Greek (was Re: R: Graiugenic languages)
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, July 26, 2000, 21:49|
Leo Caesius wrote:
> "Ptolemy I might as well be called the Father of National Socialism)."
> I always thought that dubious honor should be given to Lycurgus. I once
> read a paper entitled "Sparta: Cradle of Noblest Fascism."
It's true that Lycurgus created many institutions for Sparta which we
would today call socialist, but Ptolemy was far more thorough. While Lycurgus
did create common eating halls for all and organized the state along militarist
lines, his system was distinctly elitist, keeping the two traditional monarchs
and the rest of the aristocracy firmly in place and had little sympathy for the
perioikoi, the helots that lived outside Sparta Proper. Moreover, tradition
has it that the place of Leader in the system was rejected by Lycurgus*,
something both Ptolemy and Hitler craved. As for Ptolemy, these were the
major similarities to National Socialism:
(a) Militarism. When conditions had settled sufficiently after the Battle of Ipsus
in 301 BC, he began consolidating all power into him personally. His legitimacy
was seen as being based primarily on military prowess and international influence
(esp. among the old Greek city states).
(b) Socialism. He and his successors nationalized many of the major industries
of Egypt, including wine-making and oil, and severely restricted commerce with
the outside to the point of autarky, and any violations were punishable by death.
(c) The Leader Cult. The Ptolemies frequently bore the title 'Soter' (Savior), and
signed documents with 'Theos' (God). Much of this was admittedly a hold-
over from Pharaonic times, though it took on new dimensions during their rule.
(d) Racial Animus. As the Greeks and Macedonians were considered to be
inherently superior to all the 'barbaroi', the Ptolemies bolstered their legitimacy
among the Greek and Macedonian bureacracy and military by setting up separate
legal and taxation systems. Greeks were usually able to get out of the corvée
labor required of the peasantry.
No one item among these are unique to either the Nazis or the Ptolemies; indeed,
most regimes have had one of them at one time or another. It is only holistically
that the similarity emerges. Also, I don't want to give the impression that the Ptolemies
were nearly as truly evil as the Nazis. They didn't commit ideologically driven mass
genocide. They were just very, very cynical.
* Supposedly, he made all the Spartans swear to maintain the constitution
he had created until he returned from traveling; he then left, never intending
> I guess the koine really was universal; it managed to supplant nearly
> all of the Greek spoken in the Mediterranean, no matter how deeply
> entrenched or isolated (though, I understand that there is one dialect
> spoken in Greece which may be a pre-koine survival - off the top of my head,
> I remember it being the Tsakonian, although I'm probably wrong).
Yep, that's it. It's based on the old Spartan dialect.
Tom Wier | "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."