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  Item Reference: KCLCAL-1927-1928-471

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11 SOME DEBTS TO BYZAXTIXISM wisest of suggestions for nation of new comers who have not yet accomplished in their fulness civic education and experience which preserve peoples against errors and accidents in political life Among those epistles special mention is due to the delightful letters to Protopsaltis his friend the chief Chanter of the Cathedral of Smyrna to whom he reported regularly the stormy events of the French Revolution of which he was disinterested and unpassionate witness to the impartial testimony of these even Taine has paid homage quoting from them in his famous History of the French Revolution Koraes am afraid did not pay much attention to Byzantium and Byzantine culture How otherwise Byzantine history Byzantine civilization were buried during Koraes's lifetime under the jokes of Voltaire and the misconceptions of Gibbon The work of Schlum- berger Diehl Bury Krumbacher had still to be done Even Ruskin some of whose most fascinating pages were inspired by one of the most wonderful of Byzantine masterpieces was not born It is true that every civilization presents its own shadows drawbacks and shortcomings and it would be childish to deny it in the case of Byzantium The prose of history however has now dissipated the mist of brilliant yet false legends surrounding it modern author describing one of the exceptionally illustrious periods of the millennium of Byzantine history the period of Justinian and Theodora has been able to epitomize its glories and achievements in some sentences which may be allowed to quote here as eloquently interpreting the conception of modern times on Byzantinism It was the task of this period of Byzantine history he says to make in the burning fire of Christianity Roman Law more flexible to accomplish administrative and legislative reforms by which the West had to be taught again the principles of Social Organization to undertake an effective propaganda for civiliza- tion through arms diplomacy and missions which have secured to Constantinople the epithet of the Universal Capital to propagate religious poetry offspring of Romanos Prince of melodists to achieve the erection of structures of every kind stupendous by their number their gorgeousness and their audacity and last but not least to prepare the triumphs of the Macedonian dynasty As another author has written picturesquely summarizing Byzan- tine influence The old lady appears often to us as rosy-cheeked girl adorned with gold and precious stones In spite of admiration for such achievements however we cannot forget that the Chair of which such distinguished scholar is to-day taking official possession is devoted at the same time to modern Greek culture The glorious Cretan epics the Cretan drama the mediaeval poems praising the deeds of Greek heroes as Digenes Akritas our immortal popular poetry which has been the first manifestation of the revival of the Greek nation and marked its rising to freedom and independence
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