Greece entered upon a new and final phase of her development. The ominous breakdown of the older political fabric at the end of the fourth century might have seemed likely to put an end to the natural vitality of the Greek peoples. \Vith the conquest of the East by Macedonians and Greeks, however, new tasks were set before that people and with the new task they acquired new faculties. The polis, indeed, the purest expression of Greek constructive ability, could not be restored to life. Such of the old and narrow city-republics as had not perished completely in that stormy period only languished in a stagnant peace. Rare, indeed, are the exceptions in which (as particularly in Rhodos) a more vigorous and independent life asserted itself. The new and swollen cities of the Macedonian Empire, with their motley populations drawn from many nationalities, could not make good the loss. The Leagues in which Greece seemed to be making an effort to find a political organization of a wider compass soon broke down under the effects of inward
~orruption and external violence. Even in its deepest and most essential character the old national spirit of Greece, which had drawn its strength from its clear-cut individuality, seemed to be suffering damage through the unlimited extension eastwards and westwards of Greek life. It did not cease to be an immeasurable advantage to be a Greek, but a Greek now meant anyone who had a share in the one thing that still distinguished and characterized the Greeks, namely, Greek culture-and Greek culture was no lcinger confined to a single nation. It was no fault of this Greek humanism that not a single one of the vast populations of the East (and in the West at last Rome stood alone) was able to make their own this culture so generously offered to the whole world, so that there, too, all should become Greek who were capable of becoming free human beings. Nevertheless, from all countries and nationalities uncounted multitudes of individuals entered into the circle of this extended Hellenism. The way was open for all who could live without the need of a way of life and thinking modelled strictly upon national lines : for the culture which now united all Greeks and Greek.communities was based upon science-and science knows nothing of national frontiers.