By Roderick Beaton and David Ricks
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Extra resources for The Making of Modern Greece (Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London Publications)
Nothing but the plays, which were infused with the Greek spirit, the great interests of the state and of a better humanity (cited in Sheehan 1989, 173). The theatre, well-known den of loose women and illusions – so much so that Rousseau, along with many another Calvinist, and a number of avid republicans, denounced it – the carrier of Geist? Of course the other, ultimately more successful contender was the university philosophical faculties – claimants to provide both Geist and Wissenschaft.
Beauty is not a revolutionary or a wholly democratic value – it presumes a hierarchy of taste and tastemakers, and it is on the whole a value opposed to utilitarian concerns. But it is a secular, and in its application to human achievements, at least a semi-meritocratic, virtue. The idea implicit in Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1954, first published 1793), that every individual should be brought up so as to be able to work on the world freely, as did the ancient Greek sculptors, is not something we should sneer at.
Let us begin with a few caveats. Although the younger generation of scholars who gravitate with great eagerness to the study of nationalism very often appear to believe that the field has begun with their own supervisors, in fact the field is much older and so is the place of Greece within it. 3 It has therefore at least a century-long history. Within this field the serious study of the Greek experience is also much older than what might be believed by readers of articles in Nations and Nationalism and in other journals in the forefront of the field today.