A Study of History

Here is some information derived from
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee.

Titles of the
Parts and Chapters

The 1961 revision of Toynbee’s list of civilizations
Table of Toynbee’s 1961 “full-blown, independent” civilizations
The evolution (1934–1954–1961) of Toynbee’s List of Civilizations
Table of Toynbee’s original, 1934, civilizations
Table: Successive Occurrences of the War-and-Peace Cycle in Modern and post-Modern Western History, 1494–1945

Some excerpts:
16.2.0: Adjustments, Revolutions and Enormities
16.2.3: [Globalization I]
16.2.11: The Impact of Civilization on the Division of Labor
16.6: The Suicidalness of Militarism
18.5: External Proletariats of the Western World
21: The Rhythm of Disintegration
22: Standardization through Disintegration
29.2: The Accumulation of Pressure (“Barbarians at the gates”)
31.2.a.vii: Characteristics of the Encounters between the Modern West and its Contemporaries
32.1: Concatenations of Encounters (East-West back and forth)
36.1.c,d,f: ‘Balance of Power’ and examples of cycles and rhythms
36.1.c: Table of Modern Western Wars
40: [On the Western civilization’s expectation of life]

The Parts of
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee

  1. Introduction
  2. The Geneses of Civilizations
  3. The Growths of Civilizations
  4. The Breakdowns of Civilizations
  5. The Disintegrations of Civilizations
  6. Universal States
  7. Universal Churches
  8. Heroic Ages
  9. Contacts between Civilizations in Space
  10. Contacts between Civilizations in Time
  11. Law and Freedom in History
  12. The Prospects of the Western Civilization
  13. Conclusion

[Parts I–III were published in 1934;
parts IV and V in 1939;
parts VI–XIII in 1954.
Somervell’s abridgment of parts I–V was published in 1946;
his abridgment of parts VI–XIII in 1957.]

The Parts and Chapters of
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee

    1. The Unit of Historical Study
    2. The Comparative Study of Civilizations
    3. The Comparability of Societies
    1. The Problem and how not to solve it
    2. Challenge and Response
    3. The Virtues of Adversity
    4. The Challenge of the Environment
    5. The Golden Mean
    1. The Arrested Civilizations
    2. The Nature of the Growth of Civilizations
    3. An Analysis of Growth
    4. Differentiation through Growth
    1. The Nature of the Problem
    2. Deterministic Solutions
    3. Loss of Command over the Environment
    4. Failure of Self-Determination
    1. The Nature of Disintegration
    2. Schism in the Body Social
    3. Schism in the Soul
    4. The Relation between Disintegrating Societies and Individuals
    5. The Rhythm of Disintegration
    6. Standardization through Disintegration
    1. Ends or Means?
    2. The Image of Immortality
    3. Sic Vos Non Vobis
    1. The Relations between Universal Churches and Civilizations
    2. The Role of Civilizations in the Lives of Churches
    3. The Challenge of Militancy on Earth
    1. The Course of the Tragedy
    1. An Expansion of the Field of Study
    2. A Survey of Encounters between Contemporary Civilizations
    3. The Drama of Encounters between Civilizations
    4. The Consequences of Encounters between Civilizations
    1. A Survey of Renaissances
    1. The Problem
    2. The Amenability of Human Affairs to ‘Laws of Nature’
    3. The Recalcitrance of Human Nature to ‘Laws of Nature’
    4. The Law of God
    1. The Need for This Inquiry
    2. The Inconclusiveness of a priori Answers
    3. The Testimony of the Histories of the Civilizations
    4. Technology, War, Government
    5. Technology, Class-Conflict, and Employment
    1. How This Book Came to be Written

(To be precise, the above are the titles of the Parts and Chapters
of the main body, Volumes I–X, of A Study.)

The list of civilizations in Part I of A Study of History
was compiled circa 1930 (Parts I–III were published in 1934).
In Chapter XVIII, “A Re-Survey of Civilizations,”
of Volume XII, Reconsiderations, of A Study, published in 1961,
Toynbee took advantage of
the knowledge developed in the intervening thirty years,
the criticism that he had received, and his own second thoughts
to revise his list of civilizations.

As Reconsiderations seems unfortunately to be out of print,
here is that revised list, as it appears on pages 558–61.
Civilizations that are still alive
(according to (my reading of) the chart on page 559)
are shown in bold.

List of Civilizations (1961 revision)
from Reconsiderations by Arnold J. Toynbee

I. Full-blown Civilizations

  1. Independent Civilizations

    Unrelated to Others
    Middle American

    Unaffiliated to Others

    Affiliated to Others (first batch)
    Syriac (to Sumero-Akkadian, Egyptiac, Aegean, and Hittite)
    Hellenic (to Aegean)
    Indic (to Indus)

    Affiliated to Others (second batch)
    Orthodox Christian(to both Syriac and Hellenic)

  2. Satellite Civilizations

    Mississippian(of Middle American)
    North Andean(of Andean)
    South Andean
    ? Elamite (of Sumero-Akkadian)
    Hittite (of Sumero-Akkadian)
    ? Uratian (of Sumero-Akkadian)
    Iranian (first of Sumero-Akkadian, then of Syriac)
    Korean(of Sinic)
    ? Italic (of Hellenic)
    South-East Asian (first of Indic, then, in Indonesia and Malaya only,
    of Islamic)
    Tibetan (of Indic)
    Russian (first of Orthodox Christian, then of Western)

II. Abortive Civilizations

First Syriac (eclipsed by Egyptiac)
Nestorian Christian (eclipsed by Islamic)
Monophysite Christian (eclipsed by Islamic)
Far Western Christian (eclipsed by Western)
Scandanavian (eclipsed by Western)
Medieval Western City-State Cosmos (eclipsed by Modern Western)

Thus, according to Toynbee, there have been
thirteen full-blown, independent civilizations,
two exclusively in the New World,
eleven originating in the Old World;
five are still alive today.

For a comparison of Toynbee’s list of current civilizations
to the list of Samuel Huntington (in The Clash of Civilizations),
click here.

“Full-blown, Independent” Civilizations (Toynbee’s 1961 revision)
First Second Third
3000? bce – 100 ce
1400 bce – 700 ce
700 ce

400 ce

Orthodox Christian
400 ce
2800? bce – 300 ce
2500? bce – 1100 bce

1400 bce – 700 ce
2600? bce – 1300 bce
1600 bce
1300? bce
Middle American
0? ce – 1500 ce
0? ce – 1500 ce

Toynbee’s 1934 list, at the end of chapter II,
contained nineteen civilizations (or societies, as he sometimes called them).
The Babylonic, Hindu, and Far Eastern societies in the 1934 list
he later decided were merely late phases
of the Sumero-Akkadian, Indic, and Sinic civilizations respectively;
the Mexic, Yucatec and Mayan societies
were lumped together into the Middle American;
the Iranic and Arabic Muslim societies were combined into the Islamic;
and finally
he demoted the Hittite society into merely a satellite of the Sumero-Akkadian
while he promoted the Indus River culture, preceding the Indic,
into the full-blown Indus civilization.
(This is all discussed in Volume XII, Reconsiderations,
Chapter XVIII, paragraph 9.)
In 1934 he toyed with the idea of splitting the Orthodox Christian Society
into an Orthodox-Byzantine and an Orthodox-Russian Society,
and the Far Eastern into a Chinese and a Korean-Japanese Society,
giving twenty-one civilizations in all
(the numbers of civilizations after the slashes, for 1934 and 1954,
reflect this division).
In the 1961 revision he handled this
by making Russia, Korea and Japan all “satellites” of their main civilizations
(for the full list, click here).
Finally, he gave yet another variant in his volumes published in 1954.
In Chapter XXXI, Section 1 he adds to the list of twenty-one civilizations
the Indus one, preceding the Indic, and a Shang one, preceding the Sinic,
yielding twenty-three in all.
In the 1961 list he retained the Indus but dropped the Shang.

Evolution of Toynbee’s List of Civilizations
# of Civs.
Sumeric Sumero-
Minoan Aegean
Indic Indic
Shang Sinic
Far Eastern (Chinese+Japanese?)
Orthodox Christian (Byzantine+Russian?)
Iranic Muslim Islamic
Arabic Muslim
Mayan Middle

Toynbee’s Original (1934) Civilizations
First Second Third
Minoan Hellenic Western
Syriac Iranic
Sumeric Babylonic
Indic Hindu
Sinic Far Eastern
Mayan Mexic

Here are some excerpts from Somervell’s abridgment of A Study of History.

Toynbee makes extensive use of italics;
the use of italics in this HTML document is
a mixture of Toynbee’s and the creator of this HTML document.
On the other hand,
underlining and emboldening
represent emphasis added by the creator of this HTML document.

Part I

Chapter I
The Unit of Historical Study

[Only two of the 31 paragraphs in this introductory chapter are reproduced here.]

Let us call this society, whose spatial limits we have been studying,
Western Christendom;
and, as soon as we bring our mental image of it into focus
by finding a name for it,
the images and names of its counterparts in the contemporary world
come into focus side by side with it,
especially if we keep our attention fixed upon the cultural plane.
On this plane we can distinguish unmistakably
the presence in the world today of
at least four other living societies of the same species as ours:
  1. an Orthodox Christian Society in South-Eastern Europe and Russia;
  2. an Islamic Society with its focus in the arid zone
    which stretches diagonally across North Africa and the Middle East
    from the Atlantic to the outer face of the Great Wall of China;
  3. a Hindu Society in the tropical subcontinent of India;
  4. a Far-Eastern Society in the subtropical and temperate regions
    between the arid zone and the Pacific.

On closer inspection we can also discern two sets of
what appear to be fossilized relics of similar societies now extinct,

[The societies of which the above “fossils” are “relics”
are specified in Chapter II.]

Chapter II
The Comparative Study of Civilizations

[An intermediate paragraph in the chapter, on pages 22–3.]

The information so far obtained [in Chapter II]
by investigating the affiliations of the living societies
will enable us to sort out the ‘fossils’
and assign them to the extinct societies to which they originally belonged.
The Jews and Parsees are fossils of the Syriac Society
as it was before the Hellenic intrusion upon the Syriac World.
The Monophysite and Nestorian Christians
are relics of the Syriac Society against the Hellenic intrusion,
successive and alternative protests against the Hellenization
of what had been in origin a Syriac religion.
The Jains of India and the Hinayanian Buddhists
of Ceylon, Burma, Siam, and Cambodia
are fossils of the Indic Society of the period of the Mauryan Empire,
before the Hellenic intrusion upon the Indic World.
The Lamaistic Mahayanian Buddhists of Tibet and Mongolia
correspond to the Nestorians.
They represent an unsuccessful reaction
against the metamorphosis of Mahayanian Buddhism
from its original Indic form to the later shape—
moulded by Hellenic and Syriac influences—
in which it was eventually adopted by the Sinic Society.

[The last paragraph of the chapter.]

Our researches have thus yielded us nineteen societies,
most of them related as parent or offspring to one or more of the others:
namely, the
  1. Western,
  2. Orthodox,
  3. Iranic,
  4. Arabic (these last two being now united in the Islamic),
  5. Hindu,
  6. Far Eastern,
  7. Hellenic,
  8. Syriac,
  9. Indic,
  10. Sinic,
  11. Minoan,
  12. Sumeric,
  13. Hittite,
  14. Babylonic,
  15. Egyptiac,
  16. Andean,
  17. Mexic,
  18. Yucatec, and
  19. Mayan.
We have expressed doubt as to
the separate existence of the Babylonic apart from the Sumeric,
and some of the other pairs might perhaps be regarded as
single societies with an ‘epilogue’ on the Egyptiac analogy.
But we will respect their individualities
until we find good reason for doing otherwise.
Indeed it is probably desirable to divide
the Orthodox Christian Society into
an Orthodox-Byzantine and
an Orthodox-Russian Society, and
the Far Eastern into
a Chinese and
a Korean-Japanese Society.
This would raise our numbers to twenty-one.

Part IV
The Breakdowns of Civilizations

Chapter XIII
The Nature of the Problem

Of the twenty-six civilizations we have identified
(including the arrested civilizations in the list)
sixteen are dead
and nine of the remaining ten—
all, in fact, except our own—
are shown to have already broken down.
The nature of a breakdown can be summed up in three points:
a failure of creative power in the creative minority,
which henceforth becomes a merely ‘dominant’ minority;
an answering withdrawal of allegiance and mimesis
on the part of the majority;
a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole.

The problem of the breakdowns of civilizations
is more obvious than the problem of their growths.
Indeed it is almost as obvious as the problem of their geneses.
The geneses of civilizations call for explanation in view of
the mere fact that this species has come into existence
and that we are able to enumerate twenty-six representatives of it—
including in that number the five arrested civilizations
[Polynesians, Eskimos, Nomads, Osmanlis, and Spartans]
and ignoring the abortive civilizations.
We may now go on to observe that, of these twenty-six,
no less than sixteen are now dead and buried.
The ten survivors are
own Western Society,
the main body of Orthodox Christendom in the Near East,
its offshoot in Russia,
the Islamic Society,
the Hindu Society,
the main body of the Far Eastern Society in China,
its offshoot in Japan,
and the three arrested civilizations of
the Polynesians, the Eskimos, and the Nomads.
If we look more closely at these ten survivors we observe that
the Polynesian and Nomad societies are now in their last agonies
and that
seven out of the eight others are all, in different degrees,
under threat of either annihilation or assimilation by the eighth,
namely our own civilization of the West.
Moreover, no less than six out of these seven
(the exception being the Eskimo civilization,
whose growth was arrested in infancy)
bear marks of having already broken down and gone into disintegration.

[That may have been a widespread view in the 1930s,
but the more current view is rather different—
see, e.g., Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations, Chapter 4.]

One of the most conspicuous marks of disintegration,
as we have already noticed,
is a phenomenon in the last stage but one of the decline and fall,
when a disintegrating civilization purchases a reprieve
by submitting to forcible political unification in a universal state.
For a Western student the classic example is the Roman Empire into which the Hellenic Society was forcibly gathered up in the penultimate chapter of its history.
If we now glance at each of the living civilizations, other than our own,
we notice that the main body of Orthodox Christendom
has already been through a universal state in the shape of the Ottoman Empire;
that the offshoot of Orthodox Christendom in Russia
entered into a universal state toward the end of the fifteenth century,
after the political unification of Muscovy and Novgorod;
and that the Hindu Civilization
has had its universal state in the Mughal Empire
and its successor, the British Raj;
the main body of the Far Eastern Civilization in the Mongol Empire and its resuscitation at the hands of the Manchus;
and the Japanese offshoot of the Far Eastern Civilization
in the shape of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
As for the Islamic Society, we may perhaps discern [circa 1950]
an ideological premonition of a universal state in the Pan-Islamic Movement.

If we accept this phenomenon of a universal state as a token of decline,
we shall conclude that all the six non-Western civilizations alive today
had broken down internally
before they were broken in upon
by the impact of the Western Civilization from outside.
At a later stage of this Study [15.2] we shall find reason for believing that
a civilization which has become the victim of a successful intrusion
has already in fact broken down internally
and is no longer in a state of growth.
For our present purpose it is enough to observe that
of the living civilizations
every one has already broken down and is in process of disintegration
except our own.

And what of our Western Civilization>
It has manifestly not yet reached the stage of a universal state.
But we found, in an earlier chapter,
that the universal state is not the first stage in disintegration
any more than it is the last.
It is followed by what we have called an ‘interregnum’,
and preceded by what we have called a ‘time of troubles’,
which seems usually to occupy several centuries;
and if we in our generation were to permit ourselves to judge
by the purely subjective criterion of our own feeling about our own age,
the best judges would probably declare that
our own ‘time of troubles’ had undoubtedly descended upon us.
But let us leave this question open for the present.

We have already defined the nature of these breakdowns of civilizations.
They are failures in an audacious attempt to ascend
from the level of a primitive humanity
to the height of some superhuman kind of living,
and we have described the casualties in this great enterprise
by the use of various similes.
We have, for example, compared them to climbers who fall to their death,
or to an ignominious state of life-in-death,
upon the ledge from which they have last started,
before completing the ‘pitch’ and reaching a new resting-place on the ledge above.
We have also described the nature of these breakdowns in non-material terms as
a loss of creative power in the souls of creative individuals or minorities,
a loss which divests them of their magic power
to influence the souls of the uncreative masses.
Where there is no creation there is no mimesis.
The piper who has lost his cunning can no longer conjure the feet of the multitude into a dance;
and if, in rage and panic,
he now attempts to convert himself into a drill-sergeant or a slave-drive,
and to coerce by physical force
a people that he can now no longer lead by his old magnetic charm,
then all the more surely and swiftly he defeats his own intention;
for the followers
who had merely flagged and fallen out of step as the heavenly music died away
will be stung by a touch of the whip into active rebellion.

We have seen, in fact, that when, in the history of any society,
a creative minority degenerates into a dominant minority
which attempts to retain by force a position that it has ceased to merit,
this change in the character of the ruling element provokes, on the other side,
the secession of a proletariat which no longer admires and imitates its rulers
and revolts against its servitude.
We have also seen that this proletariat, when it asserts itself,
is divided from the outset into two distinct parts.
There is an internal proletariat, prostrate and recalcitrant,
and an external proletariat beyond the frontiers
who now violently resist incorporation.

On this showing,
the nature of the breakdowns of civilizations can be summed up in three points:
a failure of creative power in the minority,
an answering withdrawal of mimesis on the part of the majority, and
a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole.
With this picture of the nature of these breakdowns in our mind,
we may now proceed to inquire into their cause:
an inquiry which will occupy all the rest of this part of our Study.

Chapter XVI
Failure of Self-Determination

Section 16.1
The Mechanicalness of Mimesis

Our inquiry into the cause of the breakdowns of civilizations
has led us, so far,
to a succession of negative conclusions.
We have found out that these breakdowns
are not acts of God—at any rate in the sense that lawyers attach to that phrase;
nor are they vain repetitions of senseless laws of Nature.
We have also found that
we cannot attribute them to a loss of command over the environment,
physical or human;
they are due neither to failures in industrial or artistic techniques
nor to homicidal assaults from alien adversaries.
In successively rejecting these untenable explanations
we have not arrived at the object of our search;
but the last of the fallacies we have just cited has incidentally given us a clue.
In demonstrating that the broken-down civilizations
have not met their death from an assassin’s hand
we have found no reason to dispute the allegation
that they have been victims of violence,
and in almost every instance we have been led,
by the logical process of exhaustion,
to return a verdict of suicide.
Our best hope of making some positive progress in our inquiry
is to follow up this clue;
and there is one hopeful feature in our verdict which we can observe at once.
There is nothing original about it.

The conclusion at which we have arrived at the end of a rather laborious search
has been divined with sure intuition by a modern Western poet:
In tragic life, God wot,
No villain need be! Passions spin the plot:
We are betrayed by what is false within.
This flash of insight (from Meredith’s Love’s Grave) was not a new discovery.
We can find it in earlier and higher authorities.
It reveals itself in the last lines of Shakespeare’s King John:
This England never did, nor never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
…Nought shall make us rue
If England to itself do rest but true.


Section 16.2
New Wine in Old Bottles

Subsection 16.2.0
Adjustments, Revolutions and Enormities

One source of disharmony
between the institutions of which a society is composed is
the introduction of new social forces—aptitudes or emotions or ideas—
which the existing set of institutions was not originally designed to carry.
The destructive effect of this incongruous juxtaposition of things old and new
is pointed out in one of the most famous of the sayings attributed to Jesus:
‘No man putteth a piece of new cloth into an old garment,
for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment,
and the rent is made worse.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles—
else the bottles break and the wine runneth out and the bottles perish;
but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.’
[Matthew 9:16–17]
In the domestic economy from which this simile is taken
the precept can, of course, be carried out to the letter;
but in the economy of social life
men’s power to order their affairs at will on a rational plan
is narrowly restricted,
since a society is not, like a wineskin or a garment,
the property of a single owner
but is the common ground of many men’s fields of action;
and for that reason the precept,
which is common sense in household economy
and practical wisdom in the life of the spirit,
is a counsel of perfection in social affairs.

Ideally, no doubt,
the introduction of new dynamic forces ought to be accompanied
by a reconstruction of the whole existing set of institutions,
and in any actually growing society
a constant readjustment of the more flagrant anachronisms
is continually going on.
But vis inertiae tends at all times
to keep most parts of the social structure as they are,
in spite of their increasing incongruity
with new social forces constantly coming into action.
In this situation the new forces
are apt to operate in two diametrically opposite ways simultaneously.
On the one hand they perform their creative work
either through new institutions that they have established for themselves
or through old institutions that they have adapted to their purpose;
and in pouring themselves into these harmonious channels
they promote the welfare of society.
At the same time they also enter, indiscriminately,
into any institutions which happen to lie in their path—
as some powerful head of steam which had forced its way into an engine-house
might rush into the works of any old engine that happened to be installed there.

In such an event,
one or other of two alternative disasters is apt to occur.
Either the pressure of the new head of steam blows the old engine to pieces,
or else the old engine somehow manages to hold together
and proceeds to operate in a new manner
that is likely to prove both alarming and destructive.

To translate these parables into terms of social life,
the explosions of the old engines that cannot stand the new pressures—
or the bursting of the old bottles
which cannot stand the fermentation of the new wine—
are the revolutions which sometimes overtake anachronistic institutions.
On the other hand, the baneful performances of the old engines
which have stood the strain of being keyed up
to performances for which they were never intended
are the social enormities
which a ‘die-hard’ institutional anachronism sometimes engenders.

Revolutions may be defined as
retarded, and proportionately violent, acts of mimesis.
The mimetic element is of their essence;
for every revolution
has reference to something that has happened already elsewhere,
and it is always manifest,
when a revolution is studied in its historical setting,
that its outbreak would never have occurred of itself
if it had not been thus evoked by a previous play of external forces.
An obvious example is the French Revolution of a.d. 1789,
which drew its inspiration in part from
the events which had recently occurred in British America
events in which the French Government of the Ancien Régime
had most suicidally assisted—
and in part from the century-old achievement of England
which had been popularized and glorified in France
by two generations of philosophes from Montesquieu onwards.

The element of retardation is likewise of the essence of revolutions,
and accounts for the violence which is their most prominent feature.
Revolutions are violent because they are
the belated triumphs of powerful new social forces
over tenacious old institutions
which have been temporarily thwarting and cramping
these new expressions of life.
The longer the obstruction holds out
the greater becomes the pressure of the force whose outlet is being obstructed;
and, the greater the pressure, the more violent the explosion
in which the imprisoned force ultimately breaks through.

As for the social enormities that are the alternative to revolutions,
they may be defined as
the penalties which a society has to pay
when the act of mimesis, which ought to have brought
an old institution into harmony with a new social force,
is not simply retarded but is frustrated altogether.

It is evident, then, that,
whenever the existing institutional structure of a society
is challenged by a new social force,
three alternative outcomes are possible:
either a harmonious adjustment of structure to force,
or a revolution (which is a delayed and discordant adjustment)
or an enormity.
[Under the first outcome we might include this further possibility:
the “social force” is ignored or resisted by the reigning social institutions,
and abates without further ado.]

It is also evident that each and all of these three alternatives
may be realized in different sections of the same society—
in different national states, for example,
if that is the manner in which the particular society is articulated.
  • harmonious adjustments predominate, the society will continue to grow;
  • revolutions, its growth will become increasingly hazardous;
  • enormities, we may diagnose a breakdown.
A series of examples will illustrate the formulae that we have just presented.

[Toynbee gives twelve examples, spread over about thirty pages:]
  1. The Impact of Industrialism on Slavery
  2. The Impact of Democracy and Industrialism on War
  3. The Impact of Democracy and Industrialism on Parochial Sovereignty
  4. The Impact of Industrialism on Private Property
  5. The Impact of Democracy on Education
  6. The Impact of Italian Efficiency on Transalpine Governments
  7. The Impact of the Solonian Revolution on the Hellenic City-States
  8. The Impact of Parochialism on the Western Christian Church
  9. The Impact of the Sense of Unity on Religion
  10. The Impact of Religion on Caste
  11. The Impact of Civilization on the Division of Labor
  12. The Impact of Civilization on Mimesis
[In the following, all are omitted, except for a fragment of the third, and the eleventh.]

Subsection 16.2.3
The Impact of Democracy and Industrialism on Parochial Sovereignty

[Paragraphs 1–11 are omitted.]

[Richard] Cobden and his followers had made an immense miscalculation.
They had looked forward
to seeing the peoples and the states of the World drawn into a social unity
by the new and unprecedentedly close-knit web of world-wide economic relations
which was being woven blindly, from a British node,
by the youthful energies of Industrialism.
It would be an injustice to the Cobdenites
to dismiss the Victorian British free-trade movement
as simply a masterpiece of enlightened self-interest.
The movement was also the expression of a moral idea
and of a constructive international policy;
its worthiest exponents aimed at something more than making
Great Britain the mistress of the world market.
They also hoped to promote the gradual evolution of
a political world order in which
the new economic world order could thrive;
to create a political atmosphere in which
a world-wide exchange of goods and services
could be carried on in peace and security—
ever increasing in security and bringing with it at each stage
a rise in the standard of living for the whole of mankind.

Cobden’s miscalculation lay in the fact that
he failed to forecast the effect of the impact of Democracy and Industrialism
on the rivalries of parochial states.
He assumed that these giants would lie quiet in the nineteenth century
as they had done in the eighteenth
until the human spiders who were now spinning a world-wide industrial web
[interesting phrase from the 1930s]
had had time to enmesh them all in their gossamer bonds.
He relied upon the unifying and pacifying effects
which it was in the nature of Democracy and Industrialism to produce
in their native and untrammeled manifestations,
in which Democracy would stand for fraternity
and Industrialism for co-operation.
He did not reckon with the possibility that these same forces,
by forcing their new ‘heads of steam’
into the old engines of the parochial states,
would make for disruption and world anarchy.
He did not recall that the gospel of fraternity
preached by the spokesmen of the French Revolution
had led to the first of the great modern wars of Nationalism;
or rather he assumed that this would prove to have been
not only the first but also the last of its kind.
He did not realize that,
if the narrow mercantile oligarchies of the eighteenth century
had been able to set in motion wars
for the furtherance of the comparatively unimportant luxury trades
which constituted the international commerce of their day,
then, a fortiori,
the democratized nations
would fight one another à outrance for economic objects
in an age when
the Industrial Revolution had transformed international commerce
from an exchange of luxuries into an exchange of the necessities of life.

In fine,
the Manchester School misunderstood human nature.
They did not understand that
even an economic world order
cannot be built on merely economic foundations.
In spite of their genuine idealism,
they did not realize that
‘Man shall not live by bread alone’.
This fatal mistake was not made by
Gregory the Great and the other founders of Western Christendom,
from whom the idealism of Victorian England was ultimately derived.
These men, whole-heartedly dedicated to a supra-mundane cause,
had not consciously attempted to found a world order.
Their worldly aim had been limited to the more modest material ambition
of keeping the survivors of a shipwrecked society alive.
The economic edifice raised, as a burdensome and thankless necessity,
by Gregory and his peers was avowedly a makeshift;
yet, in raising it,
they took care to build on a religious rock and not on economic sands;
and, thanks to their labors,
the structure of the Western Society rested on a solid religious foundation
and grew, in less than fourteen centuries,
from its modest beginnings in one out-of-the-way corner,
into the ubiquitous Great Society of our own day.
If a solid religious basis
was required for Gregory’s unpretentious economic building,
it seems unlikely, on this showing,
that the vaster structure of a world order,
which it is our task to build today,
can ever be securely based upon
the rubble foundations of mere economic interests.

Subsection 16.2.11
The Impact of Civilization on the Division of Labor

[This topic is part of the “soft” side of history,
verging on sociology, even in places cultural criticism (vintage 1939).]

We have already observed that the division of labor
is not entirely unknown in primitive societies,
and it is illustrated by the specialization of
smiths, bards, priests, medicine-men and the like.
But the impact of civilization on the division of labor
tends in a general way to accentuate the division to a degree at which
it threatens not merely to bring in diminishing social returns
but to become actually anti-social in its working;
and this effect is produced
in the lives of the creative minority and the uncreative majority alike.
The creators are pushed into esotericism
and the rank and file into lopsidedness.

Esotericism is a symptom of failure in the careers of creative individuals,
and it may be described as
an accentuation of the preliminary movement
in the rhythm of Withdrawal-and-Return,
resulting in a failure to complete the process.
The Greeks censured those who failed in this way
by applying to them the word ίδιώτης.
The ίδιώτης, in fifth-century Greek usage was a superior personality
who committed the social offence of living by and for himself
instead of putting his gifts at the service of the common weal;
and the light in which such behavior was regarded in Periclean Athens
is illustrated by the fact that, in our modern vernaculars,
the derivative of this Greek word has come to mean an imbecile.
But the real ίδιώται of our modern Western Society
are not to be found in asylums.
One group of them,
homo sapiens specialized and degraded into homo economicus,
supplies the Gradgrinds and Bounderbys of Dickensian satire.
Another group believes itself to be at the opposite pole
and to be numbered among the children of light,
but in fact it falls under the same condemnation;
these are the intellectual and aesthetic snobs and high-brows
who believe that their art is ‘for art’s sake’,
the Bunthornes of Gilbertian satire.
Perhaps the difference of date between Dickens and Gilbert
exemplifies the fact that
the former group was the more conspicuous in Early Victorian England
and the latter group in the Late Victorian Age.
They are at opposite poles,
but it has been remarked of the North and South Poles of our planet that,
though they are far apart,
they suffer from the same climatic defects.

It remains to consider what we have called lopsidedness,
the effect of the impact of civilization
on the division of labor in the life of the uncreative majority.

The social problem that awaits the creator when he returns from his withdrawal
into a renewed communion with the mass of his fellow is
the problem of raising the average level of a number of ordinary human souls
to the higher level that has been attained by the creator himself;
and as soon as he grapples with this task
he is confronted with the fact that
most of the rank and file are unable to live on this higher level
with all their hearts and wills and souls and strength.
In this situation he may be tempted to try a short cut
and resort to the device of
raising some single faculty to the higher level
without bothering about the whole personality.
This means, ex hypothesi,
the forcing of a human being into a lopsided development.
Such results are most easily obtainable on the plane of a mechanical technique,
since, of all the elements in a culture,
its mechanical aptitudes are easiest to isolate and to communicate.
It is not difficult to make an efficient mechanic out of a person
whose soul remains in all other departments primitive and barbarous.
But other faculties can be specialized and hypertrophied in the same way.
Matthew Arnold’s criticism, in Culture and Anarchy (1869),
of the devout middle-class Nonconformist English Philistine
in his ‘Hebraizing backwater’ was that
he had specialized in what he wrongly believed to be the Christian Religion
while neglecting the other—the ‘Hellenic’—virtues
which go to the making of a well-balanced personality.

We have come across this lopsidedness already
in our examination of the response to the challenge of penalization
made by penalized minorities.
We have observed that
the tyrannical exclusion of these minorities from full citizenship
has stimulated them to prosper and excel in the activities left open to them;
and we have marveled at and admired a whole gallery of tours de force
in which these minorities stand out as
the very incarnation of the invincibility of human nature.
The heart of the tragedy lies in the fact that
a penalization which stimulates a penalized minority to a heroic response
is apt to warp its human nature as well.
And what is true of these socially penalized minorities
is evidently likewise true of
those technologically specialized majorities with which we are now concerned.
This is a point to be borne in mind when we observe
the ever-increasing intrusion of technological studies
upon what used to be a liberal, if too unpractical, curriculum of education.

The fifth-century Greeks had a word for this lopsidedness: βαναυσία.
The βαναυσος was a person whose activity was specialized,
through a concentration on some particular technique,
at the expense of his all-round development as a social animal.
The kind of technique
which was usually in people’s minds when they used the term
was some manual or mechanical trade pursued for private profit.
But the Hellenic contempt for βαναυσία went farther than this,
and implanted in Hellenic minds a contempt for professionalism of all kinds.
The Spartan concentration on military technique was, for example,
βαναυσία incarnate.
Even a great statesman and savior of his country
could not escape the reproach
if he lacked an all-round appreciation of the art of life.
‘In refined and cultivated society
Themistocles used to be girded at by people of so-called liberal education
[for his lack of accomplishments]
and used to be driven into making the rather cheap defense
that he certainly could do nothing with a musical instrument,
but that,
if you were to put into his hands a country that was small and obscure,
he knew how to turn it into a great country and a famous one.’
[Plutarch: Life of Themistocles, ch. ii.]
Against this, perhaps rather mild, example of βαναυσία
we may set a picture of Vienna
in the golden age of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven,
where it is recorded that a Hapsburg Emperor and his Chancellor
were both accustomed, in their hours of relaxation,
to take part in the performance of string quartets.

This Hellenic sensitiveness to the dangers of βαναυσία
has also expressed itself in the institutions of other societies.
For example, the social function of the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday
is to ensure that,
for one day out of seven,
a creature who has been cramped and blinkered
by the professional specialization
through which he has been earning his living for six days
shall on the seventh
remember his Creator and live the life of an integral human soul.
Again, it is no accident that, in England,
organized games and other sports
should have grown in popularity with the rise of Industrialism;
for such sport is a conscious attempt
to counterbalance the soul-destroying specialization
which the division of labor under Industrialism entails.

Unfortunately, this attempt to adjust life to Industrialism through sport
has been has been partially defeated because
the spirit and rhythm of Industrialism have invaded and infected sport itself.
In the Western World of today professional athletes,
more narrowly specialized and more extravagantly paid
than any industrial technicians,
now provide horrifying examples of βαναυσία at its acme.
The writer of this Study recalls two football grounds he visited
on the campuses of two colleges in the United States.
One of them was flood-lighted in order that football players
might be manufactured by night as well as by day, in continuous shifts.
The other was roofed over in order that practice might go on,
whatever the weather.
On both these American grounds I found that the players
were no more than an infinitesimal fraction of the total student body;
and I was also told that
these boys looked forward to the ordeal of playing in a match
with much the same apprehension as their elder brothers had felt
when they went into the trenches in 1918.
In truth, this Anglo-Saxon football was not a game at all.

A corresponding development
can be discerned in the history of the Hellenic World,
where the aristocratic amateurs
whose athletic victories are celebrated in Pindar’s Odes
were replaced by teams of professionals,
while the shows that were purveyed, in the post-Alexandrine Age,
from Parthia to Spain by the Διονύσου Τεχνϊται (‘United Artists Ltd.’)
were as different from the performances in Dionysus’s own theater at Athens
as a music-hall revue is different from a medieval mystery play.

It is no wonder that,
when social enormities defy adjustment in this baffling fashion,
philosophers should dream of
revolutionary plans for sweeping the enormities away.
Plato, writing in the first generation after the Hellenic breakdown,
seeks to cut the root of βαναυσία
by planting his Utopia in an inland region
with no economic activity except subsistence farming.
Thomas Jefferson,
the fountain-head of an American idealism that has gone sadly astray,
dreams the same dream at the opening of the nineteenth century.
‘Were I to indulge my own theory’,  he writes,
‘I should wish the States to practice neither commerce nor navigation
but to stand with regard to Europe precisely on the footing of China’
[Quoted by Woodward, W. E.: A New American History, p. 260.]
(who kept her ports closed to European trade
until forced to open them by British arms in 1840).
Again, Samuel Butler imagines his Erewhonians
deliberately and systematically destroying their machines
as the only alternative to being enslaved by them.

Section 16.6
The Suicidalness of Militarism

Subsection 16.6.0
Κόρος, Ϋβρις, Άτη

Having concluded our survey [in sections 3–5]
of ‘resting on one’s oars’,
which is the passive way of succumbing to the nemesis of creativity,
we may now go on to examine the active aberration
which is described in the three Greek words
κόρος, ΰβρις, άτη.

These words have a subjective as well as an objective connotation.
  • κόρος means ‘surfeit’,
  • ΰβρις means ‘outrageous behavior’, and
  • άτη means ‘disaster’.
  • κόρος means the psychological condition of being spoilt by success;
  • ΰβρις means the consequent loss of mental and moral balance
    [“ΰβρις” is the root of the English word “hubris”, as in Imperial Hubris]; and
  • άτη means the blind headstrong ungovernable impulse
    which sweeps an unbalanced soul into attempting the impossible.

This active psychological catastrophe in three acts was the commonest theme—
if we may judge by the handful of extant masterpieces—
in the fifth-century Athenian tragic drama.
It is the story of
Agamemnon in Aeschylus‘s play of that name,
Xerxes in his Persae;
Ajax in Sophoclesplay of that name,
Oedipus in his Oedipus Tyrannus,
Creon in his Antigone; and
Pentheus in EuripidesBacchae.

In Platonic language,

‘If one sins against the laws of proportion
and gives something too big
to something too small to carry it—
too big sails to too small a ship,
[too big a house to too small an income,]
too big meals to too small a body,
too big powers to too small a soul—
the result is bound to be a complete upset.
In an outburst of ΰβρις the over-fed body will rush into sickness [e.g.],
while the jack-in-office will rush into the unrighteousness
which ΰβρις always breeds.’
[Plato, Laws: 691 c.; cf. the Golden Mean]

In order to bring out the difference between
the passive and the active methods of courting destruction,
let us begin our survey of κόρος—ΰβρις—άτη in the military field,
with which we have just brought our survey of ‘resting on one’s oars’
to a close.

[Toynbee gives several examples, ranging from
eleventh-century BCE Goliath to
seventh-century BCE Assyria to
eighth-century CE Charlemagne to
fourteenth-century CE Tamerlane.
His examples avoid modern Europe;
if he were writing after 1945
(this part of his work was actually published in 1939,
shortly before the beginning of World War II)
he might well have included the German experience in World War II.
In the twenty-first century,
some might cite America’s involvement in Iraq as an example.

The section concludes:]

The military field, which we have been surveying in this section,
is illuminating for the study of the fatal chain of κόρος—ΰβρις—άτη
because military skill and prowess are edged tools
which are apt to inflict fatal injuries on those who misuse them.
But what is palpably true of military action
is also true of other human activities in less hazardous fields
where the train of gunpowder which leads from κόρος through ΰβρις to άτη
is not so explosive.
Whatever the human faculty or the sphere of its exercise may be,
the presumption that,
because a faculty has proved equal to the accomplishment of a limited task
within its proper field,
it may therefore be counted on to produce some inordinate effect
in a different set of circumstances,
is never anything but an intellectual and moral aberration
and never leads to anything but certain disaster.

Part V
The Disintegrations of Civilizations

Chapter XVIII
Schism in the Body Social

Section 18.5
External Proletariats of the Western World

Their history is reviewed and
violent and gentle responses of the external proletariats are illustrated.
Owing to the overwhelming material efficiency of the modern Western Society,
barbarism of the historic type has almost disappeared.
In two of its remaining strongholds, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia,
native rulers are protecting themselves
by adopting imitations of Western culture.
[Recall Toynbee wrote this part in the late 1930s.]
However, a new and more atrocious barbarism has become rampant
in the ancient centers of Western Christendom itself.
[Referring to German Nazism and Italian Fascism.]

When we come to
the history of the relations
between our own Western World and the primitive societies
which it has encountered,
we can discern an early stage in which,
like Hellenism in its growth-phase,
Western Christendom won converts through the attraction of its charm.
The most signal of these early converts
were the members of the abortive Scandinavian Civilization,
who eventually succumbed—in their native lairs in the far north
and in their distant settlements in Iceland,
as well as in their encampments on Christian ground
in the Danelaw and in Normandy
to the spiritual prowess
of the civilization they had been assailing by force of arms.
The contemporary conversion of the Nomad Magyars and forest-dwelling Poles
was equally spontaneous,
yet this early age of Western expansion is also marked by
violent aggressions far surpassing the occasional subjugations and evictions
of primitive neighbors chargeable to the score of the earlier Hellenes.
We have Charlemagne’s crusades against the Saxons and, two centuries later,
the crusades of the Saxons against the Slavs between the Elbe and the Oder;
and these atrocities were capped, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries,
by the extermination of the Prussians beyond the Vistula
at the hands of the Teutonic Knights.

On the north-western frontier of Christendom
the same story repeats itself.
The first chapter is
the peaceful conversion of the English by a band of Roman missionaries,
but this is followed by a series of turns of the screw
which began with
the decision of the Synod of Whitby in a.d. 664
and culminated in
the armed invasion of Ireland by Henry II of England, with Papal approval,
in 1171.
Nor is this the end of the story.
Habits of ‘frightfulness’,
acquired by the English in their prolonged aggression
against the remnants of the Celtic Fringe
in the Highlands of Scotland and the bogs of Ireland,
were carried across the Atlantic
and practiced at the expense of the North American Indians.

In the expansion
of our Western Civilization over the whole planet in recent centuries
the impetus of the expanding body has been so strong,
and the disparity of resources
between it and its primitive antagonists so extreme,
that the movement has swept on unchecked until it has reached,
not an unstable limes but a terminus in the form of a natural frontier.
In this world-wide Western offensive
against the rear-guard of the primitive societies,
extermination or eviction or subjugation has been the rule
and conversion the exception.
Indeed, we can count on the fingers of one hand
the primitive societies
that our modern Western Society has taken into partnership with itself:
  • the Scottish Highlanders,
    one of those rare enclaves of untamed barbarians
    bequeathed to the modern Western World
    by a medieval Western Christendom;
  • the Maoris of New Zealand; and
  • the Araucanians
    in the barbarian hinterland of the Chilean province
    of the Andean universal state,
    with whom the Spaniards have had to deal
    since the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.

The test case is
the history of the incorporation of the Scottish Highlanders
after the failure of these White barbarians’ last kick against the pricks [ouch!]
in the Jacobite rising of 1745;
for the social gulf between a Dr. Johnson or a Horace Walpole
and the war-bands which carried Prince Charlie to Derby
was probably not much less difficult to bridge
than the gulf between the European settlers in New Zealand or Chile
and the Maoris or Araucanians.
At the present day
the great-great-grandchildren of Prince Charlie’s shaggy warriors
are undoubtedly of one standardized social substance
with the descendants of
those bewigged and powdered Lowlanders and Englishmen
who were the victors in the last round of a struggle
that reached its end barely two hundred years ago;
so much so that the very nature of the struggle
has been transformed out of all recognition by popular mythology.
The Scots have nearly persuaded the English, if not themselves,
that the Highland tartan
which the citizens of Edinburgh in a.d. 1700
regarded very much as the citizens of Boston at the same date
regarded the feathered headgear of an Indian chief—
is the national dress of Scotland;
and Lowland confectioners now sell ‘Edinburgh Rock’ in tartan-covered cartons.

[Although not a strict analogy,
this is somewhat reminiscent of the familiar nickname
of the professional football team in America’s capital:
the ‘Washington Redskins’.]

Such barbarian limites
as are to be found in the Westernized World of our own day
are legacies from
non-Western civilizations not yet completely absorbed
into the Western body social.
Among these,
the North-West Frontier of India is of outstanding interest and importance,
at any rate to the citizens of the particular Western parochial state
that has taken it upon itself to provide a universal state
for the disintegrating Hindu Civilization.
[That would be Great Britain and the British Raj.]

During the Hindu time of troubles (circa a.d. 1175–1575)
this frontier was broken through again and again
by Turkish and Iranian leaders of predatory war-bands.
[See Wikipedia articles
Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent” and
Islamic empires in India”.]

It was sealed for a time by
the establishment in the Hindu World of a universal state
represented by the Mughal Raj.
When the Pax Mogulica prematurely dissolved
at the beginning of the eighteenth century of the Christian Era,
the barbarians who rushed in—
to contend for the possession of the carcass
with the Marāthā protagonists of
a militant Hindu reaction against an alien universal state—
were the East Iranian Rohillas and Afghans;
and when Akbar’s work was re-performed by other alien hands
and the Hindu universal state was re-established in the shape of a British Rāj,
the defense of the North-West Frontier proved to be
by far the heaviest of all the frontier commitments
that the British empire-builders in India had to take over.
Various frontier policies have been tried,
and none of the has proved entirely satisfactory.

The first alternative which the British empire-builders essayed
was to conquer and annex outright
the whole of the East Iranian threshold of the Hindu World
right up to the line along which the Mughal Rāj, at its apogee,
had marched with its own Uzbeg successor-states in the Oxus-Jaxartes Basin
[roughly the area of the present-day state of Uzbekistan,
southeast of the Aral Sea, between it and Afghanistan]

and with the Safawī Empire in Western Iran.
The adventurous reconnaissances which were carried out, from 1831 onwards,
by Alexander Burnes
were followed by the still more hazardous step
of dispatching a British-Indian military force to Afghanistan in 1838;
but this ambitious attempt at
a ‘totalitarian’ solution of the North-West Frontier problem
had a disastrous ending.
For, in the first flush of
their triumphantly successful conquest of all India, south-east of the Indus basin, between 1799 and 1818,
the British empire-builders had
over-estimated their own strength and
under-estimated the vigor and effectiveness of the resistance
that their aggression would provoke
among the untamed barbarians whom they were now proposing to subdue.
In fact the operation ended, in 1841–2, in
a disaster of greater magnitude

than the Italian disaster in the Abyssinian highlands in 1896.

[“The First Anglo-Afghan War”, also known as “Auckland’s Folly”.]

Since this resounding failure
the British ambition to make a permanent conquest of the highlands
has never been more than tentatively revived,
and the variations of frontier policy since the conquest of the Panjab in 1849
have been tactical rather than strategic.
Here, in fact, we have a limes of the same political order as
the Rhine-Danube frontier of the Roman Empire
during the opening centuries of the Christian Era.
If and when the British-Indian dominant minority
yield to the persuasions of the Hindu internal proletariat
and quit the scene of their increasingly thankless labors
[as they did in 1947],
it will be interesting to see what this emancipated internal proletariat,
when it is master in its own house,
finds itself able to make of the North-West Frontier problem.

[Paragraphs 9–13 are omitted;
they deal with religious and cultural issues.]

At the present moment [circa 1940] it looks as though,
for the few antique barbarian communities that remain on the map,
the only chance of survival lies in
adapting the tactics of the Abotrites and Lithuanians who,
in the medieval chapter of the history of our Western expansion,
had the foresight to anticipate a forcible by a voluntary conversion
to the culture of an aggressive civilization
which was too strong for them to resist.
In our latter-day remnant of an antique barbarian world
there are still standing out two closely beleaguered fastnesses of barbarism
in each of which an enterprising barbarian war-lord
has been making a determined effort to save
a perhaps not quite hopeless situation
by launching a vigorous cultural offensive-defensive.

In North-Eastern Iran it seems possible that
the North-West Frontier problem of India may finally be solved,
not by any drastic action against
the untamed barbarians on the Indian side of the Indo-Afghan frontier,
but rather by the voluntary Westernization of Afghanistan itself.
For if this Afghan endeavor were to achieve success,
one of its effects would be to place the war-bands on the Indian side
between two fires and thereby make their position ultimately untenable.
The Westernizing movement in Afghanistan
was launched by King Amānallāh (a.d. 1919–29)
with a radical excess of zeal which cost the royal revolutionary his throne;
but Amānallāh’s personal fiasco is less significant than
the fact that this check has not proved fatal to the movement.
By 1929 the process of Westernization had gone too far
for the people of Afghanistan to put up with
the unmitigated barbarian reaction of the brigand-rebel Bacha-i-Sakkā;
and under the regime of King Nādir and his successor [Mohammed Zahir Shah]
the Westernizing process has been unobtrusively resumed.
[With less than total success.]

But the outstanding Westernizer of a beleaguered barbarian fastness is
‘Abd-al-‘Aziz Āl Sa‘ūd, the King of the Najd and the Hijāz:
a soldier and statesman who, since 1901,
has raised himself out of the political exile into which he was born
until he has made himself master of all Arabia west of the Rub’-al-Khāli
and north of the Yamanī kingdom of San‘ā.
As a barbarian war-lord Ibn Sa‘ūd may be compared in point of enlightenment
with the Visigoth Atawulf.
He has apprehended the potency of modern Western scientific technique
and has shown a discerning eye for those applications of it—
artesian wells and motor-cars and aeroplanes—
that are particularly effective in the Central Arabian Steppe.
But above all he has seen that
the indispensable foundation for a Western way of life
is law and order.

[Paragraphs 17–19 are omitted;
they view Fascism and Nazism as an internal Western form of barbarism.]

Ought we not to remind ourselves that,
on the evidence presented in this chapter,
the dominant minorities are found to be the original aggressors
in the warfare between dominant minorities and external proletariats?
We have to remember that
the annals of this warfare between ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’
have been written almost exclusively by the scribes of the ‘civilized’ camp.
The classic picture of the external proletarian
carrying his barbarous fire and slaughter
into the fair domain of some unoffending civilization
is therefore likely to be no objective presentation of the truth
but an expression of the ‘civilized’ party’s resentment
at being made the target of
a counter-attack which he has himself provoked.
The complaint against the barbarian, as drafted by his mortal enemy,
amounts perhaps to little more than:
Cet animal est très méchant:
Quand on l’attque, il se défend!

[‘Théodore P. K.’: La Ménagerie]

[Pardon my rough translation:]
This animal is very wicked:
When it is attacked, it defends itself.

[Note that Toynbee’s general observation in this paragraph
seems to be supported by
a claim of Samuel Huntington regarding Western civilization.]

Chapter XXI
The Rhythm of Disintegration

Disintegration proceeds not uniformly
but by an alternation of routs and rallies.
For example
the establishment of a universal state
is a rally after the rout of a time of troubles,
and the dissolution of a universal state
is the final rout.
As there is found to be usually
one rally followed by a rout in the course of a time of troubles and
one rout followed by a rally in the course of a universal state,
the normal rhythm seems to be
three-and-a-half beats.
This pattern is exemplified in the histories of several extinct societies,
and then applied to the history of our own Western Christendom
with a view to ascertaining
what stage in its development our society has reached.

[This chapter consists of fourteen paragraphs (over seven pages),
without section divisions.
Here, rather than just numbering the paragraphs straight-through,
they are numbered according to content:
0.1–2, introduction and general result;
1.1–5, five non-Western civilizations; and
2.1–7, the Western civilization.]

In the last chapter we sought, and found, a parallel—
which involved also an inevitable contrast—
between the roles of creative personalities in growing
and in disintegrating societies.
We are now to pursue a similar line of investigation
in a different part of our subject
and to look for a parallel—
which will presumably again involve a contrast—
between what may be called the rhythm of growth
and the rhythm of disintegration.
The underlying formula in each case
is one with which we are already very familiar,
since it has accompanied us all through this Study;
it is the formula of challenge-and-response.
In a growing civilization
a challenge meets with a successful response
which proceeds to generate another and a different challenge
which meets with another successful response.
There is no term to this process of growth
unless and until a challenge arises
which the civilization in question fails to meet—
a tragic event which means a cessation of growth
and what we have called a breakdown.
Here the correlative rhythm begins.
The challenge has not been met, but it none the less continues to present itself.
A second convulsive effort is made to meet it, and, if this succeeds,
growth will of course be resumed.
But we will assume that, after a partial and temporary success,
this response likewise fails.
There will then be a further relapse, and, perhaps, after an interval,
a further attempt at a response
which will in time achieve a temporary and partial success
in meeting what is still the same inexorable challenge.
This again will be followed by a further failure,
which may or may not prove final and involve the dissolution of the society.
In military language the rhythm may be expressed as

If we revert to the technical terms
which we devised early in this Study and have so constantly used,
it is at once apparent that
the time of troubles following a breakdown is a rout;
the establishment of the universal state a rally; and
the interregnum which follows the beak-up of the universal state,
the final rout.
But we have already noticed in the history of one universal state, the Hellenic,
a relapse into anarchy following the death of Marcus Aurelius in a.d. 180
and a recovery under Diocletian.
There might prove to be more than one relapse and recovery
in the history of any particular universal state.
Indeed the number of such relapses and recoveries
might be found to depend on the power of the lens
that we applied to the object under examination....
If we allow for one signal recovery during the time of troubles
and one signal relapse during the lifetime of the universal state,
that will give us the formula:
which we may describe as three-and-a-half ‘beats’ of our rout-rally rhythm.
There is, of course, no special virtue in the number three-and-a-half....
three-and-a-half beats seems to be
the pattern which fits the histories of a number of disintegrating societies,
and we will pass a few of them in rapid review by way of illustration.

[Some further comments, on, for example, typical time duration,
are in section 36.1.d.]

[In the next five paragraphs (which are here omitted),
Toynbee considers the following societies:
1.1 Hellenic
1.2 Sinic
1.3 Sumeric
1.4 Orthodox Christian
1.5 Hindu,
after which he turns to Western Civilization:]

We have ... adduced enough evidence of the rhythm of disintegration
to apply this rhythm pattern to the history of our own Western Civilization
in order to see if it throws any light upon
a question which we have several times asked and never yet professed to answer:
the question whether our own civilization has suffered a breakdown,
and, if so,
what stage it has now reached in its disintegration.

One fact is plain:
we have not yet experienced the establishment of a universal state,
in spite of
two desperate efforts by the Germans to impose one upon us
in the first half of the present century and
an equally desperate attempt by Napoleonic France a hundred years earlier.
Another fact is equally plain:
there is among us a profound and heartfelt aspiration for the establishment,
not of a universal state, but of some form of world order,
akin perhaps the Homonoia or Concord preached in vain
by certain Hellenic statesmen [Timoleon] and philosophers
during the Hellenic time of troubles,
which will secure the blessings of a universal state without its deadly curse.
The curse of a universal state is that
it is the result of a successful knock-out blow
delivered by one sole surviving member
of a group of contending military Powers.
It is a product of that ‘salvation by the sword’
which we have seen [§20.2] to be of no salvation at all.
What we are looking for is

a free consent of free peoples
to dwell together in unity,
and to make, uncoerced,
the far-reaching adjustments and concessions
without which this ideal cannot be realized in practice.


Chapter XXII
Standardization through Disintegration

As differentiation is the mark of growth,
so standardization is the mark of disintegration.

We have now arrived at the close of our inquiry into
the process of the disintegrations of civilizations,
but before we leave the subject
there is one more question to be considered.
We must ask whether, as we look back over the ground we have traversed,
we can discern any master-tendency at work,
and we do in fact unmistakably descry
a tendency towards standardization and uniformity:
a tendency which is the correlative and opposite of
the tendency towards differentiation and diversity
which we have found to be the mark of the growth stage of civilizations.
We have recently noted [Chapter XXI], on a superficial plane,
the tendency towards
a uniformity of three-and-a-half beats in the rhythm of disintegration.
A much more significant symptom of uniformity is
the uniform schism of a disintegrating society
into three sharply divided classes
and the uniform works of creation performed by each of them.
We have seen
  • dominant minorities uniformly
    working out philosophies and producing universal states
    [the subject of Part VI];
  • internal proletariats uniformly
    discovering ‘higher religions’ which aim at
    embodying themselves in universal churches [Part VII];
  • external proletariats uniformly
    mustering war-bands which find vent in ‘heroic ages’ [Part VIII].
The uniformity with which these several institutions are generated
is indeed so far-reaching
that we are able to present this aspect of the disintegration-process
in the tabular form in which it is displayed at the conclusion of this chapter.
[Four impressive tables of
universal states, philosphies, higher religions, and barbarian war-bands
which are, alas, omitted from this edition.]

Even more remarkable is
the uniformity of ways of behavior, feeling and life
that is revealed by the study of schism in the soul [Chapter XIX].


Heroic Ages

Chapter XXIX
The Course of the Tragedy

Section 29.1
A Social Barrage

An heroic age is the social and psychological consequence
of the crystallization of a limes, or military frontier,
between the universal state of a disintegrating civilization
and the trans-frontier barbarians.
It may be likened to a barrage or dam across a valley,
creating a reservoir above it,
and the implications of this simile are elaborated
in this and the following sections of the chapter.

[Section contents are omitted.]

Section 29.2
The Accumulation of Pressure

The pressure on the limes, or barrage, increases
as the trans-frontier barbarians learn the military techniques
of the civilization that they are ‘up against’.
The guardians of the civilization
find themselves reduced to employing barbarians themselves,
and these mercenaries turn against their employers
and strike at the heart of the empire.

[The part of most immediate interest in 2008 is the second half, paragraphs 8–14.
To keep Toynbee’s emphasis and mine separate,
I have restricted my emphasis to underlining.]

[Toynbee here continues the simile started in Section 1.]
The social barrage created by the establishment of a limes
is subject to the same law of Nature as
the physical barrage created by the construction of a dam.
The water piled up above the dam seeks to regain a common level
with the water below it.
In the structure of a physical dam
the engineer introduces safety-valves in the form of sluices,
which can be opened or closed as circumstances require,
and this safeguarding device is not overlooked by
the political engineers of a military limes, as we shall see.
In this case, however, the device merely precipitates the cataclysm.
In the maintenance of a social dam
the relief of pressure by a regulated release of water is impracticable;
there can be no discharge from the reservoir without undermining of the dam;
for the water above the dam,
instead of rising and falling with the alternations of wet and dry weather,
is, in the nature of the case,
continuously on the rise.
In the race between attack and defence,
the attack cannot fail to win in the long run.
Time is on the side of the barbarians.
The time, however, may be long drawn out
before the barbarians behind the limes achieve their break-through
into the coveted domain of the disintegrating civilization.
This long period, during which the spirit of the barbarians
has been profoundly affected, and distorted,
by the influence of the civilization from which they have been barred out,
is the necessary prelude to an ‘heroic age’,
in which the limes collapses and the barbarians have their fling.

The erection of a limes sets in motion a play of social forces
which is bound to end disastrously for the builders.
A policy of non-intercourse with the barbarians beyond is quite impracticable.
Whatever the imperial government may decide,
the interests of traders, pioneers, adventurers, and so forth
will inevitable draw them beyond the frontier.
A striking illustration of this tendency among the marchmen of a universal state
to make common cause with the barbarians beyond the pale
is afforded by
the history of the relations between the Roman Empire
and the Hun Eurasian Nomads who broke out of the Eurasian Steppe
towards the end of the fourth century of the Christian Era.
Though the Huns were unusually ferocious barbarians,
and though their ascendancy along the European limes of the Roman Empire
was ephemeral,
a record of three notable cases of fraternization has survived
among the fragmentary remnants of contemporary accounts
of this brief episode.
The most surprising of these cases
is that of a Pannonian Roman citizen named Orestes,
whose son Romulus Augustulus was to achieve an ignominious celebrity
as the last Roman Emperor in the West;
this same Orestes was for a time
employed by the celebrated Hun warlord Attila as his secretary.

Of all the goods
which passed outwards across the ineffectively insulating limes,
weapons of war were perhaps the most significant.
The barbarians could never have attacked effectively
without the use of the weapons forged in the arsenals of civilization.
On the North-West Frontier of the British Indian Empire
from about 1890 onwards,
‘the influx of rifles and ammunition into tribal territory ...
completely changed the nature of border warfare’;
and, while the transfrontier Pathans’ and Baluchīs
earliest source of supply of up-to-date Western small-arms
was systematic robbery
from the British Indian troops on the other side of the line,
‘there would ... have been little cause for apprehension,
had it not been for
the enormous growth of the arms traffic in the Persian Gulf,
which, both at Bushire and [at] Muscat,
was at first in the hands of British traders’—
a striking example of the tendency for private interests of the empire’s subjects
in doing business with the transfrontier barbarians
to militate against
the public interest of the imperial government in keeping the barbarians at bay.

The transfrontier barbarian is not, however, content
simply to practice the superior tactics
which he has learnt from an adjoining civilization;
he often improves on them.
For example,
on the maritime frontiers
of the Carolingian Empire and of the Kingdom of Wessex,
the Scandinavian pirates turned to such good account
a technique of ship-building and seamanship which they had acquired, perhaps,
from the Frisian marchmen of a nascent Western Christendom
that they captured the command of the sea and, with it,
the initiative in the offensive warfare which they proceeded to wage
along the coasts and up the rivers
of the Western Christian countries that were their victims.
When, pushing up the rivers, they reached the limits of navigation,
they exchanged one borrowed weapon for another
and continued their campaign on the backs of stolen horses,
for they had mastered the Frankish art of cavalry fighting as well as
the Frisian art of navigation.

In the long history of the war-horse,
the most dramatic case in which this weapon had been turned by a barbarian
against the civilization from which he had acquired it
was to be found in the New World,
where the horse had been unknown
until it had been imported by post-Columbian Western Christian intruders.
Owing to the lack of a domesticated animal which, in the Old World,
had been the making of the Nomad stockbreeder’s way of life,
the Great Plains of the Mississippi Basin,
which would have been a herdsman’s paradise,
had remained the hunting-ground of tribes
who followed their game laboriously on foot.
The belated arrival of the horse in this ideal horse-country
had effects on the life of the immigrant and the life of the native
which, while in both cases revolutionary,
were different in every other respect.
The introduction of the horse on to the plains of Texas, Venezuela, and Argentina
made Nomad stockbreeders
out of the descendants of 150 generations of husbandmen,
while at the same time it made mobile mounted war-bands
out of the Indian tribes of the Great Plains
beyond the frontiers of the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain
and of the English colonies that eventually became the United States.
The borrowed weapon
did not give these transfrontier barbarians the ultimate victory,
but it enabled them to postpone their final discomfiture.

While the nineteenth century of the Christian Era
saw the prairie Indian of North America
turn one of the European intruder’s weapons against its original owner
by disputing with him the possession of the Plains
with the aid of the imported horse,
the eighteenth century had already seen the forest Indian
turn the European musket to account
in a warfare of sniping and ambuscades which,
with the screening forest as the Indian’s confederate,
had proved more than a match for contemporary European battle-tactics,
in which close formations, precise evolutions, and steady volleys
courted destruction when unimaginatively employed against adversaries
who had adapted the European musket to the conditions of the American forest.
In days before the invention of firearms, corresponding adaptations
of the current weapons of an aggressive civilization
to forest conditions
had enabled the barbarian denizens
of the Transrhenane forests of Northern Europe
to save a still forest-clad Germany from the Roman conquest
that had overtaken an already partially cleared and cultivated Gaul,
by inflicting on the Romans a decisively deterrent disaster
in the Teutoburger Wald in a.d. 9.

The line along which the military frontier
between the Roman Empire and the North European barbarians
consequently came to rest for the next four centuries
carries its own explanation on the face of it.
It was the line beyond which
a forest that had reigned since the last bout of glaciation
was still decisively preponderant over the works of Homo Agricola
works which had opened the way for the march of Roman legions
from the Mediterranean up to the Rhine and the Danube.
Along this line, which happened, unfortunately for the Roman Empire,
to be just about
the longest that could have been drawn across Continental Europe,
the Roman Imperial Army had henceforward
to be progressively increased in numerical strength
to offset the progressive increase
in the military efficiency of the transfrontier barbarians
whom it was its duty to hold at bay.

On the local anti-barbarian frontiers
of the still surviving parochial states of a Westernizing world
which, at the time of writing [circa 1950],
embraced all but a fraction
of the total habitable and traversable surface of the planet,
two of the recalcitrant barbarians’ non-human allies
had already been outmaneuvered by a Modern Western industrial technique.
The Forest had long since fallen a victim to cold steel,
while the Steppe had been penetrated by the motor-car and the airplane.
The barbarian’s mountain ally, however,
had proved a harder nut to crack,
and the highlander rear-guard of Barbarism had been displaying,
in its latest forlorn hopes,
an impressive ingenuity in turning to its own advantage, on its own terrain,
some of the latter-day devices of an industrial Western military technique.
By this tour de force the Rīfī highlanders [cf. the Rif Republic]
astride the theoretical boundary
between the Spanish and French zones of Morocco
had inflicted on the Spaniards at Anwal in a.d. 1921
a disaster comparable with
the annihilation of Varus’s three legions by the Cherusci and their neighbors
in the Teutoburgerwald in a.d. 9,
and had made the French Government in Northwest Africa
rock on its foundations in a.d. 1925 [cf.].
By the same sleight of hand the Mahsūds of Waziristan
had baffled repeated British attempts to subdue them
during the ninety-eight years between a.d. 1849,
when the British had taken over this anti-barbarian frontier from the Sikhs,
and a.d. 1947,
when they disencumbered themselves
of a still unsolved Indian Northwest Frontier problem
by bequeathing this formidable legacy to Pakistan.

In a.d. 1925 the Rīfī offensive
came within an ace of cutting the corridor
which linked the effectively occupied part of the French Zone of Morocco
with the main body of French Northwest Africa;
and if the Rīfīs had succeeded in an attempt which failed by so narrow a margin,
they would have put in jeopardy
the whole of the French Empire on the southern coast of the Mediterranean.
Interests of comparable magnitude were at stake for the British Rāj in India
in the trial of strength between the Mahsūd barbarians
and the armed forces of the British Indian Empire
in the Waziristan campaign of a.d. 1919–20 [cf. Third Anglo-Afghan War].
In this campaign, as in the Rīfī warfare,
the barbarian belligerent’s strength
lay in his skillful adaptation of Modern Western arms and tactics
to a terrain that was unpropitious for their use
on the lines that were orthodox for their Western inventors.
The elaborate and costly equipment
which had been invented on the European battlefields of the war in a.d. 1914–18,
in operation on level ground between organized armies,
was much less effective
against parties of tribesmen lurking in a tangle of mountains.

Similarly, veterans of the Peninsular War of a.d. 1808–14,
employing the tactics that had defeated again and again the armies of Napoleon,
were routed with ridiculous ease at New Orleans in a.d. 1814
by the ‘frontiersman’s’ methods employed against them
by Andrew Jackson [Jackson-7].]

In order to defeat, even inconclusively,
transfrontier barbarians who have attained the degree of military expertise
shown by the Mahsūds in a.d. 1919 and by the Rīfīs in a.d. 1925,
the Power behind the threatened limes has to exert an effort that—
measured in terms either of manpower or of equipment or of money—
is quite disproportionate
to the slender resources of its gadfly opponents
to which this ponderous counter-attack
is the irreducible minimum of effective response.
what [British Prime Minister William] Gladstone in a.d. 1881
called ‘the resources of civilization
‘The resources of civilization are not exhausted’,
said Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons,
meaning thereby that British administration would in the long run
prove too much for Nationalist agitation and crime in Ireland.
He was wrong.
Forty years later ‘civilization’ admitted its exhaustion,
and signed the Treaty establishing the Irish Free State.]

could be almost as much of a hindrance as a help in warfare of this kind,
for the mobility of British Indian forces was impaired by
the multitude of the gadgets on which it depended
for the assertion of its superiority.

Again, if the British Indian forces
were hindered by their too-muchness from striking rapidly and effectively,
the Mahsūds presented too little to strike at.
The purpose of a punitive expedition is to punish,
but how was one to punish such people as these?
Reduce them to destitution?
They were destitute already;
they took this state of life for granted, even if they did not enjoy it.
Their lives were already—
in the terms of Thomas Hobbes’s description of the ‘State of Nature’—
solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
It was hardly possible to make them
more solitary, poorer, nastier, more brutish, and shorter;
and, if it were possible,
could one be sure that they would greatly care?

We are here reaching a point that has been made in a different context
in an earlier part of this Study—
that a primitive body social recovers more easily and rapidly
than a body social enjoying high material civilization.
It is like the humble worm which, when cut in half,
takes no notice and carries on as before.
But we must return from the Rīfīs and Mahsūds,
who have failed—so far—
to carry through to a successful conclusion their assaults upon civilizations,
and resume our examination of the process of the tragedy
in cases where it has gone through to its Fifth Act.

The crescendo of frontier warfare,
which produced this progressive change in the balance of military power,
progressively weakens the civilization involved
by putting its monetary economy
under the strain of an ever-increasing burden of taxation.

On the other hand,
it merely stimulates the military appetite of the barbarians.
If the transfrontier barbarian had remained an unmodified primitive man,
a much greater proportion of his total energies
would have been devoted to the arts of peace
and a correspondingly greater coercive effect
would have been produced upon him
by the punitive destruction of the products of his pacific labors.
The tragedy of
a hitherto primitive society’s moral alienation from the neighboring civilization
is that
the barbarian has neglected his former peaceful productivity
in order to specialize in the art of border warfare,
first in self-defence
but afterwards as an alternative and more exciting method of earning his living—
to plough and reap with sword and spear.

This striking inequality
in the material consequences of border warfare for the two belligerents
is reflected in the great and growing inequality between them in moral.
[According to the OED, an alternative meaning for “moral” is “morale.”]
  • For the children of a disintegrating civilization,
    the interminable border warfare spells the burden of
    an ever-increasing financial charge.
  • For the barbarian belligerents, on the other hand,
    the same warfare is not a burden but an opportunity,
    not an anxiety but an exhilaration.
In this situation it is not surprising that
the party which is both author and victim of the limes
should not resign himself to his doom without trying
the last expedient of enlisting his barbarian adversary on his own side.
We have already examined the consequences of this policy
in an earlier part of this Study,
and here we need only recall our previous finding,
that this expedient for averting the collapse of a limes
actually precipitates the catastrophe which it was designed to forestall.

In the history of the Roman Empire’s struggle
to arrest an inexorable inclination of the scales
in favor of the transfrontier barbarians,
the policy of enlisting barbarians to keep their fellow barbarians at bay
defeated itself—
if we are to believe a hostile critic of the Emperor Theodosius I’s administration—
by initiating the barbarians into the Roman art of war
and at the same time apprising them of the Empire’s weakness.
‘In the Roman forces, discipline was now at an end,
and all distinction between Roman and barbarian had broken down.
The troops of both categories
were all completely intermingled with one another in the ranks;
for even the register of the soldiers borne on the strength of the military units
was now no longer being kept up to date.
The [barbarian] deserters
[from the transfrontier barbarian war-bands to the Roman Imperial Army]
thus found themselves free, after having been enrolled in Roman formations,
to go home again and send off substitutes to take their place until,
at their own good time,
they might choose to resume their personal service under the Romans.
This extreme disorganization
that was thus now prevalent in the Roman military formations
was no secret to the barbarians, since—
with the door thrown wide open, as it had been, for intercourse—
the deserters were able to give them full intelligence.
The barbarians’ conclusion was that
the Roman body politic was being so grossly mismanaged
as positively to invite attack.’
[Zosimus: Historiae]

When such well-instructed mercenaries change sides en masse,
it is no wonder that they are often able
to give the coup de grâce to a tottering empire;
but we have still to explain why they should be moved,
as they so frequently have been,
to turn against their employers.
Does not their personal interest coincide with their professional obligation?
The regular pay they are now drawing is both more lucrative and more secure
than the plunder that they used to snatch on occasional raids.
Why, then, turn traitor?
The answer is that,
in turning against the empire that he has been hired to defend,
the barbarian mercenary is indeed acting against his own material interests,
but that in doing so he is not doing anything peculiar.
Man seldom behaves primarily as homo economicus,
and the traitor mercenary’s behavior is determined by
an impulse stronger than any economic considerations.
The plain fact is that he hates the empire whose pay he has taken;
and the moral breach between the two parties
cannot be permanently mended by a business deal
which is not underwritten by any real desire, on the barbarian’s side,
to share in the civilization that he has undertaken to guard.
His attitude towards it is no longer one of reverence and mimesis,
as was that of his ancestors in happier days
when the same civilization was still in its attractive growth stage.
The direction of the current of mimesis has, indeed, long since been reversed,
and, so far from the civilization’s retaining prestige in the barbarian’s eyes,
it is the barbarian who now enjoys prestige
in the eyes of the representative of civilization.
‘Early Roman history has been described as
the history of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
In the Later Empire it took an extraordinary man
to do anything at all except carry on a routine;
and, as the Empire had devoted itself for centuries
to the breeding and training of ordinary men,
the extraordinary men of its last ages—Stilicho, Aëtius, and their like—
were increasingly drawn from the Barbarian world.’
[R.G. Collingwood]

Part IX
Contacts between Civilizations in Space

Chapter XXXI
A Survey of Encounters
Between Contemporary Civilizations

Section 31.1
A Plan of Operations

The number of civilizations that we originally located on our cultural map
was twenty-one;
if the progress of archaeological discovery were to warrant us in regarding
the Indus culture as a separate society from the Sumeric civilization,
the Shang culture as a civilization antecedent to the Sinic,
this change in our reckoning would raise our total muster to twenty-three.

[I]t was unquestionable that
a sharp reaccentuation of the anti-Western tendency in Russian feeling and thought
had been
one of the consequences of the Russian Communist Revolution in a.d. 1917,
and that
the emergence of the Soviet Union as one of two surviving rival World Powers
had reintroduced a cultural conflict
into a political arena which, for some 250 years previously,
had been reserved for domestic political quarrels
between Powers of the same cultural complexion.
It is also to be observed that,
in thus re-engaging in their struggle against Westernization
after having apparently long since given up the battle for lost,
the Russians were setting an example
which, within 31 years had already been followed by the Chinese and
which might well be followed, in time, by the Japanese, Hindus, and Muslims,
and even by societies
that had become so deeply dyed with a Western color as
the main body of Orthodox Christendom in Southeastern Europe and
the three submerged pre-Columbian civilizations of the New World.

These considerations suggest that a scrutiny of the encounters
between the Modern West and the other living civilizations
might prove to be a convenient point of departure [§31.2.a].
The next set of encounters to be examined would then naturally be
those of Western Christendom in its earlier, so-called Medieval, period
with its neighbors in that age [§31.2.b].
Thereafter our plan would be to single out, among civilizations now extinct,
those which had made an impact on their neighbors
comparable with that of the West on its contemporaries,
without committing ourselves to examine every single encounter
which a meticulous examination of history might discover [§31.2.c].

[The table of contents for Section 31.2:]

  1. Encounters with the Modern Western Civilization
    1. The Modern West and Russia
    2. The Modern West and the Main Body of Orthodox Christendom
    3. The Modern West and the Hindu World
    4. The Modern West and the Islamic World
    5. The Modern West and the Jews
    6. The Modern West and the Far Eastern and Indigenous American Civilizations
    7. Characteristics of the Encounters between the Modern West and its Contemporaries
  2. Encounters with Medieval Western Christendom
    1. The Flow and Ebb of the Crusades
    2. The Medieval West and the Syriac World
    3. The Medieval West and Greek Orthodox Christendom
  3. Encounters between Civilizations of the First Two Generations
    1. Encounters with the Post-Alexandrine Hellenic Civilization
    2. Encounters with the Pre-Alexandrine Hellenic Civilization
    3. Tares and Wheat

[Tbe contents of all of them are omitted in the following,
except for 31.2.a.vii.]

Section 31.2
Operations according to Plan

Subsection 31.2.a
Encounters with the Modern Western Civilization

Subsubsection 31.2.a.vii
Characteristics of the Encounters
between the Modern West and its Contemporaries

‘Modern Western’ civilization is ‘middle-class’ civilization.
Those non-Western societies which had developed a middle class
welcomed the Modern Western ethos.
If a ruler of a non-Western civilization that had no indigenous middle class
wished to ‘Westernize’,
he had to create an artificial middle class for his purpose
in the form of an intelligentsia.
These intelligentsias would ultimately turn against their masters.

The most significant conclusion that suggests itself
as arising out of a comparison of the encounters that we have now described
is that
the word ‘modern’ in the term ‘Modern Western civilization’
could be given a more precise and concrete connotation
by being translated ‘middle class’.
Western communities had become ‘modern’
as soon as they had produced a bourgeoisie
capable of becoming the predominant element in Society.
We think of the new chapter of Western history
that opened at the end of the fifteenth century
as being ‘modern’
because it was at that time that, in the more advanced Western communities,
the middle class began to take control.
It follow that, during the currency of the Modern Age of Western history,
the ability of aliens to become Westernized
depended on their capacity for entering into the middle-class Western way of life.
When we examine examples, already noted,
of Westernization from below upwards,
we find that, in the pre-existing social structure
of Greek Orthodox Christian, Chinese, and Japanese life, for example,
there were already middle-class elements
through which the Westernizing leaven worked.
On the other hand,
in cases where the process of Westernization proceeded from above downwards
[Russia and the Islamic and Hindu worlds],
the autocrats who set themselves to Westernize their subjects by fiat
could not wait for an unforced process of evolution
to provide them with authentic middle-class agents of indigenous origin
but were constrained to provide themselves with an artificial substitute
for a home grown middle class
by manufacturing an intelligentsia.

The intelligentsias thus called into existence in Russia
and in the Islamic and Hindu worlds were, of course,
successfully imbued by their makers
with a genuine tincture of Western middle-class qualities.
The Russian case suggests, however, that this tincture might prove ephemeral.
For the Russian intelligentsia,
which had originally been called into existence by the Petrine Czardom
to bring Russia into the middle-class Western fold,
had revolted in its heart
against both the Czardom and the Western bourgeois ideal,
long before the revolutionary explosion of a.d. 1917.
It was possible that what had happened in Russia
might happen elsewhere to other intelligentsias as well.

[Cf. Iran and Shah--1979, also Islamic revival.]

In the light of this anti-bourgeois turn
which the Russian intelligentsia had already taken,
it was perhaps worth pausing to look into the likenesses and the differences
between the non-Western intelligentsias and the Western middle class
whose role they had been commissioned to play in a non-Western environment.

One common feature of their histories was that
both had come from beyond the pale
of the societies in which they had established themselves.
We have seen that the Western society,
when it first emerged from the Dark Ages,
was an agrarian society in whose life urban pursuits were so exotic
that some of them were practiced originally by an alien Jewish diaspora,
until a Gentile middle class was called into being
by the Gentiles’ aspiration to become their own Jews.

Another experience that was common to the Modern Western middle class
and the contemporary intelligentsias was that
both had won their eventual dominance
by revolting against their original employers
In Great Britain, Holland, France, and other Western countries,
the middle class had come into power
by stepping into the shoes of monarchies
whose patronage had inadvertently made the middle class’s fortune.
It was, for example, a commonplace of English history that
the powers given to the Commons by the Tudors
were used by them against the Stuarts.]

Similarly, in non-Western polities of the Late Modern Age,
the intelligentsia had come into power
by successfully revolting against Westernizing autocrats
who had deliberately called them into existence.
If we take a synoptic view of this common episode in the histories of
Petrine Russia,
the latter-day Ottoman Empire, and
the British Raj in India,
we shall see that
the revolt of the intelligentsia not only occurred in all three cases
but came to a head in each case
after the lapse of approximately the same length of time.
In Russia the abortive Decembrist Revolution of a.d. 1825,
which was the Russian intelligentsia’s declaration of war on the Petrine system,
broke out 136 years after Peter’s effective advent to power in a.d. 1689.
In India,
political ‘unrest’ began to reveal itself towards the end of the nineteenth century,
rather less than 140 years after the establishment of British rule in Bengal.
In the Ottoman Empire, the Committee of Union and Progress
overthrew Sultan ‘Abd-al-Hamid II in a.d. 1908,
134 years after the Porte had first been impelled,
by the shock of defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of a.d. 1768–74
[one of many],
to begin training an appreciable number of its Muslim subjects
in the Modern Western art of war.

But these points of likeness are offset by at least one signal difference.
The Modern Western middle class
was an indigenous element in the society that it came to dominate;
it was, in a psychological sense, ‘at home’ there.
By contrast,
the intelligentsias suffered from the double handicap
of being both novi homines and exotics.
They were products and symptoms, not of natural growth,
but of their own societies’ discomfiture in collisions with an alien Modern West.
They were symbols not of strength but of weakness.
The intelligentsias, for their part,
were sensitively aware of this invidious difference.
The social service that they had been created to perform
made them aliens in the society for which they performed it.
Their intuition of the thanklessness of their task
conspired with an inexorable nervous strain
arising from the inherent contradicitions in their social situation
to breed in them a smoldering hatred of a Western middle class
which was both their sire and their bane, their cynosure and their bugbear;
and their excruciating ambivalent attitude towards this pirate sun,
whose captivated planets they were,
is poignantly conveyed in Catulluselegiac couplet:
Odi et amo: quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

I hate you and I love you: perhaps you ask why.
I do not know, but that is how I feel, and it tortures me.

[Those with musical interests will recall the appearance of this text
in the cantata Catulli Carmina by Carl Orff (text).]

The intensity of an alien intelligentsia’s hatred of the Western middle class
gave the measure of its foreboding
of its inability to emulate Western middle-class achievement.
The classic instance, up to date,
in which this embittering prescience had been justified,
was the Russian intelligentsia’s catastrophic failure,
after the first of the two Russian revolutions in a.d. 1917,
to carry out its fantastic mandate
to transform the wreck of the Petrine Czardom
into a parliamentary constitutional state
in the nineteenth-century Western style.
The Kerensky regime was a fiasco because
it was saddled with the task of making bricks without straw:

of making a parliamentary government
without having
a solid, competent, prosperous, and experienced middle class
to draw on.

[Emphasis added.]

By contrast,
Lenin succeeded because he set himself to create something
which would meet the situation.
His All-Union Communist Party was not, indeed,
a thing entirely without precedent.
In Iranic Muslim history it had been anticipated
in the slave-household of the Ottoman Padishah,
in the Qyzylbash fraternity of devotees of the Safawis, and
in the Sikh Khalsa that had been called into being
by a decision to fight the Mughal ascendancy with its own weapons.
In these Islamic and Hindu fraternities
the ethos of the Russian Communist Party is already discernible.
Lenin’s claim to originality rests on
his having reinvented this formidable political instrument for himself
and on
his priority in applying it to
the special purpose of

enabling a non-Western society to hold its own against the Modern West
by mastering the latest devices of Western technology
while at the same time
eschewing the West’s current orthodox ideology.

[This is what Huntington calls “reformism”.]

The success of Lenin’s single-party type of dictatorial regime
is proved by the number of its imitators.
Passing over those imitators who call themselves Communists,
we need only point
to the regime established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
for the masterful regeneration of Turkey;
to the Fascist regime of Mussolini in Italy; and
to the National Socialist regime of Hitler in Germany.
Of these three non-Communist single-party regimes,
the new order in Turkey has been unique
in having succeeded in transforming itself into a two-party regime,
on Liberal Western lines,
by a peaceful transition instead of paying the price in a catastrophe.

Chapter XXXII
The Drama of Encounters between Contemporaries

Section 32.1
Concatenations of Encounters

On the military level,
a challenge from one side leads to
a challenge from the other,
and this, after redressing the balance,
passes over into a counter-aggression
and provokes a retort in turn.
A chain of such encounters between ‘East’ and ‘West’
is traced from
the Achaemenian Empire‘s assault on Greece
down to
the twentieth-century reactions of non-Western peoples
against Western imperialism.

[Mythological times – 450 bce]
The discovery that encounters between contemporary societies
may present themselves, not singly, but in concatenations
The word concatenation is often loosely used,
and it may be helpful to the reader who knows no Latin
to be told that catêna means a chain,
and that a concatenation of events is therefore
a series in which one incident leads to another.]

was made in the fifth century b.c. by Herodotus
[An interesting 2008 appraisal of Herodotus and his work is in this NYRB review.],
when he set himself to give an account
of the then recent conflict
between the Achaemenian Empire
and the independent Hellenic city-states in Continental European Greece.
He divined that, to make his story intelligible,
he must place it in the setting of its historical antecedents,
and, viewing it from this angle, he perceived that
the Graeco-Persian conflict was the latest episode
in a causally related succession of collisions of the same character.
The victim of an aggression is not content simply to defend himself;
if his defense is successful he passes over into a counter-offensive.
No doubt the earlier ‘acts’ of the Herodotean drama
appear to the sophisticated modern reader as more amusing than enlightening,
for their plot is an alternating series of abductions
of a succession of too attractive young women.
  1. The Phoenicians start the feud
    (as one would expect in the Hellenic version of the story)
    by abducting Hellenic Io;
  2. the Hellenes retaliate by abducting Phoenician Europa;
  3. the Hellenes then abduct Colchian Medea;
  4. the Trojans abduct Hellenic Helen; and
  5. the Hellenes retaliate by besieging Troy.
This was all very foolish,
‘since it was obvious that
these women would not have got themselves abducted
if they had not so desired’,
And in any case Paris must have failed to bring his lady home;
for it was also obvious that the Trojans would have surrendered her,
had they been in a position to do so,
rather than undergo a ten years’ siege.
At least, this is how the legends emerge
from a cold douche of the rationalism
which is one of Herodotus’ many endearing characteristics.
Anyhow, at the making of the Trojan War by the Greeks,
Ares replace Aphrodite as the presiding deity in the proceedings;
and, however skeptical we may be about the series of abductions,
it must be agreed that Herodotus showed profound insight
in regarding a Graeco-Phoenician encounter as an earlier act
in the concatenation which included the Graeco-Persian war.

[Twenty-first-century readers may not mind being reminded of the following:

The stories of Io, Europa, and, to some extent, Medea
all involve supernatural elements
and are part of Greek mythology;
the stories of Helen, Paris, the Trojan War and Troy
all could have been true,
plausibly twelfth century bce,
but there is no independent confirmation for Homer’s account;
the Graeco-Persian War is part of standard fifth-century bce history.]

We need not recapitulate our own view
of this particular concatenation down to the Persian Wars,
but will proceed at once to trace
the chain of offensives and counter-offensives
onwards into post-Herodotean times,
and to see where it will lead us.

[500 bce – 750 ce]
The sensational defeat of the Persian invasions of Greece
was only the first installment of the penalty
that this act of aggression
drew down on the heads of its perpetrators.
The ultimate nemesis was
Philip of Macedon’s decision to turn the table
by conquering the Achaemenian Empire;
and Alexander the Great, who was as sensationally successful
in executing his father’s political testament
as Xerxes had been sensationally unsuccessful
in executing that of his father Darius,
opened the first act in a new drama.
The destruction of the Achaemenian Empire
in the fourth century b.c. by Alexander,
and of the Carthaginian Empire
in the third century b.c. by Rome,
gave the Hellenic society a dominion over its neighbors
which far exceeded the most ambitious dreams
of sixth-century Hellenic adventurers
who had sailed as traders to Tartessus
or had served as mercenaries in Egypt or Babylon.
But this portentous career of post-Alexandrine Hellenic aggression
duly evoked a reaction on its Oriental victims’ part;
and the eventual success of this reaction
tardily restored a long-upset equilibrium when,
a thousand years after Alexander’s passage of the Dardanelles,
the undoing of his work was completed by Primitive Muslim Arabs
who, in a series of lightning campaigns,
liberated all the once-Syriac territories, from Syria to Spain inclusive,
that, at the opening of the seventh century of the Christian Era,
had still been under the rule of the Roman Empire
or its Visigothic successor-state.

[650 ce – 900 ce]
The re-establishment of a Syriac universal state
in the shape of an Arab Caliphate
which embraced the former domains
of both the Achaemenian and the Carthaginian empires
might have terminated this concatenation of encounters.
Unfortunately the Arab avengers of a Syriac society
that had been the victim of Hellenic aggression
were not content to evict the aggressor
from territories on which he had trespassed.
They proceeded to repeat Darius’s error
of passing over into the counter-offensive
without having the excuse of finding themselves
poised on an untenable frontier
that must be moved forward if it was not to be set back.
The Arabs crossed the natural frontier of the Taurus
to besiege Constantinople in a.d. 673–7 and again in a.d. 717;
they crossed the natural frontier of the Pyrenees to invade France in a.d. 732,
and in the next century the natural frontier of the sea
to conquer Crete and Sicily and Apulia and
to establish bridgeheads on the Mediterranean coast of Western Christendom
from the Rhone to the Garigliano.
These wanton aggressions incurred their nemesis in due course.

[1100 ce – 1700 ce]
The explosive reaction of a Medieval Western Christendom
whose latent energies had been fired
by the Muslim aggressions of the eighth and ninth centuries of the Christian Era
found expressions in the Crusades,
and these in turn provoked the counter-reaction
that was to be expected on the part of their victims.
The efforts of Saladin, and of other champions of Islam before and after him,
evicted the Frankish Crusaders from Syria,
and the ‘Osmanlis completed the Greek Orthodox Christians’ unfinished work
of evicting them from ‘Romania’ as well.
When the Ottoman Emperor Mehmed II the Conqueror (reigned a.d. 1451–81)
had done his life work
of providing an Islamic universal state
for a disintegrating Greek Orthodox world,
yet another opportunity of breaking off the conflict at a point of equilibrium
was offered—and was rejected.
Just as the Arabic Muslims of the eight and the ninth century
had intruded on Western Christendom where they had no occasion,
in France and Italy and elsewhere,
and thereby provoked
an energetic but ultimately unsuccessful Medieval Western counter-offensive
in the shape of the Crusades,
so, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of the Christian Era,
the Turkish Muslims also intruded where they had no occasion,
pushing up the Danube towards the homelands of the West.
This time the Western reaction took a more original and more portentous form.

[1500 ce – present]
The envelopment of Western Christendom by the horns of the Ottoman crescent
came near enough to success
to persuade the Westerners to cut their losses in the Mediterranean cul-de-sac
and reinvest their energies in embarking on a conquest of the Ocean
which was to make them the masters of the World;
and this staggeringly successful response by the West seemed,
to an observer
situated midway through the twentieth century of the Christian Era,
to be evolving a counter-response, or perhaps several counter-responses.
We have come a long way from the abductions of Io and Europa,
and the end is not yet.

Chapter XXXIII
The Consequences of Encounters between Contemporaries

Section 33.2
Aftermaths of Successful Assaults

Subsection 33.2.b
Responses of the Soul

Subsubsection 33.2.b.ii
Zealotism and Herodianism

The terms imply a clear-cut distinction
between rejection and acceptance of the conqueror’s ethos,
but a closer examination suggests that
the distinction is not as clear-cut as it looks at first.
The point is illustrated by a consideration of modern Japan,
and of the careers of Gandhi and Lenin.

When we turn to examine the response of the assaulted party,
we find that he seems to have a choice between
the contrasted lines of action
for which we have already found, and used in various parts of this Study,
names taken from the narratives of the New Testament.

In that age Hellenism was pressing hard upon Jewry
on every plane of social activity.
No Jew could escape of ignore, turn where he would,
the question of becoming or not becoming a Hellene.

The Zealot faction was recruited from people whose impulse was
to try to fend off the aggressor and
to retreat into the spiritual fastness of their own Jewish heritage.
The faith which animated them was a conviction that,
if they abided by their ancestral tradition,
observing the whole of it and nothing else,
they would be given,
from the jealously guarded source of their spiritual life,
a supernatural strength which would enable them to repel the aggressor.

[Leaving aside the “supernatural strength” part,
this would seem to be a version of fundamentalism,
and closely related to basic principles of conservatism.]

The Herodian faction, on the other hand,
was recruited from the supporters of an opportunist statesman
whose Idumaean origin worked together with his personal genius
to enable this son of a recently incorporated Gentile province of the Maccabaean kingdom
to take a less prejudiced view of the problem.
The policy of Herod the Great was
to learn from Hellenism every accomplishment
that it might prove necessary for the Jews to acquire
for the judicious and practical purpose
of equipping themselves to hold their own
and to lead a more or less comfortable life in the Hellenizing world
that was their inescapable social environment.
[Note especially.
Note also the (not identical) Herodian dynasty.]

[The remaining thirteen paragraphs of this subsubsection are omitted.]

Part XI
Law and Freedom in History

Chapter XXXVI
The Amenability of Human Affairs to
‘Laws of Nature’

Section 36.1
A Survey of the Evidence

Subsection 36.1.c
The Rivalries of Parochial States:
The ‘Balance of Power’

The fairly regular recurrences of war and peace cycles
in the histories of several civilizations.

After having found the economists using the results of their researches
[the discovery of ‘business cycles’]
to explore the working of laws applicable to economic history,
we naturally turn to the political sphere of activity
to see whether anything of the kind may be feasible there also;
and as a field of operations in this political sphere,
we will select the rivalries and wars
of the parochial states of the Modern Western world.
The Modern period of Western history
may be taken to have begun towards the end of the fifteenth century
with the Italianization of the state system of Transalpine Europe,
so that we have something over four centuries at our disposal
for the purposes of our present inquiry.

Every schoolboy knows’—Macaulay’s optimistic estimate—
that on four occasions,
separated from one another by just over one hundred years,
the English (or British) people,
taking advantage of the comparative immunity afforded by their island fastness, first repelled and then helped to destroy a continental Power
which was offering, or threatening,
to supply Western Christendom with a universal state,
or at any rate was, in traditional language,
‘upsetting the balance of power’.
  1. On the first occasion the offender was Spain—Spanish Armada, 1588;
  2. on the second occasion, the France of Louis XIVBlenheim, 1704;
  3. on the third occasion, the France of the Revolution and Napoleon
    Waterloo, 1815;
  4. on the fourth occasion the Germany of Wilhelm IIArmistice Day, 1918
    subsequently recrudescent under HitlerNormandy, 1944.
Here is an unmistakably cyclical pattern, viewed from an insular angle,
a set of four ‘great wars’,
spaced out with curious regularity, each one larger than its predecessor,
both in the intensity of warfare
and in what we will call the area of belligerency.
  1. The first of the series is an affair of Atlantic states—
    Spain, France, the Netherlands, England.
  2. The second brings the Central European states,
    and even Russia if one regards the Russo-Swedish War
    as a kind of annex of the ‘War of the Spanish Succession’.
  3. The third (Napoleonic) bout brings in Russia as a leading belligerent,
    and may be taken to include the United States of America,
    if one regards the ‘War of 1812’ as an annex of the Napoleonic War.
  4. Into the fourth,
    America enters as a leading belligerent,
    and the general character of the struggle was indicated by the fact that
    its successive bouts had been named the First and Second World Wars.

Each of these four wars
for the prevention of the establishment of a Modern Western universal state
had been separated from its successor and from its predecessor
by a time-span of about a century.
If we proceed to examine the three inter-war centuries,
we find in each case
what might be called a midway or supplementary war or group of wars,
in each case a struggle for supremacy not in Western Europe as a whole
but in its central area, Germany.
Since these wars were predominantly Central European,
Great Britain did not engage in any of them up to the hilt,
while there were some of them in which she did not interfere at all;
and consequently they are not so included in
what ‘every schoolboy (meaning, of course, every British schoolboy) knows’.
The first of these intermediate wars was the Thirty Years War (161848),
the second consisted for the most part
of the wars of Frederick ‘the Great’ of Prussia (174063), and
the third is associated with Bismarck, though it includes much else,
and should be dated 184871.

Finally it might be claimed that this drama in four acts had an overture;
that it opens not with Philip II of Spain,
but with the Hapsburg-ValoisItalian wars’ of two generations earlier.
These wars were started by
the sensationally futile but ominous invasion of Italy
by King Charles VIII of France;
and its date, 1494, has often been used by educational authorities
as a convenient hard-and-fast line
to separate the Late Medieval from the Early Modern period.
It is two years later than
the Christian conquest of the last remaining Muslim territory in Spain
and the first landing of Columbus in the West Indies.

All this can be set out in tabular form;
and an examination of the war-and-peace cycles
in post-Alexandrine Hellenic history and
in post-Confucian Sinic history
yielded historical ‘patterns’
curiously similar in their structure and in their time-spans
to those descried in the course of Modern Western history.

Successive Occurrences of the War-and-Peace Cycle in Modern and post-Modern Western History, 1494–1945




Premonitory Wars .. .. 1667–8 .. 1911–12
The General War 1494–1525 1568–1609 1672–1713 1792–1815 1914–45
The Breathing-space 1525–36 1609–18 1713–33 1815–48 ..
Supplementary Wars 1536–59 1618–48 1733–63 1848–71 ..
The General Peace 1559–68 1648–72 1763–92 1871–1914 ..

  1. Overture: The General War
    1494–1503: Italian Wars,
    1510–16: War of the League of Cambrai,
    1521–5: Italian War of 1521–1526.
  2. Overture: Supplementary Wars
    1536–8: Italian War of 1536–1538,
    1542–4: Italian War of 1542–1546
    [1544–6 and 1549–50, England v. France],
    [1546–52: Schmalkaldic War:
    Schmalkald League of Protestant Princes in the Holy Roman Empire
    v. Charles V],
    1552–9: Italian War of 1552–1559.

  3. First Regular Cycle: The General War
    1568–1609 in the Spanish Hapsburg Monarchy [Dutch Revolt];
    1562–98: French Wars of Religion.
  4. First Regular Cycle: Supplementary War
    1618–48: Thirty Years’ War.

  5. Second Regular Cycle: Premonitary War
    1667–8: War of Devolution (Louis XIV’s attack on the Spanish Netherlands).
  6. Second Regular Cycle: The General War
    1672–8: Franco-Dutch War,
    1688–97: Nine Years’ War,
    1702–13: War of the Spanish Succession.
  7. Second Regular Cycle: Supplementary Wars
    1733–5: War of the Polish Succession,
    1740–8: War of the Austrian Succession,
    1756–63: Seven Years’ War.

  8. Third Regular Cycle: The General War
    1792–1802: French Revolutionary Wars,
    1803–14: Napoleonic Wars,
    1815: Hundred Days’ War.
  9. Third Regular Cycle: Supplementary Wars
    1848–9: Hungarian Revolution of 1848,
    1853–6: Crimean War,
    1859: Austro-Sardinian War,
    1861–5: civil war in the United States,
    1862–7: French occupation of Mexico,
    1864: Second Schleswig War,
    1866: Austro-Prussian War,
    1870–1: Franco-Prussian War.

  10. Fourth Cycle: Premonitory Wars
    1911–12: Turco-Italian War,
    1912–13: Turco-Balkan Wars.
  11. Fourth Cycle: The General War
    1914–18: First World War,
    1939–45: Second World War.

    The recrudescent general war of 1939–45
    was heralded by a splutter of premonitory wars:
    the Japanese attack on China, launched in Manchuria in 1931;
    1935–6: Italo-Abyssinian War;
    1936–9: Spanish Civil War; and
    7 March 1936: the fateful one-day campaign in the Rhineland,
    which was to pay for its bloodlessness at compound interest
    in the holocausts of the years 1939–45.

Subsection 36.1.d
The Disintegrations of Civilizations

Regularities in the rout-and-rally alternations,
with suggested explanations.

If we look back for a moment
at our cyclic pattern of the wars of the Modern Western society,
we may be struck by the fact that
this is not simply a case of a wheel revolving four times in vacuo
and coming round each time to the position in which it had started.
It is also a case of
a wheel moving forward along a road in a particularly ominous direction.
On the one hand,
here are four cases of states banding together
to defend themselves against an over-mighty and presumptuous neighbor
and eventually showing him that his pride has led him to a fall.
On the other hand,
there is a point which the cyclic pattern does not bring out,
but which a very elementary knowledge of history does reveal:
each of these four bouts of warfare was
more extensive, more violent, more destructive, materially and morally,
than its predecessor.
In the histories of other societies, such as the Hellenic and the Sinic,
such bouts of warfare have ended in
all the contending pieces being swept off the board except one,
which then establishes a universal state.

This self-amortization of a cyclic rhythm,
which proves to be the dominant tendency
in struggles for existence between parochial states,
has previously come to our notice
in our study of the disintegrations of civilizations;
and it is not surprising that there should be this affinity between
the rhythms of two processes that are manifestly bound up with each other.
Our study of the breakdowns in which the disintegrations originate
has shown us that a frequent occasion, symptom, or even cause of breakdown
has been the outbreak of an exceptionally violent war
between the parochial states of which the society has been composed.

The replacement of the contending states by an œcumenical empire
is apt to be followed,
not by the entire cessation of outbreaks of violence,
their reappearance in new forms,
as civil wars or social upheavals;
and so
the process of disintegration, though temporarily arrested, continues.

We have observed [chapter XXI] also that disintegrations,
like the wars of parochial states,
have run their course in a series of rhythmic fluctuations,
and we have ascertained, from the examination of a number of examples,
that the cyclic rhythm of Rout-and-Rally,
in which the dominant tendency towards disintegration
has fought out its long battle with a resistance movement,
has been apt to take a run of three and a half beats—
  1. rout, rally,
  2. relapse, rally,
  3. relapse, rally,
  4. relapse—
in accomplishing the historical journey from the breakdown of a civilization
to its final dissolution.
The first rout throws the broken-down society into a Time of Troubles,
which is relieved by the first rally,
only to be followed by a second and more violent paroxysm.
This relapse is followed by a more durable second rally,
manifesting itself in the establishment of a universal state.
This, in its turn, experiences a relapse and a recovery,
and this last recovery is followed by the final dissolution.

It will be seen that the drama of Social Disintegration has—
to judge from performances up to date—
a more precise and regular plot than the drama of the Balance of Power,
and if we study our table of universal states we shall find that—
in cases in which the course of events
is not disturbed by the impact of alien bodies social—
a span of some four hundred years is apt to be occupied by
the movement of rout, rally, relapse, and more effective rally,
running from the initial breakdown to the establishment of the universal state;
and a further period of about the same length by
the ensuing movement of recurrent relapse, last rally and final relapse,
running from the establishment of the universal state to its dissolution.
But a universal state is apt to die hard,
and a Roman Empire which went to pieces in the socially backward western provinces on the morrow of the catastrophe at Adrianople in a.d. 378
(just on four hundred years after its establishment by Augustus)
did not go the same way in the central and eastern provinces
till after the death of Justinian in a.d. 565.
Similarly a Han Empire,
which met with its second stroke in a.d. 184
and which broke up thereafter into the Three Kingdoms,
managed to reconstitute itself for a moment
in the Empire of the United Ts’in [Jin] (a.d. 280317)
before going into its final dissolution.

Subsection 36.1.f
‘There Is No Armor Against Fate’

Further illustrations are given of the persistence with which a tendency,
thwarted first at one point and then at another,
sometimes ultimately wins through.

In studying
the operation of ‘laws of Nature’ in the histories of civilizations,
we have found that the rhythm in which these laws reveal themselves
is apt to be generated by
a struggle between two tendencies of unequal strength.
There is a dominant tendency which prevails, in the long run,
against repeated counteracting moves
in which the recalcitrant opposing tendency asserts itself.
The struggle sets the pattern.
The persistence of the weaker tendency in refusing to resign itself to defeat
accounts for the repetitions of the encounter in a series of successive cycles;
the dominance of the stronger tendency makes itself felt
by bring the series to a close sooner or later.

On these lines
we have watched struggles for existence between parochial states following—
through three or four cycles of wars
fought on one side for the overthrow,
and on the other side for the maintenance,
of a balance of power—
a course that in each case ends in the overthrow of the balance.
We have likewise watched the struggle between
a broken-down society’s tendency to disintegrate
and a counter effort to restore it to a lost state of health—
a course that, in each case, ends in dissolution.
In studying the ‘laws of Nature’
in the economic affairs of an industrial Western society,
we have found expert investigators of trade cycles surmising that
these repetitive movements might prove to be
waves rippling on the surface of waters that were, all the time,
flowing in a current whose headway
would eventually bring these rhythmic fluctuations to an end.
In the same connection we may remind ourselves of our finding that,
when and where a conflict between a disintegrating civilization
and bands of recalcitrant barbarians beyond its pale
had passed over from the war of movement
into a stationary warfare along the limes of a universal state,
the passage of time had usually militated against the defenders of the limes
and to the advantage of its barbarian assailants,
until in the end the dam burst
the flood of barbarism had swept the pre-existing social structure off the map.

These are all illustrations of our more general finding that
cyclical movements in human history,
like the physical revolutions of a cartwheel,
have a way of forwarding,
through their own monotonously repetitive circular motion,
another movement with a longer rhythm which, by contrast,
can be seen to be accumulative progress in one direction,
which ultimately reaches its goal and, in reaching it,
brings the series to an end.
There is, however,
no warrant for interpreting these victories of one tendency over another
as illustrations of ‘laws of Nature’.
Empirically observed matters of fact
are necessarily the outcomes of inexorable fate.
The burden of proof here lies with the determinist, not with the agnostic—
a consideration that Spengler,
with his dogmatic and undocumented determinism,
failed to take into account.

without prejudice to the still open issue between Law and Freedom in History,
we propose, before attempting to carry our argument farther,
to take note of several other episodes in which
some tendency has reasserted itself against successive rebellions against it.
In such resolutions of conflicting forces Spengler would see the hand of ‘Fate’,
but, whether his dogma of inevitability was right or wrong,
he hardly attempts to prove it.
We will begin with the situation created by
the establishment, through military prowess,
of an Hellenic ascendancy in South-West Asia.

Though this Hellenic ascendancy was little less than a thousand years old
when, in the seventh century of the Christian Era,
it was overthrown by the Arab Muslim war-bands,
Hellenism had never succeeded, south of the Taurus,
in becoming anything more than an exotic alien culture,
feebly radiating its influence
into an incorrigibly Syriac or Egyptiac country-side
from its outposts in a few Hellenic or Hellenized cities.
Hellenism’s capacity to achieve mass-conversions had been put to the test
by the Seleucid Hellenizer Antiochus Epiphanes (reigned 175163 b.c.)
when he set out to make Jerusalem as Hellenic as Antioch;
and the resounding defeat of this cultural military enterprise had portended
the ultimate total disappearance of the intrusive culture.
Its always sickly existence was prolonged for centuries
by reason of the fact that
the Romans took over control from the weakening Seleucidae and Ptolemies.

The Hellenic ascendancy over the Syriac and Egyptiac societies
had been imposed and maintained by force of arms;
and, so long as the subjugated societies had reacted by replying in kind,
they had been courting defeat.
In the next chapter of the story,
the mass-conversion of the population of the Oriental provinces to Christianity,
in the third century of the Christian Era,
might have seemed to have done for Hellenism incidentally
what Antiochus had tried to do and failed;
for in these provinces the Catholic Christian Church
had captivated a subject native peasantry
and an urban Hellenic ‘ascendancy’ alike;
since Christianity had been making its triumphal progress in an Hellenic dress,
it looked as if the Orientals had now at last inadvertently received,
in association with Christianity,
a culture which they had rejected so vehemently
when it had been offered to them unadulterated and undisguised.
But that would have been a mistaken estimate.
Having accepted a Hellenized Christianity,
the Orientals set themselves to de-Hellenize their religion
by adopting successive heresies,
of which Nestorianism was the first.
In thus resuming the Oriental resistance movement against Hellenism
in the non-military form of theological controversy,
the Orientals had hit upon a new technique of cultural warfare
in which they eventually prevailed.

This anti-Hellenic cultural offensive presented itself over several centuries
in the cyclic pattern with which we are already familiar.
The Nestorian wave rose and fell,
to be followed by the Monophysite wave,
and this in turn by the Muslim wave, which carried all before it.
It might be said that the Muslim victory
was a reversion to the crude method of military conquest.
It is true, no doubt that the Muslim Arab war-bands
can hardly be regarded as
anticipators of the non-violent non-resistance doctrines of Tolstoy and Gandhi.
They ‘conquered’ Syria, Palestine, and Egypt during the years a.d. 63740,
but it was a conquest of much the same order
as that achieved by Garibaldi in a.d. 1860,
when he ‘conquered’ Sicily and Naples
with a force of 1,000 volunteers in red shirts,
supported by two little guns which were taken round for show,
without being provided with any ammunition.
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
was conquered by the martial missionary of Italia Una
because it wanted to be conquered,
the feelings of the populations of the Oriental provinces of the Roman Empire
towards the Arab war-bands
were not altogether unlike those of the Sicilians toward Garibaldi.

In the example just given
we see a succession of heretical protests against an undesired uniformity,
of which the third succeeded.
The history of France since the twelfth century of the Christian Era
presents the same pattern in a different context.
Since that century the Roman Catholic Church in France
had been engaged in a never more than temporarily successful struggle
to establish the ecclesiastical unity of France as a Catholic country
against an impulse towards secession
which had kept on reasserting itself in some new form
after each previous manifestation had been suppressed.
A revolt against Catholic Christianity
which had taken the form of Catharism
at its first outbreak in Southern France in the twelfth century
was stamped out there in the thirteenth century,
only to re-emerge in the same region in the sixteenth century as Calvinism.
Proscribed as Calvinism,
it promptly reappeared as Jansenism,
which was the nearest approach to Calvinism possible within the Catholic fold.
Proscribed as Jansenism,
it reappeared as Deism, Rationalism, Agnosticism, and Atheism.

In other contexts we have noted the fate of a Judaic monotheism
to be perpetually beset by a repeatedly resurgent polytheism,
and also
the fate of the kindred Judaic conception of the One True God’s transcendence
to be no less repeatedly beset by yearnings for a God Incarnate.
Monotheism put down the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth,
only to find a jealous Yahweh’s proscribed rivals
slyly creeping back into the fold of Jewish orthodoxy
in the guise of personifications of the Lord’s ‘Word’, ‘Wisdom’, and ‘Angel’,
and afterwards establishing themselves within the fold of Christian orthodoxy
in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity
and in the cults of God’s Body and Blood, God’s Mother, and the Saints.
These re-encroachments of polytheism
evoked a whole-hearted reassertion of monotheism in Islam,
and a less throughgoing reassertion of it in Protestantism,
and these two puritan movements, in their turn,
had been plagued by the soul’s irrepressible appetite for a plurality of gods,
to reflect the apparent plurality of natural forces in the Universe.

Part XII
The Prospects
of the Western Civilization

Chapter XL
The Inconclusiveness of a priori Answers

There is no reason for supposing, on pseudo-scientific grounds,
that, because all other civilizations have perished or are perishing,
the West is bound to go the same way.
Emotional reactions,
such as ‘Victorian’ optimism and ‘Spenglerian’ pessimism,
are equally void of cogency as evidence.

What was the Western civilization’s expectation of life in a.d. 1955?
On first thoughts a student of History
might be inclined to rate the West’s current expectations low,
considering the well-known prodigality of Nature.
The Western civilization was, after all,
one out of no more than twenty-one representatives of its species.
[See also.]
Was it rational to expect to see the twenty-first civilization on trial
succeed in avoiding the failure that had been the lot of all the others?
[At the beginning of Part IV, “The Breakdowns of Civilizations”, (¶13.1)
Toynbee analyzed the statuses of all the others
and found them either extinct
or on the verge of being absorbed into the Western one.
Of course, he was writing in the period 1930–55;
more recent events, e.g.
the economic successes of East and South Asia and
the ongoing conflict between Muslims and the Zionist alliance
might have changed his mind.
Be that as it may, his analyses demonstrate that
the immortal civilization has yet to be found.]

Considering the number of failures
that had been the price of each dearly bought success
in the past history of the evolution of Life on Earth,
it might appear improbable that,
in the history of a species still so young as the civilizations were,
any representative of the third generation
would be cast for the part of finding some hitherto untravelled way
of going on living and growing indefinitely,
or else of creating a mutation that would generate a new species of Society.

Yet such an inference would have been drawn from the experience of Life,
not at the human, but at a pre-human level.
It might be true that,
when Nature had been engaged on the evolution of rudimentary organisms,
she had been apt to coin millions of specimens
in order to give herself the off-chance of making a lucky hit
that would produce a novel and superior design.
In the evolution of plants, insects, fishes, and the like,
twenty specimens would, no doubt,
have been a ridiculously small number for Nature to work on;
but it would surely be an unwarrantable assumption to suppose that
rules of evolution that might be inevitable for animal or vegetable organisms
were also necessarily applicable to such entirely different ‘specimens’
as human societies in process of civilization.
In fact, the argument from the prodigality of Nature is, in the present context,
no argument at all.
We have raised it only to dismiss it.

There remain a pair of emotional a priori answers to our question
which must be considered
before we proceed to examine the testimony of the civilizations themselves.
The two emotional answers were mutually contradictory,
and the writer of this Study, who had been born in a.d. 1889,
had lived to see the West begin to revert from one of these two feelings
to the other.

The outlook prevalent among people of the middle class in Great Britain
at the end of the nineteenth century
can best be conveyed by a quotation from a parody,
written by two schoolmasters,
of a schoolboy’s notions of history as presented in his examination scripts,
and entitled 1066 and All That.
‘History is now at an end;
this history is therefore final.’
This fin-de-siècle English middle-class outlook
was shared by the contemporary children
of the German and Northern American victors
of the latest bout of Modern Western wars
[Franco-Prussian and American Civil].
The beneficiaries from this aftermath of the General War of a.d. 1792–1815
had not, by then, begun to suspect,
any more than their English ‘opposite numbers’,
that the Modern Age [1475–1875, in Toynbee’s chronology] of Western History
had been wound up only to inaugurate
a Post-Modern Age pregnant with tragic experiences.
They were imagining that, for their benefit,
a sane, safe, satisfactory Modern Life had miraculously come to stay
in a suddenly inaugurated timeless present.
A sense of timelessness seemed to brood, for example,
over a sixty-years-long Victorian Age, though, indeed,
a casual examination of the pictures
in the popular Diamond Jubilee production, Sixty Years a Queen,
suggested a fast-moving pageant of change in every department of life,
ranging from technology to dress.

At that date,
English middle-class Conservatives,
for whom the millennium had already arrived,
English middle-class Liberals,
for whom it lay only just round the corner,
were, of course, aware that
the English working class’s share in the middle class’s prosperity
was shockingly small,
and that British subjects
in most of the colonies and dependencies of the United Kingdom
were not enjoying a self-government
that was the privilege of their fellow subjects
in the United Kingdom and in a few other dominions of the British Crown;
but these inequalities
were discounted by the Liberals as remediable
and by the Conservatives as inevitable.
Contemporary citizens of the United States at the North
were similarly aware that
their economic prosperity was not shared by their fellow citizens at the South.
Contemporary subjects of the German Reich were aware that
the inhabitants of a ‘Reichsland’ annexed from France
[as a result of the Franco-Prussian War]
were still French at heart and that
the rest of the French nation was still unreconciled
to the amputation of the ceded departments.
[The clear analogy for 1967 and later is
Germany Reich = Israel
Reichsland = Israeli Occupied Territories
French nation = Muslim Ummah

The French were still entertaining thoughts of a revanche,
and the subject population in Alsace-Lorraine
were still dreaming the same dream of an eventual liberation
as other subject populations in Slesvik, Poland, Macedonia, and Ireland.
Such peoples did not acquiesce in the comfortable belief that
‘History’ was ‘at an end’.
Yet their unwavering confidence
that a, to them, intolerable established system
must be borne away, sooner or later, by Time’s ‘ever-rolling stream’
made little impression, at the time,
on the torpid imaginations
of representatives of the Powers then in the ascendant.
It may be safely said that there was, in a.d. 1897, no living man or woman,
even among the most sanguine prophets of nationalist or socialist revolution,
who dreamed that a demand for national self-determination
was going to break up the Hapsburg, Hohenzollern, and Romanov empires
and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
within the next twenty-five years;
or that a demand for social democracy was going to spread
from the urban working class
of a few precociously industrialized provinces of the Western world
to the peasantry of Mexico and China.
Gandhi (born a.d. 1869) and Lenin (born a.d. 1870)
were then still unknown names.
The word ‘Communism’ stood for
a lurid but brief and apparently irrelevant past episode
which had come to be regarded as
the last eruption of ‘History’s’ now extinct volcano.
This ominous outbreak of savagery in the Parisian underworld in a.d. 1871
was written off as an atavistic reaction
to the shock of a startling military disaster,
and there was no discernible fear of the recrudescence of a conflagration
that had been smothered for a quarter of a century
under the wet blanket of a bourgeois Third Republic.

This complacent middle-class optimism was no new thing
at the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.
We find it a hundred years earlier in the stately periods of [Edward] Gibbon
and in Turgot’s Second Discourse,
delivered at the Sorbonne in a.d. 1750,
On the Advantages which the Establishment of Christianity
has procured for the Human Race
A hundred years farther back again
we can detect it in the casual observations of [Samuel] Pepys.
The shrewd diarist detected a rise in the political and economic barometer;
1649 and all that’,
which included the Massacre of St. Bartholomew and the Spanish Inquisition,
were things of the past.
Indeed, the generation of Pepys was that in which we have already placed
the beginning of the Late Modern Age (a.d. 1675–1875),
and this Late Modern Age is one of the great Ages of Faith—
Faith in Progress and in Human Perfectibility.
Two generations earlier than Pepys
we find a more sonorous prophet of this Faith in Francis Bacon.

A Faith that has lived three hundred years dies hard,
and we can detect its expression,
ten years after it had received its apparent knock-out blow in a.d. 1914,
in an address delivered by
a distinguished historian and public servant of the prediluvian generation,
Sir James Headlam-Morley (a.d. 1863–1929).
‘In our analysis of this [Western] culture
the first great fact that we will notice is that,
though undoubtedly there is a common history and common civilization
for all Western Europe,
the people were not joined in any formal political union,
nor has the country ever been subjected to one common government.
For a moment, indeed, it looked as though
Charlemagne would establish his authority over the whole area;
that hope, as we know, was to be disappointed;
his attempt to create a new empire failed,
as all subsequent attempts have failed.
Again and again attempts were made by the later Empire,
by the rulers of Spain and France,
to unite the whole of Western Europe in one great state or empire.
Always we find the same thing:
the appeal to local patriotism and personal liberty
inspires a resistance which breaks down the effort of every conqueror.
And so there has been as a permanent characteristic of Europe
that which critics call anarchy;
for the absence of a common rule means struggle, fighting, and war,
a ceaseless confusion between rival units of government
[contending with one another] for territory and predominance.

‘This is a condition which to many is very shocking.
Undoubtedly it implies a great expenditure of energy,
a great destruction of wealth,
at times a great loss of life.
There are many, in consequence,
who would have preferred to see
the gradual establishment of some common government
and who, to its disadvantage,
contrast the history of Europe with that of Imperial Rome,
or—at the present day—of the United States of America.
There are many, from the days of Dante onwards,
who have longed for that ordered government
which might appear to be the true reflex and instrument of Divine Providence.
How often do we hear it said that if, on the soil of America,
English and Italians and Poles and Ruthenians and Germans and Scandinavians
can all live side by side in peace and contentment,
why should they not do so in their original homes?

‘I have not today to discuss ideals of the future;
we are concerned with the past,
and all that we have to do is to note the fact that
this anarchy, this warfare, this rivalry,
existed just at the time
when the energies of the Continent were at their highest.
Let us note also that the energies of the Mediterranean World—
the vital force, artistic spirit, intellectual ingenuity—
seem gradually but steadily to have decayed,
and that the beginning of the decay coincided with
the establishment of a common government.
May it not be that the friction and disorder
was not in reality merely destruction of energy,
but the cause by which the energy was produced?’

[J.W. Headlam-Morley: ‘The Cultural Unity of Western Europe’,
in The New Past and other Essays on the Development of Civilization,
edited by E.H. Carter (Oxford 1925, Blackwell), pp. 88–89.]

It is strange to hear Gibbon’s reassuring voice still echoing in an England
that was now ringing with the dread sound of an apocalyptic trump[et].
By a.d. 1924, however, the antithetical feeling,
expressed in a different reading of the significance
of an antecedent Hellenic civilization’s decline and fall,
was already in the ascendant in a stricken Western world.

Five years before Headlam-Morley delivered his address,
Paul Valéry had eloquently proclaimed that all civilizations were mortal.
[Oswald] Spengler was saying the same thing at the same time.
We can now see that
the Doctrine of Progress was based on a number of false premises.
But does that admission compel us to accept the Doctrine of Doom?
Such would be very simple reasoning.
One might as well argue that
because Johnny Head-in-Air had fallen into the Slough of Despond,
there could therefore be no way across it.
Valéry’s pessimism and Gibbon’s optimism are, both alike,
rationalizations of emotions which happened to be
superficially appropriate to the brief spans of their lives.

[The above chapter was written in the early 1950s,
when the largely ideological conflict between the West and Communism,
following the ideological conflict with Nazism,
was the dominant theme of world geopolitics,
subordinating much of the potential for conflict between civilizations.
Subsequently that conflict has resurrected itself,
as extensively documented in Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations.]

Something I just discovered that I find interesting:
As of today, 2008-01-17,
there are eight people (including me) identified by Blogger
as listing A Study of History as one of their favorite books.
All were male.

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