Political Thought: Ancient Greek, Part-1

Political Thought: Ancient Greek, Part-1

Inception of Political Thought

At the early stage of history the world outlook of Ancient Greek people. The Greek inclusive was essentially mythological. Their political and legal views had not yet separated off from this single syncretic outlook. The order of things on the earth was regarded as an integral part of the cosmic order. Their social, political, and legal institutions, relations with the framework. And on the basis of the mythological version of the origin of the cosmos ( cosmology) and the gods (theogony). The mythological history of the world reflecting various cosmogonic and theogonic. Views were not a simple narration of the events that had occurred in the past.

But an obligatory world outlook upheld by custom and tradition is one of the foundations of social life. Myth as a peculiar form of historical knowledge was at the same time. A source of mandatory rules and standards of behavior. That was to be strictly observed at present and in the future.

Model Of Human Relation

Myth served as a model of human relation sanctified by divine authority. In the period when the mythological views of the divine (cosmic, heavenly) origin of social institutions held undivided sway over men’s minds. Myth constituted the basis of a totalitarian ideology unopposed by any rival nations, conceptions, or doctrines. The doubts that arose later as a result of long historical development. Found their expression in the rationalization of myth. Testified to the beginning of its disintegration and collapse.

strictly speaking, political and legal theories emerge only at a comparatively advanced stage of early class societies and states. From the theoretical viewpoint. the rise of political teachings (political theory) is an expression of the general process of the rationalization of human knowledge and the genesis of philosophy.

Developing within the framework of this process. Legal and political views take shape s but one of the aspects of the world outlook is expressed in myth.

Idea Of The Divine

Mythological consciousness is dominated by the idea of the divine, supra-human origin of the existing social order and power. To the Greek mind the cosmos. In contrast to the chaos, was arranged by the gods and owed its orderliness to the divine presence. This idea runs through all myths concerned with the ethical, socio-political, and legal problems of Ancient Greek society.

The existing social relations and institutions were sanctified by one or another myth. Which provided an explanation of their origin, justified their existence, and served. As an ideological basis for attempts to perpetuate the traditional social system. In short, in primitive societies myth performed the legislative function of making and enforcing the norms of social conduct.

Religion- Mythological Consciousness

At the stage of religion. Mythological consciousness law had not yet turned into a body of legal norms of behavior and existed as one of the aspects of private, social, and public life. That was in conformity with tradition and public sentiment. The laws reflected mythological. Religious, ethical, and other views closely knitted together and were generally traced to a divine primary source. They were ascribed either directly to the gods or to their deputies on the earth. ( legendary state founders and lawgivers living rulers). Like the Hindus, Egyptians, and Jews, the Ancient Greeks also believed in the divine origin of their laws.

Since legal order on the earth was conceived as an integral part of cosmic order. All thoughts of violations of traditional rules, rites, and norms by individuals were believed to pose a serious threat to celestial and terrestrial harmony and to be fraught with cosmic catastrophes. This explains, for one, the meticulous ordering of people’s conduct and the existence of various religious taboos. That was to be observed on pain of severe punishments ( both in this and in the other worlds). Since the existing orders and laws were regarded as divine and sacred, their violation was tantamount to challenging the gods.

Process Of The Rationalization

The process of the rationalization of politico-legal views that started in the first millennium B.C. was indicative of the departure from the primeval mythological world outlook and of the collapse of the priest’s monopoly

This rationalization consisted in the secularisation of myth which gradually lost its aura of holiness and its interpretation stopped being the exclusive province of the priesthood. As a result, the broad public becomes increasingly involved in more or less free discussions of matters of the state and law.

In the eighth-sixth centuries B.C. the departure from the initial mythological views and the tendency toward a more rational outlook on the world in general and on the state and law, in particular, were in evidence everywhere, though the intensity of this process, it’s depending on their social and political conditions. This universal tendency was expressed in the teaching of Confucius, Mo-Tzu, Lao-tzu and the legists in China, Buddha in India, Zarathustra in Persia, the sermons of Jewish prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah and others in Palestine, the oral and written works of epic poets, dramatists, sages, sophists and Philosophers in Greece, and jurists in Rome.

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