P.J. Conradie


In the Binh of tragedy, Section 15, Nietzsche gives a remarkable description of the attitude of
other nations towards the ancient Greeks: "Nearly every age and stage of culture has at some
time or other sought with profound irritation to free itself from the Greeks, because in their
presence everything one has achieved, though apparently quite original and sincerely admired,
suddenly seemed to lose life and color and shriveled into a poor copy, even a caricature. And
so time after time cordial anger erupts against this presumptious little people that made bold
for all time to designate everything not native as 'barbaric'. Who are they, one asks, who,
though they display only an ephemeral historical splendor, ridiculously restricted institutions,
a dubious excellence in their mores, and are marked by ugly vices, yet lay claim to that
dignity and pre-eminence among peoples which characterize genius among the masses?
Unfortunately one was not lucky enough to find the cup of hemlock with which one could
simply dispose of such a character; for all the poison that envy, calumny and rancor. created
did not suffice to destroy that self-sufficient splendor" (translation by W. Kaufmann).

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