This month, I'm delighted to welcome W. Lindsay Wheeler back to "Sparta Reconsidered" with a new -- highly thought-provoking - guest blog. He would welcome feed-back, so don't hesitate to contact him at the email address provided at the end of the article.
The True Parellel to Sparta is Christendom
Far too many modern textbooks put Athens at the start and center of our cultural understanding. Skipping over two thousand years, we go, as it were, from Athenian democracy straight to modern civilization. But there is a bump in the road, the English Classicist J. Burnet, for example, notes that “…The Platonist tradition underlies the whole of western civilization”. (93) The Platonist tradition had nothing to do with Athenian democracy; Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, all, excoriated democracy. That being the case, the question then becomes where did Plato’s teachings arise? From Sparta as Socrates points out.
Many modern textbooks equate Sparta with dictatorship and totalitarianism with a number of academics conjoining Sparta with Nazi Germany.
If Sparta provoked Socrates and Plato, then what is the true parallel of Sparta should be in line with the Platonist tradition, right? The real parallel of Sparta is Christendom! *
The most glaring characteristic shared by both was serfdom of the helots in both Crete and
Sparta and the feudalism exhibited by
most of Europe. Just like in , these
Indo-Europeans created caste societies of soldiers, workers, tradesmen,
priests, royalty and aristocracy. India
There is a continuation of Indo-European life and practice from the Doric Greeks of Crete and
thru , to
Christendom. “Christendom was all but conterminous with the Rome Roman
Empire.” (Urquhart) Roman laws, ideas, institutions, practices were
carried over into Christendom.
From her early history, Rome and her culture have been influenced and directed by Doric customs for both Cicero and Plutarch point to the tribes of the Sabines as bringing Doric (Spartan) Culture to bear upon City upon the Tiber, during the earliest kingly reigns: the idea of mixed government of King, Senate, and assemblies, the regard for religious involvement (auguries), and military customs and dress. There is a continuum from Sparta to Rome and then from Rome to Christendom.
At the Fall of the Roman Empire, Europe fell into a state of war brought on by the countless invasions of migratory nations. This state of Nature forced all nations to create, naturally and organically, into the warrior caste system which mirrored Sparta, of King, Aristocracy and commons. As Diachercus of Messina labeled
government a Tripolitcus, many
European governments unconsciously replicated a tripartite government system of
royalty, aristocracy and commons. The crucible of Nature, hence the Natural
Law, worked its designs unconsciously upon European people. This same
pattern/paradigm can be seen with the Spartans, the early Roman “Republicanism”
of the Roman kings, and the monarchies of Europe. Sparta
Another grand parallel is that the Doric Greeks, the Romans and Christian Europe were heavily intertwined with religion. Spartan and Roman kings and later Roman Emperors along with other Roman office holders had religious duties.
Sparta and were both very cognizant not only of
Divine Providence but also Divine Involvement. Religion played such an integral
part in Rome
that their constitutional law was divided between two spheres, the res divina and the res publica. Thru St. Augustine, the conceptual duality of the
spheres, res divina and res publica
inherent in Roman constitutional law formed the political order of Christendom,
i.e. Throne and Altar: Rome
“Two there are, august emperor, by which this world is principally ruled: the consecrated authority of bishops and the royal power.” (Mastnak quoting Pope Gelasius I c. 494 A. D., pg 2)
The idea of Church and State formed an integral whole from
Sparta, thru , to Christendom. Rome
The Altar was Roman Catholicism. And here too, not only did Sparta lay the groundwork for Hellenism that created the environment for Christianity’s birth and growth through Plato but also, thru Plato, formed the consciousness, intellectualism and dogma of Roman Catholicism. In his book Plato’s Gift to Christianity, The Gentile Preparation For and The Making of The Christian Faith, Prof. Ehrlich all but names Plato as the founder of Christianity. Cochrane observes that there are “…undoubted affinities between Christianity and Platonism.” (pg. 376) As Rome Hellenized (Horace), Christianity in turn Hellenized and itself, in turn, took up Roman clothing accoutrements, laws, titles and customs thus creating Roman Catholicism.
Christendom was a Catholic theocracy, and the English Anglican divine, W. R. Inge, writes that
“If we had to choose one man as the founder of Catholicism as a theocratic system, we should have to name neither Augustine nor St. Paul, still less Jesus Christ, but Plato, who in the Laws sketches out with wonderful prescience the condition for such a polity, and the form which it would be compelled to take.” (26)
Nature created the warrior cultures of Europe. They did this by the natural effervescence of environment and racial proclivities (Dumezil’s trifunctionality) and second by reinforcing those proclivities by consciously copying and imitating the Natural Order, the Cosmos that is embedded in Plato’s writing down of Doric philosophy. The Natural Law, found in the Dorian’s creation of philosophy, formed the basis of Western Culture’s religion, ethics, contemplative thought and the order of their societies, consciously and subconsciously.
The Sparta/Rome/Christendom/Christianity continuum was all formed by Nature and God. Western Civilization has a continuous trajectory from classical times to the Throne and Altar of Christendom. And this belies the grandest equivalent between Sparta and Christendom, the telos of these societies was directed toward spiritual objectives—theosis for the Dorians (Wheeler) and salvation for the Christian, thus the authoritarianism of both these societies. On the other hand, the whole modern world is from the imagination and will of mortal, fallen man not only divorced from Nature but from God, all based on hatred. That the historical event of Christendom doesn’t even touch the minds of modern academia and to see all of modern academia miss this so obvious correspondence is scandalous.
If the German National Socialists were channeling the whole of Sparta, it woulda/shoulda recreated Christendom but they were egalitarians, having a great hatred for royalty, aristocracy and the Roman Catholic Church. Hitler was a demagogue. Where else have demagogues appeared? Erik von Kuenhelt-Leddihn traces Nazism to Athens and its democracy where demagogues lived and ruled.†
There were no demagogues in Sparta. Sparta is not only the foundation of the Throne but of the Altar of Christendom as well. Sparta’s true parallel is Christendom.
W. Lindsay Wheeler, November 12, 2014
* Christendom: “In its historical sense, the term usually refers to the medieval and early modern period, during which the Christian world represented a geopolitical power juxtaposed with both paganism and especially the military threat of the Muslim world.” (Wikipedia) For this purpose, from the Edict of Constantine to the French Revolution, where the Roman Catholic Church, Monarchy and the classical republics such as Venice, existed as a unified civilization of Europe.
† “The modern totalitarian parties are all fundamentally ‘democratic’.” (Kuehnelt, 246) In the anakylosis, Socrates and Plato both said that dictatorship comes out of democracy. “It was German liberalism and German bourgeois democracy which had turned National Socialist”. (ibid, 262)
Burnet, J. (1924) Philosophy. In R. W. Livingstone, (Ed.) The Legacy of Greece. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Cochrane, Charles Norris (1940) Christianity and Classical Culture, A Study of Thought and Action From Augustus to Augustine. NY:
Press: 1980 University Press
paperback. Oxford University
Inge, W. R. (1924) Religion. In R. W. Livingstone, (Ed.) The Legacy of
: Clarendon Press. Oxford, England
Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Erik von (1993) Liberty or Equality. Front Royal, Virginia: Christendom Press.
Mastnak, Tomaž (2002) Crusading Peace: Christendom, the Muslim World, and Western Political Order.
Berkeley, CA: Press. University of California
Urquhart, F. (1908). Christendom. In The Catholic Encyclopedia.
Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved November 10, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03699b.htm
Wheeler, W. Lindsay (2011) Macrocosm/Microcosm in Doric Thought. Self-published: academia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/1619468/Macrocosm_Microcosm_in_Doric_Thought_Part_I