Christianism ("Christianity"), Etc.


Subjects (abstracts): More, Homo sapiens—behavior! From Sumer to Rome, The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies; William Hazlitt; Origin and Evolution of Religion.

from: From Sumer to Rome, The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies, Richard A. Gabriel and Karen S. Metz, Greenwood, 1991. [found 5/28/96].

"Except for a handful of scholars, the field of ancient military history has been only rudimentarily explored....only a handful of professional military men possess more than a cursory knowledge of the brilliant past that gave birth to the very profession that they practice. The standard defense of these practices is that the ancient world is not relevant to the modern one and, thus, in an exercise of self-fulfilling prophecy, this attitude is supported. " [xiv].

"The medical treatment available to the Assyrian soldier far surpassed the medicine of Greece, commonly but incorrectly regarded as the source of modern medicine. The level of medical care afforded the Roman soldier did not generally improve until the invention of penicillin. " [xiv].

[penicillin: discovered by Alexander Fleming ("later Sir Alexander Fleming"), 1928. "first treat a human being in 1941". (E.B. and W.B. Encyc.)].

'The ancient world produced the prototype of every major offensive and defensive weapons system used by armies until the invention of gunpowder, and even then some armies of the ancient world would have made short work of the armies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The weapons of the past were simply of greater range, firepower, and lethality than those used by armies up to the Civil War. So proficient were the military establishments of the ancient world that war on a "modern" scale was already a fact of life long before the modern period began.' [xv].

"It is important to remember that the period from 4000 to 2000 B.C. was a truly seminal period in the development of the institution and instrumentalities of war....Psychologically, people had not yet learned to attach meaning to any social group larger than the extended family, clan, or tribe. The important force of RELIGION had not yet been given specific social focus to the point where it could become a powerful psychological engine to drive the spirit of CONQUEST and EMPIRE. Even warfare itself had not in any meaningful sense been invented. " [2].

[See (Roman and Christian Imperialism): #8, 204-207; #10, 239].

"The Sumerian invention of the chariot has to be ranked among the major military innovations in history. " [5-6].

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Table 4.1


Combat Death Rates of Ancient Armies




# Troops

# Killed

% Defeated












King of Akkad



















Darius III









Darius III








Hamilcar Barcas



























Scipio Africanus










Philip V








Aemilius Paullus










The Teutons

































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"At Cannae [Apulia (S.E. Italy) (See: Atlas of the Classical World, H.H. Scullard, et al., 1959)] [216 BC] the Roman legions were trapped in a perfect double envelopment ["classic example" (E.B., 1994, V. 2, 803)] by Hannibal's army. The Carthaginians pressed the legions in upon themselves with such great force that the legionnaires could not raise their weapons to defend themselves. In the space of 4 hours on a hot afternoon, 70,000 Roman soldiers died in the dust, the number of casualties equivalent [in number (see below)] to that lost in a single morning by the British army in the first Battle of the Somme.5" [84].

[first Battle of the Somme (Somme River, N. France): July 1, 1916: "The British sustained nearly 60,000 casualties (20,000 dead) on the first day of the attack. "

(Encyc. Britannica, 1994, Vol. 11, 8)].

"Table 4.1 presents manpower data for 14 battles that occurred between 2250 and 45 B.C. The data in the table are presented for battles involving armies of Sumer, Persia, and classical and imperial Greece, tribal engagements, and Roman armies as they occurred in the Bronze and Iron ages. In addition, the dates of the battles range over 2,000 years, allowing for an accounting of changing and more lethal technology as it affected casualty rates over time. The information as to the size of forces has been extracted from accounts of battles as they appear in classical literature.6 There is no way to verify the accuracy of these numbers. As both Delbruck and Engels have noted, in most instances the numbers are probably inflated.7 Even so, it is probable that the proportions between the armies are relatively accurate. Moreover, because the Assyrians and Romans were in the slave business and kept meticulous records of prisoners, it is likely that the numbers for these battles are more accurate than are the data for others. " [85-86].

"The disparity in kill rates suggests strongly that most of the killing occurred after one side or the other broke formation and could be hunted down and slain with comparative ease. Nonetheless, close-range killing is nasty business, and it must have taken several hours of outright slaughter to destroy a vanquished army. History does not record what effect this personal killing had on the psyche of the soldier, but it is likely that the Roman practice of exposing its entire citizenry at an early age to the cold fact of death in the gladiatorial arena paid good dividends on the battlefield by reducing its psychological casualty rates. " [86].

"Both Roman and Assyrian armies were routinely followed by slave buyers, who bought up whole lots of captured soldiers on the spot for resale later. If we know the total size of the defeated army and subtract from it the number of soldiers killed in action and then subtract the number taken prisoner, we are left with a rough approximation of the number of wounded. " [87]. [see Table 4.2 [87], etc.].

"The Roman familiarity with gladiatorial combat led to the incorporation into the army of medical practices gained in the arena. Permitting the dissection of defeated gladiators and executed criminals increased the Roman knowledge of anatomy beyond anything achieved by the Greeks. This level of surgical skill was not achieved again until at least the sixteenth century. " [142].

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"The Romans were the first to solve the age-old problem of extracting arrows from the body by inventing the first surgical tool to extract arrows without causing further damage to the wound. They were the first to perform amputation regularly. While there were not true anesthetics, the Romans used opium and henbane [Hyoscyamus (source of hyoscyamine and hyoscine [scopolamine])] to kill the pain of surgery. " [142].

"Field surgeons were highly skilled at stopping bleeding, something no medical practice of the ancient world had achieved....Roman doctors also invented the first surgical clamp, which allowed them to tie off a severed artery without stopping the entire flow of blood to the affected limb, an advance that considerably reduced the onset of gangrene. The surgical clamp disappeared from medical knowledge after the fourth century until it was reinvented by Ambroise Paré in the 1600s.

The Roman materia medica was excellent. " [142].

"Roman doctors were well versed in setting and splinting fractures and produced the first prosthetic devices to replace missing arms, legs, and hands.108 Their plastic surgery was as good as that found in India, and the old Etruscan art of artificial dentistry was also in evidence....The Roman soldier lived longer [sic!] than his civilian counterpart not only because he was healthier but because he received the best practical military medical care that the world witnessed until the beginning of the twentieth century. " [143].

"the period between 4000 B.C. and A.D. 100, the period we have defined as the ancient world, was among the most revolutionary and creative periods of human development. In many respects its contributions have yet to be equaled by the generations that have been born since. " ["145"].

"The military medical corps of the Roman army was not equaled by armies of the West until World War I. " [148].

"It is sobering to recall that prior to the fourth millennium, there is precious little evidence of war of any type conducted on any scale. Its emergence seems inevitably tied to the invention of agriculture, which made congregations of large populations [overpopulations!] possible. This development, in turn, increased the opportunities for social differentiation, which led directly to the emergence of the standing army as a major social institution of human society. To the Greeks we owe the myth of military heroism and sacrifice, both products of the particular sociology of the Greek city-states in the classical period. The new and outrageous belief that only war provides the opportunity for the full development of human virtues found its way into Western civilization through Rome and has affected the way we looked upon war ever since. " [149-150].

"While it is a proclivity of modern people to assert that they have come far since the period of the ancient world, in their psychology of war they have not moved a single step. " [150].

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"While war may have served the interests of ancient societies whose surplus populations demanded that they find jobs for unemployed hunters or provided them with a means for dealing with conflicts at reasonable [?] costs, these conditions no longer obtain in modern industrial states [?]. Perhaps for the first time in our history, it is finally possible to change the way we think about war. And the first step in that process is to understand the context in which war has emerged and developed. There can be no more important starting point for this challenge than to understand how much WE REMAIN PRISONERS OF THE LEGACY OF THE ANCIENTS. "

[End of text] [150].


from: The Plain Speaker: Opinions on Books, Men, and Things: by William Hazlitt. Second Edition. Edited by his son. Vol. II, Templeman, MDCCCLII.

[found 4/6/96]. [William Hazlitt 1778 - 1830 See: Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, Vol. IX, 317-323].

["On the Qualifications Necessary to Success in Life. "]

'Life, it has been said, is "the art of being well deceived;" and accordingly, hypocrisy seems to be the great business of mankind.' [19].

"Delicacy is, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, considered as rusticity; and sincerity of purpose is the greatest affront that can be offered to society. To insist on simple truth, is to disqualify yourself for place or patronage...and he who, in the struggle for distinction, trusts to realities and not to appearances, will in the end find himself the object of universal hatred and scorn. A man who thinks to gain and keep the public ear by the force of style, will find it very up-hill work; if you wish to pass for a great author, you ought not to look as if you were ignorant that you had ever written a sentence or discovered a single truth. If you keep your own secret, be assured the world will keep it for you. " [19-20].

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["On People of Sense. "]

'A text of Scripture, or a passage in ecclesiastical history, is for one whole century "torn to tatters, to very rags," and wrangled and fought for, as maintaining the doctrine of the true and Catholic church; in the next century after that, the whole body of the Reformed clergy, Lutherans, Calvinists, Arminians, get hold of it, wrest it out of the hands of their adversaries, and twist and torture it in a thousand different ways, to overturn the abominations of Anti-Christ; in the third a great cabal, a clamour, a noise like the confusion of Babel, jealousies, feuds, heart-burnings, wars in countries, divisions in families, schisms in the church arise, because this text has been thought to favour a lax interpretation of an article of faith, necessary to salvation; and in the fourth century from the time the question began to be agitated with so much heat and fury, it is discovered that no such text existed in the genuine copies. Yet all and each of these, Popes, councils, fathers of the church, reformed leaders, Lutherans, Calvinists, Independents, Presbyterians, sects, schisms, clergy, people, all believe that their own interpretation is the true sense'. [100-101].

["On Depth and Superficiality. "]

"The old idolatry took vast hold of the earliest ages; for to believe that a piece of painted stone or wood was a God (in the teeth of the fact) was a fine exercise of the imagination; and modern fanaticism thrives in proportion to the quantity of contradictions and nonsense it pours down the throats of the gaping multitude, and the jargon and mysticism it offers to their wonder and credulity. Credo quia impossible est ["I believe because it is impossible"] [This is a classic in the criticism of Christianism ("Christianity"); its traditional usage appears to be an error (etc.). See Excursuses 259-260 (Tertullian aside, this expression flags a portion of the corpus of human behavior)] is the standing motto of bigotry and superstition; that is, I believe, because to do so is a favourite act of the will, and to do so in defiance of common sense and reason enhances the pleasure and the merit (ten-fold) of this indulgence of blind faith and headstrong imagination. Methodism, in particular, which at once absolves the understanding from the rules of reasoning, and the conscience from the restraints of morality, throwing the whole responsibility upon a vicarious righteousness and an abstract belief, must, besides its rant, its vulgarity, and its amatory style, have a double charm both for saints and sinners. " [287-288].

[the father, William Hazlitt (same name) 1737 - 1820, "joined the presbyterian ministry, and ultimately became a unitarian. " (Dict. Nat. Bio., Vol. IX, 317)].

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Excursus: from: Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Abbreviations, Kevin Guinagh, Pocket Books, 1966 (c1965).

"Credo quia impossible (absurdum) est. LI believe because it is impossible. An expression frequently cited out of its context [yes!] where it appears in a series of paradoxes [refuted by Robert H. Ayers (see following Excursus)].—Tertullian, On the Body of Christ, V. " [59].

[found 6/11/96 (first noted this quote, and Tertullian as the credited source, c. 1993)].

____     ____     ____

Excursus: from: Language, Logic, and Reason in the Church Fathers: A Study of Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas, Robert H. Ayers, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A., Altertumswissenschaftliche Texte und Studien, Band VI, Georg Olms, Hildesheim, 1979. [found 6/12/96].

"I was motivated to begin my study with Tertullian primarily because I suspected that the 'popular' view which presents him as one who glorified in absurdity and paradox is incorrect and indeed my suspicion was verified. " [Preface].

"Tertullian (155-222 A.D.) was chosen for this study for two reasons. First, it has been claimed by some that Tertullian's thought is anti-philosophical and anti-rational. This claim should not go unchallenged. " [7].

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'It appears that the reason why Tertullian often is misrepresented as anti-philosophical and anti-rational finds its base in the two famous statements which are generally mentioned whenever there is a reference to Tertullian. Both of them often are treated in isolation from the context in which they appear and one of them is often misquoted as "I believe it because it is absurd. " These two statements as traditionally translated from the Latin are: (1) "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem" and (2) "And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible. "8

It is a widespread practice to call the second quotation Tertullian's paradox.' [7-8].

[from footnote 8] 'Professor Hans Von Campenhausen in The Fathers of the Latin Church (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1964), p. 23, gives the Latin as "credo, quia absurdum est", and then says it is often misquoted. But insofar as I can discover, this is not the Latin in any of the texts of De Carne Christi. In Tertulliani Opera, Pars II of the Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, (Turnholti, MCMLIV) the text is given as "credible est, quia ineptum est" with a footnote indicating that some texts contain "prorsus" before "credible". Thus, the text contained in Ernest Evans, Tertullian's Treatise On The Incarnation [referenced in #3, 87, 229.] (London: S. P. C. K., 1956), p. 18, is "prorsus credible est, quia ineptum est". "Ineptus" is the negative of "aptus" (fitting) and thus may be rendered by "unfitting" or "improper". As will be pointed out below this rendering fits the context of De Carne Christi 5 ["Tertullian, On the Body of Christ V. "] better than "absurdum", for here Tertullian is responding to Marcion's charge that the Incarnation was dishonorable or unfitting for God. Thus, the proper translation would seem to be, "IT IS STRAIGHTFORWARDLY CREDIBLE BECAUSE IT IS UNFITTING". This writer [Robert H. Ayers] suspects that there is some historical reason behind the popular misquoting of this passage, but has been unable to discover what it is. In any case, this error contributes to what this writer regards as a misunderstanding not only of Tertullian's argument on this particular point but also of his total perspective on the relation of Christianity and philosophy, faith and reason. See my article "Tertullian's 'Paradox' and 'Contempt for Reason' Reconsidered", Expository Times, Vol. LXXXVII, No. 10, July 1976, PP. 308-311.' [131].

End of Excursus.

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"The wars, persecutions, and bloodshed, occasioned by religion, have generally turned on the most trifling differences in forms and ceremonies; which shows that it was not the vital interests of the questions that were at stake, but that these were made a handle and a pretext to exercise cruelty and tyranny on the score of the most trivial and doubtful points of faith. THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOVE OF ABSURDITY AND FALSEHOOD AS WELL AS MISCHIEF IN THE HUMAN MIND, and the most ridiculous as well as barbarous superstitions have on this account been the most acceptable to it. A lie is welcome to it, for it is, as it were, its own offspring; and it likes to believe, as well as act, whatever it pleases, and in the pure spirit of contradiction. " [287].


from: Origin and Evolution of Religion, E. Washburn Hopkins [1857 - 1932], Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Philology Yale University, Yale U., MDCCCCXXIII [found 3/11/96]. [note: paucity of references] [a "Must See" book!].

'Between man and beast there is, to a savage, only a linguistic difference; in other respects the beast is man's "younger brother," as the Hindu calls him, not as he also calls the gods the younger brothers of the demons, but because he recognizes in the animal a being akin to himself, having the same feelings, desires, and needs, but gifted with other speech and other occult powers, which, as in the case of some men, also gifted with superior intelligence, lead a common man to approach the beast with religious respect.' ["32"].

'all over the world those animals which have provided men with food have been worshipped as givers of life and sustenance, the cow in India, Africa, and Scandinavia, the buffalo in South India, the kangaroo in Australia, etc. Accident is also contributory to the worship of many individual animals. Cortez [Hernando Cortés 1485 - 1547 ("Spanish conquistador and conqueror of Mexico" [Cam. Bio. Dict.])] left a sick horse behind him and the beast was deified, offered meat-sacrifice, consequently starved to death, then received a cult and was worshipped as the "god of thunder. "' [33].

"But the god who is really loved is he who as most human is most in sympathy with man. Buddha, Krishna, Christ, are loved because they first loved man, and man feels himself dear to them. The nearer the dearer, in life, in sympathy, in aspirations. The love for a creator-god can never be so intense as for a god whose experience has been one with man's [significant motivation (demand characteristics [see #3, 57, 289.]) for the invention of "Jesus" (compare: Yahweh and Jesus)]. "

[103-104]. [See: #3, 43, 206.].

[footnote] "10The general history of mankind, epitomized in the individual, shows that men have first been influenced by fear, then by love, then by sympathy, and lastly by remorse. See Drummond, The Ascent of Man, p. 129. " [107].

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"The biological series supports the same view as to the normal development of emotional factors. The only emotions of low organisms appear to be fear and dislike. Social instincts, love and sympathy, appear first in the higher animals (sympathy is exhibited first in birds) and not till the highest mammals are reached is there apparent any consciousness of wrong or of remorse, such remorse at least as that felt by the savage who recognizes sin only through sorrow. In short, religious development follows the general laws of evolution". [107].

"Though sacrifice is a form it embodies a profound historical truth, for without sacrifice nothing of value has been attained by man; but men today owe their greatest gain to the vicarious sacrifice of others [historically, commonly not voluntary] in the past. " [179].

'A further step is taken when it is recognized that by confession of faith one implicitly repents; and the last step is taken when a mere dying utterance of the Savior's name is taken as implying the confession of faith. This leads to the practice, if not the doctrine [this is a simple response, to the reaction in TFE #22, 33], that a sinner who utters the name of Jesus on his death-bed is secure of salvation. It is the same with the devotees of Rama and Buddha and in this regard all three religions have made it possible for a murderer to die in peaceful certainty of salvation, however sinful his disposition really remains to the end. Fortunately for ethics, this religious fanaticism is not prevalent and only in certain sects is the "repetition of the Holy Name" regarded as a passport to Heaven.' [195]. [See: #5, 164].

"The Pilgrim Fathers found few to oppose their settling because, as they said, God in his mercy had sent a plague upon the Redskins and killed off most of them, so that the chosen people might take possession. " [249].

"we have to remember that other [pause] American trend to monotheism made by the Inca who reasoned out God from the fact that his native supreme god, the sun, acted as a servant on a daily task, like an arrow shot from a bow; hence (he said) there must be a still more supreme god, who sends forth the servant, shoots the arrow. " [278].

"we may turn to the history of the only real trinities, those of the Brahmans, the Buddhists, and the GREEKS OR CHRISTIANS. " [301].

"Man has worshipped everything on earth, including himself, stones, hills, flowers, trees, streams, wells, ocean, and animals. He has worshipped everything he could think of beneath the earth, metals, caves, serpents, and under-world ghosts. Finally, he has worshipped everything between earth and heaven and everything in the heavens above, mist, wind, cloud, rainbow, stars, moon, sun, the sky itself, though only in part has he worshipped the spirits of all these objects. Yet with all this bewildering jumble to his discredit, man to his credit has never really worshipped anything save what he imagined behind these phenomena, the thing he sought and feared, POWER. " ["13"].

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