32 Pages


T H E most striking feature of ancient Greece, the fundamental cause both of its greatness and its weakness, was its division into innumerable cities, each one of which formed a State. The ideas which a division of this sort implies were an inseparable par t of the mental equipment of the Greeks, so much so tha t in the fourth century the most discerning minds considered the existence of the polis as a fact of nature. They could not conceive of any other organization for men worthy of the name. Aristotle himself took the effect for the cause, and defined not the Greek, but man, as a " political animal ." There were for him two kinds of human beings: those who were submerged in savage, formless hordes or in the vast tribes of some monstrously large monarchy, and those who were harmoniously associated in cities; the former were born for servitude in order tha t the latter might enjoy a nobler way of life.