Sunday, June 17, 2012


The man of firm and righteous will,
     No rabble clamorous for the wrong,
No tyrant's brow, whose frown may kill,
     Can shake the strength that makes him strong.

". . . The idea of the genius begins from the paterfamilias who in begetting children becomes the head of a family. His essential character is isolated and given a separate spirit-existence; he carries on the family which owes to him its continuance and looks to him for protection. Thus, as a member in that mysterious sequence son–father–son–father, the individual gains a new significance; he is set against a background which, instead of being a continuous surface, is broken up, and the pieces are shaped, and one of them is shaped like himself. His genius, therefore, is that which puts him in a special relationship to his family which went before him, and has perished, and to his family which is yet to be born of his sons. A chain of mysterious power links the family from generation to generation; it is because of his genius that he, a man of flesh and blood, can be a link in that unseen chain.

"Here we may recall the custom, indeed the right, by which noble families set up in a recess of the central hall of their houses, at first, wax-masks and, later, busts of their ancestors who had deserved well of their family or of the state. In the most solemn domestic rites of the household these busts were made to associate. There was no question of ancestor-worship or appeasement of the departed; rather, it was a demonstration that they and all for which they stood still lived on and that they supplied the spiritual life to the family."

The Romans, by R. H. Barrow

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