a theory of civilisation

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III THE AUGUSTAN AGE The transformation of Roman religion under Hellenic influence, and the consequent confirmation of psychic illusions enabled the Romans to make almost a new beginning in their religious life ; and they were thus able to reach a higher grade of intellectual development than apparently would have been possible under the old religious regime. From B.C. 197, when the two provinces of Spain were settled, until B.C. 49, when Julius Caesar completed the conquest of northern Gaul, Roman history externally is little more than a list of Roman advances towards European Hegemony. The Hellenisation of Roman religion precedes or synchronises with the first half of this period. The psychic illusions of Rome thus transformed were superior to those of any of the conquered peoples. It is difficult to imagine that thiscoincidence is fortuitous. Is it not simpler to assume that there is a causal connection, and that we may detect here the explanation of the facts ? The renovated faith gave to each Roman believer the illusion which alone could induce him to master his selfish and rational impulses, and to act with that personal irrationality which was conducive to the communal progress. It is difficult to see any other satisfactory analysis of motives and results. Any student can note with ease the distinct difference in religious feeling at Rome between the beginning and the end of this period. At the beginning the illusions were young and vigorous. Scipio is the hero of it, a veritable hero of romantic illusion, as we see him in the pages of Livy. Julius Caesar is the protagonist of the end, and he is not a romantic figure governed by illusions, but rather the disillusioned practical man acting for his own interests—a fact that becomes the clearer the more closely ...
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