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Saturday, November 06, 1993





The Arrested Civilizations

Polynesians, Eskimos and Nomads

The ‛Osmanlis

The challenge to which the Ottoman system was a response was the transference of a Nomad community to an environment in which they had to rule sedentary communities. They solved their problem by treating their new subjects as human flocks and herds, evolving human equivalents of the sheep-dogs of the Nomads in the form of a slave 'household' of administrators and soldiers. Other examples of similar Nomad empires are mentioned the Mamlūks for instance; but the 'Osmanli system surpassed all others in efficiency and duration. It suffered, however, like Nomadism itself from a fatal rigidity.

The Spartans

The Reversion to Animalism

General Characteristics

Note: The Sea and Steppe as language conductors


(1) Two False Trails
(2) Progress towards Self-determination




(1) The Relation between Growing Civilizations and Individuals

{III.C.II.(a)p.236} ...If the creative genius fails to bring about in his milieu the mutation which he has achieved in himself, his creativeness will be fatal to him. he will have put himself out of gear with his field of action; and in losing the power of action he will lose the will to live—even if his former fellows do not harry him to death, as abnormal members of the swarm of hive or herd or pack are harried to death by the rank and file in the static social life of gregarious animals of insects. This is the penalty of the genius whose failure to transform his social milieu convicts him of having been 'before his time'. On the other hand, if our genius does succeed in overcoming the passive inertia or active hostility of his former fellows and does triumphantly transform the social milieu which has hitherto been common ground between him and them into a new order in harmony with his transfigured self, he thereby makes life impossible for men and women of common clay unless they can succeed in adapting their own selves, in turn, to the new social milieu that has now been imposed upon them by the triumphant genius's masterfully creative will.

This is the meaning of a saying attributed to Jesus in the gospels:

‘Think not that I am come to send peace on Earth; I came not to send peace but a sword.
‘For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
‘And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.’ 1

1 Matthew x. 34-6. Compare Luke xii. 51-3.

{p. 241} Our Western scientific knowledge of which we boast, and even our Western technique for turning this knowledge to practical account—a technique on which we depend for the maintenance of our wealth and strength—is perilously esoteric. The great new social forces of Democracy and Industrialism, which our Western Civilization has thrown up in the course of its growth, have been evoked from the depths by a tiny creative minority. Even this minority is wondering to-day whether it will be able to control and guide much longer these forces that it has loosed—as witness Sir Alfred Ewing's presidential address to the British Association in 1932.1 And the main reason why this would-be Western Salt of the Earth is in fear, to-day, of losing its savour is because the great mass of the Western body social has remained unsalted.

To-day this great mass of humanity still remains on substantially the same intellectual and moral level on which it lay—a century ago, or a century and a half—before the titanic new social forces began to emerge. The measure of this intellectual and moral retardation or stagnation or degradation of the mass is given with remorseless accuracy by the character of 'the Yellow Press'. In the latter-day perversion of our Western press, we see the 'drive' of Western Industrialism and Democracy being employed to keep the mass of Western Humanity culturally depressed at, or perhaps even below, its pre-industrial and pre-democratic spiritual level; and the same new 'drive' has been put, with similar evil consequences, into the old institutions of War and Tribalism and Slavery and Property.2 The creative minority in the modern Western World is in danger of seeing its advance brought to a standstill and the ground that it has conquered filched away by an act of betrayal that has prostituted the new-won powers and the new-made apparatus of this handful of pioneers to the anti-social function of debauching the rest of Society. This betrayal is a dastardly crime; and yet, in exposing it, we have not really probed to the bottom of the mischief. For the life of the many could never have been debauched so effectively by adroitly misapplying the inventions of the few if the many had not remained morally and intellectually stationary all

2 See III.C (i) (d), p. 212, above, and IV. C. (iii) (b) 2-7, vol. iv, pp. 137-98, below.

{p.242} the time while the few were making their tremendous moral and intellectual advance. This stagnation of the masses is the fundamental cause of the crisis with which our Western Civilization is confronted in our day. Ant the intensity of the this crisis seems to bear out the Hindu controversialist's contention that the blemish which the Western observer perceives in the social structure of Hinduism is not peculiar to the Hindu Society, but is likewise discernible in the contemporary Western World.1 This common predicament of two living societies may be regarded as a regular phenomenon on the life of all civilizations that are, or at any time have been, in process of growth.

The very fact that the growths of civilizations are the work of creative individuals creative minorities caries the implication that the uncreative majority will be left behind unless the pioneers can contrive some means of carrying this sluggish rear-guard along with them in their eager advance. And this consideration requires us to qualify the definition of the difference between civilizations and primitive societies on which we have hitherto worked. At an earlier point in this Study,2 we found that the primitive societies, as we have known them, are in a static condition, whereas the civilizations—or, at any rate, the growing civilizations—are in a dynamic movement. We should now rather say that growing civilizations differ from static primitive societies in virtue of the dynamic movement, in their bodies social, of creative personalities; and we should add that these creative personalities at their greatest numerical strength, never amount to more than a small minority in the society which their action pervades and animates. In every growing civilization, even at the times when it is growing the most

2 In Part II. B., vol. i, pp. 192-5.

{p.243} lustily, the great majority of the participant individuals are in the same stagnant quiescent condition as the members of a primitive society which is in a state of rest. More than that, the great majority of the participants in any civilization in any phase are men of like passions—of identical human nature—with Primitive Mankind.

'The truth is that, if Civilization has profoundly modified Man, it has done so by making the social milieu into a kind of reservoir for accumulating habits and skill which are poured into the individual by Society in each successive generation. Scratch the surface and efface what we receive from an education which never ceases, and we shall rediscover something very like primitive humanity in the depths of our nature....Human Nature is the same to-day as it always has been.' 1

It will be seen that, although the difference between static primitive societies growing civilizations is traceable to a difference in nature between the two types individual which are respectively characteristic of the two species of society, the individual participants in societies of the higher species do not conform exclusively, or indeed predominantly, to the type if individual which is characteristic of this species of society. The characteristic type of individual whose action turns a primitive society in to a civilization and causes a growing civilization to grow is the 'superior personality' or 'genius' or 'great mystic' or 'superman'; but in any growing society at any given moment the individuals of this type are always in a minority. They are no more than a leaven in a lump of ordinary humanity; and this ordinary humanity is no different in nature from the human type which is typical of primitive societies.

Thus the line of spiritual demarcation between superior personalities and ordinary human beings does not coincide with the line of social demarcation between civilizations and primitive societies. There is an overwhelming majority of ordinary people in the membership of even the most advanced and progressive civilization; and the humanity of all these people is virtually primitive humanity.

'Those beliefs and customs of Savage Man are "primitive" which are the product of that "primitive" type of mind, or non-primitive mind

1 Bergson, op. cit., pp. 133 and 169. See further pp. 106-7 and 150-70 for the author's whole argument against the thesis that primitive Human Nature in primitive societies differs in kind from ordinary Human Nature in the societies that are in process of civilization. The great French philosopher's opinion on this question is shared by a great English anthropologist: 'The truth seems to be that to this very day the peasant remains a pagan and savage at heart; his civilization is merely a thin veneer which the hard knocks of Life soon abrade, exposing the solid core of paganism and savagery below.' (Frazer, Sir J. G.: The Golden Bough, 3rd ed., Part VII: 'Balder the Beautiful' (London 1913, Macmillan), Preface, pp. viii-ix. Cp. Meyer, E.: Geschichte des Altertums, vol. i(i), 4th ed. (Stuttgart and Berlin 1921, Cotta), p. 145.)

{p.244} which from some cause or other keeps the co-ordinative reasoning controlling power in abeyance. That man is "primitive", whether his is a Veddah of Ceylon or a European peasant, whose ideas and practices are of that character.'1

'a double effort is demanded: and effort on the part of some people to make a new invention, and an effort on the part of all the rest to adopt it and adapt themselves to it. A society can be called a civilization as soon as these acts of initiative and this attitude of docility are both found together. As a matter of fact, the second condition is more difficult to secure than the first. The indispensable factor which had not been at the command of the uncivilized societies is, in all probability, not the superior personality (there seems no reason why Nature should not have had a certain number of these felicitous vagaries at all times and places). The missing factor is more likely to have been the opportunity for individuals of this stamp to display their superiority and the disposition in other individuals to follow their lead.'3

This problem of securing that the uncreative majority shall in

1 Murphy, J.: Primitive Man: His Essential Quest (London 1927, Milford), p. 10.
3 Bergson, op. cit. p. 181. Compare the following passage of Plato (in Laws, 951 B-C): "Among the mass of Mankind there is always a certain number—though a very small number—of godlike individuals whose inspiration is of priceless social value. These rare individuals are no more apt to emerge in socially progressive societies than in others; so the members of the socially progressive societies ought to be constantly on their tracks scouring sea and land in order to discover sterling representatives of the species [and to derive from them inspiration for] revising the existing body of social institutions.'

{p.245} fact follow the creative minority's lead appears to have two solutions, the one practical and the other ideal.

'How is one to get purchase upon the will [of another person]? There are two ways open to the educator. The one was is by drill (dressage)...the other is by mysticism....The first method inculcates a morality consisting of impersonal habits; the second induces the imitation of another personality, and even a spiritual union, a more or less complete identification, with it.'1

The classic description of this second, mystical method is given in Plato's indignant refusal of Dionysius's request for a short and simple exposition of the Platonic philosophy in writing.

‘I have one thing to say about all writers, past or future, who claim to understand my philosophy either as a result of oral communications received from me or from others or by the unaided light of their own genius. All such claimants stand convicted of charlatanism on my showing. At any rate there is no written work of my own on my philosophy, and there never will be. For this philosophy cannot possibly be put into words as other sciences can. The sole way of acquiring it is be strenuous intellectual communion and intimate personal intercourse, which kindle it in the soul instantaneously like a light caught from a leaping flame; and, once alight, it feeds its own flame thenceforward. Of course I know very well that the best presentation of it, oral of written, would be my own. I also know that I should be the first to be pained by a written presentation which failed to do it justice.
And if I believed that an adequate popular presentation, either written or verbal, were possible, what finer life-work could I have set myself than to write something of real benefit for Mankind; something which would bring the nature of the Universe into light of day for all eyes to see? Unhappily, I do not consider that the study of my philosophy is good for people, with the exception of a few who are capable of discovering it for themselves with the aid of a minimum of demonstration. As for the rest, I fancy that some would be filled perversely with a misguided contempt and others with soaring, windy expectation—in the belief that they had learnt something tremendous.’ 2

The direct kindling of creative energy from soul to soul, which Plato here enjoins, is no doubt the ideal way. Yet to enjoin this way exclusively is a counsel of perfection. The problem of bringing the uncreative rank and file of a growing society into line with the creative pioneers, in order to save the pioneers' own advance from being brought to a halt, cannot be solved in practice, on the social scale, without also bringing into play the faculty of sheer mimesis—one of the less exalted faculties of Human Nature which has more in it of drill than of inspiration.

To bring mimesis into play is indispensable for the purpose in

1 Bergson, op. cit. pp. 98-9.
2 Plato's Letters, No. 7, 341 B-E.

{p.246} hand because mimesis, at any rate, is one of the regular faculties of ordinary Primitive Man.


The Movement of Withdrawal and Return

The action of the creative individual may be described as a twofold motion of withdrawal-and-return; withdrawal from the purpose of his personal enlightenment, return for the task of enlightening his fellow men. This is illustrated from Plato's parable of the Cave, Saint Paul's analogy of the seed, from the Gospel story and from elsewhere. It is then shown in practical action in the lives of great pioneers...

Saint Paul

Saint Benedict

Saint Gregory the Great

Saint Ignatius Loyola

The Buddha



Muhammad was born into the Arabian external proletariat of the Roman Empire in an age when the relations between the Empire and Arabia were coming to a crisis. At the turn of the sixth and seventh centuries of the Christian Era the saturation-point had been reached in the impregnation of Arabia with cultural influences from the Empire. Some reaction from Arabia, in form of a counter-discharge of energy, was bound to ensue; it was the career of Muhammad (whose lifetime was circa A.D. 570-632) that decided the form that the reaction was to take; and a movement of Withdrawal-and-Return was the prelude to each of the two crucial new departures upon which Muhammad's life-history hinges.

There were two features in the social life of the Roman Empire in Muhammad's day that would make a particularly deep impression on the mind of an Arabian observer because, in Arabia, they were both conspicuous by their absence. The first of these was monotheism in religion. The second law and order in government. Muhammad's life-work consisted in translating each of the elements in the social fabric of 'Rūm' into an Arabian vernacular version and incorporating both his Arabianized monotheism and his Arabianized imperium into a single master-institution—the all-embracing institution of Islam—to which he succeeded in imparting such titanic driving-force that the new dispensation, which had been designed by its author to meet the needs of the barbarians of Arabia, burst the bounds of the peninsula and captivated the entire Syriac World from the shores of the Atlantic to the coasts of the Eurasian Steppe.

This life-work, upon which Muhammad appears to have embarked in about his fortieth year (circa A.D. 609), was achieved in two stages. In the first stages Muhammad was concerned exclusively with his religious mission; in the second stage the religious mission was overlaid, and almost overwhelmed, by the political enterprise. Muhammad's original entry upon a purely religious mission was a sequel to his return to the parochial life of Arabia after a partial withdrawal of some fifteen years' duration into the life of a caravan-trader between the Arabian oases and the Syrian desert-ports of the Roman Empire along the fringes of the North Arabian Steppe. The second, or politico-religious, stage in Muhammad's career was inaugurated by the Prophet's withdrawal or Hegire (Hijrah) from his native oasis of Mecca to the rival oasis of Yathrib, thenceforth known par excellence as Medina: 'the City' (of the Prophet). In the Hijrah, which has been adopted as the inaugural date of the Islamic era, Muhammad left Mecca as a hunted fugitive. After a seven years' absence (A.D. 622-9) he returned to Mecca, not as an amnestied exile, but as lord and master of half Arabia. It will be seen that the first stage of Muhammad's career is comparable with the career of Solon1 and the second stage with the career of Caesar.2

2 For the significance of Muhammad's political success, see further the second Annex to this chapter, on pp. 466-72, below.



Ibn Khaldūn

{III.C.II.(b), p. 321} The last member of our Pleiad of historians is ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldūn al-Hadramī of Tunis (vivebat A.D. 1332-1406)—an Arabic genius who achieved in a single 'acquiescence' of less than four years' length, out of a fifty-four years' span of adult working life, a life-work in the shape of a piece of literature which can bear comparison with the work of a Thucydides or the work of a Machiavelli for both breadth and profundity of vision as well as for sheer intellectual power. Ibn Khaldūn's star shines the more brightly by contrast with the foil of darkness against which it flashes out; for while Thucydides and Machiavelli and Clarendon are all brilliant representatives of brilliant times and places, Ibn Khaldūn is the sole point of light in his quarter of the firmament. He is indeed the one outstanding personality in the
{p. 322} history of a civilization whose social life on the whole was 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short'.1 In his chosen field of intellectual activity he appears to have been inspired by no predecessors2 and to have found no kindred souls among his contemporaries and to have kindled no answering spark of inspiration in any successors; and yet, in the Prolegomena (Muqaddimat) to his Universal History he has conceived and formulated a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place. It was his single brief 'acquiescence' from a life of practical activity that gave Ibn Khaldūn his opportunity to cast his creative thought into literary shape.

Ibn Khaldūn was born into the Arabic World in an age when the infant Arabic Civilization was struggling (as it proved, in vain) to bring order out of the chaos which was its legacy from a recent social interregnum. This interregnum (circa A.D. 975-1275) had been the sequel to the break-up of the Umayyad and 'Abbasid Caliphates, which had been the final embodiments of the Syriac universal state; and at the western extremity of the derelict Syriac World—in North-West Africa and in the Iberian Peninsula—the last vestiges of the old order had been swept away by a conflux of barbarians from three continents: European Asturians and Franks from the Pyrenees; African Nomads from the Sahara3 and highlanders from the Atlas4 who made themselves a name as the 'Berbers' par excellence; 5 and Asiatic Arab Badu from the North Arabian Steppe who were perhaps the most barbarous and destructive of them all.

The destruction which these barbarians had worked was brought home to Ibn Khaldūn by his family history as well as by his personal experience. The Khaldūns were a prominent house of the aristocracy of Seville6 who had emigrated from Andalusia to Africa, about a century before ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān ibn Khaldūn's birth, in anticipation of the conquest of Seville by the Castilians;7 and in the

1 The famous description of the life of Primitive Man in the State of Nature which is given by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan, part i, ch. 13. For the history of the Arabic Civilization into which Ibn Khaldūn happened to be born, see I. C (i) (b), vol. i, pp. 70-2, with Annex I, above.
2 The education which he received from his masters of whom he gives an account in his Autobiography—seems to have been exceedingly thorough but entirely scholastic. (See the relevant passage in French translation, in Ibn Khaldūn: Muqaddimāt, translated by de Slane, McG. (Paris. 1863-8, Imprimerie Impériale, 3 vols.), vol. i, Introduction, pp. xix-xxvi.)
3 The Murābits.
4 The Muwahhids.
5 See II. D (v), vol. ii, p. 204, above.
6 By origin, the family were Yamanīs from the Hadramawt who had migrated to Andalusia, after the Umayyad conquest, in one of the military colonies which were then drafted out to the Iberian Peninsula from the five garrisons of Arab troops in Syria (de Slane, op. cit., vol. i, pp. ix-x).
7 Ibn Khaldūn, in his Autobiography (translation in de Slane, op. cit., vol. i, p. xv), mentions that his ancestors migrated from Seville to Ceuta some twenty years before the fall of Cordova (A.D. 1236), Carmona (A.D. 1243), Seville (A.D. 1244), and Jaen (A.D. 1246).

{p. 323} family's new home in Ifriqīyah ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān, comparing the local conditions in his own generation, as he saw them, with the descriptions of Ifriqīyah in earlier ages which he read in historical works, was evidently impressed by the greatness of the contrast between present and past and was convinced that the immense change for the worse which had taken place within the last three centuries was the handiwork of the Arab Badawī tribes—the Banu Hilāl and the Banu Sulaym—who had been unleashed in A.D. 1051 upon a rebellious Maghrib by the Fatimid rulers of Syria and Egypt.

‘Ifriqīyah and the Maghrib’, 1 he writes, ‘are suffering still from their devastation by the Arabs. The Banu Hilāl and the Sulaym broke their way in during the fifth century of the Hijrah [the 11th century of the Christian Era]; and they have continued to wreak their fury on these countries for three centuries and a half, Hence devastation and solitude still reign there. Before this invasion, the whole region extending from the [Western] Sudan to the Mediterranean was thickly populated: the traces of an ancient civilization, the debris of monuments and buildings, the ruins of towns and villages, are there to testify to the fact.’ 2

Ibn Khaldūn was conscious of the difference between this purely destructive Arab invasion during the post-Syriac interregnum and the movement which, some three or four centuries earlier, had brought his own ancestors westward from the Hadramawt to AndaIusia. For these Arab emissaries of the Umayyads had come to the Maghrib not to destroy but to fulfil. They had come to step into the shoes of the previous Roman garrisons and Roman officials and to retrieve for the ancient Syriac Society, in its latter days, the former colonial domain of which it had been deprived during eight or nine centuries of alien rule.3

’After the preaching of Islam,’ Ibn Khaldūn observes, ‘the Arab armies penetrated into the Maghrib and captured all the cities of the country; but they did not establish themselves there as tent-dwellers or as Nomads, since their need to make sure of their dominion in the

1 In the language of Arabic political geography, the Maghrib (i.e., ‘the West’) means in a general way the whole of the Arabic World west of Egypt, though the term is apt to be confined to the Arabic domain in North-West Africa to the exclusion of the Arabic domain in the Iberian Peninsula (Andalūs). Maghrib al-Aqsā (i.e., 'the Far West') means Morocco. Ifriqīyah (an Arabization of the Latin name' Africa') means a region of rather wider extent than the modern Tunisia in which urban and agricultural life had the ascendancy over Nomadism The successive capitals of Ifriqīyah have been Carthage, Qayrawān, Mahadīyah, and Tunis.
2 Ibn Khaldūn: Muqaddimat translation by de Slane, vol, i, p. 312. Cp. pp. 66-7.
3 The Syriac culture had been planted on the coasts of North-West Africa and Spain by Phoenician colonists from about the ninth century B.C. onwards. The interval of alien rule between the end of the Carthaginian régime and the beginning of the Umayyad régime had lasted in Spain from the close of the third century B.C. to the beginning of the eighth century of the Christian Era, and in Africa from the middle of the second century B.C. to the middle of the seventh century of the Christian Era.

{p. 324} Maghrib compelled them to keep to the towns. So in the Maghrib at this stage the Arabs did not occupy the open country. It was not until the fifth century of the Hijrah that they came to take up their abode there and to spread tribe-wise in order to camp allover this immense region.’1

The first of the two passages here quoted from the Universal History of Ibn Khaldūn occurs in a chapter2 which is perhaps the most crushing indictment of Nomad rule over sedentary populations that has ever been delivered from the mouth of a first-hand witness.3 But the thought which had been set in motion in Ibn Khaldūn's mind by his apprehension of the ruin which the Nomads had brought upon the Maghrib did not come to a standstill here. It moved on, with a gathering momentum, to contemplate the contrast between the Nomadic and the sedentary way of life and to analyze the nature of each; to ponder over the group-feeling or sense of social solidarity or esprit de corps (‛asabīyah) which is the Nomad's psychological response to the challenge of life in the desert; to trace out a connexion of cause and effect between esprit de corps and empire-building and between empire-building and religious propaganda; and thence to broaden out until at last it embraced, in a panoramic vision, the rises and falls of empires and the geneses and growths and breakdowns and disintegrations of civilizations.4

This mighty tree of thought, with its towering stem and symmetrically branching boughs and delicate tracery of twigs was the eventual outcome of the seedling that germinated in the young ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān’s mind under the early impression of the contrast between present and past in his nativeIfriqīyah. But Ibn Khaldūn did not begin his career by sitting down to put these burgeoning thoughts into order. It seemed a more pressing task to be putting some rudiments of order into the struggling, chaotic social life in

1 Ibn Khaldūn: A History of the Berbers = A Universal History, vols. vi and vii, French translation by de Slane (Algiers 1852-6, 4 vols.), vol. i, p. 28. The passage here quoted is taken for the text of his tenth chapter by Gautier, E. F. : Les Siècles Obscurs du Maghreb (Paris 1927, Payot). See further Marçais, G.: Les Arabes en Berberie du XIe au XIVe. Siècles (Paris 1913, Leroux).
2 Ibn Khaldūn: Muqaddamaāt, Bk. I, section ii, ad fin. The chapter-headings speak for themselves: ‘Every country that is conquered by Arabs rapidly goes to ruin’; ‘In general, Arabs are incapable of founding an empire unless they have received a tincture of religion of a certain strength from some prophet or saint’ ; ‘Of all peoples, Arabs are the least capable of governing an empire.’
3 The indictment is the more remarkable when we consider that the particular Nomads at whose expense Ibn Khaldūn makes his argumentum ad hominem shared the name of Arab with the author himself; but perhaps it is actually this ostensible kinship which inspires Ibn Khaldūn with his animus against the Banu Hilāl; for the House of Khaldūn had not only been bourgeois for centuries; there was no Nomadic chapter at all in their past; for the peasantry of the Hadramawt is just as sedentary as the bourgeoisie of Mecca or Medina or San‛ā. The very accent and argot of the Banu Hilāl set Ibn Khaldūn's teeth on edge. (For this, see the passages quoted by Gautier in op. cit., p. 387.)
4 See, further, Annex III, below.

{p. 325} contemporary Ifriqīyah; and this was the task to which the young man found himself called both by family tradition and by personal need of a livelihood. The Macrocosm called him; the Microcosm could wait. And so, at the age of twenty, ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān ibn Khaldūn followed in his forbears' footsteps by plunging into local politics as a courtier and a minister of state.

The Arabic adventurer's own account, in his Autobiography, of his life during the next twenty-two years reminds a modern Western student of history, who re-reads the story in A.D. 1935, of nothing so much as the life of some latter-day Western-style Chinese politician during the equal span of time which has elapsed since the outbreak of the Chinese Revolution. It was, indeed, a life of meeting at night and parting at morning'; for, within this span of twenty-two years, Ibn Khaldūn saw service with no less than seven different princelings; and from almost every one of these successive royal masters his parting was abrupt and violent. In his native principality of Tunis, where he made his debut, he remained no longer than a few weeks; and thereafter we find him making a series of brief appearances now in Fez and now in Granada (whence his momentary employer sends him, in A.D. 1363, on an embassy to the court of Peter the Cruel in Seville)1 and now again in this or that city of Ifriqīyah. In all these peregrinations, his only tranquil 'getaway' was the last; and this, too, was effected more sinico .

In the spring of A.D. 1375 Ibn Khaldūn had just settled down at Tilimsān (Tlemçen), under the patronage of the local prince, to give public instruction as a change from practical politics, when it pleased the prince to send his accomplished guest on a political mission to a Nomad Arab tribe in the interior.

’As I had renounced public affairs,’ Ibn Khaldūn proceeds, ‘in order to live in retreat, the prospect of this mission filled me with repugnance; but I affected to accept it with pleasure. [On my road], I fell in with the ‛Awlād ‛Arīf [who appear to have been a branch of the Duwāwidah tribe which Ibn Khaldūn had been instructed to visit]; and they welcomed me with gifts and honours. I took up my abode with them; and they sent to Tilimsān to fetch my family and my children. They promised at the same time to represent to the Sultan that it was positively impossible for me to fulfil the mission with which he had charged me; and in fact they induced him to accept my excuses. Thereupon I established myself with my family at Qal‛at ibn Salāmah, a castle situated in the country of the Banu Tujīn which was held from the Sultan by

1 This was how' ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān ibn Khaldūn visited, for the first and last time, the home of his ancestors. ‘When I arrived at Seville’, he writes, ‘I remarked a number of monuments of my ancestors' greatness’. Peter received ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān with honour, and actually offered to reinstate him in his ancestral property if he would consent to enter his service-an offer which ‛Abd-ar-Rahmān politely declined. (See the relevant passage from the Autobiopaphy in de Slane'a translation of the Muqaddamaāt, vol. i, p. xliv.)

{p. 328} during his creative ‘acquiescence’ at Qal‛at ibn Salāmah. committing to writing the Universal History which was in his mind was not at an end until the Prolegomena had been followed by six further volumes; and we may conjecture that these last six- sevenths of the work might never have seen the light if the successful composition of the prelude, during those four exceptional years of tranquility, had not inspired the philosopher with an impetus to write which persisted through the subsequent years of recurrent turmoil. We must add that the relative value of the different parts of the work as 'everlasting possessions' is not to be measured by any quantitative standard; and that if Posterity were confronted with the cruel choice between losing the first volume alone of Ibn Khaldūn's Universal History or saving the Muqaddamāt at the price of losing all the other six, we should unhesitatingly sacrifice the six volumes which the author contrived to compose after his re- emergence from Qal‛at ibn Salāmah in order to preserve the single volume which came to birth in that tranquil retreat. In fact, Ibn Khaldūn's life-work is the work which he accomplished in the four years devoted to creation out of half a century spent in a whirl of public activity. And the great philosopher's true return from his brief withdrawal was not the second chapter of practical life in which he emulated the vagaries of the first. In one aspect, the Ibn Khaldūn who bade farewell to Qal‛at ibn Salāmah in the autumn of A.D. 1378 reassumed, at Tunis and in Cairo, the role of the restless politician who had whimsically taken his congé from the Court of Tilimsān in the spring of A.D. 1375. In another aspect, the ephemeral man of affairs re-emerged from his retreat transfigured, once for all, into the immortal philosopher whose thought still lives in the mind of every reader of the Muqaddamaāt.


{III.C.II.(b),p.328} The same motif of Withdrawal-and-Return appears in the life of the Sinic social philosopher Confucius (vivbat circa 551-479 B.C.)—a life which was outwardly not unlike the life of Ibn Khaldūn.

Born in the Sinic World within a century of the breakdown of the Sinic Civilization,1 at a time when the destructive internecine warfare between a plurality of sovereign states was rapidly gathering momentum, the young Confucius aspired to enter politics in order to arrest the disintegration of the Sinic Society by systematizing and enforcing the observance of traditional ceremonies and customs and institutions. Unlike Ibn Khaldūn, who evidently took

1 If this breakdown is to be dated by any external event, a convenient date is the outbreak of warm in 634 B.C., between the peripheral states of the Tsin and Ch’u for the hegemony over the cluster of smaller states at the centre of the Sinic World. (See Maspéro, H. Le Chine Antique (Paris 1927, Boccard), p. 323.)

{p.329} politics lightly as a profitable and diverting outlet for his practical energies, Confucius placed his whole treasure in the life of practical action, and found little consolation in imparting to a band of admiring disciples the precepts which he yearned to put into practice as a minister of state. Hence Confucius's life was a life of personal disappointment;1 for the local princes of the contending states had little use for the services of a pedant in their cynical and perilous struggle for existence. Accordingly, Confucius had difficulty in obtaining an official appointment at all; and when at last he did attain a minor administrative post in his native state of Lu (one of the smaller states of the centre), he did not succeed in retaining it. His resignation was followed by his withdrawal from his native country; and he spent the next fourteen years in a peripatetic way of life—presenting himself in the capital of one state after another in the hope that some foreign prince might offer employment to a prophet who had found too little honour at home. This hope was never fulfilled; and Confucius's wanderings abroad were only brought to an end by an invitation to return to Lu which was extended to him as an act of grace without any accompanying offer of reinstatement in office. By then Confucius was sixty-eight years old; and when death overtook him five years later he was still in a private station. But this disappointing return to his little native state of Lu at the close of his life in the flesh was not the final way in which Confucius returned to the public life which he had quitted à contre-cœur fourteen years earlier. For the energies which the unsuccessful administrator was no longer able to apply to practical affairs found their outlet thereafter through literary and educational channels.

Confucius in exile collected and edited the literary monuments of the traditional lore which Confucius in office had sought to put into practice; the disciples who gathered round the philosopher's person accompanied him in his wanderings from place to place followed suit by collecting and editing their master's oral precepts; the long crescendo on internecine warfare between the contending states had ended in the 'knock-out blow' of 221 B.C., and when bitter experience had taught the Sinic World to appreciate the stabilizing power of a pedantic Confucian êthos, the Corpus Confucianum was actually adopted by the Government of a Sinic universal state as its official canon of statesmanship.2 The final

1 For a critical sifting of the attested facts in Confucius's life-history, see Maspéro, op. cit., pp. 454-9. For the traditional; biography, see Hirth, F.: The Ancient History of China to the End of the Chou Dynasty (New York (reprint of) 1923, Columbia University press), pp. 241-8.
2 See Hu Shih: 'The Establishment of Confucianism as a State Religion during the Han Dynasty' (in the Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. lx, 1929, pp. 26-7). See also Shryock, J. K.: The Origin and Development of the State of Cult of Confucius (London 1932, Century Company).

{p.330} step was taken in 125 B.C.,1 when a competitive public examination in the Confucian Classics was instituted as the avenue of entry into the Imperial Civil Service; and the official reign of the Confucius, which dates from that year, may be said to have lasted until the abolition of the examination system in A.D. 1905.

During these two thousand years, the posthumous ascendancy of Confucius survived interregnum (circa A.D. 175-475) which followed the break-up of the Empire of the Han; it survived the influx of barbarians. And the far more revolutionary influx of the Mahayana, into the new Far Eastern World; and it survived the latter-day barbarian invasions of Khitan and Kin and Mongol and Manchu. The one power that has ever seriously disputed the hold of Confucius over Chinese minds since the sage's ethereal reign began is the Civilization of the West, which is making its forcible impact upon the traditional life of China ion the present generation. For the moment, maybe, the Western impact has driven Confucius from his millennial throne; yet, even if he has been officially deposed, the unconquerable sage is still contriving to govern where he no longer reigns by ruling incognito. For the essence of the Confucian social system, as it was instituted two thousand years ago, is government by students under the auspices of a sage whose personality and precepts are regarded with all the more veneration since the man of flesh and blood has departed this life and has received his apotheosis; and the lineaments of this system can still be detected in the life of a revolutionary China beneath all the scum and froth that have gathered on its agitated surface. In this twenty-eighth year after the abolition of the Confucian examinations, China is still being governed by students in a dead philosopher's name. The veneration long paid to Confucius has been transferred provisionally to Sun Yat-sen; and the borrowed prestige of the founder of the Kuomintang had secured the long-suffering acquiescence of the Chinese People in the conduct of public affairs by Dr. Sun's political legatees, who (to China's undoing) have received their education abroad in the social and physical sciences of the West, instead of being educated in the Confucian Classics like their predecessors of sixty generations. The moral and political bankruptcy of these Western-educate student-politicians of the Kuomintang may conceivably bring King Confucius back into his own again; and thus, even now, we cannot foresee the end of the mighty kingdom which this Sinic sage unwittingly acquired when he lost his official post in the petty principality of Lu.

1 This is Hu Shih's date in op. cit., p. 27. The date is given as 124 B.C. by Franke, O.: Geschichted des Chinesischen Reiches, vol. i (Berlin and leipzig, de Gruyter), p. 301.


Penalized Minorities

{III.C.II.(b),p.333} Other illustrations of the same motif are to be found in the experiences of some among those 'penalized minorities' whose histories we have already surveyed in another connexion.3

In the history of Jewry, for example, in face of the challenge presented by the impact of Hellenism, the Pharisees withdrew4 in the second century B.C. not only from the cultural movement of Hellenization which had been unsuccessfully promoted by the High Priest Joshua-Jason but also from the triumphant military and political reaction against the Hellenic Selucid Power which was captioned by the Maccabees. And then, in the first century of the Christian Era, the greatest Pharisee that ever lived returned from this two-centuries-long segregation, with a mighty spiritual impetus, to sweep away all cultural barriers between Jew and Greek5 by preaching the transfigured Judaism of Jesus as a means of salvation for the whole of Humanity.6

3 In II. D. (vi), vol. ii, above.
4 The name 'Pharisees' literally means 'those who separate themselves'.
5 Col. iii. 11.
6 For the motif of Withdrawal-and-Return in the personal life-history of Paul, see the present chapter, pp. 263-4, above, It is to be noted that the particular Pharisee who accomplished this Christian return from the Pharisaic withdrawal was an exceptional individual. The rank-and-file of the minority of Jewry marched into the same blind alley as the rank-and-file of the Spartiate soldiers and the Hellenic philosophers. They duly withdrew, but they never made their withdrawal fructify by returning in new capacities to create new worlds.

{p.334} In a similar movement, the Nestorians withdrew, under pressure from the following wave of Islam, right out of the domain of their native Syriac Society into the remote interior of the Eurasian Steppe; and thence in due course they returned as conquerors on the crest of the wave of the Mongol invasion.1 The Constaninto-politian Greeks, driven out of public life by the ottoman conquest, withdrew into the realm of private business in order to emerge again into public life, some two centuries later, as the Phanariots—the efficient secretaries of state whose business training made their political services indispensable to the Ottoman government in its hour of adversity.2 The English Nonconformists, 3 who had made their stormy entrance on to the stage of English history in the Civil War and the Commonwealth, thereafter withdrew and returned in somewhat similar circumstances to those that evoked the corresponding movement among the Ottoman Greek Orthodox Christians. Dropping out of public life from the morrow of the Restoration until the eve of the passage of the Reform Bill,4 they likewise reacted by withdrawing into the realm of private business in order to return omnipotent, a century and a half later, as the authors of the Industrial Revolution.5

1 In II. D. (vi), vol. 11, p. 236-8, above.
2 Ibid., pp. 222-8, above
3 Ibid., pp. 220-1 and 250, above.
4 The exclusion of the Nonconformists from public life may be dated from the passage of the Corporation Act in A.D. 1661 and the Test Act in A.D. 1673. Their readmission may be dated from the repeal of these two Acts in A.D. 1828.
5 In the examples of Withdrawal-and-Return here cited from the histories of certain 'penalized minorities', the two beats of the movement make a sequence in Time—the withdrawal coming first and the return following after a perceptible Time interval. But there is also a sense in which the very response of a penalized minority to the challenge penalization is itself an example of Withdrawal-and-Return, even when the two beats of the movement are virtually simultaneous. Some of the most conspicuous representatives of the 'penalized minorities'— e.g. the Jewish Diasporà—have never returned at all in the literal sense; but in the ethereal sense they undoubtedly have returned to the World in a new capacity and with enhanced power in the act of concentrating their social energies on other fields, and excelling in these fields, in response to the challenge of being handicapped in, or altogether excluded from, the most highly regarded fields of social activity. (See II. D (vi), vol. ii, p. 209, above.)
This 'timeless' exhibition of the Withdrawal-and-Return motif is characteristic of what may be called the 'institutional penalized minorities': e.g. the Buddhist and Christian monastic orders of the Roman Catholic celibate clergy. It is indeed a common practice in primitive societies to penalize, by the imposition of tabus, those minorities or individuals who serve as institutions incarnate. The notion underlying this practice seems to be that, the more drastically such incarnate institutions are compelled to withdraw from the ordinary activities of social life, the more vigorously they will return to Society on the plane of magical or religious activity which has been assigned to them as their special field. In fact, their fellows deal with them as the man with the pollarding-axe deals with the willow (See I. C (iii) (b), vol. i, p. 168, above) or the pruner with the vine of the mower with the meadow. A classic example of such compulsory withdrawal being imposed upon an incarnate institution by tabu is the treatment of the Toda 'palol', or sacral dairyman, by the pastoral Toda Society in the Niligiri Hills of Southern India. (See Rivers, W. H. R.: The Todas (London 1906, Macmillan), pp. 98-105.) The 'palol', who is solely charged with the management of the sacral duty, is not allowed to visit his home or any ordinary village. He has to do all his business with ordinary people through an intermediary. He may not cross a bridge. He must be celibate (except in the celebration of his eighteenth year of office!). He may not attend a funeral under pain of having to resign his office. he may not be approached at all by ordinary Todas on two days in the week. Neither he nor his dairy must be touched by any ordinary person. He may not cut his hair or nails. Compare the tabus imposed upon the Grand Lama in Tibet. And compare likewise the role of 'the prisoner of in the Vatican' which, in modern Western Christendom, has been played by the Pope for more than half a century, from A.D. 1870 to A.D. 1929. As 'the prisoner of the Vatican', the Pope has been able to move the feelings and imaginations of Roman Catholics all over the World more powerfully than he had ever moved them when he was the temporal sovereign of an Italian principality extending from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic and from the Po to the Carigliano. At the time of writing, it remains to be seen what will be the ultimate psychological consequences of the Lateran Agreements of 1929 between the Holy See and Kingdom of Italy, under which 'the prisoner of the Vatican' has emerged from his masterly captivity to resume the role of the a territorial sovereign over the miniature territory of the Vatican City. (For the Lateran Agreements, see further Toynbee, A. J., and Bouylter, V. M.: Survey of International Affairs for 1929, Part V (i).)

England in the Third Chapter of the Growth of the Western Society

{III.C.II.(b),p.358} The difficulty lay in the very nature of Society; for every social system is a coherent whole; and it is therefore inherently difficult to acquire any one part of an alien social system without acquiring the rest. In the natural evolution of the medieval Italian city-state, the growth of democracy and the growth of industry and commerce had been complimentary to one another. They had been synonymous with the political and economic rise of the bourgeoisie; and no class can rise beyond a certain point in any one sphere of social life without rising simultaneously and proportionately in the other.1 In Italy, the old bourgeoisie began to decline in economic prosperity as soon as its political liberty had been taken from it by the new autocracy. On this showing, it was hardly likely that, when this Italian autocratic from of government was transplanted to the Transalpine kingdoms, a vigorous new Transalpine bourgeoisie would grow up under its shadow ion communities that had remained till then predominantly agrarian and feudal. And, in the event, there was no such miraculous departure in the Transalpine countries from the regular order of Nature.

In Spain, the autocracy of Ferdinand and Isabella grew in stature until it became the grander autocracy of Philip II; and in France, in similar fashion, the autocracy of Louis XI rankled into that of Louis XIV; but two centuries passed without any creative political advance from autocracy towards democracy in either of the these two Transalpine countries.2 In both Spain and France, the introduction

1 This is the limitation of our law (which we have traced out in II. D (vi), above) that specialization is the response to the challenge of penalization. It is quite true that a penalized minority which responds to this challenge does find compensation for being excluded from certain spheres of social activity by winning for itself a supremacy of monopoly in other spheres. But it is also true that the responsive penalized minority cannot succeed beyond a certain point, even in the restricted sphere which it has made particularly its own, unless it ultimately returns to communion with the general life of the society from which it has been ostracized. A pertinent case in point is the history of the English Nonconformists (see the present chapter, p. 334, above). The English Nonconformists responded to the challenge of their partial exclusion from public life for a century and a half (circa A.D. 1673-1828) by starting the Industrial Revolution; but they could hardly have carried the Industrial Revolution through if they had not returned to public life (without forfeiting their supremacy in private business) in the nineteenth century. It was after this that Industrialism in England attained its apogee.

{p.359} of the new Italian institution of despotic government caused the traditional feudal institutions to atrophy, without evoking any new institutions to take their place. The result was political stagnation; and in this dead-alive political atmosphere it is not surprising to observe that the wealth of the New World did not save Spanish commerce and industry from decadence and that the governmental patronage of French commerce and industry under Colbert did not enable France to compete successfully on the economic plane with Holland and England.1 It was in England that the problem of translating democracy from the city-state scale to the kingdom-state scale was successfully solved; and it was therefore in England thereafter that Western commerce and industry first entered upon a new phase of activity on a scale that dwarfs the medieval commerce and industry of Italy or Flanders or the Hansa Towns in the measure of the difference in calbre between a United Kingdom of Great Britain and an isolated city-state like thirteenth-century Florence of Venice.

For some reason, the introduction of the new despotism, which had a deadening political effect in Spain and France, had the opposite effect in England. In England it was taken as a challenge which demanded a response; and the English response was to breathe new life and import new functions into the traditional constitution of the Transalpine body politic which was an English as well as a French and a Spanish heritage from the common past of Western Christendom.

One of the traditional Transalpine institutions2 was the periodical holding of a parliament or conference between the Crown and the Estates of the Realm for the double purpose of ventilating grievances and obtaining a vote of supply for the Crown from the Estates as a quid pro quo for an honourable undertaking on the Crown's part that well-founded grievances should be redressed. In the gradual evolution of this institution of Parliament, the Transalpine king-

1 There were, of course, movements in both Spain And France to anticipate or emulate the commercial and industrial achievements of the Dutch and the English. But it is significant that in both countries these movements were made by penalized minorities who were ultimately driven out to find an asylum among their step-mother countries' economic rivals. It was Holland and England, and not Spain and France, that ultimately benefited by the business ability of t he Spanish Jews and the French Huguenots.
2 The institution of Parliament was not, of course, exclusively Transalpine in origin; for assemblies of states were not unknown in medieval Italy; and the congressional method of dealing with public business may have been part of the common social heritage of Western Christendom from the Church (see p. 360, footnote 2). In Northern and Central Italy, however, the growth of the institution was cut short by the rise of city-states, so that it became, in effect, a Transalpine institution as it developed.

{p.360} doms had discovered how to overcome their regional problem of material scale—the problem of unmanageable numbers and impracticable distances—by inventing, or rediscovering, the legal fiction of 'representation'. The duty or right of every person concerned in the business of Parliament to take a personal part in the proceedings—a duty or right which is self-evident in a polity on the scale of a city-state—was attenuated in these unwieldy Transalpine feudal kingdoms1 into a right to be represented by proxy, and a duty, on the proxy's part, to shoulder the burden of travelling, even from the extremity of the Kingdom, to the place where the Parliament was being held.2

This feudal institution of a periodical representative and consultative assembly was well fitted for its original purpose of serving as a liaison between the Crown and its subjects in a feudal monarchy. In particular, it enabled the Crown to raise larger revenues by consent, in exchange for concessions on matters of policy, than it could raise by mere insistence upon exacting its customary feudal dues. On the other hand, the medieval Transalpine Parliament was originally not at all well fitted for the task—to which it was success-

1 It is only the invention of railways and telegraphy and other mechanical means of communication that modern England and France have become smaller—in terms of human geography—than Attica or Laconia were in the Hellenic World.
2 Where and when the institution of Parliament came to be of sufficient political importance for membership to become a contested privilege instead of a detested duty, the practice arose of choosing between rival candidates by the method of election (in the modern sense of selection by majority vote, as opposed to the original sense of the Latin word eligere = simply 'to pick out', without connoting that the act of selection is performed by the majority of an electorate rather than by the individual will of a personal sovereign or his representative). Among students of parliamentary history, it appears to be a still unsettled question whether the application of the electoral system, in its modern sense, in the parliamentary field was an original invention or whether it was suggested to the minds of its inventors by analogy from the ecclesiastical field, in which the idea of election was familiar to the medieval Western Society as a traditional device for appointing, not the members of consultative bodies, but individual executive officers. The election of executive officers was a part of the constitutional machinery of the Hellenic city-state, which had been borrowed by the Christian Church as a method of appointing abbots, bishops, patriarchs, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries. When the Christian Church was taken into partnership by the Roman Empire in the fourth century of the Christian Era, autocracy tended to encroach upon self-government in the ecclesiastical field, as it had already superseded in the secular field. But this process was arrested by the break-up of the Empire; and since in Western Christendom, unlike Orthodox Christendom, the Imperial Power was not effectively revived, the system of electing executive officers survived in the Western Church as 'a going concern' to a sufficient extent to make the notion of election familiar to the minds of medieval Western constitution-builders. The new Western constitutional invention (which may or may not have been inspired by ecclesiastical precedents) was to apply the device of election to secular feudal consultative bodies as a means of making them 'representative'. The idea of 'representation', as well as the device of election, had made its appearance in Hellenic constitutional history; but in Hellenic history the two things had never been combined. The device of election, had been reserved for the appointment of executive officers, while the 'representativeness' of consultative bodies had been secured, logically enough, by employing the device of the lot. At Athens, for example, the Council of Five Hundred, which was instituted by Cleisthenes in 508-507 B.C., was appointed annually by lot on a fixed allocation of seats. (Fifty seats were Allocated to each of the ten Cleisthenic ‘tribes’ (Aristotle: The Constitution of Athens, xliii. 1), and within each 'tribe' these fifty seats were distributed among the 'demes' (parishes) in proportion to their populations.)

{p.361} fully adapted in England in the seventeenth century—of undertaking the Crown's work instead of merely consulting with and bargaining with the Crown as to the manner in which the royal prerogatives should be exercised.

Between deliberation and diplomacy on the one hand and executive action on the other there is a great gulf fixed. The two lines of political activity demand, and evoke, quite different outlooks and habits and capacities; and although the institution of Parliament had become well established in Transalpine Europe in general, and in the Kingdom of England in particular, in the course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there was still no indication at the turn of fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that this Transalpine institution was capable of becoming the germ of a new form of self-government for the bodies politic of the kingdom-state scale. In that generation, these things were hidden from the wise and prudent.1 There is no inkling of the future course of transalpine constitutional development in Machiavelli's otherwise penetrating studies of France and Germany;2 and if the lynx-eyed Florentine publicist had happened, in the course of his official career, to have been sent on a diplomatic mission to England, we may doubt whether he would have divined the future even on the spot. Indeed, an Italian observer visiting England a hundred years after Machiavelli’s day, in the early decades of the seventeenth century of the Christian Era, would probably have pronounced that the old-fashioned loval institution of Parliament was destined to succumb to the newfangled Italian institution of autocracy in England as surely as in the other Transalpine countries. He would hardly have guessed that, before the century ran out, the English would have brought the triumphal Transalpine progress of autocracy to a halt by achieving the constitutional tour de force of turning the medieval Transalpine institution of Parliament into a still more effective engine of executive political action than the personal government of Matteo Visconti or a Henry Tudor or a Louis Valois.

1 Matthew xi. 25.
2 In the dispatches relating to his embassies to the French Court, and in the Ritratti delle Cose della Francia, there appears to be no allusion at all to the French Estates. (The five Parlements are mentioned in the Ritratti; but these, of course, were courts of law and not parliamentary bodies on the English sense.) In the dispatches relating to his embassy to the Emperor, and again in the Ritratti delle Cose dell' Alamagna, and the Rapporto di Cose della magna, there are a few references to certain sessions of the Imperial Diet and to one session of the local Diet of the Tyrol; and here Machiavelli does show a clear realization of the power of the purse which was exercised by these parliamentary bodies in the Holy Roman Empire. Perhaps the most interesting reference to a Transalpine parliamentary body in Machiavelli's works is the notice of th Swiss Federal Diet in the second dispatch (dated Botzen, the 17th January, 1507) relating to his mission to the Emperor. Machiavelli here reports that 'il corpo principale de' Svizzeri sono dodeci comunanze collegat insieme, le quali chiamano cantoni....Costoro sono in modo collegati insieme, che quello che nelle loro Diete è deliberato, è sempre osservato da tutti, nè alcun cantone vi si opporrebbe'.

{p.362} Why was it that England took up, and met successfully, a challenge with which no other contemporary Transalpine kingdom proved able to cope? Why did the Transalpine feudal monarchy grow into a constitutional monarchy in England when it gave way to an absolute monarchy in France?

'It was because the English monarchy became national before it ceased to be feudal, at a time when the feudal element disappeared, as it ultimately did in both kingdoms, in England its place was taken by a government in which the Estates had already begun to share; in France there was no power in existence to replace the feudal monarchy but the uncontrolled power of an absolute king. The difference is owing to the regular participation of the Estates in England before the feudal monarchy disappeared—a participation which existed in that period of French history, with one exception, only on the rare occasions of popular unrest. On the decline of Feudalism in France, there was no authority, and no body of men, politically prepared permanently to take over or even to share with the king in the centralized government that was replacing feudal decentralization. That place could be taken only by an authority that was at once centralized and national, and the only one then in existence to do it was a strong, national, but practically absolute monarch. To put it otherwise, in England there was participation and there was representation while feudal conditions still remained, and therefore when these conditions disappeared the strong centralized national power which emerged was one which retained the participation of the Estates. In France, since this participation had not begun during the period when feudal conditions flourished, so it could not continue when they began to decline, and the feudal monarchy was replaced by one practically, even if not theoretically, absolute.... The decisive factor in determining [the] results for England was the early centralization of administration—a centralization which came far sooner there than elsewhere. It was this that made England the only Western country with a common law little influenced by Rome, and this too ultimately made her a constitutional instead of an absolute monarchy.' 1

These were the predisposing conditions that stimulated the English body politic to take up and meet successfully a challenge which the other Transalpine bodies scarcely attempted to face. Yet, even when full allowance for these favourable conditions had been made, the English achievement of pouring the new wine of Renaissance Italian administrative efficiency into the old bottles of medieval Transalpine parliamentarism, without allowing these old bottles to burst, is a constitutional triumph that can only be regarded as an astonishing tour de force. And this English constitutional tour de force of carrying Parliament across the gulf that

1 Professor C.H. McIlwaine in The Cambridge Medieval
, vol. vii (Cambridge 1932, University Press), pp. 709-10.

{p.363} divides the conduct from criticism of government was the political act of creation which was performed for the Western Society by the English creative minority during its period of withdrawal. This political invention provided a propitious social setting for the subsequent English economic invention of Industrialism.1 'Democracy' in the sense of a system of government in which the executive is responsible to a parliament which is representative of the people, and 'Industrialism' in the sense of a system of machine-production by 'hands' concentrated in factories to tend the machinery, are the two master-institutions that still dominate the life of the Western World in our age;2 they have come to prevail because they offer the best solutions which the Western Society has been able to find for the problem of transposing the achievements of the Italian city-state culture from city-state scale to the kingdom-state scale; and both these solutions have been worked out for the Western Society in England in an age when England had been temporarily aloof from the general life of the Western World.

What is to be Russia's Role in our Western History?

{III.C.II.(b),p.363} In the contemporary history of the Great Society into which our Western Christendom has grown, can we again discern symptoms of that tendency to overbalance which is a symptom, that the process of growth is still continuing? Now that the problems set us by Italian solutions of earlier problems have received their English solutions, are these English solutions giving rise to new problems in their turn? We are already alive, in our generation, to new challenges to which we have been exposed by the triumph of challenges to which we have been exposed by triumph of Democracy and Industrialism in the current meaning of these terms. In particular, the economic system of Industrialism, which means local specialization in skilled and costly production for a world-wide scale. And, in general, both Industrialism and Democracy demand from Human Nature a greater individual self-control and mutual tolerance and public-spirited co-operation than the human 'social animal' has been apt to practise, because these new institutions have put an unprecedentedly powerful material 'drive' into all human social actions. We shall have to consider these two challenges more closely when we come to estimate the future prospects of our Western Civilization.3 In this

1 It is noteworthy that the English, in making their political invention of parliamentary government in the seventeenth century, took advantage of a previous industrial invention, namely, the art of printing. The printing press greatly facilitated the circulation and publication of documents.
2 See I. A, imit., in vol. i, above.

{p.364} place, we merely suggest, in this connexion, that these challenges which confront us here and now are altogether different in kind from those in other times.1 Our purpose at the moment in reminding ourselves of our current challenges is not to investigate them for their own sakes but simply to observe whether they have yet evoked any fresh examples of the movement of Withdrawal-and-Return.

In the Russian Communist Movement, we have detected, under a Westernizing masquerade, a 'Zealot' attempt to break away from the policy of Westernization which has been imposed upon Russia, two centuries before Lenin's day, by Peter the Great; and at the same time we have seen this masquerade passing over, willy nilly, into earnest. We have concluded that a Western revolutionary

1 For example, the challenge of being called upon to create a political world-order the framework for an economic world-order is bound to confront any society that has accomplished the economic change from a locally-subsistent and 'extensive' economy to an 'intensive' and oecumenically interdependent economy. The Hellenic Society was confronted by this challenge after if had adopted the new economy of Solonian Athens (see Part III.B.,p.122, footnote 3, and the present chapter, p. 340, footnote 1, above, and IV. C (iii) (b) 10, vol. iv, pp. 206-14, below); and the same challenge confronted the medieval Western city-state cosmos, which practised an economy of the intensive interdependent type from the outset. (We may note in passing that this challenge, which now confronts our Modern Western society, was never successfully met either in the medieval Western city-state cosmos of in the Hellenic World and that their failure to meet this challenge caused both these societies to break down.) Again, the challenge of the increase in material 'drive' which Industrialism and Democracy entail was not unknown to either of these two societies, though it perhaps confronts our own society in our day in an unprecedentedly high degree. The increase in material 'drive', which Hellas acquired in the course of the half-century between the repulse of Xerxes' invasion and the outbreak of the Atheno-Pelopennesian War is reflected in the Thucydidean usage of the word πασαχυνή (For the significance of the subsequent change in the meaning of this Greek word, see Part VII, below.) As for the medieval Western city-state, they too were defeated by the challenge of the increase in 'drive', as well as by the challenge of the demand for world-order. Indeed, it is the internal failure of the medieval Western city-state cosmos to respond successfully to these two challenges that accounts for its subsequent external failure to refashion the rest of Western Christendom in its own image. This latter failure, as we have seen, had the consequence that the problem of 'world-order' and 'material drive' were in abeyance so long as the problem of 'change of scale' was in the forefront. This latter problem substantially solved in the latter part of the nineteenth century; and now, in the twentieth century, the problem of 'world-order' and 'material drive', which found no solution in the medieval city-state cosmos, have presented themselves again—and this time more intensely than ever—on the newly-achieved scale of the Great Society.

{p.365} movement which has been taken up by an unwillingly Westernized Russia as an anti-Western gesture has turned out, unintentionally and unexpectedly, to be a more potent agency of Westernization in Russia than any application of the conventional Western social creed; and we have tried to express this outcome of the latest phase of the social intercourse between Russia and the West in the formula that a relation which was once an external contact between two separate societies has been transformed into an internal experience of the Great Society into which Russia has been incorporated. Can we go on to discern more clearly and define more closely what form this experience is taking? Can we explain the apparent contradiction of Communist Russia's simultaneous centrifugal and centripetal movement vis-a-vis the Western Society in the formula of Russia, while at the same time attempting to make a temporary withdrawal from the general life of the society in which she has been enrolled by force majeure; and that she is making this attempt to withdraw in order to play the part of a creative minority which will strive to work out some solution for the Great Society's current problems? If this is really the explanation of Russia's present course, it is not difficult to understand why it is that Russian minds are drawn in this direction; for a withdrawal in these circumstances and with this aim promises to give some satisfaction to two strong Russian desires. it satisfies the impulse, which Russians have inherited form their own non-Western past, to escape from the Western toils; and it also holds out the prospect that if, after all, it proves impossible for Russia to break away permanently from her Western entanglements, she may at least make her return to the bosom of Western Society in a creative role which will enable her to re-cast the general shape of Western life on more of less Russian pattern.

The Working of Withdrawal-and-Return in the Histories of Civilizations

Having now completed our survey of the withdrawals and returns of creative minorities, we may find ourselves able to establish what the general features of these movements are when a creative minority and not a creative individual is the protagonist.1

1 There are, of course individuals at the back of all creative minorities, on the hypothesis that some individual human being is the ultimate author of every creative human act. (For this hypothesis, see III.C.(ii)(a), above.) In the case of several of the creative minorities that we have passed under review, the originating individuals can be identified. Behind sixth-century and fifth-century Athens we can discern the personality of Solon, and behind the third-century Achaean Confederacy the personality of Aratus. But who was the architect of the Aetolian Confederacy in the preceding generation? Or the nameless Ionian or Aeolian refugee who invented the Hellenic city-state in the Dark Age? And we can put our finger on the individual Italians or the individual Englishmen who have been ultimately responsible for the contributions that have been made by a creative Italian minority and by a creative English minority to the growth of our Western Civilization? In these cases we may infer the unseen presence of a creative individual from the visible existence and activity of a creative group; but since we cannot identify the creative individual in fact, we are constrained to deal with such cases either in terms of a group or not at all.


ANNEX II TO III. C. (ii) (b)


{p. 466} ...under successive régimes of the Umayyads and the ‛Abbasids, this great empire remained ‘a going concern’ for some three hundred years; and this immense political achievement was the outcome of Muhammad’s political success during the second or politico-religious stage of his career.

Thus Muhammad’s political activity is noteworthy as a factor of first-rate historical importance in the histories of civilizations; and it is also noteworthy as a phenomenon in Muhammad’s own personal career, because it makes this particular career an exception to a rule which appears to hold good in the case of every other career that we have reviewed in our survey of the Withdrawal-and-Return motif in the lives of individuals.

This rule is the law of ‘etherealization’ which we have taken as our criterion of growth2 and which is in fact obeyed in the growths of the other personalities whose careers we have cited as illustrations of the motif of Withdrawal-and-Return. In each of these other cases, the capacity in which the growing personality has returned to Society after his temporary withdrawal has been more ethereal than the same personality’s social capacity in the first chapter of his career, before his withdrawal has taken place. David and Philopoepmen withdraw as soldiers and return as statesmen; Solon withdraws as a merchant and returns as a statesman; Caesar withdraws as a politician and returns as a statesman; Loyola withdraws as a soldier and returns a saint; and all these changes of capacity are in the direction of ‘etherealization’. On the other hand,
{p.467} Muhamma’s career taken as a whole, appears to have been a movement in the opposite sense. For though in the first stage of his career he withdraws as a merchant and returns a prophet, in the second stage he withdraws as a prophet and returns as a conqueror. In other words, the second stage of Muhammad’s career, which is the conspicuously successful stage, is apparently the exact inverse of the career of Loyola; and if Loyola’s career is a striking example of spiritual transfiguration, Muhammad’s, by the same token, is an equally striking example of spiritual bathos. This exceptional feature on Muhammad’s career calls for further examination.

Muhammad’s overwhelming political success has undoubtedly made a deep impress on Islam—the great institution of which Muhammad is the founder. This impress has lasted down to our own day; and it comes out clearly in the contrast between Islam and Christianity; for, broadly speaking, each of the two religious has tended, in its attitude toward politics, to follow the course which its founder indicated either by precept or by example. The Christian Churches have been guided, on the whole, by the injunction to ‘render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s’; 1 and though the Orthodox and Protestant ‘Established Churches’ are important exceptions to this rule, the incorporation of the these ‘Established Churches’ into the bodies politic of the secular states that have enslaved them has always remained imperfect and continued to appear unnatural. In Islam, on the other hand, the relation between the religious and the political elements of the institutions is not that of a belated and artificial organic unity; so that, in Islamic sociology, such dichotomies as ‘religious and secular’, ‘ecclesiastical and civil’, ‘clerical and lay’ have no application. In the Islamic Society, Church and State are actually identical; and, in this undifferentiated social entity, the secular interest and secular spirit have hitherto predominated over the religious in a fashion which makes even the most thoroughly enslaved of the Christian ‘Established Churches’ appear comparatively ‘un-political’and ‘other-worldly’ by this Islamic standard of comparison.2

{p.468} Thus the political, secular, mundane element has been exceptionally prominent not only in Muhammad’s personal career, but if the subsequent history of the institution which is the monument of Muhammad’s life-work. In quarters hostile to Islam and to its founder, this ‘worldliness’ has always been a popular object of denunciation; and, on impartial consideration, there is evidently much to be said for the view that Islam, as an institution, has suffered throughout its history from the note of secularity which has been characteristic of it hitherto. In so far as this note of secularity has been a social blemish in the history of Islam, it must also be regarded as having been a personal misfortune in the career of Muhammad. The monument of Muhammad’s life-work might have been something more ethereal than Islam as Islam has been and is, if only the Prophet’s career had not taken this decisively political turn in its last chapter. they denounce Muhammad’s unfortunate metamorphosis, after his Hijrah, from a prophet into a conqueror as a mark of moral turpitude. And this judgment cannot, in equity, be allowed to pass without taking into consideration the circumstances in which the metamorphosis occurred.

Was Muhammad a vulgar imposter, who posed as a prophet with his eye upon a throne from the outset? This calumny is conclusively refuted by the record of Muhammad’s life during the thirteen years, or thereabouts, that intervened between his first announcement of his prophetic mission in Mecca circa A.D. 609 and his flight in A.D. 622 from Mecca to Medina. The announcement was first made secretly to an intimate circle which sis not extend beyond his wife and family and a handful of personal friends; and this secrecy was justified by the sequel; for, when the propaganda came to public notice after the secret had been preserved for three years. The Meccan Prophet and his followers at once found themselves exposed to the vehement and active hostility of the ruling oligarchy, in whose belief the new doctrine was calculate to place the vital interests of Mecca in jeopardy.1 Muhammad’s life was only saved from death by violence because his uncle Abu Tālib, who was the head of his clan, would not consent to his being outlawed, so that it was impossible for the dominant conservative party to take Muhammad’s life without precipitating a blood-feud; yet, in the fifth year of the mission, the persecution became so

1 The point in Muhammad’s message which incensed the Quraysh was the denunciation of idolatry, which was the corollary of the proclamation of the unity of God. The Quraysh feared that this impiety, if it prevailed, would not only bring down upon Mecca the wrath of the divinities whose existence was being denied by the blasphemer, but would also ruin the pilgrimage traffic, which was attracted to Mecca by the presence there of the shrines and cults of a number of other divinities, besides Allah, who enjoyed a Pan-Arabian prestige.

{p.469} severe that a number of the faithful had to take refuge overseas in the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia; and the persecutors then retaliated by boycotting Muhammad and his clansmen an blockading them in their own quarter of Mecca, with the intention of starving them into recantation in lieu of putting them to the sword at the cost of civil war. Down to the thirteenth year of the mission, when Muhammad finally withdrew from Mecca to Medina and abandoned the purely prophetic for the politico-religious career, Muhammad’s preaching was manifestly, from the worldly point of view, an utter failure. As the result of thirteen years of propaganda, he had won no more than a handful of converts—most of whom had been compelled to fly the country—and he had drawn upon himself the implacable and apparently invincible hostility of the dominant powers in his native community. A prophet who persisted in his mission in these circumstances for this number of years can only have been animated by a deep and genuine religious conviction; and he can only have supposed that he was sacrificing his worldly prospects. He cannot have suspected that he was on the road to making his worldly fortune.

Muhammad, therefore, must be acquitted of the charge of having entertained ulterior political designs during the Meccan period of his prophetic mission. But we have still to explain how it was that he eventually took, nevertheless, to the political career in which he was afterwards so triumphantly successful.

Perhaps the explanation is to be found in the nature of the social milieu into which Muhammad happened to be born. If it is asked why he did not ‘render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s’ the obvious answer is that, unlike Jesus, Muhammad did not happen to live under Caesar’s jurisdiction. Whereas Jesus was a member of the internal proletariat of the Roman Empire, and, as such, was at the Roman Government’s mercy, Muhammad was a member of the external proletariat whose home was in the no-man’s-land outside the Roman frontiers and beyond the reach of Caesar’s arm. This extreme difference of milieu explains, at least in part, the extreme difference between the earthly fortunes of these two prophets who, in addressing themselves to their fellow men, each ‘claimed to be the messenger of the their God, bringing them a strange message, wholly subversive of their former beliefs and practices: claiming, in short, to be their dictator, though dictating not his own words, but God’s’. 1

‘There is no example in history of such a claim being at first favourably received, unless by any chance it is made by one already sovereign.2

1 Margoliouth, D.S.: Mohammedanism (Home University Library Series: London, no date, Williams and Norgate), p. 51.
2 For this rather rare situation and its usual outcome, see V. C. (i) (d 6 (δ) Annex, in vol. v, below.—A.J.T.

{p.470} In most communities it has meant death, or at best condign punishment, for the person who makes it. The better the order of the community, the less chance has a prophet. The execution of Socrates took place after a legal trial, in the most highly civilized and most tolerant state of Antiquity.’ 1

We may add that Jesus, in spite of His rendering unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, and in spite of His refusal to allow His followers to resort to violence in order to save Him from arrest,2 was nevertheless put to death by the Roman authorities. His mortal offence in Roman eyes was that ‘he taught...as one having authority’ 3—an attitude which no Sovereign power is willing, in the mast resort, top tolerate in any of its subjects.

Muhammad’s attitude, in proclaiming his prophetic message, was the same; and assuredly he would have met the same fate at the same early stage if he had been conducting his prophetic mission inside, instead of outside, the Roman frontiers; either in Jesus’s day or in his own. In this situation, it would have made no difference to Muhammad’s immediate personal fortunes whether, when the Roman authorities had sought his life, he had chosen the path of non-resistance or had turned at bay; for Jesus was not the only Jewish prophet of his age who met his death at Roman hands. The same fate overtook the Theudases and Judases who desperately resorted, within the ambit of the Roman imperium, to the militant tactics which the historical Muhammad was able to execute with brilliant success in the no-man’s-land of Arabia. If Muhammad had been living under Roman rule, his mission would have resulted in his losing his life, whatever line he had taken in dealing with the Roman authorities; and we can only conjecture, on the historic analogy of Jesus and the Christian Church, that if Muhammad had lived in these circumstances and had died, as Jesus had died, without offering resistance, then Islam might have become something different from, and spiritually higher than, what it has become in fact. The historic development of Islam is a consequence of the fact that Muhammad’s career, in Muhammad’s actual circumstances, developed quite differently. Instead of sealing his prophetic message with his blood by becoming Caesar’s victim, it was Muhammad’s ironic destiny to compromise and debase his prophetic message by becoming an Arabian Caesar himself.

‘The problem...is...:How was it that he escaped death when once his mission had been proclaimed? And the reply is: Because there was no orderly government.... Justice, it would seem, could only be executed within the tribe, and...it was impossible to assail the Pro-

1 Margoliouth, op. cit., pp. 51-2
2 Matt. xxvi. 51-4; John xviii. 11 and 36.
3 Matt. vii. 29.

{p.471} phet ... for such an assault would have led to civil war between the Meccan tribes: a consequence which it was their common interest to avert.’ 1

We have seen how this political situation was brought about by Abu Tālib’s refusal to withdraw his patriarchal protection from his nephew. The result was a political stalemate, which was not unlike the stalemate that followed the introduction of Christianity, some four centuries later, into the similarly constituted Scandinavian Society in Iceland.2 The operation of the primitive social system of kin-group-solidarity and blood-feud in a political vacuum made it impossible for the new religion to be stamped out by violence and likewise impossible for it to prevail by peaceful propaganda; and there were only two possible issues from this impasse: either the negotiation of a modus vivendi between the pagans and the religious revolutionaries or the creation, by the one or the other party, of a body politic to fill the political vacuum and thus to pave the way for a solution by force. In this predicament, the Icelanders adopted the former alternative and Muhammad the latter. The Icelanders negotiated a modus vivendi which averted civil war and obviated the necessity for establishing an effective government in Iceland, at the price of a voluntary general acceptance of the new faith. Muhammad, on the other hand, embraced the opportunity, when it came his way, of arming himself in the panoply of political power and using this power as an instrument for imposing Islam upon Mecca by force.

No doubt, when he accepted the fateful invitation to organize a government in Medina, Muhammad assured his own conscience that he was acting as single-heartedly as ever in the cause of God. Had not God laid upon him the duty of conveying the revelation of God’s truth to his fellow men? And would he not be executing this duty if he embraced this heaven-sent opportunity of providing the new religion, whose path had been obstructed for ten years by human force majeure, with a human political vehicle without which, as ten years’ personal experience showed, Islam could make no further practical progress? No doubt, Muhammad reasoned with his own conscience thus; and no doubt he was deceiving himself in yielding to his own arguments; for, in the event, the temporal power with which the Arabian Prophet endowed—or encumbered—his Islam at this crucial point in his career has proved to be not a vehicle but a prison-house, which has cribbed and cabined and confined the spirit of Islam ever since.

The truth, then, seems to be that, in the invitation to Medina,

1 Margoliouth, op. cit., pp. 52-3

{p.472} Muhammad was confronted with a challenge to which his spirit failed to rise. In accepting the invitation, he was renouncing the sublime role of the nobly un-honoured prophet and contenting himself with the commonplace role of the magnificently successful statesman. The prospect of effective practical action which the call to Medina opened up for the Prophet’s long repressed and thwarted practical genius blinded the Prophet’s vision and warped his judgment. For even on the eve of the worldly call, in the second phase of his thirteen-years-long worldly failure in Mecca, Muhammad had been content with the faithful performance of a prophet’s duty, as is shown by his apostrophe to the idolators: ‘Is aught else laid upon God’s messengers but a plain delivery of the message?’ 1 This simple understanding and acceptance of his prophetic mission were thrown to the winds by the Prophet when a new career was offered him in the alien political sphere; and, in the language of worldly wisdom, this volte-face was amply ‘justified by success’. The Prophet’s latent political genius was so transcendent that the modest office of ‘honest broker’ in the anarchy-ridden Arabian oasis2 was transformed in his hands into the sovereignty of a state which was destined to eclipse the Empire of Rome and emulate the Empire of Achaemenidae. This tragic worldly success of the founder of Islam—a success which was pernicious for the institution which he had founded—points the truth that, for a prophet, to be felix opportunitate mortis3 is the highest good and to be capex imperii4 the unkindest gift that the Gods can bestow upon him. The chance to prove his political mettle in action, which Fortune brought, was just as fatal to the prophet manqué, Muhammad, as it was the Caesar manqué, Galba.

1 Qur’an, Surah xvi, verse 35:
2 The arbitral function which Muhammad was invited to perform at Medina in mediating between the local clans and factions who could not make peace unaided, was not unlike the funciton of an aesymnêtês in a Hellenic city-state or a podestà in a medieval Italian commune.
3 Tacitus" Agricola, ch. 45.
4 Tacitus" Histories, i. 40.