By Sasan Samiei
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Additional info for Ancient Persia in Western history : Hellenism and the representation of the Achaemenid Empire
In Chapter 4 the output of one of his former students, the eminent prehistorian Gordon Childe, is discussed. This chapter continues the themes of ‘race’ and ‘culture’ within the context of how the latter phenomenon emerged in prehistoric Europe. Did it evolve independently, or was it diffused centrifugally from the Near East? Childe’s mindset proved to be of some interest. During the earlier part of his career, he produced The Dawn of European Civilization (1925) and The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins (1926).
94 This ‘unsoundness’, as Arnold is quick to clarify, had nothing to do with the shortcomings of the Greeks, but with the ‘prematurity’ and unreadiness of Christendom for the ‘spontaneity of consciousness’. 95 Arnold contends, however, that the puritanical component of the Reformation (‘a Hebraising revival’96) checked the progress of the Renaissance: ‘Yet there is a very important difference between the defeat of Hellenism by Christianity eighteen hundred years ago’,97 and the more recent historical phenomenon of Renaissance.
The shift from Renaissance humanism to neo-classicism and thence to Hellenism deﬁnes one of the main strands of modern European intellectual development. This process can best be appreciated by considering the following three areas: classical education, classical ideas of governance and, crucially, (Germanic) Hellenism. Classical Education and Ideas of Governance The eighteenth-century variety of classicism – the classicism that followed Renaissance humanism – was almost exclusively Romanocentric.