By Sasan Samiei
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The third is Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844– 1900) unique take on the tragedy of Prometheus. Since these quintessentially Germanic schools of thought have placed Hellenism on a pedestal for over 200 years, it is imperative to have some awareness of their geneses and evolution. It is immaterial to the work at hand as to why the Germans had imitated the Greeks ‘more slavishly’ and more ‘intensely’58 than many of their immediate contemporaries. What matters here is the manner in which this imitative absorption of ‘a Greece that never was on sea or land’59 had been carried out, and seeped, via a process of intellectual osmosis, into the cultural life of Victorian Britain.
He had divided languages into three 18 ANCIENT PERSIA IN WESTERN HISTORY groups: those without grammar (Chinese), those which acquire grammar by compositing monosyllabic roots (Indo-European languages) and those which express relations of grammar by internal changes (Semitic languages). Consequently, languages could no longer be traced back to a single source (Hebrew, for our purposes). It should be stressed, however, that Bopp’s conception of physical here is not racial but largely laryngeal (phonetics).
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). These works suggest that the author was in favour of the ‘evolutionist’ stance. Much of this was predicated on his belief that by distinguishing unambiguously between ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’, one was at liberty to comment about the various types of ‘Aryan peoples’ in a complimentary fashion. He seemed to be unaware that often, ‘ethnicity’ can and does act as a synonym or a proxy for ‘race’.
Ancient Persia in Western history : Hellenism and the representation of the Achaemenid Empire by Sasan Samiei