigourous, an old man could not participate in the wars and other employments requiring bodily strength.  Yet, to this Cicero rejoins that there were many, many examples of old men still active in the public life who rendered great services to the state through their passion, oratory, and wisdom.  Though the sword arm may be enfeebled, the swords of the tongue and the mind need not be dulled in the least.

Second, old age saps the bodily strength of a man.  Yet, as Cicero through the elder Cato argues, though this is often the case, it is not always so.  Even when it is, old men bring forth other areas of strength in which they exercise power with others – dignity, influence, paternal authority, knowledge, erudition, wisdom.  These allow them to act in ways even greater than those who merely depend on physical strength.

Third, there is the reason that old age deprives a man of the enjoyment of sensual pleasures.  Yet, Cicero points out that the aged should be thankful for this, rather than regretting it.  Sensual pleasures generally corrupt a man, being the author of innumerable evils ranging from adulteries to treason.  If a man did not train himself through philosophy to eschew these pleasures anywise, then he ought to be glad that old age deprives him of them.  Yet, the old man may still enjoy the pleasures of intellectual attainments, of philosophy and literature and the cultivation of his property and family.  So while old age robs a man of the evil, it leaves him in possession of the capability to enjoy the good.

Fourth, old age brings one nearer to death than other men.  Yet, as the author notes, death comes to us all, and none will enjoy the possession of this life for very long in the grand scheme of things.  A great-souled man will not fear what he cannot escape anywise, but will instead strive to act in such a way as to bring the most good through his life at every stage of it, in the ways most appropriate to each of its seasons.

These four reasons are generally complementary, and while he examines them in detail, they may essentially be boiled down to the fact that old age allows a man full access to the wisdom of both study and experience. Leading the contemplative, examined life is indeed easiest for the hoary head.  At the same time, the exercise of his wisdom – in giving counsel, in providing the sum of his wisdom through the influence of oratory, of passing on his accumulated knowledge and the perspicacity that comes with long exercise of his foresight and judgment – allows him to lead the active life even while physically weakened.  In a sense, he is able to participate in both of Evola’s “two paths.”

Cicero’s observations are indeed in very good accord with what we may observe in Traditional societies. Unlike cultures ravaged by modernism, Traditional societies do not view their elders as burdens or as hindrances.  Instead, the elders are the repositories of their society’s collective shared wisdom.  Equally as important, they are the vehicles through which this wisdom is passed on to future generations. There are very good reasons why kings and generals were often attended by councils of elders.

This may be seen in Cicero’s own Roman Republic.  The word “senate” derives from the Latin root senex, meaning “old, aged” and by connotation describe old men who were full of wisdom.  The Senate as originally constituted was intended to be a source of council for the executive, a place where the collective wisdom of aristocrats who had spent their lives in service to the state could be drawn upon by the consuls tasked with leading the nation.

In Cicero’s day – as in our own – this reverence for age and wisdom was passing away.  Much of this was because Roman society was falling into the trap of idolising youth without requiring either manly vigour or sound wisdom from it.  One need only look at the relative leniency with which Clodius Pulcher, of bona dea and trial for incest fame, was dealt and his ability to secure the exile of Cicero later on.  Clodius was so popular with the plebs, in part, because his youthful beauty and sexual magnetism ingratiated him with an increasingly frivolous and trivially-minded populace.  However, another cause for the Republic’s decadence was that her old men were acting foolishly, pursuing individual ambition at the expense of the state and nation.  Much like the Baby Boomers in America, the people in Roman society who should have been passing on timeless wisdom were merely passing time pleasing themselves with flippancy.

The Scripture hints at the divide between the two types of elders when it says,

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)

The grey hairs are the corona of golden grandeur surrounding the head of the wise and majestic elder who follows the path of wisdom and righteousness.  Yet, what a cause for shame and disgrace is it for an elder to be found in frivolity, puerility, and waste!

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The inordinate amount of money which Westerners spend on try to hide the effects of age and extend their youth has already been mentioned above.  Unfortunately, Westerners also spend billions of dollars hiding our elders away in nursing homes and other facilities which are designed to replace traditional familial piety and enable the children to live lives just a little bit freer from their responsibilities.  Nursing homes are perhaps the perfect storm of ways in which our wrongheaded society deals with our elders.  In these facilities, our elders are shuffled off to die, treated like children, abused by the scum of our society – there is no pursuit of their knowledge and experience, no respect for their exalted status.  That this is the case, in light of the decades-long trends in our societies, should not be surprising, for reasons which are quite manifest.  Age demands things like responsibility, maturity, and faithfulness.  Our youth- and pleasure-centered societies today prefer to shift their burdens onto others while living for themselves for as long as they possibly can.

Even aside from its treatment of people, the West worships newness in other ways while unmooring itself from tradition, experience, wisdom, and what is old and tried.  We see this even in the very architecture of the buildings constructed in recent years.  For centuries, the West built beautiful buildings, finely proportioned and richly decorated, as befitting a civilisation full of confidence in itself.  This architecture built upon millennia of traditional forms and consciously sought to connect the present with the past.  Now, we build angular, disjointed monstrosities which no sane or reasonable person could ever call “beautiful.”

In our literature, the West has abandoned timeless forms in poetry and prose in favour of “free verse” and “stream of consciousness” and other modernistic forms.  In our music, we’ve replaced musical forms that invigourated the soul and spirit and which celebrated our history and cultural legacy with repetitive, pre-packaged garbage appealing only to the flesh.  In our education system, we have replaced the traditional curricula and classical learning with useless electives on one hand, and with such narrow specialisations in technical fields on the other that the students are functionally retarded in any area outside their specialty.

All of this combined – the casting off of the anchors of our cultural traditions with their nobility and cultivation – is why very few know, and even fewer really understand, our history.  “History” is the very opposite of today’s zeitgeist that worships at the altar of modernity and innovation.  History, by its very nature, turns the eye back to the past, demanding that the soul learn from those who have gone on before.  When the focus of your attention only goes back a few months, it’s hard to connect with music, poetry, architecture, or philosophy which is centuries old.  And when your primary concern is getting the latest iPhone so that millennials will think you’re “with it,” it’s hard to be sympathetic to your elders who are there, just waiting to pass on to you our combined civilisational wisdom, if only you’d have the sense to receive it.

Restoring a reverence for the elders of our society – and doing so in a timely enough fashion that the elders remaining will be ones with any traditional wisdom left to pass on – ought to be a long-term goal for Traditionalists and neoreactionaries.  The idolatry of youth must give way once again to the veneration of the elders.  This is a shift in polarity which will go completely against the grain of so-called modern society.  Yet, it is one which must take place – and which we must encourage at every step and in every way we can – if the good and noble elements of our civilisation are to be preserved for future generations.

jeudi, 09 mars 2017

GERMANICUS de Yann RIVIERE

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GERMANICUS de Yann RIVIERE 

par Hubert de Singly

Ex: http://www.culture-chronique.com 

Le dernier ouvrage de Joël Schmidt “La mort des César” raconte avec beaucoup de talent  la fin des soixante dix empereurs romains qui se succédèrent à la tête de l’Empire jusqu’à sa fin.  Mais il existe une catégorie de princes qui n’accédèrent jamais  à la magistrature suprême alors même qu’ils en avaient l’étoffe. Ce fut le cas de Germanicus qui mourut à 34 ans à Antioche manquant une consécration qui lui tendait les bras. Yann Rivière qui  connait parfaitement l’histoire politique et juridique de la Rome  Antique nous propose  une biographie serrée de plus de cinq cents pages  de celui qui fut le petit fils de Marc Antoine, l’époux d’Agrippine et le père de Galigula. 

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   D’emblée l’historien s’interroge.  L’Empire n’aurait-il pas été plus puissant  si Germanicus n’était pas mort  si jeune ?  Son entreprise de consolidation de la domination romaine en Orient n’aurait-elle pas été menée à son terme?  S’il avait vécu, le roi des Parthes qui a pleuré sa mort n’aurait-il pas pas vécu en bonne entente avec Rome au cours  des années suivantes plutôt que de s’engager dans une guerre qui vida les caisses de l’Empire pour le contrôle de l’Arménie. Toutes ces hypothèses restent évidemment au conditionnel mais elles en disent long sur cette personnalité hors du commun. En effet peu de ses contemporains auraient pu imaginer que le fils de Livie et de Marc Antoine occuperait une telle place dans l’Etat Romain et qu’il contribuerait autant à la défense de l’Empire. Rappelons  qu’il brilla avec ses légions en Illyrie  et qu’il effaça le désastre de Varus en Germanie en infligeant une cruelle défaite au chef légendaire Arminius.  La suite de son ascension  se poursuit en Orient  où il consolida la paix  et joua un rôle politique de premier plan.  Il mourut persuadé qu’on l’avait  empoisonné  ce qui est bien possible et ce qui ne déplut pas forcément à Tibère qui assistait l’ascension de Germanicus avec inquiétude.  Reste que dans toutes les régions où il passa son souvenir resta vif longtemps  après sa disparition.

  Ce “Germanicus”  de Yann Rivière se lit comme un roman. Nous traversons  l’Empire au côté de l’un des personnages les plus flamboyants que Rome enfanta.   L’ouvrage est à fois un formidable récit et  une minutieuse reconstitution  historique. L’une des meilleures biographies historiques de l’année. 

Hugues DE SINGLY

CULTURE-CHRONIQUE.COM encourage ses lecteurs à se rendre en librairie  afin de soutenir le réseau des librairies françaises. Vous pouvez aussi cliquer sur le logo "Lalibrairie.com", votre commande sera alors envoyée chez le libraire de votre choix. Enfin, hormis "Amazon", la plupart des librairies en ligne que nous vous proposons sont aussi des librairies de centre-ville que nous vous encourageons à découvrir. La santé du livre dépend de la santé des librairies. 


En savoir plus sur http://www.culture-chronique.com/chronique.htm?chroniqueid=1687#XddOW37BipCFt0BJ.99

mardi, 03 janvier 2017

Alemanni

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Alemanni

Definition

Ex: http://www.ancient.eu 

The Alemanni (also known as the Alamanni and the Alamans, meaning "All Men" or "Men United") were a confederacy of Germanic-speaking people who occupied the regions south of the Main and east of the Rhine rivers in present-day Germany. Many historians claim that the Alemanni first enter the historical record in 213 CE when Cassius Dio records the campaigns of Caracalla and his duplicitous dealings with the Alemanni. It is true that the name "Alemanni" first appears in Cassius Dio but, if one accepts that the Alemanni and the Suebi (or Suevi, who appear in earlier records) were the same (as not all do), then their first mention comes in 98 CE in Tacitus' Germania. They were a constant threat to the Roman Empire from 213 CE until they were defeated by Julian at the Battle of Strasbourg in 357 CE and then again by Valentinian I in 367 CE. After the Battle of Strasbourg, Julian entered into treaties with the Franks of Gaul who were then left alone by Rome. They were able to stabilize their communities and grow in power until, in 496 CE, the Frankish king Clovis conquered the Alemanni tribes and absorbed them into his kingdom. After this, their name lived on in the language of the region they had once inhabited and in the name given to Germany, Allemagne, in French and other languages.

THE ALEMANNI WERE STILL A FORMIDABLE FORCE WHEN THEY JOINED THE FORCES OF ATTILA THE HUN AND BATTLED THE ROMANS IN 451 CE.

APPEARANCE & RELIGION

The Roman senator and historian Tacitus (56-117 CE) wrote of the Suevi in the 1st century CE, claiming they controlled the better part of the region known as Germania. He links the Alemanni with the Hermunduri, another Germanic tribe, but this claim has been contested by modern-day scholarship. The Suevi Tacitus depicts sound very much like the later Alemanni, in that they were a confederation of different tribes, which may have even included the Cherusci (famous for their leader Arminius' destruction of Varus' three legions in Teutoburger Wald in 9 CE). Tacitus is the first writer to note the Suevi's distinctive hair styles and religious practices. He writes:

We have now to speak of the Suevi; who do not compose a single state, like the Catti or Tencteri, but occupy the greatest part of Germany and are still distributed into different names and nations, although all hearing the common appellation of Suevi. It is characteristic of this people to turn their hair sideways, and tie it beneath the poll in a knot.

By this mark the Suevi are distinguished from the rest of the Germans; and the freemen of the Suevi from the slaves. Among other nations, this mode, either on account of some relationship with the Suevi, or from the usual propensity to imitation, is sometimes adopted; but rarely, and only during the period of youth.

The Suevi, even till they are hoary, continue to have their hair growing stiffly backwards, and often it is fastened on the very crown of the head. The chiefs dress it with still greater care and in this respect they study ornament, though of an undebasing kind. For their design is not to make love, or inspire it; they decorate themselves in this manner as they proceed to war, in order to seem taller and more terrible; and dress for the eyes of their enemies (Germania, 38).

Regarding religion, Tacitus writes that the Suevi were pagan and seem to have practiced a form of Druidism. Their chiefs were drawn from a tribe in the confederation known as Semnones who also served as high priests:

The Semnones assert themselves to be the most ancient and noble of the Suevi; and their pretensions are confirmed by religion. At a stated time, all the people of the same lineage assemble by their delegates in a wood, consecrated by the auguries of their forefathers and ancient terror, and there by the public slaughter of a human victim celebrate the horrid origin of their barbarous rites. Another kind of reverence is paid to the grove. No person enters it without being bound with a chain, as an acknowledgment of his inferior nature, and the power of the deity residing there. If he accidentally falls, it is not lawful for him to be lifted or to rise up; they roll themselves out along the ground. The whole of their superstition has this import: that from this spot the nation derives its origin; that here is the residence of the Deity, the Governor of all, and that everything else is subject and subordinate to him. These opinions receive additional authority from the power of the Semnones, who inhabit a hundred cantons, and, from the great body they compose, consider themselves as the head of the Suevi (Germania, 39).

The religious practices centered on chthonic locales, then, where a central deity held sway. Rivers, streams, glades, and valleys were often chosen as sacred ground for the energies which manifested themselves in these locales. As with many other ancient civilizations, the Suevi believed the soul had to cross a body of water to reach the afterlife and that the soul lived on after death. Suevi/Alemanni grave excavations have revealed that they were buried fully dressed and with personal items that they would need in the next world. These burial practices continued after they converted to Christianity sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries CE although, of course, their religious practices changed dramatically.

THE ALEMANNI & ROME

Although the Suevi have been identified with the later Alemanni, historians caution against equating the two without recognizing their differences over the centuries which separate Tacitus' account (98 CE) from Cassius Dio's (c. 229 CE). The scholar Guy Halsall writes, "It is unlikely that the situation which pertained in the mid-first century was at all relevant to the late Roman period. Tacitus' Germania is a minefield probably best avoided [in this regard]" (121). The scholar Peter Heather comments on this also, stating how unified the Alemanni appear in the work of Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 325-391 CE) while, "One of the central points brought home by even the quickest read of Tacitus' Germania is just how fragmented, in political terms, the Germanic world was at that date" (36). It is for this reason that historians usually cite Cassius Dio's account as the first mention of the Alemanni and ignore Tacitus' earlier description of the Suevi.

By the time of Dio's account, the Alemanni were largely Romanized from their long acquaintance with the Romans. Halsall writes how, in the border region of the Danube and the Roman Empire,

some of the Alemanni, who it has been suggested were formed at least partly by the Romans themselves from inhabitants of the agri decumates [a term possibly meaning 10 agricultural regions]and authorised barbarian settlers, occupied former Roman villa sites, such as at Wurmlingen in Baden Wurttemberg (128).

The Alemanni at this time wore Roman attire and emulated Roman social customs. Even so, they were not 'Romans' in the accepted sense of that word and maintained their own language and culture. Therefore, when they asked the emperor Caracalla for help against a neighboring tribe in 213 CE, he saw no reason why he should not conquer them instead. Cassius Dio writes:

Antoninus [Caracalla] made a campaign against the Alamanni and whenever he saw a spot suitable for habitation, he would order, "There let a fort be erected. There let a city be built." And he gave these places names relating to himself, though the local designations were not changed; for some of the people were unaware of the new names and others supposed he was jesting.  Consequently he came to feel contempt for these people and would not spare even them, but accorded treatment befitting the bitterest foes to the very people whom he claimed to have come to help. For he summoned their men of military age, pretending that they were to serve as mercenaries, and then at a given signal — by raising aloft his own shield — he caused them all to be surrounded and cut down, and he sent horsemen round about and arrested all the others (78.13.4).

Whether the Alemanni were particularly hostile to Rome before this is not known, but they became one of Rome's most bitter enemies afterwards.

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ENGAGEMENTS AGAINST ROME

  • 256 CE: Gregory of Tours (c. 538-594 CE) famously wrote of the Alemanni invasion of Gaul in 256 CE under their king Chrocus. Chrocus led his army across the land, destroying the cities, churches, towns, and slaughtering the inhabitants until he was defeated at Arles and executed. Surviving members of his army were then either killed or absorbed into the Roman ranks as mercenaries.
  • 259 CE: The Alemanni invaded Italy, ravaging the fertile Po Valley, until they were defeated at the Battle of Mediolanum by a Roman force led by emperor Gallienus.
  • 268 CE: The Battle of Benacus was fought in 268/269 CE between the emperor Claudius II (supported by the later Emperor Aurelian) and the Alemanni. The Alemanni, allied with the Juthungi, invaded northern Italy and were met at Benacus by the Roman forces. The Romans again decisively defeated the Alemanni, killing most of them and scattering the rest.
  • 271 CE: The Alemanni and Juthungi again invaded Italy, while the emperor Aurelian was busy repulsing Vandals on the Danube frontier. He marched his forces to meet the Alemanni threat but was ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Placentia. This defeat resulted in widespread panic throughout Rome, as the Juthungi marched toward the city which had no sizeable force to protect it. Aurelian regrouped, however, and chased the Juthungi, finally meeting them at the Battle of Fano where he defeated them completely, driving them into the Metaurus River where many of them drowned. The surviving Juthungi then sued for a peace which Aurelian rejected. He pursued them and their Alemanni allies and destroyed most of the force at the Battle of Pavia. Those Alemanni who survived were hunted down and killed trying to escape back home through the province of Raetia. Although he had stopped the invasion and destroyed the enemy, Aurelian recognized the need for better defenses for Rome and so ordered a new and stronger wall built around the city.
  • 298 CE: The emperor Constantius defeated the Alemanni twice at the Battle of Lingones and then again at the Battle of Vindonissa.
  • 356 CE: Julian, commanding his first military force (prior to becoming emperor), was surprised and defeated by the Alemanni at the Battle of Reims.
  • 357 CE: Julian defeated the Alemanni at the Battle of Strasbourg, completely overwhelming their forces and capturing one of their most important leaders, Chnodomar (also known as Chnodomarius) who had mobilized the Alemanni for battle and led them from the front. Although Julian's victory subdued the Alemanni and allowed him to march into Germania, re-build and garrison Roman forts, and force tribute from the tribes, it did not destroy the Alemanni or disperse them. Peter Heather writes:

The defeat of Chnodomarius did not mean the total destruction of the alliance at whose head he had stood, as the defeats of his first-century counterparts such as Arminius and Maroboduus had done three centuries before. Not only were many of the lesser Alamannic kings who had participated in the battle left in place by Julian's diplomacy, but, within a decade of the battle, a new pre-eminent leader, Vadomarius, was worrying the Romans. He was skillfully removed by assassination, but then a third appeared in his place: Macrinus. Ammianus records three separate attempts by one of Julian's successors, Valentinian I, to eliminate Macrinus by capture and/or assassination, but eventually, pressed by events further east, the emperor gave in. Roman and Alamann met in the middle of the Rhine for a water-borne summit, where the emperor acknowledged Macrinus' pre-eminence among the Alamanni. Unlike in the first century, even major military defeat was not enough to destroy the larger Alamannic confederation (40-41).

alemanni1.jpgThe "major military defeat" Heather refers to is not only the Battle of Strasbourg but the later Battle of Solicinium in 367 CE, in which Valentinian I defeated the Alemanni in the southwestern region of Germany. Even though he was victorious, the Alemanni were by no means broken and were still a formidable force some 80 years later when they joined the forces of Attila the Hun and took part in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains against the Romans under Flavius Aetius in 451 CE. Even so, the Battle of Strasbourg severely limited their abilities to threaten Rome for years after. The historian Roger Collins writes,

This single battle really turned the tide as far as the Alaman penetration of Gaul was concerned. It broke the Alamannic confederacy of tribes that had largely been built up and held together by the military credibility of Chnodomar, and for the first time enabled the Romans to take the initiative…Threatened with a Roman invasion of their own territory, the Alamans sought a truce (35).

Again, however, it must be noted that the confederacy was not disbanded nor did the Alemanni seem to consider themselves a conquered people.

THE FRANKISH CONQUEST OF THE ALEMANNI

First Julian, and then Valentinian I, entered into treaties with the confederacy of the people known as the Franks ("the fierce people"). In an effort to maintain the newly restored Roman city of Cologne, Julian blockaded the territory of the Franks, depriving them of much-needed trade goods, until they agreed to his terms. Collins comments on this, writing:

It is notable that Julian made no attempt to penetrate the marshy lands north of the Meuse that the Franks had occupied, and their continuing occupation of this area was tacitly accepted by the Romans. From this small start the subsequent Frankish occupation of all of Gaul would develop. This, it might be said, was `the birth of France'. In 357/8, however, what was achieved was a treaty of federation: Frankish occupation of Roman territory was accepted in return for their helping to defend the region (35).

This arrangement was good for the Franks, who began to steadily flourish, but not as beneficial to the Alemanni. By the time the Alemanni fought alongside the Huns in 451 CE at the Catalaunian Plains, the Franks had become powerful enough to be counted as allies of the Romans under Aetius. The Franks were united under the reign of their first king, Clovis I (466-511 CE), who then expanded the boundaries of Gaul to conquer western Europe. The Alemanni continued to inhabit the region of Germania until they were defeated by Clovis I at the Battle of Tolbiac in 496 CE and were subjugated by the Franks. Afterwards, some were assimilated into Frankish culture and took up residence in Gaul, while others continued to live in their former region under Frankish rule. Their name is remembered today in the Alemannic dialect of German, and the word for 'Germany' (Allemagne, Alemania) in many modern-day languages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A freelance writer and part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He teaches ancient history, writing, literature, and philosophy.

jeudi, 29 décembre 2016

Le Satiricon de Pétrone et la contre-civilisation antique

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Le Satiricon de Pétrone et la contre-civilisation antique

par Nicolas Bonnal

Ex: http://www.dedefensa.org

Le Satiricon est souvent ramené à l’orgie romaine sauce Fellini. Or la réalité est autrement plus intéressante. Sur l’éducation romaine, voici par exemple ce que Pétrone a écrit :

« Donc, à mon sens, le résultat le plus clair des études est de rendre nos enfants tout à fait stupides : de ce qui se présente en réalité dans la vie ils n'entendent rien, ils ne voient rien. On ne leur montre que pirates, les chaînes à la main, attendant leurs victimes sur le rivage ; que tyrans rédigeant des arrêts pour commander aux fils d'aller couper la tête de leur père ; qu'oracles préconisant, pour chasser la peste, l'immolation de trois vierges ou davantage; que phrases s'arrondissant en pilules bien sucrées : faits, et pensées, tout passe à la même sauce… (Satiricon, I à IV)»

satiricon.jpgPétrone dénonce la rhétorique, cette reine perturbante de l’Antiquité et de la politique. Il comprend avant Nietzsche que l’éducation, la répétition scolaire et universitaire tueront l’inspiration :

 « Si vous me permettez de le dire, ô rhéteurs, c'est vous les premiers. Artisans de la ruine de l'éloquence. Vos harmonies subtiles, vos sonorités creuses peuvent éblouir un instant ; elles vous font oublier le corps même du discours qui, énervé, languit et tombe à plat. La jeunesse s'entraînait-elle à déclamer, quand Sophocle et Euripide trouvèrent le langage qu'il fallait au théâtre ? Existait-il des maîtres pour étouffer dans l'ombre de l'école les talents naissants quand Pindare et les neuf lyriques renoncèrent à lutterle même mètre avec Homère?  »

Il faudrait retourner à la nature :

« Et, sans appeler les poètes en témoignage, je ne vois pas que Platon ni Démosthène se soient livrés non plus à ce genre d'exercices. La grande et, si j'ose dire, la chaste éloquence, méprisant le fard et l'enflure, n'a qu'à se dresser sans autre appui que sa naturelle beauté. »

Comme Juvénal Pétrone incrimine l’Asie, qui accélère en quelque sorte le vieillissement du monde - et sa putréfaction :

« Naguère, ce bavardage intempérant et creux qui, né en Asie, a envahi Athènes, tel un astre porteur de la peste, souffla sur une jeunesse qui se dressait déjà pour de grandes choses : du coup, sous une règle corrompue, l'éloquence, arrêtée dans son essor, a perdu la voix. Qui depuis lors a approché de la maîtrise d'un Thucydide, de la gloire d'un Hypéride ? L'éclat même dont brille la poésie n'est plus celui de la santé : tous les arts, comme si leur source commune avait été empoisonnée, meurent sans attendre les neiges de la vieillesse (Ac ne carmen quidem sani coloris enituit, sed omnia quasi eodem cibo pasta non potuerunt usque ad senectutem canescere). La peinture, enfin, n'est pas en meilleure posture depuis que des Égyptiens ont eu l'audace de réduire en recettes un si grand art… »

Les pauvres parents en prennent eux aussi pour leur grade comme à toutes les époques :

« Au fond, ce sont les parents qui sont les vrais coupables : ils ne veulent plus pour leurs enfants d'une règle sévère, mais salutaire. Ils sacrifient d'abord, comme le reste, à leur ambition, ces fils, leur espérance même, puis, pour réaliser plus vite leur rêve, sans leur laisser le temps de digérer leurs études, ils les poussent au forum…»

Notre pédagogue d’indiquer le remède :

« Que les parents aient la patience de nous laisser graduer les études les jeunes gens pourront travailler sérieusement, mûrir leur goût par des lectures approfondies, faire des préceptes des sages la règle de leur pensée, châtier leur style d'une plume impitoyable, écouter longtemps d'abord ce qu'ils aspirent à imiter. Dès lors ils n'admireront plus rien de ce qui n'éblouit que l'enfance, et l'éloquence, jadis si grande, aura recouvré sa force, sa majesté, son autorité. »

Enfin la désormais triviale dénonciation de notre société trop ludique :

« Mais aujourd'hui, à l'école l'enfant s'amuse ; jeune homme, on s'amuse de lui sur le forum, et, ce qui est encore plus ridicule, après avoir fait ses études tout de travers, devenu vieux, il ne voudra pas en convenir. »

Je citai Nietzsche ici. Sa deuxième et splendide considération inactuelle sur l’inutilité des études historiques corrobore notre Pétrone :

« L’excès des études historiques trouble les instincts du peuple et empêche l’individu aussi bien que la totalité d’atteindre la maturité. L’excès des études historiques implante la croyance toujours nuisible à la caducité de l’espèce humaine, l’idée que nous sommes des êtres tardifs, des épigones. L’excès des études historiques développe dans une époque un état d’esprit dangereux, le scepticisme, et cet état d’esprit plus dangereux encore, le cynisme ; et ainsi l’époque s’achemine toujours plus vers une pratique sage et égoïste qui finit par paralyser la force vitale et la détruire. »

Nietzsche exagère, car comme nous l’avons montré avec Céline (cf. Princhard) et Paul Valéry, les études historiques précipitèrent héros et suicidaires sur le champ de bataille.

Enfin, encore un peu de Pétrone ; c’est sur l’excès de la construction immobilière (voyez Sénèque) et le déclin de la vitalité qui va avec :

« Est-ce que tu te sens vaincue par le poids de l'Empire romain
Et ne peux-tu davantage soutenir cette masse vouée à la perdition ?
Lui-même ennemi de sa puissance, le peuple romain
Soutient mal l'œuvre immense qu'acheva sa jeunesse.

Vois, partout le luxe nourri par le pillage, la fortune s'acharnant à sa perte.
C'est avec de l'or qu'ils bâtissent et ils élèvent leurs demeures jusqu'aux cieux ; ici les amas de pierre chassent les eaux, là naît la mer au milieu des champs : en changeant l'état normal des choses, ils se révoltent contre la nature. » (Satiricon, CXX)

Il n’est pas un problème de notre société que l’on ne retrouve évoqué chez les grands auteurs romains ; la contre-civilisation de Philippe Grasset rejoint la décadence romaine.

Bibliographie

Juvénal- Satires

Nietzsche – Deuxième considération inactuelle

Pétrone – Satiricon (sur Remacle.org)

Sénèque – Lettres à Lucilius

 

dimanche, 02 octobre 2016

Marcus Aurelius on Tribe & Passion

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Marcus Aurelius on Tribe & Passion

The Meditations [2] of Marcus Aurelius are a remarkable spiritual diary and, in general, a sure way for the modern reader to imbue himself with the practical wisdom of our ancient forefathers [3]. That said, I do not believe we should uncritically defer to anything, and on two points in particular, I believe comment and criticism are warranted.

Firstly, a pervasive theme of Marcus’ is his struggle to control his judgment and emotions, in particular anger, and thus be as detached and “philosophical” as possible. The goal is to accept non-judgmentally all that Nature — which is the law of the universe — gives us and to ensure harmony with the world and the rule of reason within oneself.

Marcus makes these comments particularly with regard to his colleagues and subordinates: do not get angry with their inevitable failures and ignorance, he tells himself, but rather try to make them see the light:

How cruel it is not to let people strive after what they regard as suitable and beneficial to themselves. And yet, in a sense, you are not permitting them to do so whenever you grow angry at their bad behavior. For it is surely the case that they are simply drawn towards what they consider to be suitable and beneficial to themselves. “Yes, but they are wrong to think that.” Well, instruct them, then, and show them the truth, without becoming annoyed. (6, 27) (Numbering refers to the book and paragraph in the Meditations.)

philosophie,philosophie antique,antiquité romaine,rome antique,marc-aurèle,philologie classiqueAnd elsewhere: “Even if you burst with rage, they will do the same things none the less for that” (8, 4). More generally, Marcus affirms that “an intelligence free from passions is a mighty citadel” (8, 48).

The potential problem in these affirmations is that one might be led to believe that Marcus is suggesting becoming a kind of harmless, emotionless monk. However, I believe these comments should not be misunderstood. Marcus does affirm that, when push comes to shove, coercion is justified: “Try to persuade them, but act even against their will the principles of justice demand it” (6, 50).

Marcus honors Diogenes, who was a great philosopher of an evidently very different temperament, for he sought to moralize society by repeatedly shaming and ridiculing the immoral and the ignorant through various shock tactics. Diogenes once reputedly criticized Plato saying: “Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?’ Marcus’ ostentatiously tranquil way is evidently not the only one available to us.

“Freedom from passions” furthermore must be understood in a wider sense, of one’s reason being invulnerable to not just emotions, but also pleasure and pain. The Romans in particular perfected this with an unbelievable gravitas in the defense of honor and duty: Seneca following Nero’s order to kill himself, in accordance with tradition, by slitting his wrists in a hot bath; Marcus Atilius Regulus who was captured and released by the Carthaginians, urged the Roman Senate to continue the war, and then returned to Carthage to fulfill his parole, where he was tortured to death; or indeed the famous soldier at Pompeii [4] who, having not been relieved, stoically remained at his post until he was buried by the ashes.

These sacrifices may seem futile, but they reflect the supreme manliness of the Roman tradition, a virility which reflected the discipline and sacrifice necessary to maintaining that greatest of world empires. In our age, the Roman example shames us for our cowardice. Marcus’ “mighty citadel” is a model for defending our people and the truth, whatever the personal consequences might be. When we are cowards, we should think of our forefathers, whether religious reformers or scientific innovators, who were willing to risk being burned at the stake to affirm the truth.

Having said all this, perhaps Marcus is too categorical in dismissing emotion. Plato argued that emotions were meant to be the powerful subordinate allies of reason. For example, anger is an emotion propitious to the extermination of one’s enemies. (Then again, Marcus was a fairly effective military commander in his continuous and often brutal campaigns against the Germans. So perhaps I am in no position to talk, but I share my reaction.)

Certainly in both elite and mass politics nothing is possible without the inspiration of emotions, in particular appeal to our deep-seated tribal and spiritual longings. Practically, the fact is that Christianity displaced ancient philosophy and the old Pagan religion by appealing to emotion. The philosopher may protest that this is irrational, but all the same, ancient philosophy died and only lived on in the Middle Ages, to the extent it did, in Christianity, because Christianity could better appeal to that irrational part of us, particularly among the masses.

Marcus writes that one should not aim for “Plato’s ideal state . . . For who can change the convictions of others?” (9, 29) The answer, to the degree men can be socio-culturally programmed and moralized, is of course education and religion. In the ancient world, the ability to do so in a vast realm like the Roman Empire was limited. In the modern era however, fascists have emphatically and convincingly argued that there are enormous possibilities for mass education and civil-religion, especially given the new technological and material means enabling mass communication and mass ceremony.

Secondly, and this is a more critical comment, Marcus’ Meditations are a striking example of pre-Christian universalism in Western thought. As Kevin MacDonald has stressed, both universalist and ethnocentric trends are evident in the Western tradition. While Diogenes declared himself a “cosmopolitan,” Plato’s masterwork The Republic [5] powerfully makes the case for ethnocentric morality [5].

Marcus adheres to Stoic cosmopolitanism, a kind of dual citizenship. He writes: “As [emperor], my city and fatherland is Rome; as a human being, it is the universe; so what brings benefits to these is the sole good for me” (6, 44). He elsewhere defines himself as “a citizen of this great city [the universe]” and argues that one should not be dissatisfied with a short life, playing only a small part in this vast play (12, 36).

I do not believe this is problematic. The laws of Nature are the same for all creatures and, in this sense, all human must seek to be in harmony with them. This is a message which will resonate as much with the Jeffersonian deist as the esoteric National Socialist, and indeed perhaps with almost all of the world’s religions. Since Darwin in particular however, we as evolutionary thinkers understand natural selection and survival of the fittest as fundamental principles and imperatives of life. These principles must be recognized and lived up to if we and indeed any creatures capable of conscious morality and reason are to survive and thrive, for all this, whatever the spiritual beyond, rests upon a biological foundation and genetic prerequisites.

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I believe all of this is compatible with ethnocentric morality: solidarity with one’s kin is a natural principle, and Nature expresses herself uniquely in every creature. (What is required of a donkey to be in harmony with the universe is not the same as what is required of a man, and so forth in the infinite diversity of humans and other living creatures.) More generally, the world would in fact be a better place if all societies recognized genetic homogeneity and quality as social goods in and of themselves. While I am no expert on moral philosophy, I do not believe the Kantian moral imperative necessarily undermines nationalism, perhaps the contrary in fact.

More problematic however is the following:

Say to yourself at the start of the day, I shall meet with meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people. They are subject to these defects because they have no knowledge of good and bad. [. . .] [H]is nature is akin to my own — not because he is of the same blood and seed, but because he shares as I do in mind and thus in a portion of the divine. (2, 1)

This comment needs to be understood in the context of Marcus’ attempt to get along with inadequate and unsociable colleagues, arguing that frustration is inevitable but improvement is possible through appeal to a common reason. Elsewhere Marcus is more explicit still: “how close is the kinship which unites each human being to the human race as a whole, for it arises not from blood and seed but from our common share in reason” (12, 26).

The assertion that “his nature is akin to my own – not because he is of the same blood and seed, but because he shares as I do in mind and thus in a portion of the divine” is of course partly true today (all humans have some capacity for reason) and was probably truer still in the Roman Empire of Marcus’ day, which was far less racially diverse than are the United States and even much of Western Europe in our time. (That the Empire had intermingled Europeans and Semites in uneven quantities cannot be compared with societies made up of people from different ends of different continents with no contiguous clinal link at all, e.g. Western Europeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, East Asians . . .).

As evolutionary thinkers however, we are cognizant of the fact that intelligence and personality are significantly heritable [6], and thus they in fact do ultimately stem from “blood and seed.” There is a large body evidence that different racial groups have differing average levels of intelligence (also varying by kind of intelligence, e.g. verbal, spatial . . .) and, more importantly, different average temperaments. Reason is the same for all but in different brains manifests itself in different degrees and is inflected with different motivations.

This has enormous implications for political morality: ethno-genetically heterogeneous societies are disharmonious both because of each ethnic group’s differing preferences and in the lack of identification/solidarity between the groups (the latter made especially problematic when the different groups, inevitably, become socially unequal due to differing behavior). This prevents, in multiethnic societies, the possibility of a collectively rational and solidary cohesive community, which must be the organic unit of human history.

One might answer: reason is the same for all creatures, even if their capacity for it differs. Perhaps if one could strip emotions away, but that would also vary by individual and group. It is obvious that reason manifests itself differently in different groups, who find different things intellectually interesting and emotionally compelling. (For instance, northern Europeans seem prone to a kind of selfless piety, only among sub-Saharan Africans have I observed this quite spontaneous phenomenon [7], and Jews more than any other group seem to get a kick out of criticizing the host population’s real and imagined flaws.)

Put another way: Reason is the same for all? Quite. If so I invite our colored cousins to answer the question: Is the slow bit steady disappearance of the European peoples reasonable? Is this event in the higher interests of the human race and universal consciousness and morality? I observe that in arguing against us, these same people resort to moral principles founded in the West (“international law,” “human rights,” “democracy” . . .) and use Western technology which thus far, only the East Asians have shown any talent for emulating, let alone inventing. Furthermore, innumerable millions of colored people throughout the world are so convinced of their own inability to create a good society that their only plan for improving their lot in life is to . . . move to our societies! And then, I should add, the process repeats itself within countries, with the notorious dialectic between forced integration and white flight. Well, colored cousins, these antics will not work when you run out of white people.

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In their heart of hearts, all must know that the disappearance of the Europeans is a supremely immoral act, and some colored people might even be endowed with sufficient reason to overcome their ethnic pride in acknowledging this. And some will come to the conclusion that the defense of ethnic European interests is reasonable and in the universal interest. But only an infinitesimal number, for such is the power of the call of the blood [8].

But all that is none of our business, for you should not “allow your happiness to depend on what passes in the souls of other people” (2, 6). We take our own side. Inspired by the best of our magnificent tradition [9], including the formidable Stoicism of Marcus Aurelius and the other great men of the West whose wisdom and character put us to shame, we must become Eurocentric Hereditarians.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/09/marcus-aurelius-on-tribal-passion/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/MarcusAurelius.jpg

[2] Meditations: http://amzn.to/2cF2GNZ

[3] practical wisdom of our ancient forefathers: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/09/the-prayers-of-marcus-aurelius/

[4] soldier at Pompeii: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/okLaQ0u1aq4/maxresdefault.jpg

[5] The Republic: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2016/08/platos-racial-republic/

[6] intelligence and personality are significantly heritable: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v47/n7/full/ng.3285.html

[7] this quite spontaneous phenomenon: https://twitter.com/TheAmerikaner/status/775338414405214208

[8] the call of the blood: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/12/the-call-of-the-blood/

[9] our magnificent tradition: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2016/04/the-testament-of-a-european-patriot-a-review-of-dominique-venners-breviary-of-the-unvanquished-part-1/

 

dimanche, 25 septembre 2016

Le Manuel d'Épictète

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Le Manuel d'Épictète

Ex: http://lesocle.hautetfort.com 

EPI-0.gifParmi les philosophies antiques, le stoïcisme tient une grande place. Traversant l'antiquité grecque et l'antiquité romaine sur près de six siècles, symbole du sérieux et de l'abnégation de tout un peuple, l'école du Portique apprend à ses disciples à vivre en harmonie avec l'univers et ses lois. Maîtrise de soi, courage, tenue, éthique, ce sont là quelques mots clés pour comprendre le stoïcisme. Le Manuel 1 d'Epictète, condensé de cette sagesse, permet à chaque Européen de renouer avec les plus rigoureuses racines de notre civilisation. Brillant exemple de ce que pouvait produire l'univers mental propre au paganisme européen, le stoïcisme continuera d'irriguer la pensée européenne sur la longue durée (avec notamment le mouvement du néo-stoïcisme de la Renaissance). Et au delà de la longue durée, il est important de souligner l'actualité de la philosophie stoïcienne. Philosophie de temps de crise comme le souligne son histoire, le stoïcisme redirige l'homme vers l'action.

Structure de l’œuvre: Le Manuel est volontairement court. Il s'agit d'un condensé des leçons données par Epictète. Si court qu'il soit, on pourrait s'attendre à une idée différente à chaque aphorisme. Et pourtant les idées centrales ne sont que quelques-unes. Le lecteur ne doit donc pas s'étonner de voir répétées sous des formes différentes, à partir d'observations différentes, les mêmes idées. Ce manuel est un précis de gymnastique, une gymnastique de l'âme. Quelques mouvements y sont codifiés. Ce qui importe n'est pas le nombre mais bien la perfection dans l'exécution. Que chacun puisse donc y voir une porte d'entrée vers une métaphysique de l'absolu, celle de nos origines et qui s'oppose à la métaphysique de l'illimité dans laquelle nous nous perdons aujourd'hui.

Gwendal Crom, pour le SOCLE

La critique positive du Manuel d’Épictète au format .pdf

Le Manuel est l’œuvre attribué à Epictète la plus célèbre. Attribué car tout comme Socrate, il n'écrit rien de son vivant. C'est le disciple d'Epictète, Arrien qui consigna les pensées du maître dans huit à douze œuvres (les Entretiens) dont seuls quatre nous sont parvenus. Le Manuel consiste en un condensé de ces entretiens. Disciple de l'école stoïcienne fondée par Zénon en 301 avant notre ère, Epictète fut par la suite abondamment cité par l'empereur Marc-Aurèle. Epictète forme avec Sénèque (qui le précéda) et Marc-Aurèle la triade du stoïcisme impérial (ou latin). Esclave affranchi né aux alentours de l'an 50 de notre ère, il put suivre durant sa servitude les leçons de Musonius Rufus, grande figure du stoïcisme romain. Une fois libre, il devint un philosophe porté en haute estime par ses contemporains. Epictète vécut dans la pauvreté toute sa vie en ayant pour principale préoccupation de répondre à la question « Comment doit-on vivre sa vie ? ». Il mourut selon toutes vraisemblances aux alentours de l'an 130.

EPI-2.pngLa pensée stoïcienne dégage à ses origines trois grands axes d'étude: la physique (l'étude du monde environnant), la logique et l'éthique (qui concerne l'action). La pensée d'Epictète a ceci de particulier qu'elle ne s'intéresse pas à l'étude de la physique et ne s'attarde que peu sur celle de la logique, même si Epictète rappelle la prééminence de cette dernière dans l'un de ses aphorismes: Le Manuel, LII, 1-2. Car en effet, toute éthique doit être démontrable.

Et si la pensée d'Epictète peut être considérée comme une pensée de l'action alors son Manuel est un manuel de survie, comme le considérait selon la légende Alexandre le Grand. Le Manuel est dénommé en Grec : Enkheiridion qui signifie également « que l'on garde sous la main » et désigne communément le poignard du soldat. Voilà pourquoi Alexandre le Grand gardait sous son oreiller nous dit-on, un poignard et Le Manuel d'Epictète.

Le stoïcisme a pour tâche de nous faire accéder au divin. Il n'est pas une illumination une révélation. C'est une voie d'accès au bonheur par l'exercice et la maitrise rigoureuse de la (froide) raison. C'est une constante gymnastique de l'esprit, une méditation à laquelle on doit se livrer en permanence pour redresser son esprit, redresser toute son âme vers un seul but : être en harmonie avec les lois de l'univers et accepter la marche de celui-ci sans s'en émouvoir. Ainsi, dans ses Pensées pour moi-même 2 (Livre I, VII), l'Empereur Marc-Aurèle remercie son maitre Julius Rusticus (qui fut vraisemblablement un élève d'Epictète) en ces termes: « De Rusticus : avoir pris conscience que j'avais besoin de redresser et surveiller mon caractère... [et] avoir pu connaître les écrits conservant les leçons d'Epictète, écrits qu'il me communiqua de sa bibliothèque ».

On ne saurait de fait évoquer la pensée d'Epictète sans évoquer la notion de tenue. Car la tenue est une manière d'être, un exemple pour soi et pour les autres comme le souligne Epictète. Ainsi pour le philosophe, il ne faut point attendre pour mettre en pratique ce qui a été appris. La perfection théorique n'a aucune valeur si elle n'est pas suivie d'effets. De plus, le stoïcisme croit aux effets retours du comportement sur l'âme humaine. C'est en effet en s'astreignant chaque jour à la discipline, à la méditation, au maintien d'une tenue que l'âme peut tendre vers la perfection. Simplement théoriser cette perfection ou pire, l'attendre, est vain et puéril. Il faut chaque jour trouver de nouvelles confirmations des enseignements du stoïcisme. Il faut chaque jour méditer cet enseignement comme on pratiquerait un art martial, pour que chaque mouvement appris se fasse naturellement, instinctivement.

Mais avant de pénétrer plus avant la pensée stoïcienne, il convient d'emblée de préciser qu'il ne faut pas confondre la philosophie stoïcienne avec le caractère « stoïque » qui désigne quelqu'un de résigné, faisant preuve d'abnégation et affrontant les coups du sort sans broncher. La philosophie stoïcienne est avant tout une recette du bonheur visant à se libérer totalement de l'emprise des émotions pour atteindre un état dit d'ataraxie, calme absolu de l'âme. Néanmoins, ce bonheur ne sera accessible qu'en étant « stoïque » : l'abnégation étant la base nécessaire pour accéder à la philosophie stoïcienne. De fait, cette recherche du calme absolu, de la maîtrise de soi intégrale ne put que plaire aux Romains comme le souligne Dominique Venner dans Histoire et Tradition des Européens 3. Peuple droit et rigoureux, cette philosophie enseignait entre autres à bien mourir, c'est-à-dire à affronter la mort en face, et au besoin, de se l'administrer soi-même lorsque l'honneur le commandait. Il sera d'ailleurs tentant de remarquer que la philosophie stoïcienne, par son rapport aux émotions, rappelle le bouddhisme là où le sérieux des Romains n'hésitant pas à se donner la mort rappelle étrangement celui des Samouraïs s'infligeant le seppuku. Que serait devenu une Europe où le stoïcisme aurait remplacé la morale chrétienne ? Qu'en serait-il également d'une noblesse européenne qui telle la noblesse japonaise aurait répondu de son honneur sur sa vie ? Ce sont là des pistes que l'historien méditatif saura explorer à bon escient. Mais avant d'entreprendre tel voyage, examinons comme dirait Epictète ses antécédents et ses conséquents.

EPI-bild.jpg

Le philosophe Epictète représenté avec une canne. Durant sa servitude, son maître lui mit la jambe dans un instrument de torture. Selon la légende, Epictète le prévint en ces mots: «Attention. Cela va casser ». Lorsque la jambe céda, Epictète dit alors « Ne t'avais-je point prévenu que cela allait casser ». Boiteux toute sa vie, il montra que l'on pouvait nuire à son corps mais pas à son âme.

Car le stoïcisme est une voie dure et qui n'est pas sans risques. Le rejet des émotions et donc de la subjectivité de l'existence expose celui qui s'y livre à une vie terne (car sans émotions) et tourmentée (tourmentée car on ne souffre jamais plus que de ce que l'on cherche à fuir, à nier ou à absolument contrôler). Celui qui recherche le bonheur et la suprême sagesse à travers la philosophie stoïcienne se devra de s'y livrer totalement. Il serrera alors conte lui ses enfants comme des êtres mortels, que l'univers peut à tout moment lui prendre sans que cela ne l'émeuve. Le Manuel, III: « Si tu embrasses ton enfant ou ta femme, dis-toi que c'est un être humain que tu embrasses ; car s'il meurt, tu n'en seras pas troublé ». Mais celui qui ne peut ou ne veut s'engager sur la voie de la philosophie mais recherche un exemple de tenue, une manière de redresser son âme tel l'empereur Marc-Aurèle aura alors à sa disposition les outils d'une puissante et européenne méditation. Tel Marc-Aurèle, il sera en moyen de faire le bien et de s'acquitter de sa tâche en ne cédant pas aux fastes et distractions que la vie pourrait lui offrir. Car c'est également cela la force de la pensée stoïcienne : elle offre deux voies. Une pour le philosophe et une autre pour le citoyen. C'est également en cela qu'elle est une pensée de l'action car elle n'est pas uniquement destinée à un corpus d'intellectuel mais constitue une manière de vivre que chaque Européen, que chaque citoyen peut faire sien. Philosophe et citoyen, tous deux seront en mesure de vivre selon ce qui est élevé. Qu'est ce qui est élevé ? La Sagesse. Que fait l'homme sage ? Le Bien. Comment se reconnaît-il ? Il vit dans l'Honneur.

Epi-1.jpgEt c'est cet Honneur au-dessus de tout, au-dessus de la vie elle-même qui est invoqué par la pensée d'Epictète. Car rappelons-le, la tenue est la base de la pensée stoïcienne. Sans Honneur, point de tenue. Sans tenue, point de voie d'accès à la Sagesse. Et sans Sagesse, on ne saurait faire le Bien. Il faut d'abord et avant tout vivre dans l'honneur et savoir quitter la scène le jour où notre honneur nous le commandera. C'est ce que ce grand Européen que fut Friedrich Nietzsche rappelle dans Le Crépuscule des Idoles 4 (Erreur de la confusion entre la cause et l'effet, 36): Il faut « Mourir fièrement lorsqu'il n'est plus possible de vivre fièrement ». Et s'exercer à contempler la mort jusqu'à ne plus la craindre, jusqu'à lui être supérieur est une des principales méditations stoïciennes : Le Manuel, XXI: « Que la mort, l'exil et tout ce qui paraît effrayant soient sous tes yeux chaque jour ; mais plus que tout, la mort. Jamais plus tu ne diras rien de vil, et tu ne désireras rien outre mesure ». Celui qui se délivrera de l'emprise de la mort sur son existence pourra alors vivre dans l'Honneur jusqu'à sa dernière heure.

Pour bien comprendre Le Manuel, il convient de rappeler les trois disciplines du stoïcisme selon Epictète. Selon lui, toute philosophie se répartie entre ces trois disciplines que sont : la discipline du discernement (le jugement que l'on porte sur soi et le monde environnant), la discipline du désir et des passions (celle qui régit l'être) et la discipline de l'éthique (c'est-à-dire celle qui régit l'action). Et par l'usage de la raison, on part de la première pour arriver à la troisième. Ce qui importe, c'est de pouvoir porter un jugement sûr permettant de régler tout notre être de la meilleure manière qui soit pour pouvoir enfin agir avec sagesse et donc ainsi faire le Bien. La première tâche qui nous incombe est donc de focaliser notre attention (et donc notre jugement) sur les choses qui importent.

Toute la démarche de celui qui s'engage sur la voie du stoïcisme consiste donc d'abord à pouvoir déterminer la nature de l'univers et à pouvoir se situer par rapport à lui. Et le stoïcisme nous enseigne que la première caractéristique de l'univers est qu'il est indifférent à notre sort. Tout est éphémère et n'est que changement. Nous ne pouvons rien contre cela. La marche de l'univers est inéluctable et nous ne sommes qu'une partie d'un grand Tout. Si les Dieux existent, ont prise sur notre existence et doivent être honorés, ils ne sont eux aussi qu'une partie d'un grand Tout et soumis au fatum. Il devient dès lors inutile de pester contre les coups du sort, de maudire les hommes et les Dieux face au malheur. La véritable Sagesse consiste à accepter tout ce qui peut nous arriver et à aller à la rencontre de notre destin le cœur serein. Voilà entre autres pourquoi on ne saurait craindre la mort qui forcément un jour viendra à nous. Prenant l'exemple des bains publiques pour illustrer les torts que notre environnement ou nos contemporains peuvent nous causer, Epictète nous dit (Le Manuel, IV) : « Ainsi, tu seras plus sûr de toi en allant te baigner si tu te dis aussitôt : « Je veux me baigner, mais je veux encore maintenir ma volonté dans un état conforme à la nature ». Et qu'il en soit ainsi pour toutes tes actions. Ainsi s'il te survient au bain quelque traverse, tu auras aussitôt présent à l'esprit : « Mais je ne voulais pas me baigner seulement, je voulais encore maintenir ma volonté dans un état conforme à la nature. Je ne la maintiendrais pas, si je m'irritais de ce qui arrive » ». C'est l'un des pivots de la pensée stoïcienne. Tout comme l'univers est indifférent à notre sort, nous devons être indifférents à sa marche. Mieux encore, épouser la marche du monde, accueillir le destin d'un cœur résolu, c'est faire acte de piété car c'est avoir fait sien le principe directeur qui guide l'univers lui-même. Et l'univers est par définition parfait donc divin. Ce sont ces considérations métaphysiques qui nous amènent à la raison. Et c'est par la raison que nous accéderons en retour au divin.

EPI-4.jpgNous devons donc ne nous préoccuper que de ce qui ne dépend que de nous car selon Epictète, l'une des plus grandes dichotomies à réaliser c'est celle existante entre les choses qui dépendent de nous et celles qui n'en dépendent pas. Parmi les choses qui dépendent de nous, le jugement que l'on se fait de soi et de l'univers qui nous entoure. Ce qui dépend de nous, c'est tout ce qui a trait à notre âme et à notre libre-arbitre. Et parmi les choses qui ne dépendent pas de nous : la mort, la maladie, la gloire, les honneurs et les richesses, les coups du sort tout comme les actions et pensées de nos contemporains. L'homme sage ne s'attachera donc qu'à ce qui dépend de lui et ne souciera point de ce qui n'en dépend point. C'est là la seule manière d'être libéré de toute forme de servilité. Car l'on peut courir après richesses et gloires mais elles sont par définition éphémères. Elles ne trouvent pas leur origine dans notre être profond et lorsque la mort viendra nous trouver, à quoi nous serviront-elles ? Pour être libre, il convient donc de d'abord s'attacher à découvrir ce qui dépend de nous et ce qui n'en dépend pas. C'est bel et bien la première discipline du stoïcisme : celle du discernement. En se plongeant dans Le Manuel d'Epictète, on apprendra vite qu'il faut d'abord et avant tout s'attacher à ce que l'on peut et au rôle dont le destin nous a gratifié. Le rôle qui nous est donné l'a été par l'univers (que ce soit par l'entremise des Dieux ou par la voie des causes et des conséquences) et c'est donc avec ferveur que nous devons le remplir. C'est en faisant ainsi, cheminant aux côtés de ses semblables, modeste et loyal, que l'on sera le plus utile aux siens et à sa patrie. C'est bel et bien une vision fataliste de l'existence, un amor fati très européen. Rappelons-nous qu'aller à l'encontre du destin, c'est défier les Dieux et l'univers. Et pourtant... cela nous est bel et bien permis à nous Européens. La Sagesse consiste à savoir que cela ne peut se faire que lorsque tel acte est commandé par l'absolue nécessité et en étant prêt à en payer le prix. On se replongera dans l'Iliade pour se le remémorer. Mais comme il est donné à bien peu d'entre nous de connaître ce que le destin leur réserve, notre existence reste toujours ouverte. Il n'y a pas de fatalité, seulement un appel à ne jamais se dérober lorsque l'histoire nous appelle. Voici une autre raison de s'exercer chaque jour à contempler la mort. Car si nous ne nous livrons pas quotidiennement à cette méditation, comment réagirons-nous le jour où il nous faudra prendre de véritables risques, voir mettre notre peau au bout de nos idées ? Lorsque le Destin frappera à notre porte, qu'il n'y aura d'autre choix possible qu'entre l'affrontement et la soumission, le stoïcien n'hésitera pas. Que seul le premier choix nous soit accessible, voici le présent que nous fait le stoïcisme. Le Manuel, XXXII, 3: « Ainsi donc, lorsqu'il faut s'exposer au danger pour un ami ou pour sa patrie, ne va pas demander au devin s'il faut s'exposer au danger. Car si le devin te déclare que les augures sont mauvais, il est évident qu'il t'annonce, ou la mort, ou la mutilation de quelque membre du corps, ou l'exil. Mais la raison prescrit, même avec de telles perspectives, de secourir un ami et de s'exposer au danger pour sa patrie. Prends garde donc au plus grand des devins, à Apollon Pythien, qui chassa de son temple celui qui n'avait point porté secours à l'ami que l'on assassinait ».

Qu'en est-il à présent des trois disciplines du stoïcisme. Comme il a été dit précédemment, être et action découlent du discernement et l'on peut ainsi affiner la définition des trois disciplines du stoïcisme:

  • Discernement: On s'attachera à déterminer les choses qui dépendent de nous et celles qui n'en dépendent pas.
  •  Être: On se bornera à ne point désirer ce qui ne dépend pas de nous et inversement à désirer ce qui en dépend.
  • Action: On pourra alors agir selon ce que notre être nous commande et ne pas aller vers ce qui nous en détournerait.

EPI-3.jpgIl convient de s'attarder maintenant sur ces définitions de l'être et de l'action. Comme nous le voyons, non seulement nous devons aller dans la bonne direction mais qui plus est nous interdire tout ce qui pourrait nous en détourner. Vivre en stoïque, c'est vivre de manière radicale. Que l'on vive le stoïcisme en philosophe ou en citoyen ne change rien à cela. Il n'y a pas de place pour la demi-mesure. Une droite parfaitement rectiligne, c'est ce qui doit symboliser le chemin parcouru par l'homme antique, l'homme stoïque. Il a été dit plus haut que tout était éphémère, que tout n'était que changement. A partir de cette constatation, sachant que nous ne devons point désirer et accorder d'importance à ce qui ne dépend point de nous, il devient dès lors impossible de s'attacher à ses possessions, à ses amis, à sa famille. Ceux-ci ne nous appartiennent pas et rien de ces choses et de ces personnes ne sont une extension de nous-même. Hommes ou objets, nous n'en jouissons que temporairement. Et cela ne doit pas être vu comme un appel à l'indifférence et à l'égoïsme. L'enseignement qui doit en être retiré est que la vérité et l'exigence de tenue ne doivent pas tenir compte de ces que nos contemporains, si proches soient-ils de nous, peuvent en penser. De même, l'argent et les biens matériels ne sont que des outils. Des outils au service du bien, de la cité, de la patrie. Celui qui se laisse posséder par ce qui est extérieur à lui-même ne mérite pas le titre de stoïcien, le qualificatif de stoïque. Et à ceux qui verront le stoïcisme comme trop dur, Epictète répond que la Sagesse a un prix. Nous ne pouvons désirer la paix de l'âme et les fruits d'une vie de servitude. A vrai dire, à vouloir les deux à la fois, on n'obtient bien souvent ni l'un ni l'autre. Et à ceux qui se décourageront en chemin, Epictète rappelle que nous pouvons trouver en nous tous les outils pour persévérer. Face à l'abattement, invoquons la ferveur, face à la fatigue, invoquons l'endurance, face aux insultes et aux coups, invoquons le courage.

Quelles sont alors les valeurs qui doivent être invoquées en toutes circonstances par l'Européen sur la voie du stoïcisme ? Puisque tout n'est qu'éthique, puisque tout n'est que tenue, que doit-on se dire inlassablement pour être prêt le jour où le destin nous appellera ?

  • Méprise mort, maladie, honneurs, richesses
  • Ne te lamente de rien qui puisse t'arriver
  • Maîtrise-toi car tu es le seul responsable de tes actes
  • Joue à fond le rôle qui t'es donné
  • Agis ou lieu de décréter
  • Respecte les liens du sang, de hiérarchie et les serments
  • Ne te détourne jamais de ton devoir
  • Ne te justifie jamais, ris des éloges que tu reçois
  • Ne parle que lorsque cela est nécessaire
  • Ne commet rien d'indigne
  • Par ta conduite, amène les autres à la dignité
  • Ne fréquente pas ceux qui sont souillés
  • Modération en tout. Accepte les bonnes choses de la vie sans les rechercher. Enfin, ne les désire plus
  • Les Dieux gouvernent avec sagesse et justice :

« Sache que le plus important de la piété envers les Dieux est d'avoir sur eux de justes conceptions, qu'ils existent et qu'ils gouvernent toutes choses avec sagesse et justice, et par conséquent, d'être disposé à leur obéir, à leur céder en tout ce qui arrive, et à les suivre de bon gré avec la pensée qu'ils ont tout accompli pour le mieux. Ainsi, tu ne t'en prendras jamais aux Dieux et tu ne les accuseras point de te négliger »

Epictète, Le Manuel, XXXI

epi-6.jpgAller au-devant du monde le cœur serein. Rester droit face aux pires menaces et affronter la mort sans faillir, voilà la grande ambition du stoïcisme. En des temps troublés, l'Européen, quel que soit son rang, trouvera dans le Manuel tous les outils pour y arriver. Par la méditation, la raison et la maîtrise de soi il pourra se forger jour après jour une antique et véritable tenue. Le stoïcisme est également l'une des traditions par laquelle on peut se rapprocher du divin puis enfin mériter soi-même ce qualificatif. Devenir « pareil au Dieux » fut l'une des grandes inspirations de nos plus lointains ancêtres au sein de toute l'Europe. Germains et Celtes aux ancêtres divins ou Latins et Hellènes rêvant de prendre place à la table des Dieux, tous étaient habités par cette métaphysique de l'absolu qui guide nos âmes depuis nos origines. Une métaphysique de l'absolu qui les poussait à rechercher la perfection, l'harmonie, la beauté. Avec la raison menant au divin et le divin menant à la raison, le stoïcisme réussit un syncrétisme que beaucoup ont cherché à réaliser en vain pendant des siècles. Et cette sagesse n'est nullement incompatible avec les fois chrétiennes comme avec nos antiques fois européennes. Le libre penseur, l'incroyant lui-même n'en est pas exclu. Voilà pourquoi celui qui ouvre Le Manuel aura alors pour horizon l'Europe toute entière et ce, à travers toutes ses époques. Que celui qui contemple alors notre histoire se rappelle ces paroles d'Hector dans L'Iliade 5 (XII, 243) : « Il n'est qu'un bon présage, celui de combattre pour sa patrie ».

Pour le SOCLE :

De la critique positive du Manuel, les enseignements suivants peuvent être tirés :

                    - Le Manuel dicte la tenue idéale à tenir pour un certain type d'Européen.

                    - C'est un devoir sacré pour chacun d'être utile là où il est.

                    - Il ne saurait y avoir de réflexion sans action.

                    - L'honneur est au-dessus de la vie.

                    - L'hubris doit être condamné.

                    - On doit être guidé par une métaphysique de l'absolu.

                    - Le divin mène à la raison. La raison mène au divin.

Bibliographie

  1. Le Manuel. Epictète. GF-Flammarion.
  2. Pensées pour moi-même. Marc-Aurèle. GF-Flammarion.
  3. Histoire et tradition des Européens. 30 000 ans d'identité. Dominique Venner. Editions du Rocher.
  4. Le crépuscule des idoles. Friedrich Nietzsche. Folio Essais.
  5. L'Iliade. Homère. Traduit du grec par Fréréric Mugler. Babel.

mardi, 20 septembre 2016

Rightist Critique of Racial Materialism

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Rightist Critique of Racial Materialism

 
Ex: http://www.katehon.com

While France and England gave materialistic, anti-traditional expressions to the concept of “the people” that was taking shape since the French Revolution, German Idealism was a return to a spiritual, metaphysical direction. The German Revolution moved in a volkish direction, where the volk was seen as the basis of the state, and the notion of a volk-soul that guided the formation and development of nations became a predominant theme that came into conflict with the French bourgeois liberal-democratic ideals derived from Jacobinism. Fichte had laid the foundations of a German nationalism in 1807-1808 with his Addresses to the German Nation. Although like possibly all revolutionaries or radicals of the time, beginning under the impress of the French Revolution, by the time he had delivered his addresses to the German nation, he had already rejected Jacobinism. Johann Heder had previously sought to establish the concept of the volk-soul, and of each nation being guided by a spirit. This was a metaphysical conception of race, or more accurately volk, that preceded the biological arguments of the Frenchman Count Arthur de Gobineau. Herder stated that the volk is the only class, and includes both King and peasant, and that “the people” are not the same as the rabble that are championed by Jacobinism and later Marxism. 

Houston Stewart Chamberlain - Occult History Third Reich - Peter Crawford.jpgFrench and English racism was introduced to Germany by the Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain who had a seminal influence on Hitlerism. English Darwinism, a manifestation of the materialistic Zeitgeist that dominated England, was brought to Germany by Ernst Haeckel; although Blumenbach had already begun to classify race according to cranial measurements during the 18th century. Nonetheless, biological racism reflects the English Zeitgeist of materialism. It provided primary materialistic doctrines to dethrone Tradition. Its application to economics also provided a scientific justification for the “class struggle” of both the capitalistic and socialistic varieties. Hitlerism was an attempt to synthesis the English eugenics of Galton and the evolution of Darwin with the metaphysis of German Idealism. Italian Traditionalist Julius Evola attempted to counter the later influence of Hitlerian racism on Italian Fascism by developing a “metaphysical racism,” and the concept of the “race of the spirit,” which has its parallels in Spengler, whose approach to race is in the Traditionalist mode of the German Idealists.

Because the Right, the custodian of Tradition within the epoch of decay, has been infected by the spirit of materialism, there is often a focus on secondary symptoms of culture disease, such as in particular immigration, rather than primary symptoms such as usury and plutocracy. “Race” becomes a matter of skull measuring, rather than spirit, élan and character. Hence the character of a civilisation and of a people is discerned via the types of bone and skull found amidst the ruins. History then becomes a matter of counting and measuring and statistics. How feeble such attempts remain is demonstrated by the years of controversy surrounding the racial identity of Kennewick Man in North America, having first thought to have been a Caucasian, and now concluded to have been of Ainu/Polynesian descent. The Traditionalist does not discount “race”. Rather it plays a central role. How “race” is defined is another matter. 

Trotsky called “racism” “Zoological materialism”. As an “economic materialist”, that is, a Marxist, he did not explain why his own version of materialism is a superior mode of thinking and acting than the other. They arose, along with Free Trade capitalism, out of the same Zeitgeist that dominated England at the time, and all three refer to a naturalistic life as struggle. The Traditionalist rejects all forms of materialism. The Traditionalist does not see history as unfolding according to material, economic forces, or racial-biological determinants. The Traditionalist sees history as the unfolding of metaphysical forces manifesting within the terrestrial. Spengler, although not a Perennial Traditionalist, intuited history over a broad expanse as a metaphysical unfolding. Although a man of the “Right”, he rejected the biological interpretation of history as much as the economic. So did Evola.

The best known exponents of racial determinism were of course German National Socialists, the reductionist doctrine being expressed by Hitler: 

“…This is how civilisations and empires break up and make room for new creations. Blood mixture, and the lowering of the racial level which accompanies it, are the one and only cause why old civilisations disappear…” 

The USA provided a large share of racial theorists of the early 20th century, whose conception of the rise and fall of civilisation was based on racial zoology, and in particular on the superiority of the Nordic not only above non-white races, but above all sub-races of the white, such as the Dinaric, Mediterranean and Alpine. Senator Theodore G. Bilbo of Mississippi wrote a book championing the cause of segregation, and more so, the “back-to-Africa” movement, stating that miscegenation with the Negro will result in the fall of white civilisation. He briefly examined some major civilisations. Bilbo wrote that Egyptian civilisation was mongrelised over centuries, “until a mulatto inherited the throne of the Pharaohs in the Twenty-fifth dynasty. This mongrel prince, Taharka, ruled over a Negroid people whose religion had fallen from an ethical test for the life after death to a form of animal worship”. This should be “sufficient warning to white America!” Because Sen. Bilbo had started from an assumption, his history was flawed. As will be shown below, it was Taharka and the Nubian dynasty that renewed Egypt’s decaying culture, which had degenerated under the white Libyan dynasties.  Sen. Bilbo proceeds with similar brief examinations of Carthage, Greece, and Rome. 

julius%20evola%20sintesi%20e%20dottrina%20della%20razza%20heopli.jpegJulius Evola, while repudiating the zoological primacy of “racism” as another form of materialism and therefore anti-Traditional, suggested that a “spiritual racism” is necessary to oppose the forces seeking to turn man into an amorphous mass; as interchangeable economic units without roots; what is now called “globalisation”. 

Evola gives the Traditionalist viewpoint when stating that there “have been many cases in which a culture has collapsed even when its race has remained pure, as is especially clear in certain groups that have suffered slow, inexorable extinction despite remaining as racially isolated as if they were islands”. He gives Sweden and The Netherlands as recent examples, pointing out that although the race has remained unchanged, there is little of the “heroic disposition” those cultures possessed just several centuries previously. He refers to other great cultures as having remained in a state as if like mummies, inwardly dead, awaiting a push “to knock them down”. These are what Spengler called Fellaheen, spiritually exhausted and historically passé. Evola gives Peru as an example of how readily a static culture succumbed to Spain. Hence, such examples, even as vigorous cultures such as that of the Dutch and Scandinavian, once wide-roaming and dynamic, have declined to nonentities despite the maintenance of racial homogeneity. 

The following considers examples that are often cited as civilisations that decayed and died as the result of miscegenation.

Greek

A case study for testing the miscegenation theory of cultural decay is that of the Hellenic. The ancient Hellenic civilisation is typically ascribed by racial theorists as being the creation of a Nordic culture-bearing stratum. The same has been said of the Latin, Egyptian, and others. Typically, this theory is illustrated by depicting sculptures of ancient Hellenes of “Nordic” appearance. Such depictions upon which to form a theory are unreliable: the ancient Hellenes were predominantly a mixture of Dinaric-Alpine-Mediterranean. The skeletal remains of Greeks show that from earliest times to the present there has been remarkable uniformity, according to studies by Sergi, Ripley, and Buxton, who regarded the Greeks as an Alpine-Mediterranean mix from a “comparatively early date.” American physical anthropologist Carlton S. Coon stated that the Greeks remain an Alpine/Mediterranean mix, with a weak Nordic element, being “remarkably similar” to their ancient ancestors.

American anthropologist J. Lawrence Angel, in the most complete study of Greek skeletal remains starting from the Neolithic era to the present, found that Greeks have always bene marked by a sustained racial continuity. Angel cited American anthropologist Buxton who had studied Greek skeletal material and measured modern Greeks, especially in Cyprus, concluding that the modern Greeks “possess physical characteristics not differing essentially from those of the former [ancient Greeks]”. The most extensive study of modern Greeks was conducted by anthropologist Aris N. Poulianos, concluding that Greeks are and have always been Mediterranean-Dinaric, with a strong Alpine presence. Angel states that “Poulianos is correct in pointing out ... that there is complete continuity genetically from ancient to modern times”. Nikolaos Xirotiris did not find any significant alteration of the Greek race from prehistory, through classical and medieval, to modern times. Anthropologist Roland Dixon studied the funeral masks of Spartans and identified them as of the Alpine sub-race. Although race theorists often stated that Hellenic civilisation was founded and maintained by invading Dorian “Nordics”, Angel states that the northern invasions were always of “Dinaroid-Alpine” type. A recent statistical comparison of ancient and modern Greek skulls found “a remarkable similarity in craniofacial morphology between modern and ancient Greeks.”

If miscegenation and the elimination of an assumed Nordic (Dorian) culture-bearing stratum cannot account for the decay of Hellenic civilisation, what can? Contemporary historians point out the origins. The Roman historian Livy observed: 

“The Macedonians who settled in Alexandria in Egypt, or in Seleucia, or in Babylonia, or in any of their other colonies scattered over the world, have degenerated into Syrians, Parthians, or Egyptians. Whatever is planted in a foreign land, by a gradual change in its nature, degenerates into that by which it is nurtured”.

tarn-2.jpgHere Livy is observing that occupiers among foreign peoples “go native”, as one might say. The occupiers are pulled downward, rather than elevating their subjects upward, not through genetic contact but through moral and cultural corruption. The Syrians, Parthians and Egyptians, had already become historically and culturally passé, or Fellaheen, as Spengler puts it. The Macedonian Greeks in those colonies succumbed to the force of etiolation. Alexander even encouraged this in an effort to meld all subjects into one Greek mass, which resulted not from a Hellenic civilisation passed along by multitudinous peoples, but in a chaotic mass from which Greece did not recover, despite the Greeks staying racially intact. Unlike the Jews in particular, the Greeks, Romans and other conquerors did not have the strength of Tradition to maintain themselves among alien cultures. Dr. W. W. Tarn stated of this process:

“Greece was ready to adopt the gods of the foreigner, but the foreigner rarely reciprocated; Greek Doura (the Greek temple in Mesopotamia) freely admitted the gods of Babylon, but no Greek god entered Babylonian Uruk. Foreign gods might take Greek names; they took little else. They (the Babylonian gods) were the stronger, and the conquest of Asia (by the Greeks) was bound to fail as soon as the East had gauged its own strength and Greek weakness.”

Spengler pointed out to Western Civilisation and the current epoch that one of the primary symptoms of culture decay is that of depopulation. It is a sign literally that a Civilisation has become too lazy to look beyond the immediate. There is no longer any sense of duty to the past or the future, but only to a hedonistic present. Polybius (b. ca. 200 B.C.) observed this phenomenon of Hellenic Civilisation like Spengler did of ours, writing: 

tarn-1.jpg“In our time all Greece was visited by a dearth of children and generally a decay of population, owing to which the cities were denuded of inhabitants, and a failure of productiveness resulted, though there were no long-continued wars or serious pestilences among us. If, then, any one had advised our sending to ask the gods in regard to this, what we were to do or say in order to become more numerous and better fill our cities,—would he not have seemed a futile person, when the cause was manifest and the cure in our own hands? For this evil grew upon us rapidly, and without attracting attention, by our men becoming perverted to a passion for show and money and the pleasures of an idle life, and accordingly either not marrying at all, or, if they did marry, refusing to rear the children that were born, or at most one or two out of a great number, for the sake of leaving them well off or bringing them up in extravagant luxury. For when there are only one or two sons, it is evident that, if war or pestilence carries off one, the houses must be left heirless: and, like swarms of bees, little by little the cities become sparsely inhabited and weak. On this subject there is no need to ask the gods how we are to be relieved from such a curse: for any one in the world will tell you that it is by the men themselves if possible changing their objects of ambition; or, if that cannot be done, by passing laws for the preservation of infants”.

Do Polybius’ thoughts sound like some unheeded doom-sayer speaking to us now about our modern world? If the reader can see the analogous features between Western Civilisation, and that of Greece and Rome then the organic course of Civilisations is being understood, and by looking at Greece and Rome we might see where we are heading.

Roman

Another often cited example of the fall of civilisation through miscegenation is that of Rome. However, despite the presence of slaves and traders of sundry races, like the Greeks, today’s Italians are substantially the same as they were in Roman times. Arab influence did not occur until Medieval times, centuries after the “fall of Rome”, with Arab rule extending over Sicily only during 1212-1226 A.D. The genetic male influence on Sicilians is estimated at only 6%. The predominant genetic influence is ancient Greek. The African have a less than  1% frequency  throughout Italy other than in , , and where there are frequencies of 2% to  3% . Sub-Saharan, that is, Negroid, mtDNA have been found at very low frequencies in Italy, albeit marginally higher than elsewhere in Europe, but date from 10,000 years ago. This study states: “….mitochondrial DNA studies show that Italy does not differ too much from other European populations”. Although there are small regional variations, “The mtDNA haplogroup make-up of Italy as observed in our samples fits well with expectations in a typical European population”. 

Hence, an infusion of Negroid or Asian genes during the epoch of Rome’s decline and fall is lacking, and the reasons for that fall cannot be assigned to miscegenation. What slight frequency there is of non-Caucasian genetic markers entered Rome long before or long after the fall of Roman Civilisation. There was no “contamination of Roman blood”, but of Roman spirit and élan.  

declinerome.jpgAlien immigration introduces cultural elements that dislocate the social and ethical basis of a Civilisation and aggravate an existing pathological condition. The English scholar Professor C. Northcote Parkinson, writing on the fall of Rome, commented that the Roman conquerors were subjected “to cultural inundation and grassroots influence”. Because Rome extended throughout the world, like the present Late Western, the economic opportunities accorded by Rome drew in all the elements of the subject peoples, “groups of mixed origin and alien ways of life”. “Even more significant was what the Romans learnt while on duty overseas, for men so influenced were of the highest rank”. Parkinson quotes Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, referring to the Roman colony of Antioch: 

“…Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit, and the splendour of dress and furniture was the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch. The arts of luxury were honoured, the serious and manly virtues were the subject of ridicule, and the contempt for female modesty and reverent age announced the universal corruption of the capitals of the East…” 

Roman historian Livy wrote of the opulence of Asia being brought back to Rome by the soldiery:

“…it was through the army serving in Asia that the beginnings of foreign luxury were introduced into the City. These men brought into Rome for the first time, bronze couches, costly coverlets, tapestry, and other fabrics, and - what was at that time considered gorgeous furniture - pedestal tables and silver salvers. Banquets were made more attractive by the presence of girls who played on the harp and sang and danced, and by other forms of amusement, and the banquets themselves began to be prepared with greater care and expense. The cook whom the ancients regarded and treated as the lowest menial was rising in value, and what had been a servile office came to be looked upon as a fine art. Still what met the eye in those days was hardly the germ of the luxury that was coming”.

The moral decay of Rome resulted in the displacement of Roman stock, not by miscegenation, but by the falling birth-rate of the Romans. Such population decline is itself a major symptom of culture decay. The problem that it signifies is that a people has so little consciousness left as to its own purpose as a culture that its individuals do not have any responsibility beyond their own egos. Professor Tenney Frank, foremost scholar on the economic history of Rome, also considered the results of population decline, from the top of the social hierarchy downward: 

“The race went under. The legislation of Augustus and his successors, while aiming at preserving the native stock, was of the myopic kind so usual in social lawmaking, and failing to reckon with the real nature of the problem involved. It utterly missed the mark. By combining epigraphical and literary references, a fairly full history of the noble families can be procured, and this reveals a startling inability of such families to perpetuate themselves. We know, for instance, in Caesar’s day of forty-five patricians, only one of whom is represented by posterity when Hadrian came to power. The Aemilsi, Fabii, Claudii. Manlii, Valerii, and all the rest, with the exception of Comelii, have disappeared. Augustus and Claudius raised twenty-five families to the patricate, and all but six disappear before Nerva’s reign. Of the families of nearly four hundred senators recorded in 65 A. D. under Nero, all trace of a half is lost by Nerva’s day, a generation later. And the records are so full that these statistics may be assumed to represent with a fair degree of accuracy the disappearance of the male stock of the families in question. Of course members of the aristocracy were the chief sufferers from the tyranny of the first century, but this havoc was not all wrought by delatores and assassins. The voluntary choice of childlessness accounts largely for the unparalleled condition. This is as far as the records help in this problem, which, despite the silences is probably the most important phase of the whole question of the change of race. Be the causes what they may, the rapid decrease of the old aristocracy and the native stock was clearly concomitant with a twofold increase from below; by a more normal birth-rate of the poor, and the constant manumission of slaves 

While allusions to “race” by Professor Frank are enough for “zoological materialists” to spin a whole theory about Rome’s decline and fall around miscegenation of the “white race” with blacks and Orientals, we now know from the genetics that despite the invasions over centuries, the Italians, like the Greeks, have retained their original racial composition to the present. What Frank is describing, by an examination of the records that show a disappearance of the leading patrician families, is that Rome was in a spiritual crisis, as all civilisations are when they regard child-bearing as a burden. Traditionalists such as Evola pointed out that the “secret of degeneration” of a civilisation is that it rots from the top downward, and as Spengler pointed out, one of the primary signs of that rot is childlessness. That there were Roman statesmen with the wisdom to understand what was happening is indicated by Augustus’ efforts to raise the birth-rate, but to no avail. Of this symptom of moral decay, Professor Frank wrote: 

“In the first place there was a marked decline in the birthrate among the aristocratic families. … As society grew more pleasure-loving, as convention raised artificially the standard of living, the voluntary choice of celibacy and childlessness became a common feature among the upper classes. …”

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Urbanisation, the magnetic pull of the megalopolis, the depopulation of the land and the proletarianism of the former peasant stock as in the case of the West’s Industrial Revolution, impacted in major ways on the fall of Rome. A. M. Duff wrote of the impact of rural depopulation and urbanisation:

“But what of the lower-class Romans of the old stock? They were practically untouched by revolution and tyranny, and the growth of luxury cannot have affected them to the same extent as it did the nobility. Yet even here the native stock declined. The decay of agriculture. … drove numbers of farmers into the towns, where, unwilling to engage in trade, they sank into unemployment and poverty, and where, in their endeavours to maintain a high standard of living, they were not able to support the cost of rearing children. Many of these free-born Latins were so poor that they often complained that the foreign slaves were much better off than they, and so they were. At the same time many were tempted to emigrate to the colonies across the sea which Julius Caesar and Augustus founded. Many went away to Romanize the provinces, while society was becoming Orientalized at home. Because slave labour had taken over almost all jobs, the free born could not compete with them. They had to sell their small farms or businesses and move to the cities. Here they were placed on the doles because of unemployment. They were, at first, encouraged to emigrate to the more prosperous areas of the empire to Gaul, North Africa and Spain. Hundreds of thousands left Italy and settled in the newly-acquired lands. Such a vast number left Italy leaving it to the Orientals that finally restrictions had to be passed to prevent the complete depopulation of the Latin stock, but as we have seen, the laws were never effectively put into force. The migrations increased and Italy was being left to another race. The free-born Italian, anxious for land to till and live upon, displayed the keenest colonization activity.” 

The foreign cultures and religions that had come to Rome from across the empire changed the temperament of the Romans masses who were uprooted and migrating to the cities; where as in the nature of the cites, as Spengler showed,  they became a cosmopolitan mass. Frank writes of this: 

“This Orientalization of Rome’s populace has a more important bearing than is usually accorded it upon the larger question of why the spirit and acts of imperial Rome are totally different from those of the republic. There was a complete change in the temperament! There is today a healthy activity in the study of the economic factors that contributed to Rome’s decline. But what lay behind and constantly reacted upon all such causes of Rome’s disintegration was, after all, to a considerable extent, the fact that the people who had built Rome had given way to a different race. The lack of energy and enterprise, the failure of foresight and common sense, the weakening of moral and political stamina, all were concomitant with the gradual diminution of the stock which, during the earlier days, had displayed these qualities. It would be wholly unfair to pass judgment upon the native qualities of the Orientals without a further study, or to accept the self-complacent slurs of the Romans, who, ignoring certain imaginative and artistic qualities, chose only to see in them unprincipled and servile egoists. We may even admit that had these new races had time to amalgamate and attain a political consciousness a more brilliant and versatile civilization might have come to birth.” 

Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire.jpgWhat is notable is not that the Romans miscegenated with Orientals, but that the uprooted, amorphous masses of the cities no longer adhered to the Traditions on which Roman civilisation was founded. The same process can be seen today at work in New York, London and Paris. Duff wrote of this, and we might consider the parallels with our own time: 

“Instead of the hardy and patriotic Roman with his proud indifference to pecuniary gain, we find too often under the Empire an idle pleasure-loving cosmopolitan whose patriotism goes no further than applying for the dole and swelling the crowds in the amphitheatre”. 

The Roman Traditional ethos of severity, austerity and disdain for softness that Emperor Julian attempted to reassert was greeted by “fashionable society” with “disgust”. Parkinson remarks that “there is just such a tendency in the London of today, as there was still earlier in Boston and New York”. These “world cities” no longer reflect a cultural nexus but an economic nexus, and hence one’s position is not based on how one or one’s family unfolds the Traditional ethos, but on whether or how one accumulates wealth. 

Indian

social_pyramid_f02.jpgIndia is the most commonly cited example of a civilisation that decayed through miscegenation, the invading Aryans imparting a High Culture on India and then forever falling into decay because of miscegenation with the low caste “blacks”, or Dravidians. However, Genetic research indicates that the higher castes have retained to the present a predominately Caucasian genetic inheritance.

“As one moves from lower to upper castes, the distance from Asians becomes progressively larger. The distance between Europeans and lower castes is larger than the distance between Europeans and upper castes, but the distance between Europeans and middle castes is smaller than the upper caste-European distance. … Among the upper castes the genetic distance between Brahmins and Europeans (0.10) is smaller than that between either the Kshatriya and Europeans (0.12) or the Vysya and Europeans (0.16). Assuming that contemporary Europeans reflect West Eurasian affinities, these data indicate that the amount of West Eurasian admixture with Indian populations may have been proportionate to caste rank.

“…As expected if the lower castes are more similar to Asians than to Europeans, and the upper castes are more similar to Europeans than to Asians, the frequencies of M and M3 haplotypes are inversely proportional to caste rank.

“…In contrast to the mtDNA distances, the Y-chromosome STR data do not demonstrate a closer affinity to Asians for each caste group. Upper castes are more similar to Europeans than to Asians, middle castes are equidistant from the two groups, and lower castes are most similar to Asians. The genetic distance between caste populations and Africans is progressively larger moving from lower to middle to upper caste groups. 

“…Results suggest that Indian Y chromosomes, particularly upper caste Y chromosomes, are more similar to European than to Asian Y chromosomes.

“…Nevertheless, each separate upper caste is more similar to Europeans than to Asians.”

Citing further studies, “…admixture with African or proto-Australoid populations” is “occasional”. 

The chaos that afflicted India seems to have been of religio-cultural type rather than racial. Despite the superficiality of dusky hues, the Indian ruling castes have retained their Caucasian identity to the present. The genetic contribution of Australoids and Africans was minor. 

Egyptian

Like India, Egypt is often cited as an example of a civilisation that was destroyed primarily by miscegenation, with Negroids. However, despite the myriad of invasions and population shifts, today’s Egyptians are still more closely related genetically to Eurasia than Africa. Migrations between Egypt, Nubia and Sudan have not been extensive enough to “homogenise the mtDNA gene pools of the Nile River Valley populations”, although Egyptians and Nubians are more closely related than Egyptians and southern Sudanese. However, significant differences remain. Even now, today’s Egyptians have primary genetic affinities with Asia, and North and Northeast Africa. The least affinity is to the populations of Sub-Sahara.  The Haplotype  M1, with a high frequency among Egyptians,  hitherto thought to be of Sub-Saharan origin,  is of Eurasian origin.  

Miscegenation with Nubian “slaves” and mercenaries seems unlikely to have caused Egypt’s decay. While a Nubian or “black” pharaoh is alluded to by racial-zoologists as a sign of Egyptian decay, the Nubian civilisation had an intimate connection with the Egyptian and was itself impressive and of early origins. 

Nubian civilisation, with palaces, temples and pyramids, flourished as far back as 7000 B.C. 223 pyramids, twice the number of Egypt, have been found along the Nile of the Nubian culture-region. The Nubian civilisation was of notably long duration surviving until the Muslim conquest of 1500 A.D. The Egyptians have viewed the Nubians either as a “conquered race or a superior enemy”. Hence, Egyptian depictions of shackled black slaves, give a widely inaccurate impression of the Nubian.  Nubians became the pharaohs of Egypt’s 25th dynasty, providing stability where previously there had been ruin caused by civil wars between warlords, ca. 700 B.C. The Nubians were the custodians of Egyptian faith and culture at a time when Egypt was decaying. They regarded the restoration of the faith of Amun as their duty. It was the Nubian dynasties (760-656 B.C.), especially the rulership of Taharqa, which revived and purified Egyptian culture and religion. It was under the “white” rule of the Libyan pharaohs of the 21st dynasty (1069-1043 B. c.) that Egypt began a sharp decline. Ptolemaic (Greek) rule (332-30 B.C.) under Ptolemy IV (222 to 205 B.C.) brought to the rich and sumptuous pharaohs’ court “lax morals and vicious lifestyle” ending in “decadence and anarchy”. Byzantine rule (395 to 640 A.D.) through Christianisation wrought destruction on the Egyptian heritage, which was succeeded by Islamic rule. Of the long vicissitudes of Egypt’s rise and fall, it was the Nubian dynasty that had restored Egyptian cultural integrity. References to Nubians on the throne of the pharaohs tell no more of the causes of Egypt’s decay than if historians several millennia hence sought to ascribe the causes of the USA’s  culture retardation to Obama’s presidency as a “black”. 

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We see in Egypt as in Rome, the Moorish civilisation, India and others, the causes of culture decay and fall as being something other than miscegenation. The contemporary Westerner should look for answers beyond this if only because he can see for himself that the West’s decay has no relationship to miscegenation. The number of Americans describing themselves as “mixed race” was just under 9 million in 2010. Of the 3,988,076 live births in the USA in 2014  368,213 were non-white.  The USA did not become the global centre of culture-pestilence because of its mixed race population. What is more significant than the percentages of miscegenation, are the percentages of population decline caused by such factors as the limitation of children, and the rates of abortion. Twenty-one percent of all pregnancies in the USA are aborted. Such depopulation statics are an indication of culture pathology. 

gallery-1431027249-122315523.jpgOf Egypt’s chaos contemporary sages observed, as they did of Rome and India, a disintegration of authority, traditional religion, and the founding ethos and mythos around which a healthy culture revolves. Egypt was often subjected to invasions and to natural disasters. These served as catalysts for culture degeneration. The papyrus called The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage, state that after invasions and what seems to have been a class war, Egypt fell apart, there was family strife, the noble families were dispossessed by the lowest castes, authority was disrespected and overthrown, lawlessness and plunder were the norm, and the nobility was attacked: “A man looks upon his son as an enemy. A man smites his brother (the son of his mother)”. Craftsmanship has become degraded: “No craftsmen work, the enemies of the land have spoilt its crafts”. There is rebellion against the Uraeus or Re. “A few lawless men have ventured to despoil the land of the kingship”. It appears that the foundations of Traditional society, god, monarch, family and land, have been caste asunder. Further, “Asiatics” have seized the land from the ancestral occupiers, and have so insinuated themselves into the Egyptian culture that one can no longer tell who is Egyptian and who is alien: “There are no Egyptians anywhere”. “Women are lacking and no children are conceived”. Evidently there is a population crisis; that perennial symptom of decay. The political and administrative structure has collapsed, with “no officers in their place”. The laws are trampled on and cast aside. “Serfs become lords of serfs”.  The writings of the scribes are destroyed. 

What is being described is not a sudden upheaval, although the allusion to natural disasters and Asiatic invasion would imply this. The breakdown of regal authority, civil authority, depopulation, laws, family bonds, religious faith, agriculture and the social structure, imply an epoch of decline into chaos. The social structure has been inversed, as though a communistic revolution had occurred. “He who possessed no property is now a man of wealth. The prince praises him. The poor of the land have become rich, and the possessor of the land has become one who has nothing. Female slaves speak as they like to their mistresses. Orders become irksome. Those who could not build a boat now possesses ships. “The possessors of robes are now in rags”. “The children of princes are cast out in the street”. 

With this inversion of hierarchy has come irreligion and the degradation of religion. The ignorant now perform their own rites to the Gods. Wrong offerings are made to the Gods.  “Right is cast aside. Wrong is inside the council-chamber. The plans of the gods are violated, their ordinances are neglected… Reverence, an end is put to it”.

Ipuwer’s admonition was not only to rid Egypt of its enemies but to return to the Traditional ethos. This meant the reinstitution of proper religious rites, and the purification of the temples. “A fighter comes forth,” Ipuwer prophesises, to “destroy the wrongs”. “Is he sleeping? Behold, his might is not seen”. The Egyptians await an avatar, the personification of the Sun God Re (which Tradition states was the first of the Pharaohs) an Arthur who sleeps but will awaken, a redeemer that is a universal symbol from the Hindu Kalki, to Jesus in the vision of John of Patmos, the Katehon of Orthodox Russia, and many others across time and place. 

Nefertiti2-Re_158267t.jpgIpuwer avers to Egypt having gone through such epochs, alluding to his saying nothing other than what others have said before his time.

The Pharaoh is castigated for allowing Egypt to fall into chaos, with his authority being undermined, and without taking corrective actions. The Pharaoh as God-king, in terms of Tradition, had not maintained his authority as the nexus between the earthly kingdom and the Divine. The Pharaoh had caused “confusion throughout the land”. Certainty of the social hierarchy, crowned by the God-king, is the basis of Traditional societies. It seems that Egypt had entered into an epoch of what a Westerner could today identify in our time as that of scepticism and secularism. Chaos follows with the undermining of Cosmos.

Nefer-rohu warned Pharaoh of similar chaos. Likewise there would be “Asiatic” invasions, natural disasters, Re withdrawing his light, and again the inversion of hierarchy: 

“The weak of arm is now the possessor of an arm. Men salute respectfully him whom formerly saluted. I show thee the undermost on top, turned about in proportion to the turning about of my belly. It is the paupers who eat the offering bread, while the servants jubilate. The Heliopolitan Nome, the birthplace of every god, will no longer be on earth”.

It is notable, again, that Nefer-rohu identifies the chaos with the breaking of the nexus with the divine, and the social order that has become “the undermost on top”. Also of interest is that Nefer-rohu refers to a redeemer, who has a Nubian mother, uniting Egypt and driving out the Asiatics, and the Libyans (the whitest of races of the region) and defeating the rebellious.  Chaos resulted not from bio-genetic-race-factors but from a falling away of the regal and religious authority. If there is a race-factor it is in regard to Nubians being the custodians of Egyptian culture in periods of Egyptian decay, analogous to the revitalising “barbarians” who wept over the decaying Roman Empire.

Islamic 

Islam had its Golden Age and rich civilisation, centred in Morocco, and extending into Spain.  It is in ruins like civilisations centuries prior.  The cultures that flourished in Morocco, both Islamic and pre-Islamic, were Berber. The Islamic civilisation they established with the founding of the Idrisid dynasty in 788 A. D. was ended by the invasion of the Fatimids from Tunisia ca. 900 A.D. Chaos ensued. Although there was a revival of High Culture during the 11th and 14th centuries, dynasties fell in the face of tribalism.  The 16th century saw a revival initiated by al-Ghalin, several decades of wars of succession after his death in 1603, and continuing decline under Saadi dynastic rule during 1627 to 1659. 

stanlane.jpgCaucasoid mtDNA sequences are at frequencies of 96% in Moroccan Berbers, 82% in Algerian Berbers and 78% in non-Berber Moroccans. The study of Esteban et al found that Moroccan Northern and Southern Berbers have only 3% to 1% Sub-Saharan mtDNA. Although difficult to define, since “Berber” is a Roman, not an indigenous term, the estimate for present day Morocco is 35% to 45% Berber, with the rest being Berber-Arab mixture. The primary point is that the Moroccan civilisation had ruling classes, whether pre-Islamic or Islamic, that remained predominantly Berber-Caucasian for most of its history, whether during its epochs of glory or of decline. Miscegenation does not account for the fall of the Moorish Civilisation. 

The High Culture of Moorish Spain (Andalusia) was brought to ruin and decay not by miscegenation between “superior” Spaniards” and “inferior” Moors but by the overthrow of the Moorish ruling caste. Friedrich Nietzsche had observed this culture denegation with the fall of Moorish Spain (Andalusia). Stanley Lane-Poole wrote of the history of decay:

“The land, deprived of the skilful irrigation of the Moors, grew impoverished and neglected; the richest and most fertile valleys languished and were deserted; most of the populous cities which had filled every district of Andalusia fell into ruinous decay; and beggars, friars, and bandits took the place of scholars, merchants, and knights. So low fell Spain when she had driven away the Moors. Such is the melancholy contrast offered by her history”.

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), a well-travelled sage, grappled with the same problems confronting Islamic Civilisation as those Spengler confronted in regard to The West. A celebrated scholar, political adviser, and jurist, Ibn Khaldun’s domain of influence extended over the whole Islamic world. His major theoretical work is Muqaddimah (1377), intended as a preface to his universal history, Kitabal-Ibar, where he sought to establish basic principles of history by which historians could understand events.  His theory is cyclic and morphological, based on “conditions within nations and races [which] change with the change of periods and the passage of time”. Like Evolahe was pessimistic as to what can be achieved by political action in the cycle of decline, writing that the “past resembles the future more than one drop of water another”.

Ibn Khaldun stated that history can be understood as a recurrence of similar patterns motivated by the drives of acquisition, group co-operation, and regal authority in the creation of a civilisation, followed by a cycle of decay. These primary drives become distorted and lead to the corrupting factors of luxury and domination, irresponsibility of authority and decline.

Like Spengler, in regard to the peasantry, Ibn Khaldun traces the beginning of culture to group or familial loyalty starting with the simple life of the rural - and desert – environments. The isolation and familial bonds lead to self-reliance, loyalty and leadership on the basis of mutual respect. Life is struggle, not luxury. According to Ibn Khaldun, when rulership becomes centralised and divorced from such kinship, free reign is given to luxury and ease.  Political alliances are bought and intrigued rather than being based on the initial bonds and loyalties. Corruption pervades as the requirements of luxury increase. The decadence starts from the top, among the ruling class, and extends downward until the founding ethos of the culture is discarded, or exists in name only.

timbre-citation-ibn-khaldoun_les-arabes.pngIbn Khaldun begins from the organic character of the noble family in describing the analogous nature of cultural rise and fall, caused by a falling away of the original creative ethos with each successive generation:

“The builder of the family’s glory knows what it cost him to do the work, and he keeps the qualities that created his glory and made it last. The son who comes after him had personal contact with his father and thus learned those things from him. However, he is inferior to him in this respect, inasmuch as a person who learns things through study is inferior to a person who knows them from practical application. The third generation must be content with imitation and, in particular, with reliance upon tradition. This member is inferior to him of the second generation, inasmuch as a person who relies upon tradition is inferior to a person who exercises judgment.

“The fourth generation, then, is inferior to the preceding ones in every respect. Its member has lost the qualities that preserved the edifice of its glory. He despises those qualities. He imagines that the edifice was not built through application and effort. He thinks that it was something due to his people from the very beginning by virtue of the mere fact of their descent, and not something that resulted from group effort and individual qualities. For he sees the great respect in which he is held by the people, but he does not know how that respect originated and what the reason for it was. He imagines it is due to his descent and nothing else. He keeps away from those in whose group feeling he shares, thinking that he is better than they”.

For Ibn Khaldun’s “generation” we might say with Spengler “cultural epoch”. Ibn Khaldun addresses the causes of this cultural etiolation, leading to the corrupting impact of materialism. Again, his analysis is remarkably similar to that of Spengler and the decay of the Classical civilisations:  

“When a tribe has achieved a certain measure of superiority with the help of its group feeling, it gains control over a corresponding amount of wealth and comes to share prosperity and abundance with those who have been in possession of these things. It shares in them to the degree of its power and usefulness to the ruling dynasty. If the ruling dynasty is so strong that no-one thinks of depriving it of its power or of sharing with it, the tribe in question submits to its rule and is satisfied with whatever share in the dynasty’s wealth and tax revenue it is permitted to enjoy. ... Members of the tribe are merely concerned with prosperity, gain and a life of abundance. (They are satisfied) to lead an easy, restful life in the shadow of the ruling dynasty, and to adopt royal habits in building and dress, a matter they stress and in which they take more and more pride, the more luxuries and plenty they acquire, as well as all the other things that go with luxury and plenty.

“As a result the toughness of desert life is lost. Group feeling and courage weaken. Members of the tribe revel in the well-being that God has given them. Their children and offspring grow up too proud to look after themselves or to attend to their own needs. They have disdain also for all the other things that are necessary in connection with group feeling.... Their group feeling and courage decrease in the next generations. Eventually group feeling is altogether destroyed. ... It will be swallowed up by other nations.

Ibn Khaldun refers to the “tribe” and “group feeling” where Spengler refers to nations, peoples, and races. The dominant culture becomes corrupted through its own success and its culture become static; its inward strength diminishes in proportion to its outward glamour. Hence, the Golden Age of Islam is over, as are those of Rome and Athens. New York, Paris, and London are in the analogous cultural epochs to those of Fez, Rome and Athens. The “world city” becomes the focus of a world civilisation that ends as cosmopolitan and far removed from its founding roots. Our present “world-cities’” – in particular, New York and The City of London - are the control centres of world politics, economics, and mass-culture by the fact of their also being the centres of banking. These world-cities are the prototypes for a world civilisation that continues to be called “Western”, under the leadership of the USA, a rotting centre like Fez and Rome.

The Muslim determination of what is “progress” and what is “decline” has a spiritual foundation:

“The progressiveness or backwardness of society at any given point of time is determinable in relative terms. It can be compared to other contemporary societies [like the Spenglerian method] or to its own state in the past. … for Muslim society although economic progress is not frowned upon, it is placed lower on the order of priorities as compared to other factors; e.g. the acquisition of knowledge or the provision of justice. There is also a tradition (Hadis) of the Holy Prophet that lists the symptoms of society that is in a pathological state of decline. These outward symptoms point to an underlying malaise in the society but can also provide a useful starting point for corrective actions for stopping or reversing the onset of decline”.  The high and low points of Muslim civilisation can be identified as those of a “Golden Age” or of an “Abyss”.

Comparable to the warnings of other sages, in an epoch of decline again there is an inversion of hierarchy, or more specifically here, of character, the Hadith stating that those in such a society would be corrupted, while others might resist within themselves:

“There will be soon a period of turmoil in which the one who sits will be better than one who stands and the one who stands will be better than one who walks and the one who walks will be better than one who runs. He who would watch them will be drawn by them. So he who finds a refuge or shelter against it should make it as his resort”.

Hebrew “Race”

A Traditionalist “race”, conscious of its nexus with the Divine as the basis of culture, endures regardless of contact with foreigners because of its inward strength. This allows it to accept foreigners not only without weakening the cultural organism but even strengthening it; because it accepts foreign input on its own terms. A Traditionalist “race” surviving over the course of millennia without succumbing to the cyclical laws of decay is the Jewish. They are the Traditionalist “race” par excellence. No better example can be had than this People that has maintained its nexus with its Divinity as the basis of cultural survival, whose religion is a race-founding and race-sustaining mythos. 

Phineas.jpgContrary to the beliefs of certain racial ideologues, including extreme Zionists and ultra-Orthodox Jews, this survival is not the result of bans on miscegenation. The Jewish law as embodied in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, is based not on zoological race but on a race mythos. The Mosaic Law demands “race purity” in the Traditionalist sense; that of a community of belief in a heritage and a destiny. 

Bizarrely, some white racists have adopted the Torah commandments as being based on genetic purity, in their belief that whites are the true Israelites. For example the priest Phineas, at the time of Moses is held in esteem by such white supremacists because he speared an Israelite and a Midianite in the act of copulation. At this time apparently the Midianites were seducing Israel away from its God, towards Baal. A purge of Israel took place. However the chapter in its entirety makes plain this was a matter of religion, not miscegenation. The nexus between Israel and the Divine was being broken by the influence of “the daughters of Moab.” Israel’s Divinity is recorded as having threatened wrath because of “my insistence on exclusive devotion.” The Divine nexus was established for eternity with the line of Phineas because he had “not tolerated any rivalry towards his god”.  Moses himself had married the daughter of a Midianite priest, so the issue with the Midianites was clearly religious, and specifically that such foreign influences would break Israel’s nexus with the Divine that renders them a “special people”. Where marriages with Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, et al are prohibited it is because this nexus would be subverted. However, in the same book Deuteronomy, where the Israelite war code is being established, when a city has been defeated the adult males are to be eliminated, and the women and children are to be taken to be grafted on to Israel. The commandments for this type of “scorched earth policy” were based on preventing foreigners from teaching Israel their religions. There are precise laws as to marrying a non-Israelitish captive woman, who after a month of mourning for the deaths of her family, will have the marriage consummated and thereby become part of Israel. 

Jeremiah (ca. 600 B.C.), son of the high priest Hilkiah, was one of the most significant voices against culture-decay, analogous to Ipuwer the Egyptian sage,  Titus Livius, and Cato the Censor, in Rome, and our own Spengler and Evola. He warned that Israel would prosper while the nexus with Tradition and ipso facto with the Divine was maintained; Israel would fall physically if it fell away morally from that Tradition. Jeremiah saw the destruction of the Temple of Solomon and the carrying into Babylonian captivity of Judah. As with the other Civilisations that have fallen, the first symptom had been a subversion of its founding religion. Interestingly, religious decay would be quickly proceeded by an invasion of foreigners, reminiscent of Ipuwer’s warning of Egypt’s invasion by “Asiatics”. Hence, Jeremiah warns that invasion is imminent as a punishment for Israel’s departure from the Traditional faith: “I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made”. From their self-styled role as a Holy People, they had fallen from the oath of their forefathers, Jeremiah/YHWH admonishing: “The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. ‘Therefore I bring charges against you again,’ declares the LORD. ‘And I will bring charges against your children’s children’”. Jeremiah states that the priesthood has become corrupted, from whence the rot proceeds downward. “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Specifically, all of Israel had become motivated by greed. The admonition was to stand at the “crossroads” as to what paths to follow, and choose “the ancient paths”. 

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’”.

Greed, or what we now call materialism, has been the common factor of the fall of Civilisations, referred to by sages and philosophers up to our own Spengler, Brooks Adams, and Evola. The other common factor, as we have seen, has been the corruption of religion and the priestly caste, the priests and the prophets being condemned by Jeremiah.

The perennial survival of the Israelites is based on their adherence to Tradition. Prophets such as Jeremiah are the Jews’ constant warning to stay true to their “ancient paths” or destruction will result. The Jews worldwide have had, when not a King over Israel, the focus of a coming King-Messiah, Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Temple of Solomon (including the plans to rebuild the Temple as another focus for the future) as their world axial points, and the Mosaic Law as a universal code of living across time and place.These axial points have formed and maintained the Jews as a metaphysical race. Whatever others might think of some of their laws and beliefs their maintenance of a Traditional nexus has allowed them to supersede the cyclic laws of decay perhaps like no other people, to overcome decline and be restored, while paradoxically being the carriers of cultural pathogens among other civilisations (Marxism, Freudianism). 

What the genetics of races shows, past and present, is that miscegenation has not been a cause for the collapse of civilisations. Perhaps dysgenics might cause such a collapse, but hitherto there seems scant evidence for it. By focusing to the point of ideological obsession and dogma on the assume causes of culture-death being that of miscegenation, the actual causes are overlooked. Perhaps civilisation, theoretically, might die through dysgenics, whether racial or otherwise, but it seems that before such a dysgenic process has ever taken place the morphological laws of organic life and death have intervened as witnessed by those such as Livy, Cato, Ibn Khaldun, and in our time Spengler, Evola and Brooks Adams.

samedi, 21 mai 2016

La Tradición Romana: Julius Evola y Guido De Giorgio

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La Tradición Romana: Julius Evola y Guido De Giorgio

Ex: http://www.hiperbolajanus.com

Durante la década que comprende los años 1924 a 1934 hubo en Italia un desarrollo importante de las corrientes tradicionalistas, con la emergencia de representantes de gran valía dentro de las mismas, como bien pudieran ser Julius Evola, Arturo Reghini o Guido De Giorgio, junto con otras figuras de menor importancia que colaboraron activamente con publicaciones e iniciativas culturales de diversa impronta. El cometido de este artículo no es más que sondear aspectos generales de esta época, la cual fue especialmente fecunda dentro del Tradicionalismo, y que eclosionó, especialmente en los casos de Evola y De Giorgio, a la sombra de René Guénon, que pese a que siempre renunció a la posibilidad de tener a discípulos y continuadores de su doctrina siempre fue algo que rechazó de forma expresa. En el caso de Reghini es evidente que sus motivaciones y los referentes intelectuales de su obra tenían su origen en el siglo XIX, en la masonería y  las ideas ligadas al Risorgimento italiano. Por otro lado, podemos hablar de «Tradicionalismo Romano» en la medida que existía un ambiente intelectual y una serie de cenáculos y lugares de referencia en los que se veía renacer la función Tradicional de Roma vinculada a una guía o dirección de nuestro siglo.

tradizione-romana.jpgDurante estos años, y bajo el influjo permanente de los escritos de René Guénon surge, primero como un artículo de la revista Atanor, en 1924, y posteriormente como libro, concretamente en 1927, El rey del mundo. Un año después, en 1928, tendría lugar la publicación de otra obra de vital trascendencia; Imperialismo pagano, de Julius Evola, quienes representaban ya en aquella época dos mentalidades y formas de interpretar el mensaje de la Tradición desde polos más o menos diametrales, aunque con un punto de confluencia donde, finalmente, habrían de congeniar. Mientras Guénon trataba de encontrar aquellos centros espirituales y supremos, con sus respectivos puntos de referencia al margen de todas las vicisitudes temporales, Evola reclama una idea de Tradición estrechamente vinculada a la historia italiana y sus devenires temporales. De todos modos, la obra de Guenon permanece como imprescindible en la medida que hace referencia a los Principios últimos, muy necesarios en su comprensión, y que no pertenecen al ámbito de lo contingente en sus aplicaciones. El libro de Evola, mucho más relacionado con ese ámbito de la contingencia se presenta con una función y un cometido claro y contundente: afirmar, merced a la sapiencia itálica y pagana, la irrenunciable función imperial de la Roma precristiana, la cual tratará de hacer confluir con los intereses mismos de la «Revolución Fascista» y además persigue, con igual tenacidad, la resurrección de la esencia misma de la Romanidad, en sus términos clásicos e imperiales, con la intención de regenerar espiritualmente a la Italia de su tiempo, aquella que estaba bajo el mandato de Benito Mussolini.

Durante estos años, entre mediados de los veinte y casi la mitad de los treinta, Evola se encuentra a la expectativa respecto al cometido del fascismo, a sus posibilidades reales como representante cualificado de las ideas Imperiales y Tradicionalistas, frente a la Europa de las democracias liberales, que asumiendo la terminología gibelina del Medievo, califica como representantes de la ideología guelfa. En este sentido Evola se ve como un intérprete del fascismo pero desde fuera, sin pertenecer oficialmente, y en sentido estricto, a la jerarquía misma del régimen. Para el pensador romano el fascismo debía erigirse como líder hegemónico e incontestable de la Tradición mediterránea, como generador de un Principio aristocrático capaz de revivir la naturaleza iniciática y realizadora de antiguas corrientes sapienciales. Solamente de esta manera sería posible volver a forjar una Europa con referentes cualificados y válidos y, en definitiva, con una élite intelectual en el sentido Tradicional del término. Se trata del concepto de Imperium como fundamento Trascendente, que el fascismo mussoliniano debía asumir.

Como hemos comentado la anti-Europa, aquella que representa valores descendentes y de subversión es la que viene determinada por el güelfismo, y que, como en el contexto del conflicto de las investiduras, nos remite al papel de la Iglesia. El Cristianismo como tal es considerado como el comienzo del fin del Imperio Romano, un factor clave en la decadencia y destrucción de éste a nivel material y de estructuras así como a nivel de símbolos y aquellos elementos que estaban en conexión con lo Trascendente. Además cuando Evola nos habla del cristianismo en Imperialismo Pagano hay que entender que no nos habla solamente de una cuestión propiamente doctrinal, sino que establece una conexión directa entre el cristianismo histórico y todos los procesos disolutivos que desde la Reforma Protestante a la Revolución Francesa, pasando por el desarrollo del anarquismo y el bolchevismo, y el modelo de sociedad anglosajona han conducido, de forma inexorable, a la edad moderna como tal. Frente a todos estos procesos destructivos existe lo que Evola concibe como la Tradición Mediterránea y una cadena ininterrumpida de Misterios y secretos que se han ido transmitiendo en el devenir de los siglos que preceden al advenimiento del cristianismo. Evola no dudo un momento en reclamar al fascismo la restauración de la Italia pagana e imperial, así como la renuncia hacia toda suerte de tradición cristiana y católica, la cual es considerada por el pensador romano como totalmente desprovista de elementos tradicionales. Esta misma idea la mantendrá viva durante largo tiempo. De hecho, en Revuelta contra el mundo moderno sitúa el síncope de la Tradición europea occidental en el ascenso del cristianismo. Incluso durante los años de la constitución del Grupo de Ur, en los que Evola apuesta por la magia, se sigue manteniendo la idea de la existencia de un centro sagrado e iniciático, vinculado a la Tradición Romana, que podría mantenerse vivo hasta nuestros días. De igual manera encontramos en la figura de Guido De Giorgio ideas muy similares, y éste creía en la existencia de un centro oculto e inaccesible consagrado al culto de Vesta.

perennitas1.jpgEvola mantiene un discurso constante en el que asocia todas las formas de decadencia europea actuales, en lo que se refiere a mentalidades, estructuras sociales, en la filosofía y la ciencia positiva así como en las supersticiones de nuestro tiempo, que relaciona de forma indefectible con el cristianismo. En este sentido Evola hace una acusación directa al Cristianismo, y habla de éste como portador de una forma de «ascesis bolchevique», y más concretamente bajo lo que está en el origen del cristianismo, como es el concepto de ecclesia, entendida como una mística de la comunidad que subvierte todo el conjunto de valores jerárquicos e imperiales del mundo antiguo greco-romano. De ahí que el fascismo tuviese entre sus más importantes funciones destruir el cristianismo y apostar por una restauración pagana para salvar a Italia y a Europa de la hecatombe final. Evola busca claramente la confrontación llevada al extremo de un principio gibelino e imperial frente a otro güelfo y vaticano, es en este enfrentamiento donde se debe dirimir el destino de Europa, o bien hacia su renacimiento y cima o hacia su destrucción y ocaso. No obstante, es esencial aclarar también que al hablar de Imperio Evola no se remite a la concepción moderna del término, no habla de las categorías profanas y materiales del imperio, de la forma en la que modernamente se ha concebido tal término, al cual es totalmente opuesto en su formulación burguesa e industrial, y que nada tiene que ver con las modernas formas de colonialismo promocionadas por el capitalismo en sus estadios más desarrollados. Es evidente que los pactos lateranenses de 1929 fueron contrarios a las expectativas que se había generado el propio Evola, y que el fascismo decidió apostar por la vía güelfa de la anti-Europa de la que el propio autor romano había hablado en Imperialismo pagano. En este sentido los reproches del pensador romano hacia el fascismo estaban encaminados a denunciar que éste no poseía una espiritualidad y cultura propia. La idea de Imperio universal y gibelino implica ante todo la asunción de un principio de autoridad del Estado sobre la Iglesia, pero no desde una perspectiva anti-clerical o anti-espiritual, tal y como ocurre a día de hoy, sino desde la comprensión profunda del cristianismo a nivel doctrinal, entendida en su dimensión exotérica y popular, como una forma de «realidad espiritual» tolerada y adaptada a determinados estratos sociales, pero en ningún caso depositaria de las formas trascendentes y metapolíticas que sí representa la Tradición Mediterránea. Esta idea es tomada directamente de Guénon en el aspecto de entender la Tradición como una realidad unitaria de base netamente metafísica y sapiencial, estableciendo a su vez la idea de la existencia de distintos niveles y estadios jerárquicos en su realización, generando así una pluralidad de formas de realización espiritual. La postura de otros tradicionalistas romanos, como es el caso de Arturo Reghini, es totalmente concordante con aquella de Evola, al presentar la Tradición como una realidad inmutable, aunque en su caso la Tradición Mediterránea está en conexión directa con las enseñanzas pitagóricas. Pese a todo Reghini es, evidentemente, mucho más heterodoxo que Evola o De Giorgio, especialmente en la medida que concibe como parte de la Tradición ideas, movimientos y personajes que forman parte del marco histórico y temporal incluyendo a católicos, liberales, socialistas y hombres de poder que van desde Maquiavelo, Napoleón o Garibaldi o corrientes laicistas y anticlericales, que lo ubican en un espacio y realidad completamente antitético respecto a los grandes autores de la Tradición Perenne.

giorgioWcMro4lYVvPUfzOrF0.jpgEl otro gran representante de la Tradición Romana es Guido De Giorgio, el principal discípulo del pensamiento de René Guénon en Italia, un hombre oscuro, tanto en su trayectoria vital como en aquella intelectual, de una moral espartana, y definido por el propio Evola como un «iniciado en estado salvaje». Su principal obra, La Tradición Romana, fue publicada póstumamente, en el año 1973, y todavía a día de hoy existen obras inéditas del autor, que no han visto la luz todavía. Las premisas del pensamiento de Giorgio, como ocurre con Guénon, parten de un punto de vista absoluto, metafísico, sacro y Tradicional. No obstante su visión de la Tradición como tal cuenta con la confluencia de muy variadas influencias, entre las cuales podemos encontrar a los neoplatónicos, cristianos, hinduistas y musulmanes. A las citadas fuentes que nutren su pensamiento podemos añadir una peculiar forma de escribir, muchas veces teñida de una cierta iluminación, de una intuición muy sutil, y lo enigmáticos que resultan muchos de los pasajes de su obra. Un ejemplo de esta confluencia de ideas y doctrinas la vemos en sus consideraciones, de matiz claramente cristiano, en las que habla de la fe como la base de la Tradición por excelencia, al tiempo que contempla la concepción no dualista del Principio Supremo en lo que es un concepto de impronta hinduista. Sin embargo, la perspectiva islámica es la que toma mayor protagonismo en el conjunto de sus ideas, y es precisamente en base a esta visión de lo Absoluto a través del filtro de la doctrina islámica, la forma en la que De Giorgio comienza a edificar su Tradicionalismo Romano. Lo más llamativo de todo es que Guido De Giorgio jamás se convirtió al Islam, pero sin embargo, hay ideas relacionadas con éste, que son recurrentes en sus escritos. La idea fundamental que vertebra a través de las doctrinas esotéricas islámicas es aquella de la inefabilidad del Principio Supremo, la idea de la unicidad en el principio de la Creación y la ruptura de ese Principio a través de la acción del pecado, que actuando a través del hombre, rompe esa armonía. El mundo es Dios porque Él contiene al mundo en sí, y al mismo tiempo si el hombre se mantiene como tal se mantendrá asimismo ese principio de dualismo en el mundo. Se trata de una idea de clara inspiración sufí. En el límite de lo inefable se encuentran los defensores de lo Inaccesible, los santos de Dios que son los maestros y guías de la Realidad Suprema. De modo que es ese Principio de Unicidad el que resuelve cualquiera de las cuestiones doctrinales y metafísicas que puedan derivarse de otras fuentes como el cristianismo o el hinduismo.

De todos modos, lo fundamental es conocer cómo concibe De Giorgio la vuelta de Occidente al ámbito de la Tradición, y en este sentido, pese a las influencias del islamismo sufí, De Giorgio piensa en la vuelta a una Tradición propiamente romana y cristiana, al margen de otro tipo de influencias ajenas a su desarrollo histórico. A diferencia del anti-cristianismo de Evola, en el caso de De Giorgio hay un puente y una vía de entendimiento que reconcilia a la religión romana con el cristianismo en el contexto de una Roma que tiene una función metafísica y Trascendental de primer orden. En este contexto hay una serie de elementos simbólicos que nutren la citada función de la ciudad eterna, y es el caso del símbolo del Jano, que se completa en un contexto más amplio, con aquel simbolismo universal de la cruz del que nos habló Guénon en su momento. Por otro lado, Dante Alghieri representa la expresión más elevada y genuina de la Tradición Romana, quién representa a ojos de De Giorgio el aglutinador de las dos tradiciones de Roma; la pagana y la cristiana. Roma representa para nuestro pensador la función de centro mediador entre Occidente y Oriente, de equilibrio entre la vida contemplativa y aquella activa. Roma permite, a través de Eneas y Cristo, la realización de un principio de universalidad que la convierte en el faro de Occidente, y mientras Roma viva también vivirá la Tradición en Occidente. Pese a que De Giorgio coincide con Guenon al considerar la existencia de una Tradición Primordial, unitaria y sagrada en los comienzos, de la cual las restantes no son sino derivadas, considerada fundamental la función sagrada de Roma a través de sus símbolos, los cuales va desgranando en su obra cumbre La Tradición Romana y de la cual hablaremos en próximas entradas.

En conclusión el horizonte intelectual y las reflexiones acerca de la Tradición en la Roma del periodo de entreguerras nos ofrece un panorama rico y variado en cuanto a la producción de obras, ideas y doctrinas. Hoy hemos repasado algunos aspectos fundamentales de las obras de Evola y De Giorgio, teniendo siempre presente la enorme influencia que René Guénon tuvo en su momento, y sigue teniendo a día de hoy, sobre cualquier reflexión intelectual y metafísica sobre la Tradición Perenne.

dimanche, 10 avril 2016

Alle origini dell'Urbe millenaria

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17:33 Publié dans Evénement | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : événement, italie, rome, rome antique, antiquité romaine | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 27 mars 2016

L'Equinozio di Primavera e gli Dèi di Roma

 
Paolo Galiano
Ex: http://www.ereticamente.net

Il mese di Marzo costituisce il momento della generazione della potenza di Roma per mezzo di una serie di celebrazioni aventi il carattere specifico del rinnovamento, a cominciare dal sacro Fuoco di Vesta, simbolo del rapporto sacrificale perenne tra Roma e i suoi Dèi, che nel primo giorno del mese veniva ritualmente spento e riacceso. Il rinnovamento è celebrato nel nome di due divinità, il maschio Mars e la femmina Juno-Minerva, i due aspetti della donna come Vergine e come Madre: la duplice polarità di Marzo si realizza nella nascita iniziatica dei giovani, maschi e femmine, che nel successivo mese di Giugno si uniranno in matrimonio per proseguire l’eterna realtà di Roma nel tempo dei secoli futuri e nello spazio dell’espansione della sua civiltà ai popoli dell’area mediterranea.

La ri-nascita dell’Urbe ha il suo centro nella presenza in questo mese dell’Equinozio di Primavera, evento astronomico (e non solo) che i Romani nel tempo arcaico facevano cadere nel mese di Marzo, inserendo, se fosse stato necessario, un mese aggiuntivo (Interkalaris o Mercedonius) affinché Equinozio e mese di Marzo coincidessero, in quanto il primo giorno di Marzo era l’originario Capodanno di Roma (giorno che forse in un’età più arcaica cadeva il 21 Aprile). La connessione tra Marzo, mese dei giovani che entrano con l’iniziazione nella societas romana, ed Equinozio di Primavera, rifiorire della terra e sopravanzare delle ore di luce su quelle oscure della notte, rende intuitivo perché sia questa la data scelta da un punto di vista astronomico ma soprattutto sapienziale come inizio del Nuovo Anno.

Moneta con immagine della Juno Sospita di Lanuvium armata con lancia e ancile e accompagnata dal sacro serpente (denario di Lucio Procilio 80 a.C.).

Disegno pubblicato da Lenormant di un vaso andato perduto con Mars, Minerva e la Vittoria alata (Lenormant Élite de monuments ceramographiques, vol. IV tav. XCV): Mars è la figura del giovane iniziato che riceve le armi da Minerva e viene lustrato dalla Victoria in forma androgine.

Alle due divinità principali, Mars e Juno-Minerva, protettrici rispettivamente dell’iniziazione dei maschi e delle femmine, si associano divinità connesse all’abbondanza (Consus e Anna Perenna) e riti di allontanamento del “vecchio” (i Mamuralia) o di commemorazione degli antichi (gli Argei, compagni di Ercole). L’aspetto direttamente connesso alla generazione sul piano materiale lo si ritrova nella cerimonia degli Equirria, dedicati a Consus in ricordo del ratto delle Sabine mediante cui ebbe inizio la procreazione in Roma, e in quella di Anna Perenna, la quale cadeva alle Eidus, solitamente dedicate a Juppiter, celebrazione del ciclo annuale che si rinnova (Anna Perenna è chiaramente la “perennità”).

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GIUNONE E MINERVA, IL POLO FEMMINILE DI MARZO

Qui ci limiteremo ad esaminare le figure, molto complesse, di Juno-Minerva e di Mars[1], e precisiamo subito che scriviamo “Juno-Minerva” perché la Juno italica non ha nulla a che vedere con la greca Hera, alla quale venne più tardi assimilata: nel mondo latino la Dèa si presenta con attributi analoghi a quelli di Minerva, come vediamo nella statua della Juno Sospita (Salvatrice) di Lanuvio, divinità preromana vestita con i calcei repandi, calzature a punta rialzata che De Francisci fa risalire alle culture egeo-antoliche[2] e armata con la lancia e l’ancile, lo scudo bilobato dei Saliares di Mars, coperta da una pelle di capro[3] (la nebrys). Nella Roma arcaica essa non era la paredra di Juppiter, ma una divinità guerriera protettrice della città e dei suoi abitanti, e presiedeva alle iniziazioni delle adolescenti nel suo tempio di Lanuvio; ad essa i Romani dedicarono le Kalendae di Febbraio, affidando alla classe dei Cavalieri il ruolo di suoi sacerdoti, proprio per le caratteristiche di “protettori dell’Urbe” proprie a questi guerrieri come si può constatare nelle loro cerimonie dell’Equinozio di Autunno. Tutto ciò la rende analoga alla Minerva Tritonia di Lavinio, anch’essa vestita con la pelle caprina e armata di lancia e scudo ed anch’essa protettrice del passaggio rituale delle giovani donne nella città fondata da Enea.

Come Juno e Minerva sono collegate all’iniziazione femminile, così lo è Mars per i maschi, i quali, probabilmente dopo un primo rituale a cui erano stati sottoposti a Febbraio nel corso dei Lupercalia, ora a Marzo entravano a tutti gli effetti nella societas romana come guerrieri nel corso delle cerimonie dei Saliares.

La Juno celebrata alle Kalendae di Marzo era la Juno Lucina (protettrice dei parti ma anche Dèa della luce) o Matrona (l’attributo deriva dalla stessa radice *mas affine a Mars e alla parola maschio); il suo nome è etimologicamente collegato a juventas in quanto protettrice delle giovani fanciulle, alle quali era propria la juno, così come al maschio il genius, e come questi si connette con la gens, poiché il maschio prolunga nel tempo la sua gens dando il proprio nomen al figlio, la juno è in rapporto con la juventas, in quanto solo la donna giovane può procreare. Nella concezione romana la procreazione è per la donna quello che per gli uomini è la guerra, lo scopo della propria esistenza, ed è per questo motivo che Juno e Mars sono venerati nello stesso mese.

Ad essa erano dedicati i Matronalia; la Dèa era venerata in un tempio sull’Esquilino, nella zona di via in Selci presso l’attuale chiesa di San Francesco di Paola, e il tempio, già esistente nel 375 a.C., sarebbe stato dedicato dalle matrone a seguito di un voto fatto da una di esse in occasione del proprio parto. Il suo tempio sorgeva in un bosco sacro alla Dèa ma sicuramente più antico di esso, tanto che Plinio[4] riteneva che il nome di Lucina fosse derivato da lucus e non da lux; qui si trovava la sacra lotus, pianta che ritroviamo nei riti di Vesta, quando la nuova sacerdotessa scelta dal Pontefice Massimo tagliava i suoi capelli e li appendeva alla lotus capillata nell’Atrium Vestae. Il nome Lucina si può comunque collegare a luce, con il significato di “dare alla luce”, ed è nel lucus di questo tempio che venne dato l’oracolo alle donne sabine sterili: “Le italiche madri siano penetrate dal capro[5], che è alla base del rituale fecondatore dei Lupercalia.

Moneta con immagine della Juno Sospita di Lanuvium armata con lancia e ancile e accompagnata dal sacro serpente (denario di Lucio Procilio 80 a.C.).

Moneta con immagine della Juno Sospita di Lanuvium armata con lancia e ancile e accompagnata dal sacro serpente (denario di Lucio Procilio 80 a.C.).

La celebrazione di Juno Lucina era tenuta nei Matronalia, festa in cui le matrone portavano offerte alla Dèa per propiziarsi una gravidanza felice; in questo giorno si attuava uno scambio di ruoli tra matrone e servi, come nei Saturnalia di Dicembre tra i padroni e i loro servitori, per cui erano le matrone a servire a tavola i loro schiavi, come scrive Macrobio[6]: “Le matrone servivano la cena agli schiavi, come fanno i padroni durante i Saturnali: quelle per incitare all’inizio dell’anno con questo onore gli schiavi a pronta obbedienza, questi come per ringraziarli del lavoro compiuto”.

botticelli_minerva_restrains_c.jpgMinerva aveva la sua festa nel giorno delle Quinquatrus, giorno che cadeva, come dice il nome, il quinto giorno oscuro dopo le Eidus: il giorno era in origine sicuramente dedicato a Mars, dato che in esso i Saliari celebravano uno dei loro riti, ma venne in seguito “usurpato” da Minerva, certo in coincidenza con la sovrapposizione della Triade etrusca Juppiter-Juno-Minerva all’arcaica Triade Juppiter -Mars-Quirinus.

Viene spontaneo chiedersi: perché sostituire Mars con Minerva? L’innamoramento di Mars per Minerva tramandato nella nota leggenda di Anna Perenna è chiaramente un mito tardivo di epoca repubblicana e di origine greca, mentre Minerva si trova in origine collegata a Mars per altri motivi, in quanto è a loro due, insieme ad altre divinità, che vengono offerte in sacrificio le armi degli eserciti sconfitti[7]. Ecco perché Minerva è chiamata anche coniunx di Mars, lei che, essendo vergine, non può essere sposa di nessuno, ed il mito di Anna Perenna e Mars conferma come tra le due divinità non sia intercorso alcun rapporto sessuale.

- Disegno pubblicato da Lenormant di un vaso andato perduto con Mars, Minerva e la Vittoria alata (Lenormant Élite de monuments ceramographiques, vol. IV tav. XCV): Mars è la figura del giovane iniziato che riceve le armi da Minerva e viene lustrato dalla Victoria in forma androgine.

– Disegno pubblicato da Lenormant di un vaso andato perduto con Mars, Minerva e la Vittoria alata (Lenormant Élite de monuments ceramographiques, vol. IV tav. XCV): Mars è la figura del giovane iniziato che riceve le armi da Minerva e viene lustrato dalla Victoria in forma androgine.

Forse originariamente Minerva era non una Dèa ma una “qualità divina”, tanto che dopo l’affermazione della nuova Triade, come osserva Carandini[8], mentre a Juppiter vennero dedicate le Eidus e a Juno le Kalendae, a Minerva non vennero dedicate le Nonae, come ci si aspetterebbe per quella simmetria fondamentale anche sul piano religioso per i Romani. Questa “qualità divina” potrebbe trovarsi nella connessione del suo nome con una serie di radici affini, da cui vengono parole aventi relazione con la Dèa, quali mensis[9] dalla radice *men(e)s, mensura da *mē, da cui derivano le parole indoeuropee indicanti misura, mentre *men è all’origine dei termini indicanti memoria, ricordare, lat. memini, e da *menu deriva uomo come “uomo pensante”[10]. Il carattere precipuo di Minerva sembra quindi essere quello della “misurazione” collegata all’idea di “uomo pensante”: uomo capace di organizzare tramite la misura e di ricordare tramite la memoria.

Minerva è la Dèa ordinatrice che dà una struttura armonica ed equilibrata al cosmo, e questa sua funzione ordinatrice è realizzazione della potenza divina sul piano della creazione come su quello umano, dove senza memoria e intelletto non è possibile comprendere e seguire il volere divino espresso negli auspicia. Sul piano divino collabora con Juppiter in quanto consente l’attuazione della volontà del Dio supremo dando ordine al mondo, sul piano umano è il principio che porta gli uomini alla creazione di una societas equilibrata nelle sue componenti e in particolare, per quanto riguarda il mese di Marzo, agisce con Mars nel rito iniziatico con il quale il giovane si realizza come guerriero.

Segno della sua azione ordinatrice è anche la funzione come protettrice degli artigiani e dei pedagoghi (i quali in questo mese ricevevano il minerval, il loro salario o un dono da parte degli studenti), cioè coloro che collaborano al perfezionamento del cosmo, abbellendolo sul piano fisico con le loro opere e arricchendo le potenzialità dei giovani per mezzo dell’insegnamento.

Se Mars è l’archetipo del Re-guerriero, padre di Re e di guerrieri come Romolo, Minerva è la Dèa della misura e dell’ordine che derivano sul piano politico dall’organizzazione civile che ha al suo àpice il Re; sul piano iniziatico Minerva dà al giovane che accede all’iniziazione quell’ordine interiore che è necessario per temperare la furia guerriera indirizzandola ad un livello superiore.

La presenza di Juno alle Kalendae di Mars e la sovrapposizione di Minerva nelle Quinquatrus, in origine proprie a Mars, inducono ad una riflessione: vi possiamo vedere una sorta di progressiva invasione del femminile nell’area che fino allora era stata esclusivamente riservata a Dèi maschili e coincidente con il momento in cui la più antica Triade, costituita da Juppiter, Mars e Quirinus, si avvia alla scomparsa con la sostituzione degli ultimi due da parte di Juno e Minerva, sotto l’influsso etruschizzante della dinastia dei Tarquini, i quali cercarono di sovrapporre le loro divinità a quelle romane. La resistenza opposta nel corso della costruzione del tempio a Juppiter sul Campidoglio da due divinità, Terminus e Juventas, per non essere spostate dall’area in cui il nuovo tempio sarebbe sorto può essere anche il segno dell’opposizione del patriziato romano al piano religioso dei Re etruschi; fu necessario far spazio al tempietto di Juventas nella cella di Juno, mentre per Terminus, che aveva un altare-stele a cielo aperto, si dovette praticare un’apertura nel tetto della cella di Juppiter, perché mantenesse il suo carattere di templum sub divo. Si ha anche notizia di un tempio di Mars che esisteva già sul Campidoglio[11] e che venne non a caso raso al suolo per far posto alla nuova Triade.

venus_and_mars_national_gallery_botticelli.jpg

MARS, Il POLO MASCHILE DI MARZO

Mars, a cui è intitolato il mese, non è il signore della guerra, come venne concepito dopo la sua identificazione con l’Ares greco, ma ha le caratteristiche di un Dio connesso con la tutela dell’Ordine sia per mezzo della guerra offensiva, sia con la protezione di ciò che è generato, la città di Roma, i giovani, i campi che iniziano a germogliare, e per questo motivo presiede al ver sacrum, l’emigrazione di una generazione di uomini e di animali consacrati dalla nascita a tale compito.

Minerva Tritonia di Lavinium, statua in terracotta del V sec. a.C. ora esposta al Museo di Pratica di Mare.

Minerva Tritonia di Lavinium, statua in terracotta del V sec. a.C. ora esposta al Museo di Pratica di Mare.

Alcuni aspetti etimologici del suo nome fanno pensare che in origine egli fosse non un Dio guerriero ma piuttosto un Dio celeste: se in osco il suo nome è Mamers e forse in sabino Marmar (se è sabino il Dio presente nei Carmina dei Fratres Arvales), le varianti italiche del suo nome sono tutte derivate da una radice *Mauort-, alla quale è stato avvicinato il vedico Marut, nome della collettività dei compagni guerrieri di Indra, ma è possibile anche risalire ad una radice *mar, in relazione con il sanscrito marikis, lucente[12], per cui Mars sarebbe “il Dio splendente”, quindi una divinità avente carattere solare e celeste, e d’altronde il Carmen Saliare, se il verso è riferito a Mars, gli attribuisce il tuono e lo chiama “Dio della luce”[13], titoli solitamente propri di Juppiter, rispetto al quale Mars sembra essere precedente.

Il Dio, quando divenne iconico (probabilmente in origine era rappresentato solo dalla lancia sacra sia a Roma che in altre città latine), era rappresentato in armi con un copricapo costituito da un elmo ornato di due penne, secondo la testimonianza di Valerio Massimo e di Virgilio[14]. Suoi animali sacri erano il picchio e il lupo, il cui aspetto umano era rappresentato da suo figlio Pico, Re degli Aborigeni e fondatore di Alba, e da Fauno, figlio di Pico e quindi nipote di Mars.

Mars è una figura complessa che si può ricostruire solo eliminando l’aspetto meramente guerriero che è divenuto il suo attributo a causa della interpretatio greca: è, come abbiamo detto, il Dio che tutela l’ordine, se necessario anche con le armi, proteggendo l’esterno della città come i campi dei suoi cittadini, allontanando ciò che si contrappone all’ordine di Roma, i nemici umani ma anche le forze psichiche negative o comunque pericolose.

Questo lo si vede nella sua qualità di custode dei confini dei campi e dei possedimenti dell’agricoltore nel sacrificio privato del suovetaurilia, un toro, un ariete e un porco (offerta in origine esclusiva di questo Dio), funzione nella quale è chiamato a tenere lontano le intemperie e le malattie dai campi e dagli animali, e non a garantirne la fecondità e la crescita, perché queste sono azioni richieste ad altre divinità esclusivamente agricole. La cerimonia purificatoria dei campi degli Ambarvalia aveva il corrispondente a livello sociale nella lustratio quinquennale dei cives riuniti come milites nel Campo Marzio: attorno ai cives inquadrati militarmente veniva fatta girare l’offerta dei suovetaurilia, i quali erano poi sacrificati per ringraziare il Dio della protezione accordata nei cinque anni trascorsi. La cittadinanza come esercito ed i campi della città sono protetti intorno al perimetro da Mars in armi: “Tutta la sua funzione si esercita sulla periferia: indifferente alla natura di ciò che la sua vigilanza protegge, egli è la sentinella che opera al limite, sulla frontiera, ed arresta il nemico[15].

La “perifericità” di Mars è evidente nella dislocazione dei suoi templi, eretti al di fuori del pomerium, dall’arcaica ara del Campo Marzio al grande tempio fuori Porta Capena, ove si riuniva l’esercito prima di muoversi per le imprese di guerra e da cui partiva la Transvectio Equitum, la parata dei Cavalieri di Roma.

Altro aspetto di Mars è la sua tutela sul ver sacrum, l’emigrazione dei giovani e degli animali di una città nati nell’anno in cui un grave evento aveva turbato l’ordine della nazione: la consacrazione di un’intera generazione è posta sotto la sua vigilanza affinché giunga senza pericolo alla mèta che la volontà divina le ha assegnato; l’“emigrazione” di Romolo e Remo da Alba potrebbe configurarsi come un ver sacrum, così come quello che in precedenza aveva condotto gli Aborigeni dai loro territori originari di Amiternum, Reate e Interamna in Sabina verso il luogo dove sorgerà Roma, sostituendosi ai Siculi intorno al XIII sec. a.C.

Mars era il Dio dell’iniziazione degli adolescenti, i quali a Marzo entravano nella societas romana assumendo nel giorno dei Liberalia la toga virilis sotto la protezione di Liber, che in origine nulla aveva a che vedere con il greco Diònisos, né tanto meno con una triade Ceres-Liber-Libera formata sui Misteri Eleusini. A Mars spetta invece l’iniziazione specifica del guerriero[16], illustrata dal ludus Troiae nel “vaso di Tragliatella”[17], nonché da particolari rituali raffigurati su vasi o specchi etruschi incisi e da una cista proveniente da Palestrina, ritrovamenti studiati da Dumézil[18] e da Torelli[19], in cui Mars, a volte triplicato in tre figure di bambini o di giovani, è seduto su un grande vaso o estratto da esso o bagnato con il liquido versato da Minerva o da una Vittoria alata, raffigurazioni così commentate da Dumézil: “Le scene considerate rappresentano probabilmente le cerimonie dell’iniziazione (o delle iniziazioni successive) del guerriero-tipo di Mars, in virtù delle quali egli deve acquistare ciò che d’ordinario si acquista in tal modo: invulnerabilità o infallibilità del colpo o furor”.

L’oinochoe di Tragliatella (Caere 620 a.C. circa): i disegni sono interpretati come scene dell’iniziazione dei giovani nel corso del Ludus Troiae.

L’oinochoe di Tragliatella (Caere 620 a.C. circa): i disegni sono interpretati come scene dell’iniziazione dei giovani nel corso del Ludus Troiae.

Lungo tutto il mese di Marzo si esplica l’azione rituale dei Sacerdotes Saliares (a cui corrispondevano probabilmente le poco conosciute Virgines Saliares sul piano femminile), i sacerdoti portatori dei dodici ancili, i sacri scudi bilobati tra i quali era nascosto uno dei sette Pignora della potenza di Roma. Il fatto che l’origine della loro danza fosse fatta risalire ad Enea riporta la fondazione del loro sodalizio ad una remota antichità, in cui la Grecia micenea e il mondo latino, e Roma in particolare, erano tra loro in rapporto culturale e commerciale[20], per la funzione di crocevia che fin da tempi antichissimi ebbe l’Urbe, situata com’era al punto d’incontro tra la strada che dall’Appennino portava le greggi al mare e la via fluviale che dalle saline di Ostia conduceva verso l’Etruria e che trovava un eccellente approdo proprio alle falde del Palatino.

Un discorso sui Saliares e sulle loro Virgines sarebbe troppo lungo da farsi in un articolo, per cui rimandiamo ai testi citati in nota[21] chi volesse approfondirne il rituale e il significato.

SI APRE UN CICLO?

Potremmo a questo punto concludere che con l’Equinozio di Primavera si apre il ciclo dell’anno, ma sarebbe un errore, perché un circolo non ha inizio né fine e solo l’uomo, per le sue necessità materiali, segna con un Capodanno il principio del tempo, dimenticando che ciò non è possibile. È per questo errore di prospettiva, insito nella sua componente terrena, che l’uomo si è costruito il mito del “progresso”, che è solo un’apparenza e non una realtà, perché il tempo non si muove lungo una retta. In realtà i tempi dell’anno nel loro succedersi l’uno all’altro portano ciascuno in sé il tempo precedente e contengono i germi del tempo successivo, in un circolo (o meglio in una spirale) che non ha inizio né fine.

Se vediamo nel suo insieme i quattro tempi dell’anno nella concezione religiosa e sapienziale di Roma, ci accorgiamo come questo sia vero: con il Solstizio d’Inverno ha inizio l’Età dell’Oro di Saturnus che porta a compimento attraverso un ritorno all’Inizio il potere di Juppiter affermatosi nell’Equinozio d’Autunno. ma nell’oscurità della morte apparente del Sole vi è il germe della rinascita di Primavera; all’Equinozio di Primavera si raggiunge l’equilibrio del maschile e del femminile nella polarità di Mars e Juno-Minerva prefigurata nel Solstizio d’Inverno da Saturno e da Bona Dèa, equilibrio che contiene il sé il germe dell’acme che verrà nel Solstizio d’Estate con l’avvento di Vesta, il Fuoco sacro che arde al centro dell’Urbe, mese dell’unione dei due nel vincolo del matrimonio, che avrà il compimento nell’affermazione del potere di Juppiter nel prossimo Equinozio d’Autunno, ma in cui già ha inizio la scomparsa della luce un attimo dopo il culminare del Sole al punto più alto del suo corso; con Juppiter l’Equinozio d’Autunno porta alla pienezza il potere germinato nel Solstizio d’Estate ma nella parità delle ore di luce e di oscurità è prefigurata la fine apparente della forza creatrice del Sole nel Solstizio d’Inverno che seguirà.

A questo punto, chi può mettere un segno e dire: “Questo è l’inizio”?

BIBLIOGRAFIA

CARANDINI: La nascita di Roma – Dèi, Lari, Eroi e uomini all’alba di una civiltà; ed. Einaudi, Torino 1997

DE FRANCISCI: Variazioni su temi di preistoria romana, ed. Bulzoni, Roma 1974

DEVOTO: Origini indoeuropee – Il lessico indoeuropeo, Tabelle, ed. Sansoni, Firenze 1962

DUMÉZIL: Jupiter Mars Quirinus, ed. Einaudi, Torino 1955

DUMÉZIL: La religione romana arcaica, ed. Rizzoli, Milano 1977

GALIANO e VIGNA: Il tempo di Roma, ed. Simmetria, Roma 2013

GALIANO Mars Pater, ed. Simmetria, Roma 2014

TORELLI: Lavinio e Roma, ed. Quasar, Roma 1984

TORELLI: La forza della tradizione, ed. Longanesi, Milano 2011 pagg. 51-55.

NOTE:

[1] Per un esame completo del mese di Marzo rinviamo a Il tempo di Roma di GALIANO e VIGNA; per una più ampia trattazione di Mars e dei suoi Sacerdotes Saliares a GALIANO Mars Pater.

[2] DE FRANCISCI Variazioni su temi di preistoria romana, pag. 109 nota 371.

[3] CICERONE De natura Deorum I, 82.

[4] PLINIO Nat Hist XVI, 44, 235.

[5] OVIDIO Fas II, 441.

[6] MACROBIO Sat I, 12, 7, il quale sembra non comprendere il significato di “ritorno all’Età dell’Oro” proprio di questi rituali.

[7] APPIANO Bellum Punic XX; LIVIO Hist XLV, 33.

[8] CARANDINI La nascita di Roma pag. 422.

[9] Il rapporto tra Minerva e la misura dei mesi lo troviamo nel rito di Settembre con cui si infiggeva il clavus annalis nella cella consacrata a Minerva nel tempio capitolino di Juppiter, a segnare l’inizio del nuovo anno.

[10] DEVOTO Origini indoeuropee rispettivamente n° 118, 324, 325, 328°.

[11] CARANDINI cit. pag. 356 nota 161.

[12] LEWIS e SHORT Latin Dictionary alla voce “Mars”.

[13] Frammento 2 del Carmen Saliare: “Cume tonas, Leucesie, prae tet tremonti / quot ibet etinei deis cum tonarem”, il cui testo, scritto in latino arcaico del IV sec. a.C., può essere approssimativamente così tradotto: “Quando tuoni, o Luminoso, davanti a te tremano / tutti gli Dèi che lassù ti hanno sentito tuonare”.

[14] VALERIO MASSIMO I, 8, 6; VIRGILIO Aen VI, 777–780.

[15] DUMÉZIL Jupiter Mars Quirinus, pag. 194.

[16] Dell’iniziazione guerriera a Roma abbiamo trattato in GALIANO Mars Pater e in GALIANO L’Ordo Equestris a Roma, in “Simmetria on line” n° 23 Luglio 2013.

[17] Oltre ai lavori citati nella nota precedente, si veda BAISTROCCHI Il Cerchio magico, riti circumambulatori in Roma antica, Roma s.d. (2010?) pagg. 72-88

[18] DUMÉZIL Jupiter Mars Quirinus pagg. 221–222.

[19] TORELLI La forza della tradizione pagg. 51-55.

[20] Relazioni confermate dai reperti archeologici più antichi ritrovati a Roma, che risalgono al Bronzo recente (circa 1350–1200 a.C.) e provengono dall’area sacra di Victoria e Vica Pota sul Palatino (CARANDINI pag. 100 nota 17) e dalla zona di Sant’Omobono ai piedi del Capitolium (idem pag. 238).

[21] In particolare GALIANO Mars Pater.

vendredi, 11 mars 2016

L'Italia, Roma e il sacro

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vendredi, 19 février 2016

Marcus Aurelius: Life of the Famous Roman Emperor and Philosopher

Marcus-Aurelius.jpg

Marcus Aurelius: Life of the Famous Roman Emperor and Philosopher

Ex: http://www.ancient-origins.net

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, known more commonly as Marcus Aurelius, was the 16th emperor of Rome, who reigned from 161 AD to his death in 180 AD. Marcus Aurelius is remembered as the last of the Five Good Emperors (the other four being Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius). Apart from being a Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius is also known today for his intellectual pursuits, and is considered as one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

The Life of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was born into an aristocratic family in Rome in 121 AD. His uncle was Titus Aurelius Antoninus (Hadrian’s successor, the emperor Antoninus Pius), who was adopted by Hadrian, after his earlier choice of successor died suddenly. Hadrian also arranged for the adoption of Marcus Aurelius by Antoninus. As a result of this adoption, the youth once known as Marcus Annius Verus became renamed as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.   

Marble bust of Hadrian at the Palazzo dei Conservatori.

Marble bust of Hadrian at the Palazzo dei Conservatori. (Public Domain)

Hadrian died in 138 AD, and was succeeded by Antoninus, who reigned till his death in 161 AD. During the early part of Marcus’ reign, he ruled the empire with a co-emperor, Lucius Verus, who was his ‘half-brother’. Lucius’ father was Lucius Aelius, Hadrian’s first choice of successor. Lucius became Marcus’ ‘half-brother’ when he was adopted by Antoninus Pius. In 169 AD, Lucius Verus died, and Marcus was left as the sole ruler of the Empire. In 177 AD, Marcus once again took a co-emperor, this time, his son, Commodus. Marcus died three years later, in 180 AD.

Portrait of Lucius Aelius (101–138 AD) inserted afterwards in a heroic statue

Portrait of Lucius Aelius (101–138 AD) inserted afterwards in a heroic statue (CC BY 2.5)

Marcus in ‘The Caesars’ and Other Texts

Marcus Aurelius is considered by some to have been the best emperor that Rome ever had. In a short comic sketch known as The Caesars, written by the 4th century AD Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, Marcus is depicted as attending a banquet (along with the gods and other dead Roman emperors) given by Romulus during the festival of the Cronia. Marcus is depicted quite positively by Julian. For instance, Silenus, a companion and tutor of Dionysus, would mock each emperor as they arrived at the banquet. When Marcus arrived, however, he had nothing bad to say about him:

“Next entered the pair of brothers, Verus [Marcus Aurelius] and Lucius. Silenus scowled horribly because he could not jeer or scoff at them, especially not at Verus.”

A contest was then held at the banquet to determine who the best emperor was, in which Marcus, as expected, emerged victorious.

Marcus Aurelius’ virtuous deeds have also been recorded in the historical sources. For instance, in the Historia Augusta, it is claimed that:

“When he (Marcus) had drained the treasury for this war (the Marcomannic war), moreover, and could not bring himself to impose any extraordinary tax on the provincials, he held a public sale in the Forum of the Deified Trajan of the imperial furnishings.”

The emperor is also viewed positively by the historian Cassius Dio, who wrote, amongst other things, that:

“… [Marcus] had been emperor himself nineteen years and eleven days, yet from first to last he remained the same and did not change in the least. So truly was he a good man and devoid of all pretence.”

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Apart from sources written about Marcus Aurelius, his own thoughts can be found in one of his works known as The Meditations. This piece of writing is in the form of a personal notebook, and is speculated to have been written whilst the emperor was on a military campaign in central Europe. It was due to this piece of work that Marcus received a reputation as a philosopher. Marcus’ Stoic philosophy can be seen in phrases such as these:

“Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.” 

“A cucumber is bitter. - Throw it away. - There are briars in the road. - Turn aside from them. - This is enough. Do not add, And why were such things made in the world?” 

“But fortunate means that a man has assigned to himself a good fortune: and a good fortune is good disposition of the soul, good emotions, good actions.”

Lucius Verus, Marcus' co-emperor from 161 to Verus' death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre)

Lucius Verus, Marcus' co-emperor from 161 to Verus' death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre). (CC 1.0)

Although Marcus Aurelius is regarded as one of the greatest Roman emperors, it may be pointed out that it was during his reign that the empire was constantly threatened by external forces, namely the Parthians and the Germanic tribes. The emperor and his generals, however, were mostly able to successfully counter these threats.

However, the emperor’s biggest mistake, perhaps, was the appointment of his son, Commodus, as co-emperor in 177 AD. Commodus became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire when his father died in 180 AD, and is often regarded as a bad emperor. Moreover, his reign is regarded as the end of Rome’s golden age as Commodus failed to follow in his father’s famous footsteps.

Featured image: The Statue of Marcus Aurelius (detail) in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. Photo source: Public Domain.

By Ḏḥwty

References

Anon., Historia Augusta: The Life of Marcus Aurelius [Online]

[Magie, D. (trans.), 1921. Historia Augusta: The Life of Marcus Aurelius.]

Available at: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Histori...

Cassius Dio, Roman History [Online]

[Cary, E. (trans.), 1914-27. Cassius Dio’s Roman History.]

Available at: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius...

Cavendish, R., 2011. Marcus Aurelius becomes Emperor of Rome. [Online]
Available at: http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/marcus-aure...

Julian, The Caesars [Online]

[Wright, W. C. (trans.), 1913. Julian’s The Caesars.]

Available at: http://www.attalus.org/translate/caesars.html

Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations [Online]

[Long, G. (trans.), 1957. Marcus Aurelius’ The Meditations]

Available at: http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html

Mark, J. J., 2011. Marcus Aurelius. [Online]
Available at: http://www.ancient.eu/Marcus_Aurelius/

Sellars, J., 2016. Marcus Aurelius (121—180 C.E.). [Online]
Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/marcus/

www.biography.com, 2016. Marcus Aurelius. [Online]
Available at: http://www.biography.com/people/marcus-aurelius-9192657#c...

jeudi, 21 janvier 2016

Carnuntum - Weltstadt im Land der "Barbaren"

Carnuntum - Weltstadt im Land der "Barbaren"

Der römische Offizier und Historiker Villeius Paterculus berichtete sechs nach Christus, dass ein unter dem Feldherrn Tiberius stehendes römisches Heer sein Winterlager im keltischen Königreich Noricum errichtete. Der genaue Ort der Niederlassung wird als "Carnuntum" bezeichnet. Das war die Geburtsstunde der legendären, römischen Großstadt im "Land der Barbaren", später auch als Klein-Rom an der Donau bezeichnet.

Mit 3-D-Animationen und Spielszenen wird das Leben und Treiben in der antiken Metropole wieder zum Leben erweckt.

Besonders ausführlich beschäftigt sich der Film mit den ganz alltäglichen Dingen des römischen Lebens vor 2.000 Jahren, die aus heutiger Sicht besonders interessant erscheinen. Wie hat die normale Zivilbevölkerung gelebt? Und wie der einfache Soldat? Was wurde gegessen und was wurde getrunken?

Antworten auf diese und viele Fragen mehr sind in den aufwendig inszenierten Spielszenen verpackt. Der Zuschauer erfährt, wie der so genannte "Puls", der Eintopf, in der römischen Armee zubereitet wurde, aber auch, was die so genannte High Society tafelte: Die Oberschicht Carnuntums genoss kulinarisch nahezu jeden Luxus. Sogar frische Austern, die man in salzwasserbefüllten Holzfässern von der Adria bis an die Donaumetropole transportierte, standen auf der Speisekarte. Doch nicht nur "was" gekocht wurde, sondern auch "wie" gekocht wurde, zeigt der Film in hyperrealistischen Bildern.

mercredi, 16 décembre 2015

Yann Le Bohec, historien de «La guerre romaine»

Legionär.jpg

Yann Le Bohec, historien de «La guerre romaine» (58 avant J.-C. – 235 après J.-C.)

Tallandier (collection L’art de la guerre, 2014)

Ex: http://cerclenonconforme.hautetfort.com

Le constat de l’auteur est sans appel : l’armée romaine a été l’armée la plus efficace de l’Antiquité. Voire peut-être même de l’histoire. Avec cette synthèse claire et détaillée venant couronner quarante années de recherches, Yann Le Bohec, l’un des plus grands spécialistes de la Rome antique et de son armée, nous livre un travail précieux dont l’intérêt est loin de n’être que strictement historique. L’histoire est enseignements et lorsque l’on voit le piteux état de nos forces armées aujourd’hui, on se dit que l’Etat-major serait fort avisé d’aller prendre quelques leçons chez les anciens… En cinq chapitres couvrant tous les aspects de la guerre romaine, Yann Le Bohec explore l’armée comme institution, sa stratégie, sa tactique, son environnement et surtout la manière dont les Romains vivaient et percevaient la guerre. Leur psychologie, basée tant sur la religion que sur le droit, est en effet un élément fondamental pour comprendre comment ils sont arrivés à une telle excellence dans l’art de guerroyer.

L’armée romaine de l’empire a bien sûr trouvé ses bases dans l’armée républicaine mais a été changée en profondeur par Auguste. En plus de faire de l’empereur le chef suprême de l’armée, celui-ci en fit une armée permanente, professionnelle et sédentaire. Impressionnante par ses effectifs (plus de 300.000 hommes en 23), l’armée ne l’était pas moins par son recrutement de qualité. N’étaient sélectionnés comme légionnaires que des hommes libres choisis après un examen approfondi de leurs aptitudes, de leurs compétences et de leur morale : le dilectus. Ces citoyens étaient la colonne vertébrale d’une armée qui comptait en plus de ses légionnaires bien d’autres unités auxiliaires employant des alliés de Rome ou des étrangers. Les affranchis et les esclaves ne furent employés que dans des cas extrêmes car, dans les mentalités de l’époque, ils étaient considérés comme indignes de porter les armes... Cet aspect qualitatif du recrutement n’était pas la seule force de l’armée. L’encadrement des soldats en était le second pilier. Il était dû à une hiérarchie efficace, formée et toute dévouée au service de l’Etat. D’origine sénatoriale ou équestre, les officiers étaient tenus de montrer leur virtus en offrant le meilleur d’eux-mêmes. C’est une réelle culture de l’exemple. Il est donc essentiel de le souligner : les valeurs romaines sont indissociables de la manière dont la guerre est pensée et vécue. La fides et l’honneur en sont les clés de voute. La valeur individuelle du combattant et son comportement au combat s’allient à la discipline collective. Cette dernière était si importante dans l’armée qu’elle avait même été divinisée à partir d’Hadrien! La discipline se retrouvait dans l’exercice que les Romains considéraient presque comme une science. Mêlant sport, exercices individuels ou collectifs (dont les manœuvres et mouvements étaient le but ultime), l’exercice était vu comme le moyen de garantir le bon comportement du soldat à la guerre ainsi que son obéissance totale. La conclusion est simple : le légionnaire romain est un guerrier de qualité extrêmement bien préparé à la guerre, tant physiquement que moralement.

bohecUU1qhtuL.jpgLa qualité de l’armée romaine venait aussi de sa polyvalence et de sa capacité d’adaptation à toutes les situations. A l’aise dans toutes les formes de combat, elle n’a jamais hésité à emprunter aux autres peuples ce qui pouvait parfaire son efficacité. L’héritage grec fut ici aussi fondamental, notamment en ce qui concerne la poliorcétique (l’art du siège). Par ailleurs, l’armée romaine se caractérisait par une tactique de combat où rien n’était laissé au hasard. La logistique, les services, le génie, le renseignement, la santé et les transmissions avaient été développés comme dans aucune autre armée de l’antiquité. La stratégie, à savoir la mise en œuvre des divers moyens de gagner, était très étudiée et les conflits étaient préparés par des actions politiques ou diplomatiques et s’appuyaient sur une économie prospère.

Bien loin d’être le peuple belliqueux que certains ont pu décrire, les Romains considéraient la guerre comme un mal nécessaire et non une fin en soi. L’auteur démontre d’ailleurs que, contrairement à une idée tenace, Rome n’a jamais eu de projet impérialiste à proprement parler. Elle a mené des guerres tant défensives qu’offensives au gré des circonstances et sans réelle préméditation ou plan d’ensemble. Pourquoi alors faisait-on la guerre ? Les raisons étaient multiples (politiques, sociales, économiques, militaires) mais souvent liées à la psychologie collective : la peur de l’ennemi ; la protection de Rome (patriotisme) ou d’alliés de Rome ; le goût de la domination ou du butin… Une certaine passion immodérée de la guerre a bien sûr toujours existé et des personnages comme César ou Trajan en sont les plus emblématiques. Les Romains ont certes pu déclencher des guerres d’agression sous des prétextes fallacieux mais de nombreux exemples démontrent leur volonté de limiter et de réguler les conflits. Ils considéraient d’ailleurs la guerre civile comme l’horreur absolue... Idéalement, la guerre devait être juste (Cicéron) et limitée (les Stoïciens) mais, une fois commencée, elle devait être victorieuse coûte que coûte, quel qu’en soit le prix. En effet, la victoire amenait la paix et donc la prospérité, la felicitas, sur le peuple romain. N’oublions pas que la victoire, dans les premiers temps de Rome, avait été divinisée… La religion était indissociable de la guerre. Les soldats étaient très pieux et participaient, au sein des garnisons, à de nombreuses cérémonies religieuses. La religion était omniprésente, qu’on pense aux présages des dieux avant le combat (les auspices) ou à toutes ces cérémonies qui bornaient le temps militaire et lui donnaient un réel « rythme sacral ». La fin des campagnes, en octobre, était ainsi l’occasion de trois cérémonies de première importance : l’equus october (course de char), l’armilustrium (purification des armes) et la fermeture des portes du temple de Janus afin de retenir la paix, vue par les Romains comme l’état le plus positif qui soit.

La grande qualité de l’ouvrage de Yann Le Bohec réside non seulement dans l’exhaustivité de son propos (vous apprendrez tout sur la vie quotidienne des soldats, leurs équipements, le détail des différentes unités ainsi que sur l’histoire de l’armée en tant que telle) mais aussi dans la réflexion qu’il mène sur la guerre à partir de multiples exemples historiques ou philosophiques. Objectif, il montre bien que cette armée puissante et organisée avait également ses faiblesses. A partir du 3ème siècle, la conjoncture défavorable pour l’empire accompagnée de l’oubli progressif des préceptes qui avaient fait son efficacité dans le passé sonneront peu à peu le glas de la grande armée romaine.

Rüdiger / C.N.C.

Note du C.N.C.: Toute reproduction de cet article doit mentionner la source.

vendredi, 11 décembre 2015

L’empereur Hadrien

Hadrien_2-660x330.jpgL’empereur Hadrien

Au cœur de l’histoire

sur Europe 1

Hadrien (Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, en grec Ἁδριανός ou Ἀδριανός), né le 24 janvier 76 à Italica et mort le 10 juillet 138 à Baïes, est un empereur romain de la dynastie des Antonins. Il succède en 117 à Trajan et règne jusqu'à sa mort. Empereur humaniste, lettré, poète et philosophe à la réputation pacifique, il rompt avec la politique expansionniste de son prédécesseur, s'attachant à pacifier et à structurer administrativement l'Empire, tout en consolidant des frontières parfois poreuses.

Il doit sa gloire autant au prestige de son règne qu'aux Mémoires d'Hadrien de Marguerite Yourcenar, qui en fait un souverain conscient de la mission universelle de Rome.

Source : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrien

AU CŒUR DE L'HISTOIRE sur Europe 1

« L’INTÉGRALE - Hadrien », émission du 10 octobre 2014

Franck FERRAND reçoit Catherine SALLES pour évoquer cette existence hors du commun, notamment à travers le prisme des voyages d’Hadrien.

dimanche, 08 novembre 2015

Stoic indifference is a personal power

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Stoic indifference is a personal power

Ashley Bailey

© Raymond Depardon/Magnum

Ex: http://www.therussophile.org   

As legions of warriors and prisoners can attest, Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity

We do this to our philosophies. We redraft their contours based on projected shadows, or give them a cartoonish shape like a caricaturist emphasising all the wrong features. This is how Buddhism becomes, in the popular imagination, a doctrine of passivity and even laziness, while Existentialism becomes synonymous with apathy and futile despair. Something similar has happened to Stoicism, which is considered – when considered at all – a philosophy of grim endurance, of carrying on rather than getting over, of tolerating rather than transcending life’s agonies and adversities.

No wonder it’s not more popular. No wonder the Stoic sage, in Western culture, has never obtained the popularity of the Zen master. Even though Stoicism is far more accessible, not only does it lack the exotic mystique of Eastern practice; it’s also regarded as a philosophy of merely breaking even while remaining determinedly impassive. What this attitude ignores is the promise proffered by Stoicism of lasting transcendence and imperturbable tranquility.

It ignores gratitude, too. This is part of the tranquility, because it’s what makes the tranquility possible. Stoicism is, as much as anything, a philosophy of gratitude – and a gratitude, moreover, rugged enough to endure anything. Philosophers who pine for supreme psychological liberation have often failed to realise that they belong to a confederacy that includes the Stoics. ‘According to nature you want to live?’ Friedrich Nietzsche taunts the Stoics in Beyond Good and Evil (1886):

O you noble Stoics, what deceptive words these are! Imagine a being like nature, wasteful beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, without mercy and justice, fertile and desolate and uncertain at the same time; imagine indifference itself as a power – how could you live according to this indifference? Living – is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature? Is not living – estimating, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And supposing your imperative ‘live according to nature’ meant at bottom as much as ‘live according to life’ – how could you not do that? Why make a principle of what you yourself are and must be?

senecaFUJR6XH4W_1.jpgThis is pretty good, as denunciations of Stoicism go, seductive in its articulateness and energy, and therefore effective, however uninformed.

Which is why it’s so disheartening to see Nietzsche fly off the rails of sanity in the next two paragraphs, accusing the Stoics of trying to ‘impose’ their ‘morality… on nature’, of being ‘no longer able to see [nature] differently’ because of an ‘arrogant’ determination to ‘tyrannise’ nature as the Stoic has tyrannised himself. Then (in some of the least subtle psychological projection you’re ever likely to see, given what we know of Nietzsche’s mad drive for psychological supremacy), he accuses all of philosophy as being a ‘tyrannical drive’, ‘the most spiritual will to power’, to the ‘creation of the world’.

The truth is, indifference really is a power, selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption of certain attitudes, but facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living. Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.

If we can’t always go to our philosophers for an understanding of Stoicism, then where can we go? One place to start is the Urban Dictionary. Check out what this crowd-sourced online reference to slang gives as the definition of a ‘stoic’:

stoic
Someone who does not give a shit about the stupid things in this world that most people care so much about. Stoics do have emotions, but only for the things in this world that really matter. They are the most real people alive.
Group of kids are sitting on a porch. Stoic walks by.
Kid – ‘Hey man, yur a f**kin f****t an you s**k c**k!’
Stoic – ‘Good for you.’
Keeps going.

You’ve gotta love the way the author manages to make mention of a porch in there, because Stoicism has its root in the word stoa, which is the Greek name for what today we would call a porch. Actually, we’re more likely to call it a portico, but the ancient Stoics used it as a kind of porch, where they would hang out and talk about enlightenment and stuff. The Greek scholar Zeno is the founder, and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius the most famous practitioner, while the Roman statesman Seneca is probably the most eloquent and entertaining. But the real hero of Stoicism, most Stoics agree, is the Greek philosopher Epictetus.

He’d been a slave, which gives his words a credibility that the other Stoics, for all the hardships they endured, can’t quite match. He spoke to his pupils, who later wrote down his words. These are the only words we know today as Epictetus’, consisting of two short works, the Enchiridion and the Discourses, along with some fragments. Among those whom Epictetus taught directly is Marcus Aurelius (another Stoic philosopher who did not necessarily expect to be read; his Meditations were written expressly for private benefit, as a kind of self-instruction).

Among those Epictetus has taught indirectly is a whole cast of the distinguished, in all fields of endeavour. One of these is the late US Navy Admiral James Stockdale. A prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years during that conflict, he endured broken bones, starvation, solitary confinement, and all other manner of torture. His psychological companion through it all were the teachings of Epictetus, with which he had familiarised himself after graduating from college and joining the Navy, studying philosophy at Stanford University on the side. He kept those teachings close by in Vietnam, never letting them leave his mind even when things were at their most dire. Especially then. He knew what they were about, those lessons, and he came to know their application much better than anyone should have to.

Stockdale wrote a lot about Epictetus, in speeches and memoirs and essays, but if you want to travel light (and, really, what Stoic doesn’t?), the best thing you could take with you is a speech he gave at King’s College London in 1993, published as Courage Under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993). That subtitle is important. Epictetus once compared the philosopher’s lecture room to a hospital, from which the student should walk out in a little bit of pain. ‘If Epictetus’s lecture room was a hospital,’ Stockdale writes, ‘my prison was a laboratory – a laboratory of human behaviour. I chose to test his postulates against the demanding real-life challenges of my laboratory. And as you can tell, I think he passed with flying colours.

Stockdale rejected the false optimism proffered by Christianity, because he knew, from direct observation, that false hope is how you went insane in that prison. The Stoics themselves believed in gods, but ultimately those resistant to religious belief can take their Stoicism the way they take their Buddhism, even if they can’t buy into such concepts as karma or reincarnation. What the whole thing comes down to, distilled to its briefest essence, is making the choice that choice is really all we have, and that all else is not worth considering.Who […] is the invincible human being?’ Epictetus once asked, before answering the question himself: ‘One who can be disconcerted by nothing that lies outside the sphere of choice.’

Any misfortune ‘that lies outside the sphere of choice’ should be considered an opportunity to strengthen our resolve, not an excuse to weaken it. This is one of the truly great mind-hacks ever devised, this willingness to convert adversity to opportunity, and it’s part of what Seneca was extolling when he wrote what he would say to one whose spirit has never been tempered or tested by hardship: ‘You are unfortunate in my judgment, for you have never been unfortunate. You have passed through life with no antagonist to face you; no one will know what you were capable of, not even you yourself.’ We do ourselves an immense favour when we consider adversity an opportunity to make this discovery – and, in the discovery, to enhance what we find there.

How did we let something so eminently understandable become so grotesquely misunderstood? How did we forget that that dark passage is really the portal to transcendence?

Many will recognise in these principles the general shape and texture of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Indeed, Stoicism has been identified as a kind of proto-CBT. Albert Ellis, the US psychologist who founded an early form of CBT known as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) in 1955, had read the Stoics in his youth and used to prescribe to his patients Epictetus’s maxim that ‘People are disturbed not by things but by their view of things.’ ‘That’s actually the “cognitive model of emotion” in a nutshell,’ Donald Robertson tells me, and he should certainly know, as a therapist who in 2010 wrote a book on CBT with the subtitle ‘Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy’.

This simplicity and accessibility ensure that Stoicism will never be properly embraced by those who prefer the abstracted and esoteric in their philosophies. In the novel A Man in Full (1998), Tom Wolfe gives Stoicism, with perfect plausibility, to a semi-literate prison inmate. This monologue of Conrad Hensley’s may be stilted, but there’s nothing at all suspect about the sentiment behind it. When asked if he is a Stoic, Conrad replies: ‘I’m just reading about it, but I wish there was somebody around today, somebody you could go to, the way students went to Epictetus. Today people think of Stoics – like, you know, like they’re people who grit their teeth and tolerate pain and suffering. What they are is, they’re serene and confident in the face of anything you can throw at them.’

Which leads us naturally to ask just what it was that was thrown at them. We’ve already noted that Epictetus had the whole slavery thing going on, so he checks out. So does Seneca, in spite of what many have asserted – most recently the UK classicist Mary Beard in an essay for the New York Review of Books that asks: ‘How Stoical Was Seneca?’ before providing a none-too-approving answer. What Beard’s well-informed and otherwise cogent essay fails to allow for is just how tough it must have been for Seneca – tubercular, exiled, and under the control of a sadistically murderous dictator – no matter what access he sometimes had to life’s luxuries. It was Seneca himself who said that ‘no one has condemned wisdom to poverty’, and only an Ancient Greek Cynic would try to deny this. Besides, Seneca would have been the first to tell you, as he told a correspondent in one of his letters: ‘I am not so shameless as to undertake to cure my fellow-men when I am ill myself. I am, however, discussing with you troubles which concern us both, and sharing the remedy with you, just as if we were lying ill in the same hospital.’

Marc-Aurèle-700x400.jpg

Marcus Aurelius lay ill in that hospital, too. As beneficiary of the privileges of emperor, he also endured the struggles and stresses of that very same position, plus a few more besides. I know better than to try to improve on the following accounting, provided in Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life:
He was sick, possibly with an ulcer. His family life was a source of distress: his wife appears to have been unfaithful to him, and of the at least 14 children she bore him, only six survived. Added to this were the stresses that came with ruling an empire. During his reign, there were numerous frontier uprisings, and Marcus often went personally to oversee campaigns against upstart tribes. His own officials – most notably, Avidius Cassius, the governor of Syria – rebelled against him. His subordinates were insolent to him, which insolence he bore with ‘an unruffled temper’. Citizens told jokes at his expense and were not punished for doing so. During his reign, the empire also experienced plague, famine, and natural disasters such as the earthquake at Smyrna.

Ever the strategist, Marcus employed a trusty technique in confronting the days that comprised such a life, making a point to tell himself at the start of each one of them: ‘I shall meet with meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable people.’ He could have been different about it – he could have pretended things were just hunky-dory, especially on those days when they really were, or seemed to be. But how, then, would he have been prepared to angle both into the wind and away from it – adapting, always, to fate’s violently vexing vicissitudes? Where would that have left him when the weather changed?

Lary Wallace is features editor of Bangkok Post: The Magazine. He has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, The Library of America Reader’s Almanac, and others.

mardi, 27 octobre 2015

Arqueólogos alemanes encuentran el campamento de Varus en Germania

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Arqueólogos alemanes encuentran el campamento de Varus en Germania


Ex: http://www.abc.es
 
Los arqueólogos de la Universidad de Osnabrück que están realizando las excavaciones
 

Si los alemanes beben cerveza en lugar de vino, aliñan con mantequilla y no con aceite de oliva, o siguen hablando una lengua endiabladamente hostil a los herederos del latín es porque nunca fueron romanizados. Y se lo deben a Arminio, un líder germano que contuvo a las legiones e impidió la creación de una provincia romana en la margen derecha del Rin. La gesta de Arminio, sin embargo, se ha mantenido a lo largo de los siglos en la niebla del mito nacional germánico, puesto que el único testimonio arqueológico de su victoria era una piedra funeraria con el nombre del centurión Marcus Caelius y una inscripción que documenta que murió en la Batalla de Varus. Ahora, el reciente hallazgo arqueológico de un campamento romano en Baja Sajonia arroja una primera luz científica sobre la leyenda y ayuda a redibujar el mapa de la historia romana de Alemania.

Se trata de un campamento romano de tiempos de Cristo en lo que hoy es Wilkenburg, al sur de Hannover, en el que según los primeros indicios llegaron a concentrarse al menos durante unos cuantos días unos 20.000 soldados romanos fuertemente armados, lo que equivale a tres legiones y a una décima parte del total de las tropas del imperio. Es el primero de su tipo hallado en el norte de Alemania y concretamente estuvo ocupado, según las primeras mediciones, entre el año 12 a.C. y el 9 d.C.. Desde él parten además, en varias direcciones, rutas de 20 kilómetros en las que se encuentran otros pequeños campamentos auxiliares. Junto a restos de sandalias romanas, pinzas y fíbulas, en total vario cientos de objetos y restos, han sido halladas monedas de la época del emperador Augusto. Hay denarios romanos acuñados en Lyon y otras monedas de origen celta. Su pormenorizado estudio aportará precisión al descubrimiento, mientras el trabajo de campo ha cumplido ya sus primeros objetivos.

Fueron unas imágenes aéreas lo que llamó la atención de los arqueólogos estatales del Land de Baja Sajonia y comenzaron las excavaciones en un área de 500 por 600 metros. Harald Nagel, afanado en el repaso con detectores de metales de unas 30 hectáreas de terreno, se muestra prudente en su valoración del hallazgo. «Los estudios de las monedas están todavía en su fase preliminar y es pronto para sacar conclusiones», dice, pero reconoce que «el yacimiento demuestra que Hannover y sus alrededores fueron un punt de importancia histórica y estratégica muy superior a lo que se estimaba hasta ahora».

Al igual que las legiones de Varus, los trabajos arqueológicos han de vérselas con constantes y copiosas lluvias que convierten las trincheras de excavación en auténticos barrizales cada dos por tres. «Tácito ya describió sobre la batalla de Varus que llovían perros y gatos», recuerda el arqueólogo Hening Hassmann, que destaca el cruce de rutas norte-sur y este-oeste que fue elegido para instalar a las tropas romanas.

En efecto, en 1515, el humanista Ullrich von Hutten descubrió en el primer libro de los Anales de Tácito una referencia a «Arminius», de quien el historiador romano decía que había infligido una derrota a Roma cuando el imperio estaba en todo su esplendor. Tácito calificaba a Arminius como el verdadero liberador de Germania. Ullrich von Hutten tomó las lacónicas apreciaciones de Tácito sobre Arminius y publicó en 1529 un diálogo póstumo titulado «Arminius», que cultivaron los los protestantes para subrayar la independencia no ya ante la Roma imperial sino ante la iglesia romana.

Hay consenso entre los historiadores sobre que Arminio, un germano que había formado parte del ejército romano y en quien Varus confiaba, formó una alianza entre varias tribus bárbaras y le tendió una trampa a Varus para hacerse con el control de la región. Las legiones romanas sucumbieron a una emboscada que terminó en carnicería. El actual hallazgo, por su importancia y dimensiones, apunta por ahora solamente a dos posibles lecturas: o bien el mismo Tiberio subió más al norte de lo que se había pensado hasta ahora, o fue Varus el que llegó hasta Hannover para allí morir y poner fin a la expansión romana en Germania.

lundi, 14 septembre 2015

S.P.Q.R

S.P.Q.R

Inno Impero Romano

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