Volume I, page I—CII. Introduction

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The original text in German: Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts
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A. The Teutons as Creators of a New Culture
ii 187
B. Historical Survey ii 233
1. DISCOVERY ii 261
2. SCIENCE ii 293
3. INDUSTRY ii 329
7. ART ii 495
INDEX ii 565




First Impression November 1910

Second Impression January 1912

Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London


OME ten years ago there appeared in Germany a work of the highest importance which at once arrested the attention of the literary world, and was speedily declared to be one of the masterpieces of the century. The deep learning, the sympathy with knowledge in its most various forms, a style sometimes playful, sometimes ironical, always persuasive, always logical, pages adorned with brilliant passages of the loftiest eloquence — these features were a passport to immediate recognition. Three editions were exhausted in as many years, and now when it has gone through eight editions, and, in spite of the expense of the two bulky volumes, no fewer than sixty thousand copies have been sold in Germany, it is surely time that England should see the book clothed in the native language of its author.

    Houston Stewart Chamberlain was born at Southsea in 1855, the son of Admiral William Charles Chamberlain. Two of his uncles were generals in the English army, a third was the well-known Field-Marshal Sir Neville Chamberlain. His mother was a daughter of Captain Basil Hall, R.N., whose travels were the joy of the boyhood of my generation, while his scientific observations


won for him the honour of Fellowship of the Royal Society. Captain Basil Hall's father, Sir James Hall, was himself eminent in science, being the founder of experimental geology. As a man of science therefore (and natural science was his first love), Houston Chamberlain may be regarded as an instance of atavism, or, to use the hideous word coined by Galton, “eugenics.”
    His education was almost entirely foreign. It began in a Lycée at Versailles. Being destined for the army he was afterwards sent to Cheltenham College: but the benign cruelty of fate intervened; his health broke down, he was removed from school, and all idea of entering the army was given up: and so it came to pass that the time which would have been spent upon mastering the goose-step and the subtleties of drill was devoted under the direction of an eminent German tutor, Herr Otto Kuntze, to sowing the seed of that marvellous harvest of learning and scholarship the full fruit of which, in the book before us, has ripened for the good of the world. After a while he went to Geneva, where under Vogt, Graebe, Müller Argovensis, Thury, Plantamour and other great professors he studied systematic botany, geology, astronomy, and later the anatomy and physiology of the human body. But the strain of work was too great and laid too heavy a tax upon his strength; so, for a time at any rate, natural science had to be abandoned and he migrated to Dresden, a forced change which was another blessing in disguise; for at Dresden he plunged heart and soul into the mysterious depths of the Wagnerian music and philosophy, the metaphysical works of the master probably exercising as strong an influence upon him as the musical dramas.


    Chamberlain's first published work was in French, Notes sur Lohengrin. This was followed by various essays in German on Wagnerian subjects: but they were not a success, and so, disgusted with the petty jealousies and unrealities of art-criticism, he fell back once more upon natural science and left Dresden for Vienna, where he placed himself under the guidance of Professor Wiesner. Again the miseries of health necessitated a change. Out of the wreck of his botanical studies he saved the materials for his Recherches sur la sève ascendante, a recognised authority among continental botanists, and natural science was laid aside, probably for ever.
    Happily the spell of the great magician was upon him. In 1892 there appeared Das Drama Richard Wagners, which, frozen almost out of existence at first (five copies were sold in the twelvemonth, of which the author was himself the buyer), has since run into four greedily purchased editions. Then came that fine book, the Life of Wagner, which has been translated into English by Mr. Hight, and Chamberlain's reputation was made, to be enhanced by the colossal success of the Grundlagen des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts which followed in 1899. Naturally enough, criticism was not spared. The book was highly controversial and no doubt lent itself to some misunderstanding: moreover the nationality of the author could hardly fail to be in a sense provocative of some slight jealousy or even hostility. One critic did not hesitate to accuse him of plagiarism — plagiarism, above all, from Richard Wagner, the very man whose disciple and historian he was proud to be, whose daughter he was; years afterwards, to marry. But this attack is one for which Chamberlain might well be thankful,


for it gave him the chance, in the preface to the third edition, of showing all his skill in fence, a skill proof even against the coup de Jarnac. His answer to his critics on his theory of Race, and his criticism of Delitzsch in the preface to the fourth edition are fine pieces of polemical writing.
    What is the Book? How should it be defined? Is it history, a philosophical treatise, a metaphysical inquiry? I confess, I know not: probably it is all three. I am neither an historian, alas! nor a philosopher, nor a metaphysician. To me the book has been a simple delight — the companion of months — fulfilling the highest function of which a teacher is capable, that of awakening thought and driving it into new channels. That is the charm of the book. The charm of the man is his obviously transparent truthfulness. Anything fringing upon fraud is abhorrent to him, something to be scourged with scorpions. As in one passage he himself says, the enviable gift of lying has been denied to him. Take his answer to Professor Delitzsch's famous pamphlet Babel und Bibel, to which I have alluded above.
    No writer is so dangerous as the really learned scholar who uses his learning, as a special pleader might, in support of that which is not true. Now, Professor Delitzsch is an authority in Assyriology and the knowledge of the cuneiform inscriptions. The object of his brilliant and cleverly named pamphlet was to arouse interest in the researches of the German Orientalischer Verein. in this sense any discovery which can be brought into line with the story of the Old Testament is an engine the price of which is above pearls. Accordingly, Professor Delitzsch, eager to furnish proof of Semitic monotheism,


brings out the statement that the Semitic tribes of Canaan which, at the time of Khammurabi, two thousand years before Christ, flooded Assyria, were worshippers of one God, and that the name of that God was Jahve (Jehovah), and in support of that statement he translates the inscriptions on two tablets, or fragments of tablets, in the British Museum. Now it must be obvious to the poorest intelligence that an obscure script like that in the cuneiform character can only be read with any approach to certainty where there is the Opportunity of comparison, that is to say, where the same groups of wedges or arrowheads, as they used to be called, are found repeated in various connections: even so, the patience and skill which have been spent upon deciphering the inscriptions, from the days of Hincks and Rawlinson until now, are something phenomenal. Where a proper name occurs only once, the difficulty is increased a hundredfold. Yet this did not deter Delitzsch from making his astounding monotheistic assertion on the strength of an arbitrary interpretation of a single example of a group of signs, which signs moreover are capable of being read, as is proved by the evidence of the greatest Assyriologists, in six if not eleven different ways. Truly a fine case for doctors to disagree upon! Chamberlain, with that instinctive shying at a fraud which distinguishes him, at once detected the imposition. He is no Assyriologist, but his work brings him into contact with the masters of many crafts, and so with the pertinacity of a sleuth-hound he runs the lie to earth. In a spirit of delicate banter, through which the fierce indignation of the truth-lover often pierces, he tears the imposture to tatters; his attack is a fighting masterpiece, to which I cannot but


allude, if only in the sketchiest way, as giving a good example of Chamberlain's methods. So much for Tablet No. I.
    The interpretation of the second tablet upon which Professor Delitzsch reads the solemn declaration “Jahve is God” fares no better at our author's hands; for he brings forward two unimpeachable witnesses, Hommel and König, who declare that Delitzsch has misread the signs which really signify “The moon is God.”
    It is well known — a fact scientifically proved by much documentary evidence — that Khammurabi and his contemporaries were worshippers of the sun, the moon and the stars; the name of his father was Sin-mubalit, “the moon gives life,” his son was Shamshuiluna, “the sun is our God.” But no evidence is sufficient to check Professor Delitzsch's enthusiasm over his monotheistic Khammurabi! That much in the deciphering of Assyrian inscriptions is to a great extent problematical is evident. One thing, however, is certain in these readings of Professor Delitzsch: in the face of the authority of other men of learning, his whole fabric, “a very Tower of Babel, but built on paper, crumbles to pieces; and instead of the pompously announced, unsuspected aspect of the growth of monotheism, nothing remains to us but a surely very unexpected insight into the workshop of lax philology and fanciful history-mongering.”
    It seems to me that Khammurabi has been made a victim in this controversy. Even if he was a worshipper of the sun and the stars and the moon, he was, unless we ignorant folk have been cruelly misled, a very great man: for he appears to have been the first king who recognised the fact that if a people has duties to its


sovereign, the sovereign on the other hand has duties to his people — and that, for a monarch who reigned so many centuries before Moses, must be admitted to show a very high sense of kingly responsibility. But Delitzsch, in trying to prove too much, has done him the dis-service of exposing him to what almost amounts to a sneer from the Anti-Semites. I have submitted what I have written above to Dr. Budge of the British Museum, who authorises me to say that he concurs in Chamberlain's views of Professor Delitzsch's translation.
    But it is time that we should leave these battles of the learned in order to consider the scheme, the scope and the conduct of the book. To write the story of the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century was a colossal task, for which the strength of a literary Hercules would alone be of any avail. Mr. Chamberlain, however, has brought to the undertaking such a wealth of various knowledge and reading, set out with unrivalled dialectical power, that even those who may disagree with some of his conclusions must perforce incline themselves before the presence of a great master. That his book should be popular with those scholars who are wedded to old traditions was not to be expected. He has shattered too many idols, dispelled too many dearly treasured illusions. And the worst of it is that the foundations of his beliefs — perhaps I should rather say of his disbeliefs — are built upon rocks so solid that they will defy the cunningest mines that can be laid against them. This is no mere “chronicle of ruling houses, no record of butcheries.” It is the story of the rise of thought, of religion, of poetry, of learning, of civilisation, of art; the story of all those elements of which the complex life of the Indo-European


of to-day is composed — the story of what he calls “Der Germane.”
    And here let me explain once for all what Chamberlain means by “Der Germane”: obviously not the German, for that would have been “Der Deutsche.” To some people the name may be misleading; but he has adopted it, and I may have to use it again, so let us take his own explanation of it. In this term he includes the Kelts, the Germans, the Slavs, and all those races of northern Europe from which the peoples of modern Europe have sprung (evidently also the people of the United States of America). The French are not specifically mentioned, but it is clear from more than one passage that they too are included. As indeed how should they be left out? Yet it strikes one almost as a paradox to find Louis XIV. claimed as a “genuine Germane” for resisting the encroachments of the Papacy, and bearding the Pope as no other Catholic sovereign ever did; and blamed as a Germane false to his “Germanentum” for his shameless persecution of the Protestants! In the Germane, then, he describes the dominant race of the nineteenth century. Strange indeed is the beginning of the history of that race.
    Far away in Asia, behind the great mountain fastnesses of India, in times so remote that even tradition and fable are silent about them, there dwelt a race of white men. They were herdsmen, shepherds, tillers of the soil, poets and thinkers. They were called Aryas — noblemen or householders — and from them are descended the dominant caste of India, the Persians, and the great nations of Europe. The history of the Aryan migrations, their dates, their causes, is lost in the clouds of a mysterious


past. All that we know is that there were at least three great wanderings: two southward to India and Persia, one, or perhaps several, across the great Asiatic continent to Europe. What drove these highly gifted people from their farms and pastures? Was it the search for change of climate? Was it pressure from the Mongols? There are some reasons for supposing that religious dissent may have had something to do with it. For instance, the evil spirits of the Zendavesta, the scriptures of the Zoroastrians are the gods of the Rigveda, the sacred poems of the Indian Aryans, and vice versa. Be that as it may, wherever the Aryans went they became masters. The Greek, the Latin, the Kelt, the Teuton, the Slav — all these were Aryans: of the aborigines of the countries which they overran, scarcely a trace remains. So, too, in India it was “Varna,” colour, which distinguished the white conquering Arya from the defeated black man, the Dasyu, and so laid the foundation of caste. It is to the Teuton branch of the Aryan family that the first place in the world belongs, and the story of the Nineteenth Century is the story of the Teuton's triumph.
    While by no means ignoring, or failing to throw light upon, the Assyrian or Egyptian civilisations, this all-embracing book ascribes the laying of the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century to the life-work of three peoples: two of these, the Greek and Roman, being of Aryan extraction, the third, the Jew, Semitic.
    Of Greek poetry and art Chamberlain writes with all the passionate rapture of a lover. “Every inch of Greek soil is sacred.” Homer, the founder of a religion, the maker of gods, stands on a pinnacle by himself. He was, as it were, the Warwick of Olympus. “That any


one should have doubted the existence of the poet Homer will not give to future generations a favourable impression of the perspicacity of our times.” It is just a hundred years since Wolf started his theory that there was no such poet as Homer — that the Iliad and Odyssey were a parcel of folk-songs of many dates and many poets pasted together. By whom? asks Chamberlain. Why are there no more such “able editors”? Is it paste that is lacking or brain-paste? Schiller at once denounced the idea as “simply barbarous” and proclaimed Wolf to be a “stupid devil.” Goethe at first was caught by the idea, but when he examined the poems more closely, from the point of view of the poet, recanted, and came to the conclusion that there could be only one Homer. And now “Homer enters the twentieth century, the fourth millennium of his fame, greater than ever.” No great work of art, as Chamberlain points out, was ever produced by the collaboration of a number of little men. The man who made the faith of a people was, as Aristotle put it, “divine before all other poets.” If Greek poetry and Greek art were in those two branches of human culture the chief inheritance of the nineteenth century, then we may safely assert that Homer in that direction dominated all other influence and was the first prophet of our Indo-European culture.
    Never, indeed, did the sacred fire of poetry and art burn with a purer flame than it did in ancient Greece. Homer was followed by a radiant galaxy of poets. The tragic dramas of Aeschylus and Sophocles, the farces of Aristophanes, the idylls of Theocritus, the odes of Pindar, the dainty lyrics of Anacreon, have made the Greek genius the test by which all subsequent work must be


judged. In architecture and sculpture the Greeks have never been equalled; of their painting we know less; but the men who were under the influence of a Phidias and a Praxiteles, we may safely say, would not have borne with a mere dauber. Poetry and art then were the very essence of Greek life; they penetrated the soul and thrilled every fibre of the ancient Hellenes. Their philosophy, the deep thoughts that vibrated in their brain, were poetry. Plato himself was, as Montesquieu said of him, one of the four great poets of mankind. He was the Homer of thought, too great a poet, according to Zeller, to be quite a philosopher. But Plato was Himself; and his spirit is as young and as fresh to-day as it was when he was so penetrated with the sense of beauty that he made his Socrates lecture only in the fairest scenes, and pray to the great god Pan that he might be beautiful in his inner self, and that his outer self should be in tune with it. “Much that has come between has sunk in oblivion; while Plato and Aristotle, Democritus, Euclid and Archimedes live on in our midst stimulating and instructing, and the half-fabulous figure of Pythagoras grows greater with every century.“
    But — and it is a big “but“ — when we come to metaphysics Chamberlain cries, Halt! With all his reverence for Plato as statesman, moralist and practical reformer; for Aristotle as the first encyclopedist; full of admiration for the philosophers of the great epoch so far as they represent a “creative manifestation” of the mind of man closely allied to the poetic art, in the history of human thought he dethrones them from the high place which has hitherto been assigned to them, he denies them the honour of having been the first thinkers. To Aristotle,


indeed, with all his gifts, he traces the decadence of the Hellenic spirit.
    It has been the fashion among the schoolmen to hold the Greeks up to admiration as being historically the first thinkers. Nothing could be further from the truth. They laid the foundations of our science, of geography, natural history, logic, ethics, mathematics — of metaphysics they were not the founders, though they taught us to think. Bacon indeed condemned their philosophy as “childish, garrulous, impotent and immature in creative power.” Centuries before the birth of the great Greeks, India had produced philosophers who in the realms of thought reached heights which never were attained by Plato or Aristotle. The doctrine of the transmigration of souls was brought by Pythagoras from India. In Greece, until it was published by Plato, it was regarded as the mystery of mysteries, only to be revealed to the elect — to the high priests of thought: but in India it was the common belief of the vulgar; whereas to the philosophers, a small body of deep thinkers, it was and is an allegorical representation of a truth only to be grasped by deep metaphysical pondering. The common creed of the Indian coolie, invested by Plato with the halo of his sublime poetry, became glorified as the highest expression of Greek thought!
    Alas! for the long years wasted in the worship of false gods! Alas! for the idols with feet of clay, ruthlessly hurled from their pedestals! That the ancient Greek was the type of all that was chivalrous and noble was the accepted belief taught by the old-fashioned, narrow-minded pedagogues of two generations ago. They took the Greeks at their own valuation, accepting all their


figures and facts without a question. Their battles were always fought against fearful odds; they performed prodigies of valour; their victories decided the fate of the world. To the student brought up in the faith of such books as Creasy's Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, it comes as a shock to be told that Marathon was a mere skirmish without result, in which, as a matter of fact, the Athenians had if anything rather the worst of it. Even Herodotus inconveniently let out the fact that Miltiades hurried on the battle knowing that his brave Hoplites were half minded to go over to the enemy, and that delay might cause this treacherous thought to be carried into effect. Another half-hour and the “heroes of Marathon“ would have been seen marching against Athens side by side with the Persians. As it was, the latter quietly sailed back to Ionia in their Grecian ships, carrying with them several thousand prisoners and a great store of booty. Gobineau has shown that Salamis was no better, and he describes Grecian history as “la plus élaborée des fictions du plus artiste des peuples.”
    In view of writers like Gobineau and Chamberlain the ancient Greek was a fraud, a rogue and a coward, a slave-driver, cruel to his enemies, faithless to his friends, without one shred of patriotism or of honour. Alcibiades changing colour like a chameleon, Solon forsaking his life's work and going over to Pisistratus, Themistocles haggling over the price for which he should betray Athens before Salamis, and living at the Court of Artaxerxes as the declared enemy of Greece, despised by the Persians “as a wily Greek snake,” these and others are sickening pictures which Chamberlain draws of the Hellene when viewed as a man apart from his poetry and his art.


    Probably in these days of critical investigation the fanciful teaching of previous generations will be modified. The Greeks have enough really to their credit, they have a sufficient title to our gratitude for what they were, without being held up to our admiration for that which they distinctly were not. It seems laughable that Grote should have accepted as gospel truth, and held up as an example for future ages, what Juvenal had summed up, eighteen hundred years before, as “all that lying Greece dares in history.”
    No two people could be in sharper contrast to one another than the Greeks and the Romans. From the creative genius of the Greeks we have inherited Olympus, the Gods, and Homer who made them, poetry, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, all that makes up the joy of life: not our religion — that comes from a higher source — and yet, even here perhaps something, some measure of religiosity which fitted us to receive the Divine Message. The gift of the matter-of-fact Roman, on the other hand, has been law, order, statecraft, the idea of citizenship, the sanctity of the family and of property. Borne on the pinions of imagination the Greek soared heavenward. The Roman struck his roots deep into the soil. In all that contributes to the welfare and prosperity of the State and of the man the Roman was past-master. In poetry, in the fine arts, in all that constitutes culture, he was an imitator, a follower — at a great distance — of the Greeks. A poet in the true sense of the word, he certainly was not. A poet means one who creates. Consider the translations and imitations wrought with consummate skill by Virgil, at the imperial command, into an epic in honour of a dynasty and a people. Compare these, masterpieces


of their kind though they be, with the heaven-inspired creations of Homer, and you will see what Chamberlain means when he says that “to unite Greek poetry with Latin poetry in the one conception of classical literature, is a proof of incredible barbarism in taste, and of a lamentable ignorance of the essence and value of artistic genius.“ The Roman was no true poet, no creator. Horace, with all his charm — the most quotable of writers because his dainty wit had the secret of rendering with delicate fancy the ideas which occur at every step, on every occasion of our lives — was after all only the first and foremost of all society verse-writers. Chamberlain is inclined to make an exception in favour of Lucretius, of whom in a footnote he says that he is worthy of admiration both as thinker and bard. (I hesitate here to translate the word Dichter by “poet.”) Yet in the same note he goes on to say that his thoughts are altogether Greek, and his materials preponderatingly so. “Moreover there lies over his whole work the deadly shadow of that scepticism that sooner or later leads to barrenness, and which must be carefully distinguished from the deep intuition of truly religious spirits that preserve the figurative in that which they set forth without thereby casting doubt upon the lofty truth of their inmost forebodings, their inscrutable mysteries.” For Lucretius, Epicurus, the man who denied the existence of God, was the greatest of mortals. And yet there came a day when even Epicurus must needs fall down before Zeus. “Never,“ cried Diokles, who found him in the Temple, “did I see Zeus greater than when Epicurus lay there at his feet.“ Footnotes are apt to be skipped, and I have felt it right to dwell upon this one because of its


importance as bearing upon Chamberlain's views of the “deadly shadow of scepticism.”
    The poetry of Greece was the dawn of all that is beautiful, the bounteous fountain of all good gifts, at which, century after century, country after country, have quaffed the joyous cup, seeking inspiration that in their turn they might achieve something lovely.
    The influence which Rome has exercised upon our development has been in a totally different direction. From the beginning of time the races of Aryan extraction have been deeply imbued with the conviction of the importance of law. Yet it was reserved for the Romans to develop this instinct, and they succeeded because to them alone among the Aryans was possible the consolidation of the State. The law was the foundation of personal right; the State was based upon the sacrifice of that personal right, and the delegation of personal power for the common weal. If we realise that, we recognise the immense value of the inheritance bequeathed to us by the Romans. Without the great quality of patriotism this would have been impossible.
    The spot, upon which the Roman had settled had little physically to recommend it. There was no romantic scenery, there were no lofty mountains, no rushing rivers. The seven mean hills, the yellow mud of the Tiber, the fever-stricken marshes, a soil poor and unproductive, were not features to captivate the imagination. But the Roman loved it and cherished it in his heart of hearts. Surrounded by hostile tribes, his early history was one long struggle for life, in which his great qualities always won the day. Once defeated, he would have been wiped off the face of the earth: strength of character, deter-


mination, courage above proof, saved him, and in the end made him the conqueror of the world. There was no need in his case to pass laws enforcing valour as in the case of Sparta, making men brave, as it were, by act of Parliament. There was no fear of his turning traitor; he was loyal to the core. His home, his family, his fatherland were sacred, the deeply treasured objects of his worship, a religion in themselves. Self was laid on one side — the good of the community was everything. It was the idea of the family carried into statecraft. One word represented it, Patria, the fatherland, and the man who worked for the Patria was the ideal statesman.
    Is it fair, asks Chamberlain, to call the Roman a conqueror or invader? He thinks not. He was driven to war not by the desire of conquest or of aggrandisement, but by the desperate determination to maintain his home or die. With the defeat and disappearance of the surrounding tribes, he found himself ever compelled to push his outposts farther and farther still; it was self-preservation, not the lust of conquest, which armed the Roman. For him war was a political necessity, and no people ever possessed the political instinct in so high a degree.
    The struggle with Carthage was a case in point. Historians from the earliest times, from Polybius to Mommsen, have denounced the barbarity shown by the Romans in the extermination of Carthage. Chamberlain in a few convincing paragraphs teaches us what was the real issue. He shows us that annihilation was an absolute necessity. Rome and Carthage could not exist together. The fight was for the supremacy in the Mediterranean, and therefore for the mastery of the world. On the one side was the civilising influence of Rome, colonising under


laws so beneficent that nations even came to petition that they might be placed under her rule: on the other side a system of piratical colonisation undertaken in the sole cause of gain, the abolition of all freedom, the creation of artificial wants in the interest of trade, no attempt at legal organisation beyond the imposition of taxes, slavery, a religion of the very basest in which human sacrifices were a common practice. The Roman felt that it must be war to the knife without quarter. In his own interest, and, though he knew it not, in that of the world, there could be nothing short of extermination. “Delenda est Carthago” was the cry. Had he failed, had the piracy of the Semitic combination of Phoenicians and Babylonians won the day against the law and order of the Aryan, it is not too much to say that culture and civilisation would have come to a standstill, and the development of the nineteenth century would have been an impossibility, or at any rate hopelessly retarded. “It is refreshing,” writes Chamberlain, “for once to come across an author who, like Bossuet, simply says, Carthage was taken and destroyed by Scipio, who herein proved himself worthy of his great ancestor, without any outburst of moral indignation, without the conventional phrase, all the misery that later burst upon Rome was retribution for this crime. ” Caesar rebuilt Carthage, and it became a congeries of all the worst criminals, Romans, Greeks, Vandals, all rotten to the very marrow of their bones. It must have been something like Port Said in the early days some forty years ago, which seemed to be the trysting-place of the world's rascaldom: those who remember it can form some idea of what that second Carthage of Caesar's must have been.


    In the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans one sees the hand of Providence. It was largely the act of the Jew himself, the born rebel against State law, or any law save that which he deemed to be his own sacred inheritance. It was immaterial that he had himself petitioned Rome to save him from his own Semitic kings and to take him under her charge. He was a continual thorn in the side of his chosen rulers, and his final subjugation and dispersal became a necessity. Had the Jew remained in Jerusalem, Christianity would have become a mere sect of the Jews. Long before our era the Diaspora had taken place. Originally the Diaspora meant the Jews who, after the Babylonian captivity, refused to go back to Palestine because of the prosperity which they enjoyed in their place of exile. Later it embraced all those Jews who, for various reasons of trade, or convenience, or missionary enterprise, went forth into the world. In Alexandria alone these numbered over one million. The making of proselytes was universal. But wherever they might be, to Jerusalem they looked as to their home. To Jerusalem they sent tribute, in the interests of Jerusalem they worked as one man. The influence of Jerusalem was all-pervading. Even the first Christians, in spite of St. Paul, held to the rites of Judaism; those who did not were branded by St. John as “them of the Synagogue of Satan.“ In destroying the stronghold of Judaism the Romans, though here again they knew it not, were working for the triumph of Christianity. As it is, much of Judaism pervades our faith. Had Jerusalem stood, the “religious monopoly of the Jews,“ says Chamberlain, “would have been worse than the trade monopoly of the Phoenicians. Under the leaden


pressure of these born dogmatists and fanatics, all freedom of thought and of belief would have vanished from the world: the flat materialistic conception of God would have been our religion, pettifoggery our philosophy. This is no fancy picture, there are too many facts crying aloud: for what is that stiff, narrow-minded, spiritually cramped dogmatising of the Christian Church, such as no Aryan people ever dreamt of; what is that bloodthirsty fanaticism disgracing the centuries down to the nineteenth, that curse of hatred fastening on to the religion of love from the very beginning, from which Greek and Roman, Indian and Chinese, Persian and Teuton, turn with a shudder? What is it if not the shadow of that Temple in which sacrifice was offered to the God of wrath and of revenge, a black shadow cast over the young generation of heroes striving out of the Darkness into the Light?“
    With the help of Rome, Europe escaped from the chaos of Asia. The imaginative Greek was ever looking towards Asia — to him the East called. The practical Roman transferred the centre of gravity of culture to find an eternal home in the West, so that Europe “became the beating heart and the thinking brain of all mankind.“ The Aryan had mastered the Semite for all time.
    It comes somewhat as a surprise to find Rome, the ideal Republic, pointed to as the fountain-head from which the conception of Constitutional Monarchy is drawn. The principle of Roman Law and the Roman State was, as we have seen, that of the rights of the individual and his power to choose representatives. In the course of time when Rome ceased to be Rome, when she fell under the rule of half-breeds from Africa, aliens from Asia Minor,


baseborn men from Illyria, not chosen by the people, but elected by the army; when she had ceased even to be the capital of her own Empire; one would have thought that the decay of the Republic would have been the end of all the constitutional principles which it had established. But it was not so. The jurists in the service of Diocletian, an Illyrian shepherd, of Galerius, an Illyrian cowherd, of Maximinus, an Illyrian swineherd, were the men who based the imperial conception upon the theory of the will of the people, upon the same power which had elected the consuls and the other officers of the ancient State. Never before had the world beheld such a phenomenon. “Despots had ruled as direct descendants of the Gods, as in the case of the Egyptians and the Japanese of to-day, or as in Israel as representatives of the Godhead, or again by the Jus Gladii — the right of the sword.“ The soldier-emperors who had made themselves masters of the Roman Empire founded their rights as autocrats upon the constitutional law of the Republic. There was no usurpation, only delegation pure and simple. To this we owe the conception of the Sovereign and the Subject.
    In the meantime Christianity had become a power; and with it had taken place the abolition of slavery in Europe. Only a Sovereign could abolish slavery — that we saw in Russia in 1862. The nobles would never have given up their slaves, who were their property, their goods and chattels; far rather would they have made free men into bondsmen. But the establishment of the monarchical principle has been the main pillar of law and order and of that civic freedom from which, as we see, it originally sprang: it is one proof of the great debt of gratitude which Europe owes to ancient Rome. It is not the only one.


    It would be an impertinence were I to attempt to discuss Roman Law. The treatment of the subtleties and intricacies of a highly technical subject must be left to those who have made of them a special study. Yet it is impossible to pass over in silence the effect of the great legacy which the world has inherited from Rome. The effect is an historical fact and must be as patent to the layman as to the professed jurist. What Greece did for the higher aesthetic culture, that Rome did for law, good government and statecraft. The one made life beautiful, the other made it secure. As a poet, or as a philosopher, the Roman was insignificant; he had not even an equivalent for either word in his language; he must borrow the name, as he borrowed the idea, from the Greek. But in the practical direction of the life of the individual, of the life of the State, he remains, after more than twenty centuries, the unrivalled master. The pages in which Chamberlain brings into relief the noble qualities of the Roman character are, to my thinking, among the best and most eloquent in his book, and they should be read not without profit in an age which is singularly impatient of discipline. For after listening to Chamberlain we must come away convinced that it was discipline which made the Roman what he was. He learnt to obey that he might learn to command, and so he became the ruler of the world. That his conception of the law has become the model upon which all jurisprudence has been moulded, the State as he founded it being based upon the great principles of reciprocity and self-sacrifice on the one side and of protection of the sanctity of private rights on the other, is a fact which bears lasting testimony to the force of Roman character. There have


been great jurists in many nations — professors learned in the law — laws have been amplified and changed to meet circumstances; but no single nation has ever raised such a legal monument as that of the Romans, which, according to Professor Leist, is “the everlasting teacher for the civilised world and will so remain.“
    It is interesting to consider wherein lay the difference between Greek and Roman legislation. How came it, asks Chamberlain, that the Greeks, mentally so incomparably superior to the Romans, were able to achieve nothing lasting, nothing perfect, in the domain of law? The reason he gives is simple enough — simple and convincing. The Roman started with the principle of the family, and on the basis of the family he raised the structure of State and Law. The Greek, on the contrary, ignored the family, and took the State as his starting-point. Even the law of inheritance was so vague that questions in connection with it were left by Solon to the decision of the Courts. In Rome the position of the Father as King in his own house, the rank assigned to the Wife as house-mistress, the reverential respect for matrimony, these were great principles of which the Greeks knew nothing; but they were the principles upon which the existence of the private man depended, upon which the Res Publica was founded. The Jus Privatum and the Jus Publicum were inseparable, and from them sprang the Jus Gentium, the law of nations. The laws of Solon, of Lycurgus and others have withered and died; but the laws of Rome remain a stately and fruit-bearing tree, under whose wholesome shade the civilisation of Europe has sprung up and flourished.
    Few men have approached a great subject in a loftier


spirit of reverence than that in which Chamberlain deals with what, to him, as to all of us, is the one great and incomparable event in the whole story of our planet. “No battle, no change of dynasty, no natural phenomenon, no discovery possesses a significance which can be compared with that of the short life upon earth of the Galilean. His birth is, in a sense, the beginning of history. The nations that are not Christian, such as the Chinese, the Turks and others have no history; their story is but a chronicle on the one hand of ruling houses, butcheries and the like, and on the other, represents the dull, humble, almost bestially happy life of millions that sink in the night of time without leaving a trace.“
    With the dogmas of the Church or Churches, Chamberlain has scant sympathy, and on that account he will doubtless be attacked by swarms as spiteful as wasps and as thoughtless. And yet how thoroughly imbued with the true spirit of Religion, as apart from Churchcraft, is every line that he has written! Christ was no Prophet, as Mahomet dubbed him. He was no Jew. The genealogies of St. Matthew and St. Luke trace to Joseph, but Joseph was not His father. The essence of Christ's significance lies in the fact that in Him God was made man. Christ is God, or rather since, as St. Thomas Aquinas has shown, it is easier to say what God is not than what He is, it is better to invert the words and say God is Christ, and so to avoid explaining what is known by what is not known. Such are but a few ideas of the author culled at random and from memory. But (and here is the stone of offence against which the Churchman will stumble) “it is not the Churches that form the strength of Christianity, but that Fountain


from which they themselves draw their power, the vision of the Son of Man upon the Cross.“
    In two or three masterly pages written with such inspiration that it is difficult to read them without emotion, Chamberlain has drawn a parallel between Christ and Buddha, between the love and life-breathing doctrine of the One and the withering renunciation of the other. Buddha tears from his heart all that is dear to man — parents, wife, child, love, hope, the religion of his fathers — all are left behind when he wanders forth alone into the wilderness to live a living suicide and wait for death, an extinction that can only be perfect, in the face of the doctrine of metempsychosis, if it is so spiritually complete that the dread reaper can harvest no seed for a new birth. How different is it with the teaching of Christ, whose death means no selfish, solitary absorption into a Nirvana, a passionless abstraction, but the Birth of the whole world into a new life. Buddha dies that there may be no resurrection. Christ dies that all men may live, that all men may inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. And this Kingdom of Heaven, what is it? Clearly no Nirvana, no sensuous Paradise like that of Mahomet. He gives the answer Himself in a saying which must be authentic, for His hearers could not understand it, much less could they have invented it. The Kingdom of God is within you. “In these sayings of Christ we seem to hear a voice: we know not His exact words but there is an unmistakable, unforgettable tone which strikes our ear and so forces its way to the heart. And then we open our eyes and we see this Form, this Life. Across the centuries we hear the words, Learn from me! and at last we understand what that means:


to be as Christ was, to live as Christ lived, to strive as Christ died, that is the Kingdom of Heaven, that is eternal Life.“
    As I sit writing I can see on a shelf a whole row of books written on Buddhism by eminent scholars and missionaries, comparing its doctrines with those of the Saviour. It is not too much to say that the sum of all the wisdom and learning of that little library of Buddhism is contained in the few paragraphs of which I have given the kernel. Chamberlain in burning words points out how radiant is the doctrine of hope preached by the Saviour — where is there room for pessimism since the Kingdom of God is within us? — and he contrasts, the teaching of our Lord with the dreary forebodings of the Old Testament, where all is vanity, life is a shadow, we wither like grass. The Jewish writers took as gloomy a view of the world as the Buddhists. But our Lord who went about among the people and loved them, taking part in their joys and in their sorrows — His was a teaching of love and sympathy, and above all of hope. Christ did not retire into the wilderness to seek death and annihilation. He came out of the wilderness to bring life eternal. Buddha represents the senile decay of a culture that has finished its life: Christ represents the Birth of a new day, of a new civilisation dawning under the sign of the Cross, raised upon the ruins of the old world, a civilisation at which we must work for many a long day before it may be worthy to be called by His name.
    Chamberlain is careful to tell us that he does not intend to lift the veil which screens the Holy of Holies of his own belief. But it must be clear from such utterances as those upon which I have drawn above, how


noble and how exalted is the conception of Christ and of His teaching which is borne in on the mind of one of the foremost thinkers of our day. He draws his inspiration at the fountain head. For the dogmas of oecumenical councils, for the superstitions and fables of monks, he has an adequate respect: he preaches Christ and Him crucified: that is to him all-sufficing. Can there be a purer ideal?
    It is this same lofty conception which accounts for the contrast which this protestant layman draws between Catholicism and the hierarchy of Rome. For the former he has every sympathy: upon the latter he looks as a hindrance to civilisation and to the essential truths of Religion. How could it be otherwise with an institution which until the year 1822 kept under the ban of the Index every book which should dare to contest the sublime truth that the sun goes round the Earth? The whole Roman system, hierarchical and political, is in direct opposition to the development of Indo-European culture, of which the “Germane“ constitutes the highest expression. The Catholic, on the other hand, when not choked by the mephitic vapours of Roman dogma and Roman imperialism, left free to follow the simple teaching of the cross, and to practise so far as in him lies the example of the Saviour, is worthy of all the respect which is due to the true Christian of whatsoever denomination he may be. He at any rate is no enemy to the Truth.
    Very striking are the passages in which Chamberlain points out the ambiguous attitude of our Lord towards Jewish thought and the religion of which His teaching was the antithesis. How he brushed aside the narrow


prescriptions of the Law, as for example in the great saying, “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath“; — and yet how, born in the midst of Jewish ideas and bigotry, the bearer of the new Glad Tidings, the Teacher who was to revolutionise the world, never altogether shook off the old traditions. Chamberlain's argument leads us a step farther. It is impossible not to feel how much more completely St. Paul, a Pharisee after the strictest sect of his religion, cut himself adrift from Judaism. There was no beating about the bush, no hesitation, no searching of the soul. A convert, he at once threw into his new faith all the zeal and energy with which up to that very moment he had persecuted it. He ceased to be a Jew: he became the Apostle to the Gentiles, and bade his followers refuse all “old wives' fables“ (I Tim. iv. 7), while to Titus he says, “rebuke them sharply, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men, that turn from the truth“ (Titus i. 14). Christ's life upon earth was spent among the Jews: it was to them that His “good tidings“ were addressed. To touch the hearts of men you must speak to them in a language that they understand.  St. Paul, on the other hand, who lived and worked among the Gentiles, was unfettered by any preconceived ideas on the part of his hearers. His doctrine was to them absolutely new, standing on its own foundation, the rock of Christianity — and yet, as Chamberlain points out in a later part of the book, it was St. Paul, the very man who after his conversion avoided the Jews and separated himself from them as much as he could, who did more than any of the first preachers of Christianity to weld into the new faith the traditions of the Old Testament.


In the Epistle to the Romans the fall of man is given as an historical event; our Lord born “from the seed of David according to the flesh“ is declared to be the son of God; Israel is the people of God, the good olive-tree into which the branches of the wild olive-tree, the Gentiles, may be “grafted.“ The death of the Messiah is an atoning sacrifice in the Jewish sense, &c. &c., all purely Jewish ideas preached by the man who hated the Jews. When we read these contradictions of the man's self we may say of St. Paul's epistles as St. Peter did, in another sense, “in which are some things hard to be understood.“
    The influence of Judaism on Indo-European civilisation is a subject upon which the author of the Grundlagen dwells with special stress. He cannot withhold his admiration from the sight of that one small tribe standing out amid the chaos of nationalities, which was the legacy of the fallen Roman Empire, “like a sharply cut rock in the midst of a shapeless sea,“ maintaining its identity and characteristics in the midst of a fiery vortex where all other peoples were fused into a molten conglomerate destroying all definition. The Jew alone remained unchanged. His belief in Jehovah, his faith in the promises of the prophets, his conviction that to him was to be given the mastery of the world — these were the articles of his creed, a creed which might be summed up as belief in himself. Obviously to Chamberlain the Jew is the type of pure Race, and pure Race is what he looks upon as the most important factor in shaping the destinies of mankind. Here he joins issue with Buckle, who considered that climate and food have been the chief agents in mental and physical development. Rice as a staple


food Buckle held to be the explanation of the special aptitudes of the Indian Aryans. The error is grotesque. As Chamberlain points out, rice is equally the food of the Chinese, of the hard-and-fast materialists who are the very antipodes of the idealist, metaphysical Aryans. In the matter of climate Chamberlain might have brought the same witnesses into court. There are more variations of climate in China than in Europe. The climate of Canton differs as much from that of Peking as from that of St. Petersburg. The Chinaman of the north speaks a different language from that of the south, though the ideographic script is the same: his food is different, the air that he breathes is different: but the racial characteristics remain identical.
    Race and purity of blood are what constitute a type, and nowhere has this type been more carefully preserved than among the Jews. I remember once calling upon a distinguished Jewish gentleman. Mr. D'Israeli, as he was then, had just left him. “What did you talk about?“ I asked at haphazard. “Oh,“ said my host, “the usual thing — the Race.“ No one was more deeply penetrated with the idea of the noble purity of “the Race“ than Lord Beaconsfield. No one believed more fully in the influence of the Jew working alongside of the Indo-European. With what conviction does he insist upon this in Coningsby!
    That Race, however, does not drop ready-made from the skies is certain; nature and history show us no single example either among men or beasts of a prominently noble and distinctly individual race which is not the result of a mixture. Once the race established it must be preserved. The English constitute a Race and


a noble one, though their pedigree shows an infusion of Anglo-Saxon, Danish and Norman bloods. In spite of its history which is its religion, there is proof that at a remote stage of its existence the Jewish race was actually formed of several elements. Its stability, unchanged for thousands of years, is one of the wonders of the world. One rigidly observed law is sufficient for their purpose. The Israelite maiden may wed a Gentile: such an affiance tends not to the degeneracy of the race: but the Jewish man must not marry outside his own nation, the seed of the chosen people of Jehovah must not be contaminated by a foreign alliance. That Chamberlain is a strong Anti-Semite adds to the value of the testimony which he bears to the nobility of the Sephardim, the intensely aristocratic Jews of Spain and Portugal, the descendants of the men whom the Romans, dreading their influence, deported westward. “That is nobility in the fullest sense of the word, genuine nobility of race! Beautiful forms, noble heads, dignity in speech and in deportment.... That out of the midst of such men prophets and psalmists should go forth, that I understood at the first glance — something which I confess the closest observation of the many hundred 'Bochers' in the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin had failed to enable me to do.“ To the Ashkenazim, the so-called German Jews, Chamberlain is as it seems to me unjust. That they have played a greater part in the history of the nineteenth century than the Sephardim is hardly to be denied. They are born financiers and the acquisition of money has been their characteristic talent. But of the treasure which they have laid up they have given freely. The charities of the great cities of Europe would be in a sad


plight were the support of the Jews to be withdrawn; indeed many noble foundations owe their existence to them. Politically too they have rendered great services: one instance which Chamberlain himself quotes is the settlement of the French indemnity after the war of 1870. Bismarck was represented by a Jew, and the French on their side appointed a Jew to meet him, and these two Jews belonged to the Ashkenazim, not to the noble Sephardim.
    Who and what then is the Jew, this wonderful man who during the last hundred years has attained such a position in the whole civilised world?
    Of all the histories of the ancient world there is none that is more convincing, none more easily to be realised, than that of the wanderings of the patriarch Abraham. It is a story of four thousand years ago, it is a story of yesterday, it is a story of to-day. A tribe of Bedouin Arabs with their womenkind and children and flocks flitting across the desert from one pasture to another is a sight still commonly seen — some of us have even found hospitality in the black tents of these pastoral nomads, where the calf and the foal and the child are huddled together as they must have been in Abraham's day. Such a tribe it was that wandered northward from the city of Ur on the fringe of the desert, on the right bank of the Euphrates, northward to Padan Aram at the foot of the Armenian Highlands; six hundred kilometres as the crow flies, fifteen hundred if we allow for the bends of the river and for the seeking of pasture. From Padan Aram the tribe travels westward to Canaan, thence south to Egypt and back again to Canaan. It is possible that the names of the patriarchs may have been


used to indicate periods, but however that may be, these journeys long in themselves, and complicated by the incumbrances of flocks and herds, occupied a great space in time; there were moreover long halts, residences lasting for centuries in the various countries which were traversed, during which intermarriages took place with the highly civilised peoples with whom the wanderers came in contact.
    The Bible story, ethnology, the study of skulls and of racial types, all point to the fact that the Jewish people, the descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, united in themselves the five great qualifications which Chamberlain holds to be necessary for the establishment of a powerful race. First, to start with, a strong stock. This the Jew possessed in his Arab origin. No type, surely, was ever so persistent as that of the Bedouin Arab of the desert, the same to-day as he was thousands of years ago. Secondly, inbreeding. Thirdly, such inbreeding not to be at haphazard but carefully carried out, the best mating only with the best. Fourthly, intermarriage with another race or races. Fifthly, here again careful selection is essential. The Jewish race, built up under all these conditions, was, as we have seen, once formed, kept absolutely pure and uncontaminated. Of what happens where these laws are not observed the mongrels of the South American republics — notably of Peru — furnish a striking example.
    In the days of the Roman Republic the influence of the Israelite was already felt. It is strange to read of Cicero, who could thunder out his denunciations of a Catiline, dropping his voice in the law courts when of the Jews he spoke with bated breath lest he should incur


their displeasure. In the Middle Ages high offices were conferred by Popes upon Jews, and in Catholic Spain they were even made bishops and archbishops. In France the Jews found the money for the Crusades — Rudolph of Habsburg exempted them from the ordinary laws. In all countries and ages the Jew has been a masterful man. Never was he more powerful than he is to-day. Well may Chamberlain count Judea as the third ancient country which with Greece and Rome has made itself felt in the development of our civilisation. It is not possible within the limits of this brief notice to give an idea of the extraordinary interest of Chamberlain's special chapter upon the Jews and their entry into the history of the West. I have already hinted that with some of his conclusions I do not agree: but I go all lengths with him in his appreciation of the stubborn singleness of purpose and dogged consistency which have made the Jew what he is. The ancient Jew was not a soldier — foreigners furnished the bodyguard of his king. He was no sailor like his cousins the Phoenicians, indeed he had a horror of the sea. He was no artist — he had to import craftsmen to build his Temple — neither was he a farmer, nor a merchant. * What was it then that gave

    * It was a common creed of the days of my youth that all the great musical composers were of Jewish extraction. The bubble has long since been pricked. Joachim, who was a Jew, and as proud of his nationality as Lord Beaconsfield himself, once expressed to Sir Charles Stanford his sorrow at the fact that there should never have been a Jewish composer of the first rank. Mendelssohn was the nearest approach to it, and after him, Meyerbeer. But in these days Mendelssohn, in spite of all his charm, is no longer counted in the first rank. Some people have thought that Brahms was a Jew, that his name was a corruption of Abrahams. But this is false. Brahms came of a Silesian family, and in the Silesian dialect Brahms means a reed. (See an interesting paper in Truth of January 13, 1909). In


him his wonderful self-confidence, his toughness of character, which could overcome every difficulty, and triumph over the hatred of other races? It was his belief in the sacred books of the law, the Thora: his faith in the promises of Jehovah: his certainty of belonging to the chosen people of God. The influence of the books of the Old Testament has been far-reaching indeed, but nowhere has it exercised more power than in the stablishing of the character of the Jew. If it means so much to the Christian, what must it not mean to him? It is his religion, the history of his race, and his individual pedigree all in one. Nay! it is more than all that: it is the attesting document of his covenant with his God.
    Within the compass of a few pages Chamberlain has performed what amounts to a literary feat: he has made us understand the condition of Europe and of the chief countries of the Mediterranean littoral at the time of the first symptoms of decay in the power of Rome. It was the period of what he calls the “Völker-chaos,“ a hurly-burly of nationalities in which Greeks and Romans, Syrians, African mongrels, Armenians, Gauls and Indo-Europeans of many tribes were all jumbled up together — a seething, heterogeneous conflicting mass of humanity in which all character, individuality, belief and customs were lost. In this witches' Sabbath only the Jew maintained his individuality, only the Teuton preserved the two great characteristics of his race, freedom and faith —

poetry, on the other hand, the Jew excelled. The Psalms, parts of Isaiah, the sweet idyll of Ruth are above praise. The Book of Job is extolled by Carlyle as the finest of all poems, and according to Chamberlain poetry is the finest of all arts. In the plastic arts, as in music, the Jew has been barren.


the Jew the witness of the past; the Teuton the power of the future.
    They were a wonderful people, these tall men with the fair hair and blue eyes, warriors from their birth, fighting for fighting's sake, tribe against tribe, clan against clan, so that Tiberius, looking upon them as a danger, could think of no better policy than to leave them alone to destroy one another. But the people who held in their hands the fate of mankind were not to be got rid of like so many Kilkenny cats. Their battlesomeness made them a danger to the State — to a Roman Emperor, ever under the shadow of murder, their trustworthiness made them the one sure source from which he could recruit his bodyguard. But they were not mere fighting machines, though war was to them a joy and a delight. From their Aryan ancestors, from the men to whom the poems of the Rigveda were a holy writ, they had received, instilled in their blood, a passion for song and for music, an imagination which revelled in all that is beautiful, and which loved to soar into the highest realms of thought. And so it came to pass that when in the fulness of time they absorbed the power of Europe, they knew how to make the most of the three great legacies which they had inherited: poetry and art from the Greeks, law and statecraft from the Romans, and, greatest of all, the teaching of Christ. By them, with these helps, was founded the culture of the nineteenth century.
    In the descendants of such men it is not surprising to see the union of the practical with the ideal. A Teuton writes The Criticism of Pure Reason. A Teuton invents the steam-engine. “The century of Bessemer and Edison is equally the century of Beethoven and Richard Wagner.


... Newton interrupts his mathematical inquiries to write a commentary on the Revelation of St. John. Crompton troubles himself with the invention of the spinning mule, that he may have more leisure to devote to his one love — music. Bismarck, the statesman of blood and iron, in the critical moments of his life causes the sonatas of Beethoven to be played to him.“ Whoso does not realise all this, fails to understand the essence of the Teuton character, and is unable to judge of the part which it has played in the past and is still playing in the present.
    The Goths, who of course were Teutons, have been, as Gibbon puts it, “injuriously accused of the ruin of antiquity.“ Their very name has passed into a byword for all that is barbarous and destructive; yet, as a matter of fact, it was Theodosius and his followers who, with the help of the Christian fanatics, destroyed the Capitol and the monuments of ancient art, whereas it was Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, on the contrary, who issued edicts for the preservation of the ancient glories of Rome. Yet “this man could not write; for his signature he had to use a metal stencil.... But that which was beautiful, that which the nobler spirits of the Chaos of Peoples hated as a work of the devil, that the Goth at once knew how to appreciate: to such a degree did the statues of Rome excite his admiration that he appointed a special official for their protection.“ Who will deny the gift of imagination in the race which produced a Dante (his name Alighieri a corruption of Aldiger, taken from his grandmother who was of a Goth family from Ferrara), a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Goethe, a Schiller, not to speak of many other great and lesser lights? Who


will dispute the powers of thought of a Locke, a Newton, a Kant, a Descartes? We have but to look around us in order to see how completely our civilisation and culture are the work of the Germane.
    Freedom, above all things Freedom, was the watchword of the Germane — Dante taking part with the Bianchi against the Neri and Pope Boniface; Wycliffe rebelling against the rule of the Church of Rome; Martin Luther leading a movement which was as much political as it was religious, or even more so; all these were apostles of Freedom. The right to think and to believe, and to live according to our belief, is that upon which the free man insists: our enjoyment of it is the legacy of those great men to us. Without the insistence of the Germane religious toleration would not exist to-day.
    We have seen that Chamberlain takes the year one — the birth of our Lord — as the first great starting-point of our civilisation. The second epoch which he signalises as marking a fresh departure is the year 1200. The thirteenth century was a period of great developments. It was a period full of accomplishment and radiant with hope. In Germany the founding and perfecting of the great civic league known as the Hansa, in England the wresting of Magna Charta from King John by the Barons, laid the foundation of personal freedom and security. The great religious movement in which St. Francis of Assisi was the most powerful agent “denied the despotism of the Church as it did the despotism of the State, and annihilated the despotism of wealth.“ It was the first assertion of freedom to think. Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon were leaders, the first two in philosophical thought, the last two in


modern natural science. In poetry, and not in poetry alone but in statecraft, Dante towers above all those of his day; and yet there were many poets, singers whose names are still famous, while at the same time lived Adam de la Halle, the first great master in counterpoint. Among painters we find such names as Niccolo Pisani, Cimabue, Giotto, from whom sprang the new school of art. And while these men were all working each at his own craft, great churches and cathedrals and monuments were springing up, masterpieces of the Gothic architect's skill. Well did the thirteenth century deserve the title given to it by Fiske, “the glorious century.“ *
    When we reach these times we stand on fairly firm ground. The details of history, when we think how the battle rages round events which have taken place in our own times [for instance, the order for the heroic mistake of the Balaclava charge, where “some one had blundered“] may not always command respect, but the broad outlines are clear enough. We are no longer concerned with the deciphering of an ambiguous cuneiform inscription. The

    * It is strange to see how great tidal waves of intellectual and creative power from time to time flood the world. Take as another example the sixteenth century, the era of the artistic revival in Italy, of the heroes of the Reformation. What a galaxy of genius is there. To cite only a few names Ariosto, Tasso, Camoens, Magellan, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola, Rabelais, Shakespeare. Bacon. The best works of Indian art are produced under the reign of the Moghul Akbar, Damascus turns out its finest blades; the tiles of Persia, and the porcelain of China under the Ming Dynasty, reach their highest perfection; while in far Japan Miyôchin, her greatest artist in metal, is working at the same time as Benvenuto Cellini in Florence and Rome. Such epidemics of genius as those of the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries are mysteries indeed. This, however is but an aside, though as I think one worthy of note.


works of the great men testify, and their witness commands respect.
    The second volume of the Grundlagen opens with a chapter entitled “Religion“ — a chapter which leaves upon the mind of the reader a vivid impression of the superstitions and myths which gave birth to the dogmas of the Christian Church in its early years, dogmas the acceptance or rejection of which was decided by the votes of Councils of Bishops, many of whom could neither read nor write. It seems incredible that such sublime questions as those of the nature of the Godhead, the relation of the Father to the Son, Eternal Punishment and others, should have been settled by a majority of votes “like the imposition of taxes by our Parliaments.“ In the dark ages of Christianity, Judaism, Indian mythology, Egyptian mysteries and magic, were woven into a chequered woof, which was an essential contradiction of the touching simplicity of our Lord's teaching. It was a strange moment in the world's history, and one which lent itself to the welding together of utterly dissimilar elements. In the Chaos of Peoples, all mixed up in the weirdest confusion, the dogma-monger found his opportunity. Judaism, which up to that time had been absolutely confined to the Jews, was clutched at with eagerness by men who were tired of the quibbles, the riddles and the uncertainties of the philosophers. Here was something solid, concrete; a creed which preached facts, not theories, a religion which announced itself as history. In the international hodgepodge, a jumble in which all specific character, all feeling of race or country had been lost, the Asiatic and Egyptian elements of this un-Christian Christianity, this travesty of our Lord's teaching, found ready acceptance. The


seed bed was ready and the seed germinated and prospered greatly. In vain did the nobler spirits, the wiser and more holy-minded of the early Fathers raise their voices against gross superstitions borrowed from the mysteries of Isis and of Horus. The Jews and dogma triumphed. The religion of Christ was too pure for the vitiated minds of the Chaos of Peoples, and perhaps dogma was a necessity, a hideous evil, born that good might arise. Men needed a Lord who should speak to them as slaves: they found him in the God of Israel. They needed a discipline, a ruling power; they found it in the Imperial Church of Rome.
    Conversion to Christianity was in the days of the Empire far less a question of religious conviction than one of Law arbitrarily enforced for political reasons by autocrats who might or might not be Christians. Aurelian, a heathen, established the authority of the Bishop of Rome at the end of the third century. Theodosius made heresy and heathenism a crime of high treason. Lawyers and civil administrators were made Bishops — Ambrosius even before he was baptized — that they might enforce Christianity, as a useful handmaid in government and discipline. As the power of the Empire dwindled, that of the Church grew, until the Caesarism of the Papacy was crystallised in the words of Boniface VIII., “Ego sum Caesar, ego sum Imperator.“
    In vain did men of genius, as time went on and the temporal claims of the Popes became intolerable, rise in revolt against it. Charlemagne, Dante, St. Francis, all tried to separate Church from State. But the Papacy stood its ground, firm as the Tarpeian Rock, immutable as the Seven Hills themselves. It held to the inheritance


which came to it not from St. Peter, the poor fisherman of the Sea of Galilee, but from the Caesars, like whom the Bishops of Rome claimed to be Sovereigns over the world. How much more tolerant the early Popes were in religious matters than in temporal is a point which Chamberlain forcibly brings out: they might bear with compromise in the one; in the other they would not budge an inch. Like the Phoenix in the fable, out of its own ashes the Roman Empire arose in a new form, the Papacy.
    It is not possible here to dwell upon our author's contrast between St. Paul and Augustine, that wonderful African product of the Chaos, in whom the sublime and the ridiculous went hand in hand, who believed in the heathen Gods and Goddesses as evil spirits, who took Apuleius and his transformation into an ass seriously, to whom witches and sorcerers, and a dozen other childish fancies of the brain, were realities. We must leave equally untouched his interesting sketches of Charlemagne and Dante and their efforts at Reformation. His main object in this chapter is to show the position of the Church at the beginning of the thirteenth century. The Papacy was in its glory. Its doctrines, its dogmas and its temporal supremacy had been enforced — politically it stood upon a pinnacle. The proudest title of the Caesars had been that of Pontifex Maximus. The Pontifex Maximus was now Caesar.
    And the present position — what of to-day? The Church of Rome is as solid as ever it was. The Reformation achieved much politically. It achieved freedom. But as the parent of a new and consistent religion, Protestantism has been a failure. Picking and choosing, accepting and rejecting, it has cast aside some of the


dogmas of the early days of the Chaos, but it remains a motley crowd of sects without discipline, all hostile to one another, all more or less saturated with the tenets of the very Church against which they rebelled. Rome alone remains consistent in its dogmas, as in its claims, and, purged by the Reformation of certain incongruous and irreconcilable elements, has in religion rather gained than lost strength. It is easy to see what difficulties the lack of unity creates for Protestant missionaries. Church men, Chapel men, Calvinists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and Heaven knows how many more, all pulling against one another! and the Roman Catholic Church against them all! The religion of Christ as He taught it absolutely nowhere! Small wonder that the heathen should grin and be puzzled.
    The building up of the ideal State as we know it to-day was the result of two mighty struggles which raged during the first twelve centuries of our era. The first, as we have seen, was the fight for power between the Caesars and the Popes for the Empire of the world in which now one, now the other, had the upper hand. The second was the struggle between “Universalism“ and “Nationalism,“ that is to say, between the idea on the one hand of a boundless Empire, whether under Caesar or Pope, and on the other a spirit of nationality within sure bounds, and a stubborn determination to be free from either potentate, which ended in the organisation of independent States and the triumph of the Teuton. His rise meant the dawn of a new culture, not as we are bidden to remember a Renaissance in the sense of the calling back into life of a dead past, but a new birth into freedom, a new birth in which the cramping shackles, the


levelling influences of the Imperium Romanum, of the Civitas Dei, were cast aside — in which at last, after long centuries of slavery, men might live, thinking and working and striving according to their impulses, believing according to the faith that was in them.
    Independent statecraft then, as opposed to the all-absorbing Imperium, was the work of the rebellious Teuton, the poet warrior, the thinker, the free man. It was a mighty victory, yet one in which defeat has never been acknowledged. From his prison in the Vatican the Pope continues to issue Bulls and Briefs hurling defiance at the world and at common sense; new saints are canonised, new dogmas proclaimed by oecumenical councils summoned from all parts of the inhabited world; and there are good men and, in many respects, wise men, who bow their heads and tremble. No one can say that the Papacy, though shorn of its earthly dominions, is not still a Power to be reckoned with: its consistency commands respect; but the Civitas Dei is a thing of the past: it is no more than a dream in the night, from which a weary old man wakens to find its sole remnant in the barren semblance of a medieval court, and the man-millinery of an out-of-date ceremonial. Truly a pathetic figure!
    A new world has arisen. The thirteenth century was the turning-point. The building is even now not ended. But the Teuton was at work everywhere, and the foundations were well and truly laid. In Italy, north and south, the land was overrun with men of Indo-European race — Goths, Lombards, Norsemen, Celts. It was to them that was owing the formation of the municipalities and cities which still remain as witnesses of their labour.


It was their descendants, certainly not the hybrids of the Chaos, that worked out the so-called “Renaissance,“ and when owing to the internecine feuds and petty wars, as well as to the too frequent intermixture with the hybrids, the Teuton element became weaker and weaker, the glory of Italy waned likewise. Happily for the world the race was maintained in greater purity elsewhere.
    The leitmotiv which runs through the whole book is the assertion of the superiority of the Teuton family to all the other races of the world — and more especially, as we have seen, is this shown by the way in which the Germane threw off the shackles with which, under the guise of religion, the Papacy strove to fetter him. It is interesting to consider how Immanuel Kant, the greatest thinker that ever lived, treated this subject. He, the man who was so deeply penetrated with religious feeling that he held it to be “the duty of man to himself to have religion,“ saw in the teaching of Christ a “perfect religion.“ His demand was for a religion which should be one in spirit and in truth, and for the belief in a God whose kingdom is not of this world.“ He by no means rejected the Bible, but he held that its value lay not so much in that which we read in it, as in that which we read into it, nor is he the enemy of Churches, “of which there may be many good forms.“ But with superstition and dogma he will have no dealings. Nor is this to be wondered at when we consider how, by whom, and for what purpose dogmas, as we have seen above, were manufactured and what manner of men they were who degraded the early Church with their superstitions. In the mass of ignorant monks and bishops who were the


so-called “Fathers of the Church“ there are brilliant exceptions. Perhaps the greatest of these was St. Augustine. He was a good and a holy man, but even his great brain, as we have seen, was saturated with Hellenic mythology, Egyptian magic and witchcraft, Neoplatonism, Judaism, Romish dogmatism. If we cite him as an irrefutable authority on a point of dogma, we should, to be consistent, go a step farther, and equally hold him as irrefutable when he inclines to a belief in Apuleius and his ass, and in his views as to Jupiter, Juno and the theocracy of Olympus. Religious dogmas, superstitions, so bred, could not be accepted by a man of Kant's intellect. They were noxious weeds to be rooted up and swept out of existence. Christ's teaching being, as he held it to be, perfect, could only be degraded by being loaded with heathen fables and tawdry inanities. It was the scum of the people who invented superstitions, the belief in witches and demons: it was the priestcraft who welded those false doctrines into the semblance of a religion to which they gave Christ's name. *
    Kant said of himself that he was born too soon; that a century must elapse before his day should come. “The morning has dawned,“ as Chamberlain says in another book, † and “it is no mere chance that the first complete and exact edition of Kant's collected works and letters should have begun to appear for the first time in the

    * The Christian religion, I would point out here, is not the only one which has suffered in this way. Nothing can be simpler, nothing purer in its way than Buddhism as the Buddha taught it. Yet see what the monks have made of it! The parallel is striking.
    † Immanuel Kant, by Chamberlain. Bruckmann, Munich, 1905. The book which Chamberlain tells me that he himself considers the “most important“ of his works. It is published in German.


year 1900; the new century needed this strong guardian spirit, who thought himself justified in saying of his system of philosophy that it worked a revolution in the scheme of thought analogous to that of the Copernican system. There are to-day a few who know, and many who suspect, that this scheme of philosophy must form a pillar of the culture of the future. For every cultivated and civilised man Kant's thought possesses a symbolical significance; it wards off the two opposite dangers — the dogmatism of the Priests and the superstition of science — and it strengthens us in the devoted fulfilment of the duties of life.“ Now that thought is less cramped and Kant is beginning to be understood, the true religiosity of his august nature is surely being recognised, and the last charge that will be brought against him will be that of irreligion. If he destroyed, he also built; he was not one of those teachers who rob a man of what he possesses without giving anything in exchange. He completed the work which Martin Luther had begun. Luther was too much of a politician and too little of a theologian for his task; moreover he never was able altogether to throw off the monk's cowl. To the last he believed in the Real Presence in the Sacrament, and hardly knew what dogmas he should accept and what he should reject. Kant was the master who taught Christianity in all its beauty of simplicity. The kingdom of God is in you! There was no cowl to smother Kant.
    The foundation-stone of the nineteenth century was laid by Christ himself. For many centuries after His death upon the Cross, ignorant men, barbarians, under the cloak of religion, were at pains to hide that stone in an


overwhelming heap of rubbish. Kant laid it bare, and revealed it to the world: his reward was the execration of men who were not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoes: but the tables are turned now. His morning has indeed dawned, and the twentieth century is recognising the true worth of the man who, more than any other, has influenced the thought of the educated world. Goethe, indeed, said of Kant that he had so penetrated the minds of men that even those who had not read him were under his influence.
    The last section of Chamberlain's ninth chapter is devoted to Art. He has kept one of his most fascinating subjects for the end. And who is better qualified to write upon it than he? Here is not the conventional aspect of Art contained in the technical dictionaries and encyclopaedias, “in which the last judgment of Michael Angelo, or a portrait of Rembrandt by himself, are to be seen cheek by jowl with the lid of a beer-mug or the back of an arm-chair.“ Art is here treated as the great creative Power, a Kingdom of which Poetry and Music, twin sisters, inseparable, are the enthroned Queens. To Chamberlain, as it was to Carlyle, the idea of divorcing Poetry from Music is inconceivable. “Music,“ wrote Carlyle, “is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the Infinite.“ “I give Dante my highest praise when I say of his Divine Comedy that it is in all senses genuinely a song.“ Again: “All old Poems, Homer's and the rest, are authentically songs. I would say in strictness, that all right Poems are; that whatsoever is not sung is properly no Poem, but a piece of Prose cramped into jingling lines, to the


great injury of the grammar, to the great grief of the reader for the most part!“ so spoke Carlyle, and so speaks Chamberlain, with the masterly competence of a man who as critic and disciple, for he is both, has sat at the feet of the great Tone-Poet of our times. *
    The hurry and bustle of this fussy age have largely robbed us of true enthusiasm, for which men substitute catchwords and commonplaces. All the more delight is there in meeting it in such sayings as this, coming straight from the heart of a man who is never in a hurry, whose convictions are the result of measured thought. “A Leonardo gives us the form of Christ, a Johann Sebastian Bach his voice, even now present to us.“ The influence of Religion upon Art, and in reflex action, that of Art upon Religion has never been better shown than in these words. Religion inspired the artists, furnished them with their subject; the artists, so inspired, have touched the hearts of thousands, infusing them with some perception, some share of their own inspiration.
    Who can say how many minds have been turned to piety by the frescoes of Cimabue and Giotto picturing the life of St. Francis at Assisi? Who can doubt the influence of the Saint upon the painters of the early Italian school? Who has not felt the religious influence of the architect, the painter, the sculptor? Two great principles are laid down for us by Chamberlain in regard to Art.

    * It is curious to note that of the three greatest English poets of our day, Tennyson, whose songs are music itself, knew no tune, Swinburne, whose magic verses read with the lilt of a lovely melody, had not the gift of Ear, while Browning, the rugged thinker, the most unvocal of poets, never missed an opportunity of listening to music in its most exalted form.


First: Art must be regarded as a whole: as a “pulsing blood-system of the higher spiritual life.“ Secondly: all Art is subordinated to poetry. But not that which has been written is alone poetry: the creative power of poetry is widespread. As Richard Wagner said, “the true inventor has ever been the people. The individual cannot invent, he can only make his own that which has been invented.“ This I take it is the true spirit of folk-lore. If you think of it, the epic of Homer, the “mystic unfathomable song,“ as Tieck called it, of Dante, the wonders of Shakespeare, all prove the truth of Wagner's saying. The matter is there: then comes the magician: he touches it with his wand, and it lives! That is true creative art, the art which in its turn inspires, fathering all that is greatest and noblest in the world. It is the art upon which the culture of the nineteenth century has been founded and built.
    Rich indeed have been the gifts which have been showered upon mankind between the thirteenth and the nineteenth centuries. New worlds have been discovered, new forces in nature revealed. Paper has been introduced, printing invented. In political economy, in politics, in religion, in natural science and dynamics there have been great upheavals all paving the way for that further progress for which we are apt to take too much credit to ourselves, giving too little to those glorious pioneers who preceded us, to the true founders of the century.
    I have endeavoured to give some idea of the scope of Chamberlain's great work. I am very sensible of my inadequacy to the task, but it was his wish that I should


undertake it, and I could not refuse. I console myself with the thought that even had I been far better fitted for it, I could not within the limits of these few pages have given a satisfying account of a book which embraces so many and so various subjects, many of which I had of necessity to leave untouched. Indeed, I feel appalled at the range of reading which its production must have involved; but as to that the book is its own best witness. We are led to hope that some day the history of the Foundations of the Nineteenth Century may be followed by an equally fascinating analysis of the century itself from the same pen. It will be the fitting crown of a colossal undertaking. It may be doubted whether there is any other man equipped as Chamberlain is to erect such a monument in honour of a great epoch. To few men has been given in so bountiful a measure the power of seeing, of sifting the true from the false, the essential from the insignificant; comparison is the soul of observation, and the wide horizon of Chamberlain's outlook furnishes him with standards of comparison which are denied to those of shorter sight: his peculiar and cosmopolitan education, his long researches in natural history, his sympathy and intimate relations with all that has been noblest in the world of art — especially in its most divine expression, poetry and music — point to him as the one man above all others worthy to tell the further tale of a culture of which he has so well portrayed the nonage, and which is still struggling heavenward. But in addition to these qualifications he possesses, in a style which is wholly his own, the indescribable gift of charm, so that the pupil is unwittingly drawn into a close union with the teacher, in whom he sees an example of the truth


of Goethe's words, which Chamberlain himself more than once quotes:

Höchstes Glück der Erdenkinder
Ist nur die Persönlichkeit.



January 8, 1909
    NOTE. This introduction was in print before the writer had seen Dr. Lees' translation. There may, therefore, be some slight discrepancies in the passages quoted.



HE translator desires to express his great obligation to Miss Elizabeth A. J. Weir, M.A., for reading through the manuscript; to his colleagues, Dr. Schlapp of Edinburgh, Dr. Scholle of Aberdeen, and Dr. Smith of Glasgow, for correcting portions of the proof; and above all to Lord Redesdale for his brilliant and illuminating introduction. Apart, however, from this, it is only just to say that Lord Redesdale has carefully read and re-read every page and revised many important passages.

    The publisher wishes to associate himself with the translator in making this entirely inadequate acknowledgment to Lord Redesdale for the invaluable assistance that he has so generously rendered.

(Blank page)


Alles beruht auf Inhalt, Gehalt und Tüchtigkeit eines zuerst aufgestellten Grundsatzes und auf der Reinheit des Vorsatzes.

THE work of which this is the first Book is one that is not to be made up of fragments patched together, but one that has been conceived and planned out from the beginning as a complete and finished whole. The object, therefore, of this general introduction must be to give an idea of the scheme of the whole work when it shall have been brought to an end. It is true that this first book is, in form, complete in itself; yet it would not be what it is if it had not come into existence as a part of a greater conception. It is this greater conception that must be the subject of the preface to the “part which, in the first instance, is the whole.“
    There is no need to dwell in detail upon the limitations which the individual must admit, when he stands face to face with an immeasurable world of facts. The mastery of such a task, scientifically, is impossible; it is only artistic power, aided by those secret parallels which exist between the world of vision and of thought, by that tissue which — like ether — fills and connects the whole world, that can, if fortune is favourable, produce a unity here which is complete, and that, too, though only fragments be employed to make it. If the artist does succeed in this, then his work has not


been superfluous: the immeasurable has been brought within the scope of vision, the shapeless has acquired a form. In such a task the individual has an advantage over a combination of men, however capable they may be, for a homogeneous whole can be the work only of an individual mind. But he must know how to turn this advantage to good account, for it is his only one. Art appears only as a whole, as something perfect in itself; science, on the other hand, is bound to be fragmentary. Art unites and science disconnects. Art gives form to things, science dissects forms. The man of science stands on an Archimedean point outside the world: therein lies his greatness, his so-called objectivity; but this very fact is also the cause of his manifest insufficiency; for no sooner does he leave the sphere of actual observation, to reduce the manifoldness of experience to the unity of conception and idea, than he finds himself hanging by the thin thread of abstraction in empty space. The artist, on the contrary, stands at the world's centre (that is, at the centre of his own world), and his creative power takes him as far as his senses can reach; for this creative power is but the manifestation of the individual mind acting and reacting upon its surroundings. But for that reason also he cannot be reproached for his “subjectivity“: that is the fundamental condition of his creative work. In the case before us the subject has definite historical boundaries and is immutably fixed for ever. Untruth would be ridiculous, caprice unbearable; the author cannot say, like Michael Angelo, “Into this stone there comes nothing but what I put there“:
in pietra od in candido foglio
che nulla ha dentro, et evvi ci ch'io vogilo!
On the contrary, unconditional respect for facts must be his guiding star. He must be artist, not in the sense of the creative genius, but only in the limited sense of one


who employs the methods of the artist. He should give shape, but only to that which is already there, not to that which his fancy may mirror. Philosophical history is a desert; fanciful history an idiot asylum. We must therefore demand that the artistic designer should have a positive tendency of mind and a strictly scientific conscience. Before be reasons, he must know: before he gives shape to a thing, he must test it. He cannot look upon himself as master, he is but a servant, the servant of truth.
    These remarks will probably suffice to give the reader some notion of the general principles which have been followed in planning this work. We must leave the airy heights of philosophic speculation and descend to the earth. If in such undertakings the moulding and shaping of the materials at hand is the only task which the individual can entrust to himself, how is he to set about it in the present case?
    The Nineteenth Century! It seems an inexhaustible theme, and so it really is; and yet it is only by including more that it becomes comprehensible and possible of achievement. This appears paradoxical, but it is nevertheless true. As soon as our gaze rests long and lovingly upon the past, out of which the present age developed amid so much suffering, as soon as the great fundamental facts of history are brought vividly home to us and rouse in our hearts violent and conflicting emotions with regard to the present, fear and hope, loathing and enthusiasm, all pointing to a future which it must be our work to shape, towards which too we must henceforth look with longing and impatience — then the great immeasurable nineteenth century shrivels up to relatively insignificant dimensions; we have no time to linger over details, we wish to keep nothing but the important features vividly and clearly before our minds, in order that we may know who we are and whither


we are tending. This gives a definite aim with a fair prospect of attaining it: the individual can venture now to begin the undertaking. The lines of his work are so clearly traced for him that he only requires to follow them faithfully.
    The following is the outline of my work. In the “Foundations“ I discuss the first eighteen centuries of the Christian era with frequent reference to times more remote; I do not profess to give a history of the past, but merely of that past which is still living; as a matter of fact this involves so much, and an accurate and critical knowledge of it is so indispensable to every one who wishes to form an estimate of the present, that I am inclined to regard the study of the “Foundations“ of the nineteenth century as almost the most important part of the whole undertaking. A second book would be devoted to this century itself: naturally only the leading ideas could be treated in such a work, and the task of doing so would be very much lightened and simplified by the “Foundations,“ in which our attention had been continually directed to the nineteenth century. A supplement might serve to form an approximate idea of the importance of the century; that can only be done by comparing it with the past, and here the “Foundations“ would have prepared the ground; by this procedure, moreover, we should be able to foreshadow the future — no capricious and fanciful picture, but a shadow cast by the present in the light of the past. Then at last the century would stand out before our eyes clearly shaped and defined — not in the form of a chronicle or an encyclopaedia, but as a living “corporeal“ thing.
    So much for the general outline. But as I do not wish it to remain as shadowy as the future, I shall give some more detailed information concerning the execution of my plan. As regards the results at


which I arrive, I do not feel called upon to anticipate them here, as they can only carry conviction after consideration of all the arguments which I shall have to bring forward in their support.

    In this first book it has been my task to endeavour to reveal the bases upon which the nineteenth century rests; this seemed to me, as I have said, the most difficult and important part of the whole scheme; for this reason I have devoted two volumes to it. In the sphere of history understanding means seeing the evolution of the present from the past; even when we are face to face with a fact which cannot be explained further, as happens in the case of every pre-eminent personality and every nation of strong individuality at its first appearance on the stage of history, we see that these are linked with the past, and it is from this point of connection that we must start, if we wish to form a correct estimate of their significance. If we draw an imaginary line separating the nineteenth from all preceding centuries, we destroy at one stroke all possibility of understanding it critically. The nineteenth century is not the child of the former ages — for a child begins life afresh — rather it is their direct product; mathematically considered, a sum; physiologically, a stage of life. We have inherited a certain amount of knowledge, accomplishments, thoughts, &c., we have further inherited a definite distribution of economic forces, we have inherited errors and truths, conceptions, ideals, superstitions: many of these things have grown so familiar that any other conditions would be inconceivable; many which promised well have become stunted, many have shot up so suddenly that they have almost broken their connection with the aggregate life, and while the roots of these new flowers reach down to forgotten generations, their fantastic


blossoms are taken for something absolutely new. Above all we have inherited the blood and the body by which and in which we live.
    Whoever takes the admonition “Know thyself“ seriously will soon recognise that at least nine-tenths of this “self“ do not really belong to himself. And this is true also of the spirit of a century. The pre-eminent individual, who is able to realise his physical position in the universe and to analyse his intellectual inheritance, can attain to a relative freedom; he then becomes at least conscious of his own conditional position, and though he cannot transform himself, he can at least exercise some influence upon the course of further development; a whole century, on the other hand, hurries unconsciously on as fate impels it: its human equipment is the fruit of departed generations, its intellectual treasure — corn and chaff, gold, silver, ore and clay — is inherited, its tendencies and deviations result with mathematical necessity from movements that have gone before. Not only, therefore, is it impossible to compare or to determine the characteristic features, the special attributes and the achievements of our century, without knowledge of the past, but we are not even able to make any precise statement about it, if we have not first of all become clear with regard to the material of which we are physically and intellectually composed. This is, I repeat, the most important problem.

    My object in this book being to connect the present with the past, I have been compelled to sketch in outline the history of that past. But, inasmuch as my history has to deal with the present, that is to say, with a period of time which has no fixed limit, there is no case for a strictly defined beginning. The


nineteenth century points onward into the future, it points also back into the past: in both cases a limitation is allowable only for the sake of convenience, it does not lie in the facts. In general I have regarded the year 1 of the Christian era as the beginning of our history and have given a fuller justification of this view in the introduction to the first part: but it will be seen that I have not kept slavishly to this scheme. Should we ever become true Christians, then certainly that which is here merely suggested, without being worked out, would become an historical actuality, for it would mean the birth of a new race: perhaps the twenty-fourth century, into which, roughly speaking, the nineteenth throws faint shadows, will be able to draw more definite outlines. Compelled as I have been to let the beginning and the end merge into an undefined penumbra, a clearly drawn middle line becomes all the more indispensable to me, and as a date chosen at random could not be satisfactory in this case, the important thing has been to fix the turning-point of the history of Europe. The awakening of the Teutonic peoples to the consciousness of their all-important vocation as the founders of a completely new civilisation and culture forms this turning point; the year 1200 can be designated the central moment of this awakening.
    Scarcely any one will have the hardihood to deny that the inhabitants of Northern Europe have become the makers of the world's history. At no time indeed have they stood alone, either in the past or in the present; on the contrary, from the very beginning their individuality has developed in conflict with other individualities, first of all in conflict with that human chaos composed of the ruins of fallen Rome, then with all the races of the world in turn; others, too, have exercised influence — indeed great influence — upon the destinies of mankind, but then always merely as opponents of the men from


the north. What was fought out sword in hand was of but little account; the real struggle, as I have attempted to show in chaps. vii. and viii. of this work, was one of ideas; this struggle still goes on to-day. If, however, the Teutons were not the only peoples who moulded the world's history, they unquestionably deserve the first place: all those who from the sixth century onwards appear as genuine shapers of the destinies of mankind, whether as builders of States or as discoverers of new thoughts and of original art, belong to the Teutonic race. The impulse given by the Arabs is short-lived; the Mongolians destroy, but do not create anything; the great Italians of the rinascimento were all born either in the north saturated with Lombardic, Gothic and Frankish blood, or in the extreme Germano-Hellenic south; in Spain it was the Western Goths who formed the element of life; the Jews are working out their “Renaissance“ of to-day by following in every sphere as closely as possible the example of the Teutonic peoples. From the moment the Teuton awakes, a new world begins to open out, a world which of course we shall not be able to call purely Teutonic — one in which, in the nineteenth century especially, there have appeared new elements, or at least elements which formerly had a lesser share in the process of development, as, for example, the Jews and the formerly pure Teutonic Slavs, who by mixture of blood have now become “un-Teutonised“ — a world which will yet perhaps assimilate great racial complexes and so lay itself open to new influences from all the different types, but at any rate a new world and a new civilisation, essentially different from the Helleno-Roman, the Turanian, the Egyptian, the Chinese and all other former or contemporaneous ones. As the “beginning“ of this new civilisation, that is, as the moment when it began to leave its peculiar impress on the world, we can, I think, fix the thirteenth century. Individuals


such as Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Scotus Erigena and others had long ago proved their Teutonic individuality by their civilising activity. It is, however, not individuals, but communities, that make history; these individuals had been only pioneers. In order to become a civilising power the Teuton had to awaken and grow strong in the exercise far and wide of his individual will in opposition to the will of others forced upon him from outside. This did not take place all at once, neither did it happen at the same time in all the spheres of life; the choice of the year 1200 as turning-point is therefore arbitrary, but I hope, in what follows, to be able to justify it, and my purpose will be gained if I in this way succeed in doing away with those two absurdities — the idea of Middle Ages and that of a Renaissance — by which more than by anything else an understanding of our present age is not only obscured, but rendered directly impossible.
    Abandoning these formulae which have but served to give rise to endless errors, we are left with the simple and clear view that our whole civilisation and culture of to-day is the work of one definite race of men, the Teutonic. * It is untrue that the Teutonic barbarian conjured up the so-called “Night of the Middle Ages“; this night followed rather upon the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the raceless chaos of humanity which the dying Roman Empire had nurtured; but for the Teuton everlasting night would have settled upon the world; but for the unceasing opposition of the non-Teutonic peoples, but for that unrelenting hostility to everything Teutonic which has not yet died down among the racial chaos which has never been exterminated, we should have reached a stage of culture quite different

    * Under this designation I embrace the various portions of the one great North European race, whether “Teutonic“ in the narrower Tacitean meaning of the word, or Celts or genuine Slavs — see chap. vi. for further particulars.


from that witnessed by the nineteenth century. It is equally untrue that our culture is a renaissance of the Hellenic and the Roman: it was only after the birth of the Teutonic peoples that the renaissance of past achievements was possible and not vice versa; and this rinascimento, to which we are beyond doubt eternally indebted for the enriching of our life, retarded nevertheless just as much as it promoted, and threw us for a long time out of our safe course. The mightiest creators of that epoch — a Shakespeare, a Michael Angelo — do not know a word of Greek or Latin. Economic advance — the basis of our civilisation — takes place in opposition to classical traditions and in a bloody struggle against false imperial doctrines. But the greatest mistake of all is the assumption that our civilisation and culture are but the expression of a general progress of mankind; not a single fact in history supports this popular belief (as I think I have conclusively proved in the ninth chapter of this book); and in the meantime this empty phrase strikes us blind, and we lose sight of the self-evident fact — that our civilisation and culture, as in every previous and every other contemporary case, are the work of a definite, individual racial type, a type possessing, like everything individual, great gifts but also insurmountable limitations. And so our thoughts float around in limitless space, in a hypothetical “humanity,“ and we pass by unnoticed that which is concretely presented and which alone effects anything in history, the definite individuality. Hence the obscurity of our historical groupings. For if we draw one line through the year 500, and a second through the year 1500, and call these thousand years the Middle Ages, we have not dissected the organic body of history as a skilled anatomist, but hacked it in two like a butcher. The capture of Rome by Odoacer and by Dietrich of Berne are only episodes in that entry of the Teutonic


peoples into the history of the world, which went on for a thousand years: the decisive thing, namely, the idea of the unnational world-empire, far from receiving its death-blow thereby, for a long time drew new life from the intervention of the Teutonic races. While, therefore, the year 1 — the (approximate) date of the birth of Christ — is a date which is ever memorable in the history of mankind and even in the mere annals of events, the year 500 has no importance whatever. Still worse is the year 1500, for if we draw a line through it we draw it right through the middle of all conscious and unconscious efforts and developments — economic, political, artistic, scientific — which enrich our lives to-day and are moving onward to a still distant goal. If, however, we insist on retaining the idea of “Middle Ages“ there is an easy way out of the difficulty: it will suffice if we recognise that we Teutons ourselves, together with our proud nineteenth century, are floundering in what the old historians used to call a “Middle Age“ — a genuine “Middle Age.“ For the predominance of the Provisional and the Transitional, the almost total absence of the Definite, the Complete and the Balanced, are marks of our time; we are in the “midst“ of a development, already far from the starting-point and presumably still far from the goal.
    What has been said may in the meantime justify the rejection of other divisions; the conviction that I have not chosen arbitrarily, but have sought to recognise the one great fundamental fact of all modern history, will be established by the study of the whole work. Yet I cannot refrain from briefly adducing some reasons to account for my choice of the year 1200 as a convenient central date.



    If we ask ourselves when it is that we have the first sure indications that something new is coming into being, a new form of the world in place of the old shattered ruin, and of the prevailing chaos, we must admit that they are already to be met with in many places in the twelfth century (in Northern Italy even in the eleventh), they multiply rapidly in the thirteenth — the glorious century, as Fiske calls it — attain to a glorious early full bloom in the social and industrial centres in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in art in the fifteenth and sixteenth, in science in the sixteenth and seventeenth, and in philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth. This movement does not advance in a straight line; in State and Church fundamental principles are at war with each other, and in the other spheres of life there is far too little consciousness to prevent men from ever and anon straying from the right path; but the all-important question we have to ask ourselves is, whether it is only interests that clash, or whether ideals, suggested by a definite individuality, are floating before the eyes of men; these ideals we do possess approximately since the thirteenth century; but we have not yet attained them, they are floating before us in the distance, and to this fact is due the feeling that we are still very deficient in the moral equilibrium and the aesthetic harmony of the ancients, but it is at the same time the basis of our hope for better things. When we glance backwards we are indeed entitled to cherish high hopes. And, I repeat, if when looking back we try to discover when the first shimmer of those rays of hope can be clearly seen, we find the time to be about the year 1200. In Italy the movement to found cities had begun in the eleventh century, that movement which aimed at the same time at the furtherance of trade and industry and


the granting of far-reaching rights of freedom to whole classes of the population, which had hitherto pined under the double yoke of Church and State; in the twelfth century this strengthening of the core of the European population had become so widely spread and intensified that at the beginning of the thirteenth century the powerful Hansa and the Rhenish Alliance of Cities could be formed. Concerning this movement Ranke writes (Weltgeschichte, iv. 238): “It is a splendid, vigorous development, which is thus initiated ... the cities constitute a world power, paving the way for civic liberty and the formation of powerful States.“ Even before the final founding of the Hansa, the Magna Charta had been proclaimed in England, in the year 1215, a solemn proclamation of the inviolability of the great principle of personal freedom and personal security. “No one may be condemned except in accordance with the laws of the land. Right and justice may not be bought nor refused.“ In some countries of Europe this first guarantee for the dignity of man has not to this day become law; but since that June 15, 1215, a general law of conscience has gradually grown out of it, and whoever runs counter to this is a criminal, even though he wear a crown. I may mention another important point in which Teutonic civilisation showed itself essentially different from all others: in the course of the thirteenth century slavery and the slave trade disappeared from European countries (with the exception of Spain). In the thirteenth century money begins to take the place of natural products in buying and selling; almost exactly in the year 1200 we see in Europe the first manufacture of paper — without doubt the most momentous industrial achievement till the invention of the locomotive. It would, however, be erroneous to regard the advance of trade and the stirring of instincts of freedom as the only indications of the dawn of a new day. Perhaps


the great movement of religious feeling, the most powerful representative of which was Francis of Assisi (b. 1182) is a factor of deeper and more lasting influence; in it a genuinely democratic impulse makes itself apparent; the faith and life of men like Francis call in question the tyranny of Church as of State, and deal a death-blow to the despotism of money. “This movement,“ one of the authorities * on Francis of Assisi writes, “gives men the first forewarning of universal freedom of thought.“ At the same moment the avowedly anti-Catholic movement, that of the Albigenses, came into dangerous prominence in Western Europe. In another sphere of religious life some equally important steps were taken at the same time: after Peter Abelard (d. 1142) had unconsciously defended the Indo-European conception of religion against the Semitic, especially by emphasising the symbolic character of all religious ideas, two orthodox schoolmen, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, made in the thirteenth century an admission which was just as dangerous for the church dogma by conceding, in agreement with each other (though they were otherwise opponents), the right of existence to a philosophy which differed from theology. And while theoretical thinking here began to assert itself, other scholars, among whom Albertus Magnus (b. 1193) and Roger Bacon (b. 1214) are especially conspicuous, laid the foundations of modern natural science by turning the attention of men from logical disputes to mathematics, physics, astronomy and chemistry. Cantor (Vorlesungen über Geschichte der Mathematik, 2 Aufl. ii. 3) says that in the thirteenth century “a new era in the history of mathematical science“ began; this was especially the work of Leonardo of Pisa, who was the first to introduce to us the Indian (falsely called Arabian) numerical signs, and of Jordanus Saxo, of the family of Count Eberstein, who initiated

    * Thode, Franz von Assisi, p. 4.


us into the art of algebraic calculation (also originally invented by the Hindoos). The first dissection of a human body — which was of course the first step towards scientific medicine — took place towards the end of the thirteenth century, after an interval of one thousand six hundred years, and it was carried out by Mondino de' Luzzi, of Northern Italy. Dante, likewise a child of the thirteenth century, also deserves mention here — indeed very special mention. “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita“ is the first line of his great poem, and he himself, the first artistic genius of world-wide importance in the new Teutonic epoch of culture, is the typical figure at this turning-point of history, the point at which she has left behind her “the half of her way,“ and, after having travelled at break-neck speed downhill for centuries, sets herself to climb the steep, difficult path on the opposite slope. Many of Dante's sentiments in the Divina Comedia and in his Tractatus de monarchia appear to us like the longing glance of the man of great experience out of the social and political chaos surrounding him, towards a harmoniously ordered world; and such a glance was possible as a sure sign that the movement had already begun; the eye of genius is a ray of light that shows the way to others. *
    But long before Dante — this point must not be overlooked — a poetical creative power had manifested itself

    * I am not here thinking of the details of his proofs, coloured as they are by scholasticism, but of such things as his views on the relation of men to one another (Monarchia, I. chaps. iii. and iv.) or on the federation of States, each of which he says shall retain its own individuality and its own legislature, while the Emperor, as “peacemaker“ and judge in matters that are “common and becoming to all,“ shall form the bond of union (I. chap. xiv.). In other things Dante himself, as genuine “middle“ figure, allows himself to be very much influenced by the conceptions of his time and dwells in poetical Utopias. This point is more fully discussed in chap. vii., and especially in the introduction to chap. viii. of this book.


in the heart of the most genuine Teutonic life, in the north, a fact in itself sufficient to prove how little need we had of a classical revival to enable us to create incomparable masterpieces of art: in the year 1200, Chrestien de Troyes, Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Walther von der Vogelweide, Gottfried von Strassburg were writing their poems, and I mention only some of the most famous names, for, as Gottfried says, “of the nightingales there are many more.“ And up to this time the questionable separation of poetry and music (which originated from the worship of the dead letters) had not taken place: the poet was at the same time singer; when he invented the “word“ he invented for it at the same time the particular “tone“ and the particular “melody.“ And so we see music too, the most original art of the new culture, develop just at the moment when the peculiar individuality of this culture began to show itself in a perfectly new form as polyphonic harmonious art. The first master of note in the treatment of counterpoint is the poet and dramatist Adam de la Halle (b. 1240). With him — and so with a genuinely Teutonic word- and sound-creator — begins the development of music in the strict sense, so that the musical authority Gevaert can write: “Désormais l'on peut considérer ce treizième siècle, si décrié jadis, comme le siècle initiateur de tout l'art moderne.“ Likewise in the thirteenth century those inspired artists Niccolo Pisano, Cimabue and Giotto revealed their talents, and to them we are indebted, in the first place, not merely for a “Renaissance“ of the plastic and graphic arts, but above all for the birth of a perfectly new art, that of modern painting. It was also in the thirteenth century that Gothic architecture came into prominence (the “Teutonic style“ as Ruhmor rightly wished to call it) almost all masterpieces of church architecture, the incomparable beauty of which we to-day admire but cannot


imitate, originate in that one century. In the meantime (shortly before 1200), the first purely secular university had been founded in Bologna, at which only jurisprudence, philosophy and medicine were taught. * We see in how many ways a new life began to manifest itself about the year 1200. A few names would prove nothing; but the fact that a movement embraces all lands and grades of society, that the most contradictory phenomena point backwards to a similar cause and forwards to a common goal, proves that we have here to deal not with an accidental and individual thing but with a great, general process which is maturing with unconscious imperativeness in the inmost heart of society. And that peculiar “decline in historical sense and historical understanding about the middle of the thirteenth century,“ to which different scholars have wonderingly called attention, † should be taken also, I think, in this connection: under the guidance of the Teutonic peoples men have just begun a new life; they have, so to speak, turned a corner in their course and even the nearest past has completely vanished from their sight: henceforth they belong to the future.
    It is most surprising to have to chronicle the fact that exactly at this moment, when the new European world was arising out of chaos, the discovery of the remaining parts of the world also began, without which our blossoming Teutonic culture could never have developed its own peculiar power of expansion: in the second half of the thirteenth century Marco Polo made expeditions of discovery and thereby laid the foundations of our still incomplete knowledge of the surface of our planet. What is gained by this is, in the first place

    * The theological faculty was not established till towards the end of the fourteenth century (Savigny).
    † See Döllinger, Das Kaisertum Karls des Grossen (Akad. Vorträge iii. 156).


and apart from the widening of the horizon, the capability of expansion; this, however, denotes only something relative; the most important thing is that European authority may hope within a measurable space of time to encompass the earth and thereby no longer be exposed, like former civilisations, to the plundering raids of unlooked for and unbridled barbaric Powers.
    So much to justify my choice of the thirteenth century as separating-line.
    That there is, nevertheless, something artificial in such a choice I have admitted at the very beginning and I repeat it now; in particular one must not think that I attribute a special fateful importance to the year 1200: the ferment of the first twelve centuries of the Christian era has of course not yet ceased, it still confuses thousands and thousands of intellects, and on the other hand we may cheerfully assert that the new harmonious world began to dawn in the minds of individuals long before 1200. The rightness or wrongness of such a scheme is revealed only by its use. As Goethe says: “Everything depends on the fundamental truth, the development of which reveals itself not so easily in speculation as in practice: this is the touch-stone of what has been admitted by the intellect.“

    In consequence of this fixing of the turning-point of our history, this book, which treats of the period up to the year 1800, falls naturally into two parts: the one deals with the period previous to the year 1200, the other the period subsequent to that year.

    In the first part — the origins — I have discussed first the legacy of the old world, then the heirs and lastly the fight of the heirs for their inheritance. As everything new is attached to something already in existence, some-


thing older, the first fundamental question is, “What component parts of our intellectual capital are inherited?“ the second, no less important, is, “Who are we?“ Though the answering of these questions may take us back into the distant past, the interest remains always a present interest, because in the whole construction of every chapter, as well as in every detail of the discussion, the one all-absorbing consideration is that of the nineteenth century. The legacy of the old world forms still an important — often quite inadequately digested — portion of the very youngest world: the heirs with their different natures stand opposed to one another to-day as they did a thousand years ago; the struggle is as bitter, as confused as ever; the investigation of the past means therefore at the same time an examination of the too abundant material of the present. Let no one, however, regard my remarks on Hellenic art and philosophy, on Roman history and Roman law, on the teaching of Christ, or, again, on the Teutonic peoples and the Jews, &c., as independent academic treatises and apply to them the corresponding standard. I have not approached these subjects as a learned authority, but as a child of to-day that desires to understand the living present world and I have formed my judgments, not from the Aristophanic cloud-cuckoo-land of a supernatural objectivity, but from that of a conscious Teuton whom Goethe not in vain has warned:
Was euch nicht angehört,
Müsset ihr meiden;
Was euch das Inn're stört,
Dürft ihr nicht leiden!
    In the eyes of God all men, indeed all creatures, may be equal: but the divine law of the individual is to maintain and to defend his individuality. I have formed my idea of Teutonicism on a scale quite as large; which means in this case “as large-heartedly as possible,“ and


have not pleaded the cause of any particularism whatever. I have, on the other hand, vigorously attacked whatever is un-Teutonic, but — as I hope — nowhere in an unchivalrous manner.
    The fact that the chapter on the entry of the Jews into western history has been made so long may perhaps demand explanation. For the subject of this book, so diffuse a treatment would not have been indispensable; but the prominent position of the Jews in the nineteenth century, as also the great importance for the history of our time of the philo- and anti-semitic currents and controversies, made an answer to the question, “Who is the Jew?“ absolutely imperative. Nowhere could I find a clear and exhaustive answer to this question, so I was compelled to seek and to give it myself. The essential point here is the question of religion; and so I have treated this very point at considerable length, not merely in the fifth, but also in the third and in the seventh chapters. For I have become convinced that the usual treatment of the “Jewish question“ is altogether and always superficial; the Jew is no enemy of Teutonic civilisation and culture; Herder may be right in his assertion that the Jew is always alien to us, and consequently we to him, and no one will deny that this is to the detriment of our work of culture; yet I think that we are inclined to under-estimate our own powers in this respect and, on the other hand, to exaggerate the importance of the Jewish influence. Hand in hand with this goes the perfectly ridiculous and revolting tendency to make the Jew the general scapegoat for all the vices of our time. In reality the “Jewish peril“ lies much deeper; the Jew is not responsible for it; we have given rise to it ourselves and must overcome it ourselves. No souls thirst more after religion than the Slavs, the Celts and the Teutons: their history proves it; it is because of the lack of a true religion that


our whole Teutonic culture is sick unto death (as I show in the ninth chapter), and this will mean its ruin if timely help does not come. We have stopped up the spring that welled up in our own hearts and made ourselves dependent upon the scanty, brackish water which the Bedouins of the desert draw from their wells. No people in the world is so beggarly-poor in religion as the Semites and their half-brothers the Jews; and we, who were chosen to develop the profoundest and sublimest religious conception of the world as the light, life and vitalising force of our whole culture, have with our own hands firmly tied up the veins of life and limp along like crippled Jewish slaves behind Jehovah's Ark of the Covenant! Hence my exhaustive treatment of the Jewish question: my object was to find a broad and strong foundation for so important a judgment.
    The second part — the gradual rise of a new world — has in these “Foundations“ only one chapter devoted to it, “from the year 1200 to the year 1800.“ Here I found myself in a sphere which is pretty familiar even to the unlearned reader, and it would have been altogether superfluous to copy from histories of politics and of culture which are within the reach of all. My task was accordingly limited to shaping and bringing into clearer range than is usually the case the too abundant material which I could presume to be known — as material; and here again my one consideration was of course the nineteenth century, the subject of my work. This chapter stands on the border-line between the two parts, that now published and what is to follow; many things which in the preceding chapters could only be alluded to, not fully and systematically discussed, such for instance as the fundamental importance of Teutonicism for our new world and the value of our conceptions of progress and degeneration for the understanding of history, find complete treatment here; on the other hand, the short


sketch of development in the various spheres of life brings us hurriedly to the nineteenth century, and the tabular statement concerning knowledge, civilisation and culture, and their various elements points to the work of comparison which forms the plan of the supplement and gives occasion for many an instructive parallel: at the same moment as we see the Teuton blossom forth in his full strength, as though nothing had been denied him, and he were hurrying to a limitless goal, we behold also his limitations; and this is very important, for it is upon these last characteristics that his individuality depends.
    In view of certain prejudices I shall probably have to justify myself for treating State and Church in this chapter as subordinate matters — or, more properly speaking, as phenomena among others, and not the most important. State and Church form henceforth, as it were, only the skeleton: the Church is an inner bone structure in which, as is usual, with advancing age an always stronger tendency to chronic anchylosis shows itself; the State develops more and more into the peripheric bone-cuirass, so well known in zoology, the so-called dermatoskeleton; its structure becomes always massier, it stretches over the “soft parts“ until at last in the nineteenth century it has grown to truly megalotheric dimensions and sets apart from the true course of life and, if I may say so, “ossifies“ an extremely large percentage of the effective powers of humanity as military and civil officials. This is not meant as criticism; the boneless and invertebrate animals have never, as is well known, played a great part in the world; it is besides far from my purpose to wish to moralise in this book; I wish merely to explain why in the second part I have not felt obliged to lay special stress upon the further development of Church and State. The impulse to their development had already been given in the thirteenth century, when nationalism


having prevailed over imperialism, the latter was scheming how to win back what was lost; nothing essentially new was added later; even the movements against the all too prevalent violation of individual freedom by Church and State had already begun to make themselves felt very forcibly and frequently. Church and State serve from now onwards, as I have said, as the skeleton — now and then suffering from fractures in arms and legs but nevertheless a firm skeleton — yet take comparatively little share in the gradual rise of a new world; henceforth they follow rather than lead. On the other hand, in all European countries in the most widely different spheres of free human activity there arises from about the year 1200 onwards a really recreative movement. The Church schism and the revolt against State decrees are in reality rather the mechanical side of this movement; they spring from the deeply felt need, experienced by newly awakening powers, of making room for themselves; the creative element, strictly speaking, has to be sought elsewhere. I have already indicated where, when I sought to justify my choice of the year 1200 as turning-point: the advance in things technical and industrial, the founding of commerce on a large scale on the thoroughly Teutonic basis of stainless uprightness, the rise of busy towns, the discovery of the earth (as we may daringly call it), the study of nature which begins diffidently but soon extends its horizon over the whole cosmos, the sounding of the deepest depths of human thought, from Roger Bacon to Kant, the soaring of the spirit up to heaven, from Dante to Beethoven: it is in all this that we may recognise the rise of a new world.

    With this study of the gradual rise of a new world, approximately from the year 1200 to the year 1800,


these “Foundations“ come to a close. The detailed plan of the “Nineteenth Century“ lies before me. In it I carefully avoid all artificial theorising and all attempts to find an immediate connection between the two parts. It is quite sufficient that the explanatory account of the first eighteen centuries has been already given even though frequent and express reference to it be not necessary, it will prove itself as the indispensable introduction; the supplement will then be devoted to drawing parallels and to the calculation of comparative values. Here I shall confine myself to considering one by one the most important phenomena of the century; the principal features of political, religious and social organisation, the course of development of the technical arts, the progress of natural science and the humanities, and, lastly, the history of the human mind as a thinking and creative power; everywhere, of course, only the principal currents will be emphasised and nothing but the highest achievements mentioned.
    The consideration of these points is led up to by an introductory chapter on the “New Forces“ which have asserted themselves in this century and have given to it its characteristic physiognomy, but which could not be treated adequately within the limits of one of the general chapters. The press, for instance, is at the same time a political and a social power of the very first rank; its stupendous development in the nineteenth century it owes primarily to industry and art. I do not refer so much to the production of newspapers by timesaving machinery, &c., as to telegraphy, which supplies the papers with news, and to railways, which spread printed matter everywhere. The press is the most powerful ally of capitalism; on art, philosophy and science it cannot really exercise a distinct determining influence, but even here it can hasten or delay, and so exercise in a high degree a formative influence upon


the age. This is a power unknown to previous centuries. In the same way technical developments, the invention and perfection of the railway and the steamboat, as also of the electric telegraph, have exercised no small influence upon all spheres of human activity and wrought a great change in the face of our earth and in the conditions of life upon it: quite direct is the influence on strategy and consequently upon politics, as well as on trade and industry, while science and even art have also been indirectly affected: the astronomers of all lands can with comparative ease betake themselves to the North Cape or the Fiji Islands to observe a total eclipse of the sun, and the German festival plays in Bayreuth have, towards the end of the century, thanks to the railway and the steamboat, become a living centre of dramatic art for the whole world. Among these forces I likewise reckon the emancipation of the Jews. Like every power that has newly dropped its fetters, like the press and quick transit, this sudden inroad of the Jews upon the life of the European races, who mould the history of the world, has certainly not brought good alone in its train; the so-called Classical Renaissance was after all merely a new birth of ideas, the Jewish Renaissance is the resurrection of a Lazarus long considered dead, who introduces into the Teutonic world the customs and modes of thought of the Oriental, and who at the same time seems to receive a new lease of life thereby, like the vine-pest which, after leading in America the humble life of an innocent little beetle, was introduced into Europe and suddenly attained to a world-wide fame of serious import. We have, however, reason to hope and believe that the Jews, like the Americans, have brought us not only a new pest but also a new vine. Certain it is that they have left a peculiar impress upon our time, and that the “new world“ which is arising will require a very great exercise of its strength


for the work of assimilating this fragment of the “old world.“ There are still other “new forces“ which will have to be discussed in their proper place. The founding of modern chemistry, for example, is the starting-point of a new natural science; and the perfecting of a new artistic language by Beethoven is beyond doubt one of the most pregnant achievements in the sphere of art since the days of Homer; it gave men a new organ of speech, that is to say, a new power.
    The supplement is intended, as I have said, to furnish a comparison between the “Foundations“ and the book which is to follow. This comparison I shall carry out point by point in several chapters, using the scheme of the first part; this method will, I think, be found to lead to many suggestive discoveries and interesting distinctions. Besides, it paves the way splendidly for the somewhat bold but indispensable glance into the future, without which our conception would not acquire complete plasticity; it is only in this way that we can hope to gain a bird's-eye view of the nineteenth century and so be able to judge it with perfect objectivity; this will be the end of my task.
    Such then is the extremely simple and unartificial plan of the continuation. It is a plan which, perhaps, I may not live to carry out, yet I am obliged to mention it here, as it has to no small degree influenced the form of the present book.

    In this general introduction I must also discuss briefly some specially important points, so that later we may not be detained by out-of-place theoretical discussions.

    Almost all men are by nature “hero-worshippers“; and no valid objection can be urged against this healthy instinct. Simplification is a necessity of the human


mind; we find ourselves involuntarily setting up a single name in place of the many names representative of a movement; further, the personality is something given, individual, definite, while everything that lies beyond is an abstraction and an ever-varying circle of ideas.
    We might therefore put together the history of a century by a mere list of names: it seems to me, however, that a different procedure is necessary to bring out what is really essential. For it is remarkable how slightly the separate individualities stand out in relief from each other. Men form inside their racial individualities an atomic but nevertheless very homogeneous mass. If a great spirit were to lean out from among the stars and, bending in contemplation over our earth, were capable of seeing not only our bodies but also our souls, the human population of any part of the world would certainly appear to him as uniform as an ant-heap does to us: he would of course distinguish warriors, workers, idlers and monarchs, he would notice that the one runs hither, the other thither, but on the whole his impression would be that all individuals obey, and must obey, a common impersonal impulse. Extremely narrow limits are set to the influence as well as to the arbitrariness of the great personality. All great and lasting revolutions in the life of society have taken place “blindly.“ A remarkable personality, as, for example, that of Napoleon, can lead us astray on this point, and yet even his, when closely examined, appears as a blindly working Fate. Its possibility is explained by previous events: had there been no Richelieu, no Louis XIV., no Louis XV., no Voltaire, no Rousseau, no French Revolution — there would have been no Napoleon! How closely linked, moreover, is the life-achievement of such a man with the national character of the whole people, with its virtues and its failings: without a French people, no Napoleon! The activity of this commander


is directed in particular towards the outside world, and here again we must say: but for the irresolution of Friedrich Wilhelm III., but for the want of principle in the House of Habsburg, but for the troubles in Spain, but for the criminal treatment of Poland just previously, no Napoleon had been possible! And if, in order to be quite clear on this point, we consult the biographies and correspondence of Napoleon, to see what were his aims and aspirations, we shall find that all of them remained unrealised, and that he sank back into the indistinguishable homogeneous mass, as clouds dissipate after a storm, as soon as the community rose to oppose the predominance of individual will. On the other hand, the radical change of our whole economic conditions of life, which no power on earth could prevent, the passing of a considerable portion of the property of nations into new hands, and further, the thorough remodelling of the relations of all parts of the earth, and so of all men, to one another, which we read of in the history of the world, took place in the course of the nineteenth century as the result of a series of technical discoveries in the sphere of quick transit and of industry, the importance of which no one even suspected. We need only read in this connection the masterly exposition in the fifth volume of Treitschke's Deutsche Geschichte. The depreciation of landed property, the progressive impoverishment of the peasant, the advance of industry, the rise of an incalculable army of industrial proletarians, and consequently of a new form of Socialism, a radical change of all political conditions: all this is a result of changed conditions of traffic and has been brought about, if I may so express it, anonymously, like the building of an ant's nest, in which each ant only sees the individual grains which it laboriously drags to the heap. The same, however, is true of ideas: they hold man in a tyrannical grasp, they clutch his mind as a bird of prey its quarry and no one can resist them; so long as any particular


conception is dominant, nothing can be accomplished outside the sphere of its magic influence; whoever cannot feel as it dictates is condemned to sterility, however talented he may be. This we have seen in the second half of the nineteenth century in connection with Darwin's theory of evolution. This idea had already begun to appear in the eighteenth century, as a natural reaction from the old theory of the immutability of species, which Linnaeus had brought to formal perfection. In Herder, Kant and Goethe we meet with the idea of evolution in characteristic colouring; it is the revolt of great minds against dogma: in the case of the first, because he, following the course of Teutonic philosophy, endeavoured to find in the development of the idea “nature“ an entity embracing man; in the case of the second, because he as metaphysician and moralist could not bear to lose the conception of perfectibility, while the third, with the eye of the poet, discovered on all sides phenomena which seemed to him to point to a primary relationship between all living organisms, and feared lest his discovery should evaporate into abstract nothingness if this relationship were not viewed as resting upon direct descent. This is how such thoughts arise. In minds of such phenomenal breadth as Goethe's, Herder's and Kant's there is room for very different conceptions side by side; they are to be compared with Spinoza's God, whose one substance manifests itself simultaneously in various forms; in their ideas on metamorphosis, affinities and development, I can find nothing contrary to other views, and I believe that they would have rejected our present dogma of evolution, as they did that of immutability. * I return to this point in another place. The overwhelming

    * Compare in this connection Kant's extremely complete exposition which forms the concluding portion of the division “On the regulative use of ideas of pure reason“ in his Critique of pure Reason. The great thinker here points to the fact that the idea of a “continuous gradation of creatures“ did not and cannot originate from observation


majority of men with their display of ant-like activity are quite incapable of viewing things in such an original manner; productive power can be generated only by simple healthy specialisation. A manifestly unsound system like that of Darwin exercises a much more powerful influence than the deepest speculations, just because of its “practicability.“ And so we have seen the idea of evolution develop itself till it spread from biology and geology to all spheres of thought and investigation, and, intoxicated by its success, exercised such a tyranny that any one who did not swear by it was to be looked upon as a simpleton. I am not here concerned with the philosophy of all these phenomena; I have no doubt that the spirit of man as a whole expresses itself appropriately. I may, however, appropriate Goethe's remark, “what especially impresses me is the people, a great mass, a necessary inevitable existence“ and thus establish and explain my conviction, that great men are in reality the flower of history and not its roots. And so I consider it proper to portray a century not so much by an enumeration of its leading men as by an emphasising of the anonymous currents, from which it has derived its peculiar and characteristic stamp in the various centres of social, industrial and scientific life.

but from an interest of reason. “The steps of such a ladder, as experience can supply them to us, are far, too far, removed from one another, and what we suppose to be little distinctions are commonly in nature itself such wide clefts that on such observations as intentions of nature we can lay no stress whatever (especially when things are so manifold, since it must always be easy to find certain resemblances and approximations).“ In his criticism of Herder he reproaches the hypothesis of evolution with being one of those ideas “in the case of which one cannot think anything at all.“ Kant, whom even Haeckel calls the most important predecessor of Darwin, had thus gone so far as to supply the antidote to the dogmatic abuse of such a hypothesis.



    There is, however, one exception. When we are dealing not with the mere power of observation, of comparison, of calculation, or with the inventive, industrial or intellectual activity struggling for existence, but with a purely creative activity, then Personality is everything. The history of art and philosophy is the history of individual men, the history of the really creative men of genius. Here nothing else counts. Whatever outside this is achieved within the sphere of philosophy — and much of importance is so achieved — belongs to science; in art it belongs to mechanical art, that is, to industry.

    I lay all the more stress on this point, because at the present day regrettable confusion prevails with regard to it. The idea and consequently the word “Genius“ originated in the eighteenth century; they arose from the necessity of possessing a particular defining expression for “specifically creative minds.“ No less a thinker than Kant calls our attention to the fact that “the greatest discoverer in the sphere of science differs only in degree from the ordinary man, the Genius, on the other hand, differs specifically.“ This remark of Kant's is beyond doubt just, but we make the one reservation, that of extending — as we cannot help doing — the term “work of genius“ to every creation, in which the imagination plays a formative and predominant part, and in this connection the philosophic genius deserves the same place as the poetic or the plastic. Here let me say that I give to the word philosophy its old, wide signification, which embraced not only the abstract philosophy of reason, but natural philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and all thought which rises to the dignity of a philosophy of life. If the word genius is to retain a sense, we must employ it only of men who have everlastingly enriched our intellectual store by powerful


creations of their imagination, but it must be applicable to all such without exception. Not only the Iliad and Prometheus Bound, the Adorations of the Cross and Hamlet, but also Plato's World of Ideas and Democritus' World of Atoms, the Chandogya's tat-twam-asi and Copernicus' System of the Heavens are works of immortal genius; for just as indestructible as matter and power are the flashes of light which radiate from the brains of men endowed with creative power; they never cease to reflect for each other the generations and the nations, and if they sometimes pale for a time, they shine out brightly once more when they strike a creative eye. In recent years it has been discovered that in the depths of the ocean, to which the sunlight does not penetrate, there are fishes which light up this world of darkness electrically; even thus is the dark night of human knowledge lighted up by the torch of genius. Goethe lit a torch with his Faust, Kant another with his conception of the transcendental ideality of time and space: both were creators of great imaginative power, both were men of genius. The scholastic strife about the Königsberg thinker, the battles between Kantians and anti-Kantians seem to me of just as much moment as the work of the zealous Faust critics: what is the use of logical hair-splitting here? What in such a case is the meaning of the phrase, “to be right“? Blessed are they who have eyes to see and ears to hear! If the study of the stone, the moss, the microscopic infusorium fills us with wonder and admiration, with what reverence must we look up to the greatest phenomenon that nature presents to us — Genius!

    I must here add a remark of some importance. Though we are to concern ourselves particularly with general


tendencies, not with events and personages, still the danger of too wide generalisations must not be overlooked. We are but too prone to sum up prematurely. It is this tendency that makes men so often hang, as it were, a ticket round the neck of the nineteenth century, even though they must know that it is utterly impossible by means of a single word to be just both to ourselves and to the past. A fixed idea of this kind is quite sufficient to render a clear comprehension of historical development impossible.
    Quite commonly, for example, the nineteenth century is called the “century of natural science.“ When we remember what the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries have achieved in this very sphere, we must surely hesitate before bestowing any such title on the nineteenth. We have but continued to build and by our industry have discovered much, but whether we can point to a Copernicus and a Galileo, to a Kepler and a Newton, to a Lavoisier and a Bichat * appears to me at least doubtful. Cuvier's activity attains indeed to the dignity of philosophical importance, and the powers of observation and invention of men like Bunsen (the chemist) and Pasteur come remarkably near genius; of imperishable fame are men like Louis Agassiz, Michael Faraday, Julius Robert Mayer, Heinrich Hertz and perhaps some few others; but we must at least admit that their achievements do not surpass those of their predecessors. Some years ago a University teacher of the medical faculty with a fine reputation for theoretical as well as practical work remarked to me, “In the case of us scholars nowadays it is not so much a question of brain convolutions as of perseverance.“ It would indeed be false modesty, and an emphasising of the unimportant, to designate the nineteenth century the “century of perseverance.“ All the more so, since the

    * He died in 1802.


designation of “the century of the rolling wheel“ would certainly be quite as justifiable for an epoch which has produced the railway and the bicycle. Better, certainly, would be the general term “the century of science,“ by which would be understood that the spirit of accurate investigation which received its first encouragement from Roger Bacon had put all departments of study under its yoke. This spirit, however, if the matter be fully considered, will be found to have brought about less surprising results in the sphere of natural science, in which since earliest times the exact observation of the heavenly bodies formed the basis of all knowledge, than in other spheres, in which arbitrary methods had hitherto been the order of the day. Perhaps it would be a true and apt characterisation of the nineteenth century — though at the same time an unfamiliar one to most educated people — to style it the “century of philology.“ First called into being towards the end of the eighteenth century by such men as Jones, Anquetil du Perron, the brothers Schlegel and Grimm, Karadžič and others, comparative philology has in the course of a single century made quite extraordinary progress. To establish the organism and the history of language means not merely to throw light upon anthropology, ethnology and history, but particularly to strengthen human minds for new achievements. And while the philology of the nineteenth century thus laboured for the future, it unearthed buried treasures of the past, which are among the most valuable possessions of mankind. It is not necessary to feel sympathy for the pseudo-Buddhistical sport of half-educated idlers in order to recognise clearly that the discovery of the divine doctrine of understanding of the ancient Indians is one of the greatest achievements of the nineteenth century, destined to exercise an enduring influence upon distant ages. To this has been added the knowledge of old Teutonic poetry and mythology. Every-


thing that tends to strengthen genuine individuality is a real safety anchor. The brilliant series of Teutonic and Indian scholars has, half unconsciously, accomplished a great work at the right moment; now we too possess our “holy books,“ and what they teach is more beautiful and nobler than what the Old Testament sets forth. The belief in our strength, which the history of the nineteenth century gives us, has been intensified to an incalculable extent by this discovery of our independent capacity for much that is of the highest, and to which our relation was hitherto one of subjection: in particular the myth of the peculiar aptitude of the Jew for religion is finally exploded; for this later generations will owe a debt of gratitude to the nineteenth century. This is one of the greatest and most far-reaching achievements of our time, and so the title “the century of philology“ would be in a certain sense justified. In this connection we have mentioned another of the characteristic phenomena of the nineteenth century. Ranke had prophesied that our century would be a century of nationality; that was a correct political prognostic, for never before have the nations stood opposed to each other so clearly and definitely as antagonistic unities. It has, however, also become a century of races, and that indeed is in the first instance a necessary and direct consequence of science and scientific thinking. I have already said at the beginning of this introduction that science does not unite but dissects. That statement has not contradicted itself here. Scientific anatomy has furnished such conclusive proofs of the existence of physical characteristics distinguishing the races from each other that they can no longer be denied; scientific philology has discovered between the various languages fundamental differences which cannot be bridged over; the scientific study of history in its various branches has brought about similar results, especially by the


exact determination of the religious history of each race, in which only the most general of general ideas can raise the illusion of similarity, while the further development has always followed and still follows definite, sharply divergent lines. The so-called unity of the human race is indeed still honoured as a hypothesis, but only as a personal, subjective conviction lacking every material foundation. The ideas of the eighteenth century with regard to the brotherhood of nations were certainly very noble but purely sentimental in their origin; and in contrast to these ideas to which the Socialists still cling, limping on like reserves in the battle, stern reality has gradually asserted itself as the necessary result of the events and investigations of our time. There are many other titles for which much might be said: Rousseau had already spoken prophetically of a “siècle des révolutions,“ others speak of a century of Jewish emancipation, century of electricity, century of national armies, century of colonies, century of music, century of advertisement, century of the proclamation of infallibility. Lately I found the nineteenth century described in an English book as the religious century, and could not quite dispute the statement; for Beer, the author of the Geschichte des Welthandels, the nineteenth century is the “economic“ century, whereas Professor Paulsen in his Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts (2 Aufl. ii. 206) calls it the saeculum historicum in contrast to the preceding saeculum philosophicum, and Goethe's expression “ein aberweises Jahrhundert“ could be applied quite as well to the nineteenth century as to the eighteenth. No such generalisation possesses any real value.

    These remarks bring me to the close of this general introduction. But before I write the last line I should


like to place myself, according to an old custom, under the protection of highly honoured men.
    Lessing writes in his Briefe, die neueste Litteratur betreffend, that “history should not trouble with unimportant facts, should not burden the memory, but enlighten the understanding.“ Taken generally, this is saying too much. But in the case of a book which is directed not to historians but to the educated layman, the remark is perfectly justified. To enlighten the understanding, not to teach in the real sense of the word, but to suggest, to stimulate thoughts and conclusions, that is my aim.
    Goethe differs somewhat from Lessing in his conception of the task of the historian. He says, “The best thing that we get from history is the enthusiasm it arouses.“ These words, too, I have kept in mind in the course of my work, for I am convinced that understanding, however well enlightened, avails little, if not united to enthusiasm. The understanding is the machine; the more perfect every detail in it, the more neatly every part fits into the other, the more efficient will it be, but only potentially, for, in order to be driven, it requires the motive-power, and the motive-power is enthusiasm. Perhaps, however, it is difficult to take Goethe's hint and wax enthusiastic over the nineteenth century, simply for this reason, that self-love is so contemptible; we wish to test ourselves strictly, and tend to under-estimate rather than over-estimate; may future ages judge us more leniently. I find it difficult to grow enthusiastic because the material element is so predominant in this century. Just as our battles have generally been won not by the personal superiority of individuals but by the number of the soldiers, or to put it more simply by the amount of food for powder, so in the very same way have treasures in gold and knowledge and discoveries been piled up. Things have increased in numbers and in bulk, men


have collected but not sifted; such, at any rate, has been the general tendency. The nineteenth century is essentially a century of accumulation, an age of transition and of the provisional; in other respects it is neither fish nor flesh; it dangles between empiricism and spiritism, between liberalismus vulgaris, as it has been wittily called, and the impotent efforts of senile conservatism, between autocracy and anarchism, doctrines of infallibility and the most stupid materialism, worship of the Jew and anti-Semitism, the rule of the millionaire and proletarian government. Not ideas, but material gains, are the characteristic feature of the nineteenth century. The great thoughts that have cropped up here and there, the mighty creations of art, from Faust, Part II., to Parsifal, have brought undying fame to the German people, but they are for future times. After the great social revolutions and the momentous intellectual achievements (at the close of the eighteenth and the early dawn of the nineteenth century) material for further development had again to be collected. And so this too great preoccupation with the material banished the beautiful almost entirely from life; at the present moment there exists perhaps no savage, at least no half-civilised people, which does not to my mind possess more beauty in its surroundings and more harmony in its existence as a whole than the great mass of so-called civilised Europeans. It is therefore, I think, necessary to be moderate in our enthusiastic admiration for the nineteenth century. On the other hand it is easy to feel the enthusiasm spoken of by Goethe, as soon as our glance rests not upon the one century alone but embraces all that “new world“ which has been slowly unfolding for centuries. Certainly the commonly accepted idea of “progress“ has by no means a sound philosophical foundation; under this flag sail almost all the refuse wares of our time; Goethe, who never tires of pointing to enthusiasm as the motive element


in our nature, declares his conviction nevertheless to be that “Men become wiser and more discerning, but not better, happier and more vigorous, or if they do become so, it is only for a time.“ * But what could be more elevating than consciously to work towards such an epoch, in which, if only for a time, mankind will be better, happier and more vigorous? And when we regard the nineteenth century not as something isolated but as part of a much greater period of time, we discover soon that out of the barbarism which followed upon the downfall of the old world, and out of the wild ferment called forth by the shock of opposing forces, some centuries ago a perfectly new organisation of human society began to develop, and that our world of to-day — far from being the summit of this evolution — simply represents a transition stage, a “middle point“ in the long and weary journey. If the nineteenth century were really a summit, then the pessimistic view of life would be the only justifiable one: to see, after all the great achievements in the intellectual and material spheres, bestial wickedness still so widespread, and misery increased a thousandfold, could cause us only to repeat Jean Jacques Rousseau's prayer: “Almighty God, deliver us from the sciences and the pernicious arts of our fathers! Grant us ignorance, innocence and poverty once more as the only things which can bring happiness and which are of value in Thine eyes!“ If, however, as I have said, we see in the nineteenth century a stage in the journey, if we do not let ourselves be blinded by visions of “golden ages,“ or by delusions of the future and the past, if we do not allow ourselves to be led astray in our sound judgment by Utopian conceptions of a gradual improvement of mankind as a whole, and of political machinery working ideally, then we are justified in the hope and belief that we Teutonic peoples, and the

    * Eckermann: October 23, 1828.


peoples under our influence, are advancing towards a new harmonious culture, incomparably more beautiful than any of which history has to tell, a culture in which men should really be “better and happier“ than they are at present. It may be that the tendency of modern education to direct the glance so unceasingly to the past is regrettable, but it has the advantage that one does not require to be a Schiller to feel with him that “no single modern man can vie with the individual Athenian for the prize of manhood.“ * For that reason we now direct our glance to the future, to that future the character of which is beginning to dawn upon us, as we are gradually becoming aware of the real significance of the present era which embraces the last seven hundred years. We will vie with the Athenian. We will form a world in which beauty and harmony of existence do not, as in their case, depend upon the employment of slaves, upon eunuchs, and the seclusion of women! We may confidently hope to do so, for we see this world slowly and with difficulty rising up around our brief span of life. And the fact that it does so unconsciously does not matter; even the half-fabulous Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon says in the first part of his first book, when speaking of the creation of the world: “Things themselves, however, knew nothing of their own origin.“ The same holds true to-day; history endlessly illustrates Mephisto's words, “Du glaubst zu schieben und du wirst geschoben.“ When, therefore, we look back at the nineteenth century, which certainly was driven more than it drove, and in most things deviated to an almost ridiculous extent from the paths it had originally intended to pursue, we cannot help feeling a thrill of honest admiration and almost of enthusiasm. In this century

    * This famous sentence is only conditionally true; I have submitted it to a thorough criticism in the last chapter, to which I here refer in order to avoid misconceptions.


an enormous amount of work has been done, and that is the foundation of all “growing better and happier“; this was the morality of our age, if I may so express myself. And while the workshop of great creative ideas was seemingly unproductive, the methods of work were perfected in a manner hitherto undreamt of.
    The nineteenth century is the triumph of method. In this more than in any political organisation we see a victory of the democratic principle. Men as a whole rose hereby a step higher, and became more efficient. In former centuries only men of genius, later only highly gifted men could accomplish anything; now, thanks to method, every one can do so. Compulsory education, followed by the imperative struggle for existence, has provided thousands to-day with the “method“ to enable them, without any special gift, to take part in the common work of the human race as technicians, industrials, natural investigators, philologists, historians, mathematicians, psychologists, &c. The mastery of so colossal a material in so short a space of time would otherwise be quite unthinkable. Just consider what was understood by “philology“ a hundred years ago! Where was there such a thing as true “historical investigation“? We meet with exactly the same spirit in all spheres which lie far remote from science: the national armies are the most universal and simple application of method and the Hohenzollerns are in so far the democrats of the nineteenth century that they set the fashion for others: method in arm and leg movement, but at the same time method in education of the will, of obedience, of duty, of responsibility. Skill and conscientiousness have in consequence — unfortunately not everywhere, but nevertheless in many spheres — decidedly increased: we make greater demands on ourselves and on others than we did of old; in a sense a general technical improvement has taken place — an improvement


which extends even to men's habits of thinking. This amelioration of conditions can hardly fail to have a bearing upon morality: the abolition of human slavery outside Europe — at least in the officially recognised sense of the word — and the beginning of a movement to protect animal slaves are omens of great significance.
    And so I believe that in spite of all doubts a just and loving contemplation of the nineteenth century must both “enlighten the understanding“ and “awaken enthusiasm.“ To begin with, we consider only its “Foundations,“ that is, the “sum of all that has gone before“ — that Past out of which the nineteenth century has laboriously but successfully extricated itself.





Plan of the Work, lix — The Foundations, lxiii — The Turning-point, lxiv — The Year 1200, lxx — Division into two parts, lxxvi — The Continuation, lxxxi — Anonymous Forces, lxxxiv — Genius, lxxxix — Generalisations, xc — The Nineteenth Century, xciv.




Historical Principles, 3 — Hellas, Rome, Judea, 8 — Philosophy of History, 12.


Man's Awakening, 14 — Animal and Man, 17 — Homer, 27 — Artistic Culture, 33 — Shaping, 40 — Plato, 45 — Aristotle, 49 — Natural Science, 51 — Public Life, 58 — Historical Falsehoods, 60 — Decline of Religion, 69 — Metaphysics, 80 — Theology, 87 — Scholasticism, 89 — Conclusion, 91.


Disposition, 93 — Roman History, 95 — Roman Ideals, 104 — The Struggle against the Semites, 112 — Rome under the Empire, 122 — The Legacy of Constitutional Law, 128 — Jurisprudence as a Technical Art, 135 — Natural Law, 140 — Roman Law, 145 — The Family, 155 — Marriage, 160 — Woman, 163 — Poetry and Language, 166 — Summary, 171.


Introductory, 174 — The Religion of Experience, 177 — Buddha and Christ, 182 — Buddha, 184 — Christ, 187 — The Galileans, 200 — Religion, 213


— Christ not a Jew, 221 — Historical Religion, 228 — Will in the Semitic Race, 238 — The Prophet, 244 — Christ a Jew, 246 — The Nineteenth Century, 248.


The Chaos, 251 — The Jews, 253 — The Teutonic Races, 256.


Scientific Confusion, 258 — Importance of Race, 269 — The Five Cardinal Laws, 275 — Other Influences, 289 — The Nation, 292 — The Hero, 297 —The Raceless Chaos, 299 — Lucian, 302 — Augustine, 309 — Ascetic Delusion, 314 — Sacredness of Pure Race, 317 — The Teutonic Peoples, 320.


The Jewish Question, 329 — The “Alien People,“ 336 — Historical Bird's-eye View, 345 — Consensus Ingeniorum, 344 — Princes and Nobility, 347 — Inner Contact, 351 — Who is the Jew? 352 — Systematic Arrangement of the Investigation, 356 — Origin of the Israelite, 360 — The Genuine Semite, 368 — The Syrian, 371 — The Amorites, 381 — Comparative Numbers, 387 — Consciousness of Sin against Race, 390 — Homo Syriacus, 393 — Homo Europaeus, 396 — Homo Arabicus, 397 — Homo Judaeus, 408 — Excursus on Semitic Religion, 411 — Israel and Judah, 441 — Development of the Jew, 448 — The Prophets, 466 — The Rabbis, 472 — The Messianic Hope, 477 — The Law, 483 — The Thora, 486 — Judaism, 488.


The Term “Germanic,“ 494 — Extension of the Idea, 498 — The Germanic Celt, 499 — The Germanic Slav, 505 — The Reformation, 511 — Limitation of the Notion, 517 — Fair Hair, 522 — The Form of the Skull, 526 — Rational Anthropology, 534 — Physiognomy, 538 — Freedom and Loyalty, 542 — Ideal and Practice, 550 — Teuton and Anti-Teuton, 552 — Ignatius of Loyola, 564 — Backward Glance, 574 — Forward Glance, 575.

v CONTENTS (page originally from vol. 2, but for convenience's sake placed here)



Leading Principles, 3 — Anarchy, 5 — Religion and State, 8.


Christ and Christianity, 13 — Religious Delirium, 15 — The Two Main Pillars, 17 — Mythology of Outer Experience, 24 — Corruption of the Myths, 27 — Mythology of Inner Experience, 31 — Jewish Chronicle of the World, 41 — Paul and Augustine, 54 — Paul, 57 — Augustine, 71 — The Three Main Tendencies, 80 — The “East,“ 82 — The “North,“ 90 — Charlemagne, 101 — Dante, 104 — Religious Instincts of Race, 108 — Rome, 112 — The Victory of the Chaos, 123 — Position To-day, 134 — “Oratio pro Domo,“ 137.


Emperor and Pope, 139 — The “Duplex Potestas,“ 143 — Universalism against Nationalism, 149 — The Law of Limitation, 153 — The Struggle for the State, 160 — The Delusion of the Unlimited, 172 — Limitation Based on Principle, 180.


A. The Teutons as Creators of a New Culture

Teutonic Italy, 187 — The Teutonic Master-builder, 196 — So-called “Humanity,“ 200 — The So-called “Renaissance,“ 211 — Progress and Degeneration, 214 — Historical Criterion, 222 — Inner Contrasts, 225 — The Teutonic World, 228.

CONTENTS (page originally from vol. 2, but for convenience's sake placed here)

B. Historical Survey
The Elements of Social Life, 233 — Comparative Analyses, 246 — The Teuton, 255.

1. DISCOVERY (From Marco Polo to Galvani).
The Inborn Capacity, 261— The Impelling Powers, 264 — Nature as Teacher, 269 — Unity of the Work of Discovery, 282 — Idealism, 289.

2. SCIENCE (From Roger Bacon to Lavoisier).
Our Scientific Methods, 293 — Hellene and Teuton, 303 — Nature of our Systematising, 305 — Idea and Theory, 312 — The Goal of Science, 327.

3. INDUSTRY (From the Introduction of Paper to Watt's Steam-engine).
Ephemeral Nature of all Civilisation, 329 — Autonomy of Modern Industry, 334 — Paper, 336.

4. POLITICAL ECONOMY (From the Lombardic League of Cities to Robert Owen, the Founder of Co-operation).
Co-operation and Monopoly, 344 — Guilds and Capitalists, 348 — Farmer and Landlord, 354 — Syndicates and Socialism, 358 — The Machine, 363.

5. POLITICS AND CHURCH (From the Introduction of Compulsory Confession, 1215, to the French Revolution).
The Church, 365 — Martin Luther, 366 — The French Revolution, 377 — The Anglo-Saxons, 384.

6. PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION (From Francis of Assisi to Immanuel Kant).
The Two Courses, 389 — The Course of Truth, 392 — The Course of Falsehood, 394 — Scholasticism, 396 — Rome and Anti-Rome, 400 — The Four Groups, 403 — The Theologians, 404 — The Mystics, 411 — The Humanists, 429 — The Naturalist-Philosophers, 436 — The Observation of Nature, 440 — Exact Not-Knowing, 446 — Idealism and Materialism, 456 — The First Dilemma, 457 — The Metaphysical

vii CONTENTS (page originally from vol. 2, but for convenience's sake placed here)

Problem, 460 — Nature and the Ego, 470 — The Second Dilemma, 476 — Science and Religion, 479 — Religion, 484 — Christ and Kant, 490.

7. ART (From Giotto to Goethe).
The Idea “Art,“ 495 — Art and Religion, 500 — Poetry Wedded to Music, 506 — Art and Science, 513 — Art as a Whole, 525 — The Primacy of Poetry, 529 — Teutonic Music, 532 — The Tendency of Music, 544 — Naturalism, 546 — The Struggle for Individuality, 552 — The Inner Struggle, 556 — Shakespeare and Beethoven, 558 — Summary, 561 — Conclusion, 563.


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The original text in German: Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts
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Last update: January 24th, 2008