Andersen, Hendrick Christian [Hrsg.]; Hébrard, Ernest M.   [Hrsg.]
Creation of a world centre of communication — Paris, 1913

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the divinity of nature's loveliness reflected in his own soul. The Homeric
mythology naturally left a lasting impress upon the minds and methods of the
succeeding age. Zeus, the father of gods and men, and all the other immor-
tals dwelling beyond the clouds, became unquestioned realities. The vivid
Greek imagination inevitably regarded all natural phenomena — the crash
of thunder, the flaming bolt, the earthquake, the storm winds, etc., — as
the work of anthropomorphic beings, whose anger might be appeased, and
whose help could be sought by sacrifice and prayer. The visible and the
invisible worlds met together. The heavens became a Kingdom ruled by a
dynasty more than mortal, yet clad in mortal form, thus raising human nature
to the likeness of itself. The old poets had portrayed these mighty gods
with such beauty and vivid realism that all men were awe-struck and wor-
shipped them with fear and reverence. And the sculptor took up his chisel,
and forth from snow white marble he drew the perfect images of these gods
that ruled the destinies of man and of the world. Seeing God through man,
he used man's form as model, and fashioned his gods in glorified human shape.

The Greeks felt the image of God in man. Their conception of the
divine was far more simple than the confused ideas of the Assyrians or of
the Egyptians, who often felt the necessity of completing their representation
of divinity by adding the head of a beast or bird to the human figure. The
cat, the monkev, the crocodile, as well as the sun, moon, stars and rivers
in turn symbolised to the Egyptians the deity's presence. For them the
human body served as a useful machine and for the conventional expression
of symbols. For the Greeks it served a higher cause : it was in itself the
symbol of divinity, and the tribute paid to it in art was the natural outcome
of a truer intuition.

Thus, in Greece we find that philosophy, poetry, architecture and sculp-
ture derived their loftiest inspirations, their noblest development from reli-
gion. When art is informed with spiritual motives it becomes both lovable
and lovely. The Greeks found the highest expression of divinity in the
idealised forms of man and woman. Their symbolism of gods and goddesses
was drawn from the most perfect development of the human body, which
they transfigured with surpassing grace and strength, and made adorable by
the purity of their conceptions.

As time went on the Greek religious system lost its primitive simpli-
city and sank into a voluptuous decadence. We then find it swept by the
powerful arms of world centralisation into playing a minor part in progress.

Imperial Rome spread her eagle wings over the then civilised world,
and as they embraced a multitude of interests and ambitions, so they enfolded
a multiplicity of faiths. Greek philosophy and morals helped the Romans
to form their laws; but their ambition to conquer the world filled their
mind and soul with schemes of aggrandisement, and all spiritual develop-
ment was crushed by the hard hand of the materialist.

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