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Dialogue of Cultures

Some Thoughts on the First Human Society following the Guiding Thread of the Mosaic Documents

Transition of Man to Freedom and Humanity

Friedrich Schiller

This article is reprinted from the Fall 1996 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.

For related articles, scroll down or click here.

Fidelio, Vol. V, No, 3. Fall 1996

Some Thoughts on the First Human Society Following
the Guiding Thread of the Mosaic Documents

Transition of Man to Freedom and Humanity
Friedrich Schiller

The following essay was originally presented by Friedrich Schiller during the summer semester of 1789 in Jena, Germany, where he was a Professor of History, as part of a series of lectures on Universal History, The lecture series included his famous inaugural address entitled “What Is, and to What End Do We Study, Universal History?,” as well as “The Legislation of Lycurgus and Solon,” and “The Mission of Moses.” This essay first appeared in print in Schiller's Thalia in 1790.

As the subtitle of the lecture indicates, Schiller conceived of the Fall, as described by Moses, as, on the one hand, introducing evil into the world, but, on the other hand, as necessitating. and in that sense making possible, the development of mankind's moral freedom. As Schiller puts it: “... out of a Paradise of ignorance and bondage, he was supposed to work himself upward, were it even a thousand years later, to a Paradise of knowledge and freedom; such a one, namely, where he would have harkened to the moral law in his breast equally as unswervingly, as he had at first obeyed instinct ... .”

Thus, Schiller identifies the paradoxical nature of human existence. Man cannot return to a lost Paradise, where, like the animals, he merely obeys instinct; but rather, man must struggle to create a paradise, based upon the image of God within him, his capacity for creative reason and love. The latter capacity must become as though an instinct to him. Only then is man truly free.

This theme, developed here by Schiller using the Mosaic texts, was later developed by him in his aesthetical writings, such as the “Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man” and “On Naive and Sentimental Poety.” Even today, man's still unfinished task remains to create a truly human society, based not upon “might, Fortune, and a ready militia,” but rather upon that brotherly love, which distinguishes man from the beast.

With respect to the guiding group of instincts, which still at present control the unthinking animal, Providence had to establish man in life, and, as his Reason was still undeveloped, stand behind him like a vigilant nurse. Through hunger and thirst, the necessity of nourishment made itself known to him; what he needed to satisfy himself was placed in ample supply around him, and through smell and taste, it guided him in choosing. Providence has shown his nakedness indulgence through a gentle climate, and through a universal peace surrounding him, made his defenseless life secure. The preservation of his species was assured through the sexual instinct [drive]. Like the plants and animals, man was thus completed. His Reason too had already begun to develop long ago. Because Nature still thought for, provided for, and acted for him, he was able to direct his strength that much more easily and unhindered to serene conception: His Reason, still undistracted by any care, could, undisturbed, build and tune the tender play of ideas through its tool, language. He still looked out at the Creation with the eyes of a fortunate being; his happy nature conceived all phenomena in an unselfish and pure way; and laid them down pure and clear in an alert faculty of memory. Soft and smiling was thus the beginning of man, and this had to be, since he was supposed to strengthen himself for the combat which stood before him.

If we thus posit, Providence would quietly be on his side during this phase, then from man would come into being the most fortunate and the most intellectually developed of all the animals—however, he never would have stepped out of the guardianship of natural instinct; his actions would have never become free and moral; he would have never risen beyond the limits of animal nature. He would have spent an eternal childhood in libertine tranquillity, and the circle, in which he would have moved, would have been the smallest possible: from fleshly appetites to enjoyment, from enjoyment to rest, and from rest, back to appetite.

However, man was ordained to something completely different, and the strengths that lie in him, called him to a completely different happiness. What Nature in his infancy had undertaken for him, he was now supposed to undertake for himself, as soon as he was of age. He himself was supposed to become the creator of his own happiness, and only the share which he would have in it, was supposed to determine the degree of this good fortune. He was supposed to learn to rediscover the state of innocence, which he had now lost, through his Reason, and as a free reasoning mind return there, whence he had emerged as a vegetative being and a creature of instinct; out of a Paradise of ignorance and bondage, he was supposed to work himself upward, were it even a thousand years later, to a Paradise of knowledge and freedom; such a one, namely, where he would have harkened to the moral law in his breast equally as unswervingly, as he had at first obeyed instinct, as the plants and animals obey it still. What was thus inevitable? What had to happen, if he was supposed to approach this distant, set goal? As soon as his Reason had merely proven its first powers, Nature expelled him out of her care-giving arms; or, more correctly said, he himself, piqued by an impulse, of which he was not yet capable, and not comprehending what he does in this moment of greatness, he, on his own, broke from the guiding group of instincts, and with his still weak Reason, accompanied by instinct only from afar, he threw himself into the wild play of life; he set out on the dangerous path to moral freedom. If we, therefore, change that voice of God in Eden, which forbade to him the Tree of Knowledge, into a voice of his instinct, which pulled him back from this tree, thus his supposed disobedience against that divine order is nothing other than—a fall away from his instinct—thus the first declaration of his self-acting; the first daring deed of his Reason; the first beginning of his moral being. The fall of man away from instinct, which indeed brought moral evil into Creation; however, only in order to make the moral good in it possible; that falling away is without contradiction the most fortunate and the greatest event in the history of mankind; his freedom traces itself from this moment; the first remote foundation of his morality was laid here. The folk teacher is entirely right if he describes this occurrence as a Fall of the first man, and where it can be done, draws profitable moral teaching from it; however, the philosopher is not less right, to wish happiness for human nature in the large on this important step toward perfection. The first is right, to call it a fall, because man became from an innocent creature, a guilty one; from a perfect pupil of nature, an imperfect moral being; from a fortunate instrument, an unfortunate artist.

The philosopher is right, to call it a giant step of mankind, because mankind through it went from being a slave of natural instinct to a freely-acting creature; from an automaton to a moral being, and with this step he first mounted the ladder which will lead him, after a lapse of many thousands of years, to self-control. Now the path which he had to take to pleasure became longer. In the beginning, he had only to stretch out his hand in order to have satisfaction immediately follow desires; now, however, he had to insert reflection, industry, and labor between the desires and their satisfaction. The peace between him and the animal was revoked. Need drove them now against his settlements; yes, against him himself, and through his Reason, by artifice, he had to provide his own security against them and a superiority of strength which Nature had denied to him; he had to invent weapons and secure his sleep from this enemy through strong dwellings. However, here already Nature compensated him with the joys of the Mind, for what she had taken from him in pleasures of the vegetative domain. The self-sown vegetable surprised him with a delicious flavor, [with] which he had not become acquainted [with—take out] before this; sleep overcame him after tiring work, and under his self-built roof was sweeter than in the indolent rest of his Paradise. In battle with the tiger, which fell to him, he rejoiced over the discovered strength of his limbs and cunning, and with every overcome danger, he could thank his own self for the gift of his life.

Now he was already too noble for Paradise, and he did not know his own self, if, under pressure of need, and under the burden of cares, he wished himself back there. An inner, impatient impulse, the awakened drive to act for himself would have pursued him soon in his idle happiness, and spoiled for him the joys, which he had not created for his own self. He would have changed Paradise into a wilderness, and after that have made the wilderness into Paradise. But [fortunate] for the human species, if it [would have] had no worse enemy to fight than the idleness of the land, the fury of wild animals, and a stormy Nature! Need drove him, passions awakened, and armed him soon against his own kind. With men he had to struggle over his existence, a long, extended, still-unfinished struggle, but in this struggle alone could he develop his Reason and morality.

Domestic Life

The first sons, which the mother of mankind bore, had a very important advantage over their parents: They were raised by human beings. All improvements, which the parents had to accomplish through their own selves, and thus far more slowly, came to their children quite easily, and had already been handed down to these children playing at a tender age, and with the sincerity of parental love. With the first son, thus, who was born from the wife, the great instrument began to become effective—the instrument through which the whole of mankind had obtained its development, and will continue to obtain it—namely, tradition, or the transmission of ideas.

The Mosaic document leaves us here, and skips over a space of fifteen or more years, in order to present to us the two brothers as already grown adults. However, the time between is important for the story of mankind, and if the writings leave us, then Reason must fill in the lacuna.

The birth of a son, his nourishment, his nursing, and his upbringing increased the knowledge, experience, and responsibility of the first humans with an important addition, which we must carefully record.

Without doubt, the first mother learned the required duties of a mother from the animals, just as she probably had learned from necessity the means of help at birth. The care for children made her attentive to innumerable small comforts, which up to now had been unknown to her; the multitude of things, of which she learned to make use, increased, and mother love became ingenious in invention.

Until now, both had only one social relation; had known only one kind of love, because each had in the other only one object before him. Now, with a new object, they learned a new kind of love; to know a new moral relationship—parental love. This new feeling of love was of a purer kind than the first; it was completely unselfish; at first, the former had been based merely on pleasure, and on the mutual need for companionship.

Therefore, with this new experience, already they entered a higher stage of morality—they became ennobled.

However, the parental love, in which they are both united for their child, now also caused not a small change in the relationship in which, up to now, they had stood to each other alone. The care, the joy, the tender concern in which they united for the joint object of their love, tied new and more beautiful bonds between themselves. On this occasion each discovered in the other new, moral, beautiful characteristics, and each and every one of such discoveries elevated and improved their relation. The husband loved in the wife the mother, the mother of his beloved son. The wife honored and loved in the husband the father, the provider of her child. The merely moral pleasure in each other raised itself to respect; out of selfish sexual love developed the beautiful phenomenon of married love.

These moral experiences would soon be enriched with new ones. The children grew up this way, and, little by little, a tender bond also united them. The child considered himself the most loved as a child, because each creature would simply love himself in beings like him. Brotherly love developed in [the—take out the] tender, imperceptible threads—a new experience for the first parents. They now saw, for the first time, outside themselves, an image of companionship and benevolence; they recognized their own emotions again, only in a more youthful mirror.

Until now, both had lived, so long as they were alone, only in the present and in the past, but now the distant future began to promise them joy. So as they watched their children grow up around them, and every day a new capability developed in them, smiling vistas of the future opened up to them, when these children were to one day become men like them; in their hearts awoke a new emotion—hope. What a limitless range becomes opened to mankind through hope! Up to now, they had enjoyed each pleasure only once, only in the present—in anticipation, each future joy before them would be experienced innumerable times.

As the children now truly matured, what variety appeared all at once in the first human society! Each idea which they had communicated to them, had in each soul developed differently, and now took them by surprise by its originality. Now the circulation of ideas came alive; the moral emotion established itself by use and developed by practice; language was already richer, and already rendered more precise, and already dared to express finer emotions; new experiences in nature all around them, and new applications of the already known. Now man kept his attention completely occupied. Now, there was no longer any danger that they would descend to the imitation of animals!

Difference of Way of Life

The advance in culture manifested itself even by the first generation. Adam cultivated the field; by this time we see one of his sons take up a new branch of agriculture: the breeding of livestock. Human society thus differentiates itself here already into two different occupations, farmers and shepherds.

The first man went to school with Nature, and he learned from her all the useful arts of life. With attentive study, the order according to which the plants regenerate themselves, could not remain hidden from him long. He saw Nature itself sow and water; his imitative instinct awoke, and soon need spurred him, to lend his arm to Nature, and to assist her spontaneous abundance through ingenuity.

However, one must not believe the first cultivation to have immediately been grain-growing, for which even then great preparations are necessary; and it is customary for the course of nature, at all times, to progress from the simple to the complex. Probably rice was one of the first plants which man cultivated; Nature invited him to it, because rice grew wild in India, and the oldest historians speak of rice cultivation as one of the oldest agricultural arts. Man noticed that in a persisting drought, plants droop, but after a rain, they quickly recover. He noticed further, that where a passing storm left silt behind, the fertility was greater. He utilized these two discoveries; he gave his plants an artificial rain, and brought silt to his fields, if no river was in the vicinity, which could provide him with it. He learned to fertilize and water.

The step which he took to the use of animals appeared to be more difficult: but he also began here, as everywhere, with the unsophisticated and the innocent at first, and he contented himself perhaps for many generations with the milk of animals, before he laid hand on their lives. Without doubt, it was mother's milk which invited him to the attempt, to make use of animal milk. However, no sooner had he become acquainted with this new nourishment, than he got it under his control for good. In order to have this nourishment at any time ready and in supply, it ought not to be left to chance, whether when he became hungry, such an animal was going to provide this to him. Thus, he hit upon the idea of always gathering a certain number of such animals around himself; he put together a herd for himself; however, he had to seek this among those animals that live gregariously, and he had to transpose them out of the condition of wild freedom into the condition of captivity and peaceful rest; that is, he had to tame them. However, before he ventured to others, which were wilder in nature and superior to him in natural armaments and abilities, he attempted it first with those to which he himself was superior in strength, and which possessed less savageness from Nature. Therefore, he tended sheep earlier than he tended swine, oxen, and horses.

As soon as he had robbed his animals of their freedom, he was placed in the necessity of having to nourish them himself, and to care for them. Thus, in this way, he became a shepherd, and so long as the society was still small, Nature could offer nourishment in abundance to his small herd. He had no other labor than to locate pastureland, and if it was grazed, to replace it with another. The richest abundance rewarded him for this easy occupation, and the yield of his labor was subjected to no fluctuation either by season or by weather. An all-around delight was the lot of the pastoral state; freedom and a joyful leisure its character.

It was completely otherwise with the farmer. This one was slavishly bound to the soil, to what he had planted, and with the way of life which he took up, he had given up every freedom of his domicile. He had to carefully prepare the delicate constitution of the plant which he cultivated, and rush to assist its growth through ingenuity and work, while the other left his herd to care for itself. Lack of tools initially made each task harder for him, and for all that, he was hardly equal to the task with only two hands. How difficult his way of life had to be, before the ploughshare lightened it for him; before he mastered the harnessed bull, to share the work with him.

The tilling of the soil, the sowing and watering, the harvest itself, how many tasks all this required! And which labor only after the harvest, not until the product of his industry was completely ripened, to be enjoyed by him. How often he himself had to fight to defend his cultivated fields against savage animals which attacked them; to guard or to fence them off; often perhaps to struggle for them even with danger to his life! And, for all that, how uncertain was the product of his labor for him; still, always, in the power of the weather and the season! A passing storm, a falling hail was enough, to yet rob him of the objective, and expose him to pitiless want. Thus, hard, unequal, and precarious was the lot of the farmer as opposed to the easy, peaceful lot of the shepherd, and the soul in one must degenerate to a hardened substance through so much work.

Did it now occur to him, to compare this hard fate with the happy life of a shepherd, then he had to notice this inequality; he must—according to his sensuous way of conceiving—regard the former as a preferred favorite of heaven.

Envy grew in his breast; this unfortunate emotion had to develop among mankind at the first inequality. With jealousy, he now viewed the blessings of the shepherd, who grazed peacefully opposite him in the shade, while the blazing sun pierced his own self, and work strained sweat out of his brow. The carefree happiness of the shepherd caused him pain. He hated him because of his good fortune, and despised him on account of his leisure. So he harbored a quiet anger against him in his heart, which had to break out into violence at the next provocation. However, this occasion could not be long in coming. Up to this time, the right of each one still had no fixed limits, and no laws yet existed, which would have distinguished things of mine and yours from one another. Each one still believed he had an equal claim to the whole earth, because the distribution in ownership was first to be forced through the arising collision. Now supposing, the shepherd had grazed all areas around and about with his herd, and also, however, felt no desire to camp far from his family in distant regions—what was he therefore to do? What must naturally occur to him? He drove his herd into the cultivated areas of the farmer, or at least, let it happen, that the herd itself took this course. Here, there was richer provision for his sheep, and there was yet no law which might restrain him. Everything that he could grasp, was his—so reasoned childish mankind.

Now, thus, for the first time, man came into collision with man; in the place of savage animals, with which the farmer had to deal so far, now came man. The latter now appeared against him as a hostile beast of prey, who wanted to ravage his cultivated fields. No wonder, that he perceived him as exactly the species as he had perceived the beast of prey, which man now imitated. Hatred, which he had already carried in his breast long years, contributed to embittering him, and a murderous blow with the cudgel avenged him at once for the long good fortune of his envied neighbor.

Thus sadly ended the first collision of men.

Uplifted Social Equality

Several words of the original document allow us to conclude, that polygamy in those early times would have been something rare, and thus, in those days, it would have already become custom, to restrict oneself in marriage and to be content with one wife. Proper marriages, however, appear to indicate an already established morality and refinement, which in those early times one should hardly have expected. Usually, men only arrive at the introduction of order through the consequences of disorder, and lawlessness previously, generally, leads to law.

This introduction of proper marriages thus appears to have come to pass not so much through laws as by custom. The first man could not live other than in the married state, and the example of the first already had for the second an agreed force of law. With a single couple had the human species begun. In this example, Nature had thus made known her will, so to speak.

Therefore, if one assumes that in the very first times, the ratio of number between both sexes would have been equal, then in this way, Nature already regulated what mankind had not arranged. Each took only one wife, because only one remained for him.

Even if a considerable disproportion in the number of the two sexes finally appeared, and choices occurred, this order was already fixed in this way through observance, and no one dared to violate [lightly] the way of forefathers [lightly—take out] through innovation.

Likewise, the marriage system would in and of itself set in place a certain natural rule in the society. Nature had established the authority of the father, since she made the helpless child dependent upon the father, and the child is accustomed to honor his will from a tender age. The son had to maintain this feeling throughout his entire life. Were he now also himself a father, his son, likewise, could not regard the person without reverence, whom he saw to be treated with such respect by his father, and keeping silent, he had to concede a higher authority to the father of his father. This authority of the family males had to multiply itself in the same degree with each increase of the family, and with each succeeding generation of his elders, and the greater experience, the result of so long a life, had to give him, in addition, a natural superiority over everyone who was younger. The head of the family was thus the highest authority over every matter at issue, and through long observance of this custom, at last a natural, gentle, supreme authority established itself: the rule of Patriarchs, which, however, did not revoke a universal equality about it, but, on the contrary, established it.

However, this equality could not always continue. Some were less industrious; some less favored by good fortune and their soil; some were born weaker than others; thus there were the Strong and the Weak; the Brave and the Faint-Hearted; the Rich and the Poor. The Weak and the Poor had to beg; the Rich were able to give and to deny. The dependence of man upon men began.

The nature of things had to establish it, that those of advanced age be freed from work, and the young man take over affairs for the old man, and the son for the gray father. This duty of Nature soon became copied by design. The wish must have arisen for many, to combine the peaceful rest of the old man with the pleasure of the youth, and to get someone who henceforth would take on the duties of a son for him. His eye noticed the poor or weak man, who asked his protection, or laid claim to his excess. The poor and the weak needed his help; he, on the other hand, needed the industry of the poor. The one thus became the requirement of the other. The poor and the weak served and received; the strong and the rich gave and went idle.

The first distinction of classes. The rich man became richer through the industry of the poor; to increase his riches, he increased the number of his servants; he thus saw many around him, who were less fortunate than he; many depended upon him. The rich man had a sense of himself, and became proud. He began to confuse the instruments of his good fortune with the instruments of his will. The work of many occurred for the good of him alone; thus he concluded these many were to exist for his sake alone—he had only a small step to Despot.

The son of the rich began to seem better to himself than the sons of his father's servants. Heaven had favored him more than these; he was therefore dearer to heaven. He called himself Son of Heaven, as we call the favorites of Fortune “Sons of Fortune.” Opposed to him, the Son of Heaven, was the servant only a son of man. From this came the distinction in Genesis between the children of Elohim and the children of man.

Good fortune led the rich man to idleness[;] idleness led him to lust[;] and, finally, to vice. To fill up his life, he had to increase the number of his pleasures; already the ordinary measure of Nature no longer sufficed to satisfy the glutton, who in his indolent rest, pondered delights.

He had to have everything better and in richer measure than the servant. The servant still contented himself with one wife. He permitted himself more wives. Constant delight, however, dulled and bored him. He had to think of something to lift him up through an artificial thrill. A new step. He did not prefer what only satisfied the sensuous instinct; he wanted greater and more refined joys contained in pleasure. Permitted pleasures satisfied him no longer; his appetite now fell on the hidden. A wife alone no longer attracts him. He by this time demands beauty from her.

Among the daughters of his servants, he discovers beautiful wives. His fortune had made him proud; pride and security made him defiant. He easily persuaded himself that everything that belonged to his servants was his. Since everything depended on him, he therefore permitted himself everything. The daughter of his servant was too lowly as a wife for him; however, she was used all the same for the satisfaction of his lust. A new, important step of refinement, towards a change for the worse.

However, as soon as the example was once set in this way, the corruption of morals had to soon become common. Namely, the fewer laws of restraint it found, which would have been able to put a stop to it, the nearer the society in which this immorality arose still was to the state of innocence, and the more rapaciously it had to spread itself.

The right of the strong arose; might empowered by repression, and, for the first time, tyrants appeared.

The document specifies them as Sons of Joy—as the illegitimate children, who were begotten in unlawful intercourse. Can one take this as literally true, then in this feature lies a great refinement that no one, to my knowledge, has yet explained. These bastard sons inherited the pride of the father, but not his goods. Perhaps the father loved them and gave them preference in his lifetime, but they were shut out and barred from his lawful inheritance as soon as he was dead. Ejected from a family into which they were forced by unjust means, they saw themselves alone and abandoned in the whole wide world; they belonged to no one, and nothing belonged to them; in those days, however, there was no other way of life in the world, as one had to be either a master, or the servant of a master.

Lacking being the first, they seemed to themselves too proud for the last; also, they were bred too comfortably to learn to serve. What were they supposed to do? The obscurity surrounding their birth, and strong limbs, were all that remained for them; only the memory of former affluence, and a heart, which was embittered toward society, accompanied them in wretchedness. Hunger made them robbers; the fortune of robbers, adventurers; and, finally, even heroes.

Soon they became frightening to the peaceful farmhand, to the defenseless shepherd, and extorted from him, what they wanted. Their success and their acts of conquest made them notorious far and wide, and the comfortable abundance of this new way of life indeed made some join their band. So they became powerful, and, as the [document says], famous people.

This prevailing disorder in the first society were ended finally, probably, with order, and the equality adopted at one time among men led, from the patriarchical rule, to monarchy—one of these adventurers, more powerful and more daring than the others, had constituted himself as their master, built a strong city and founded the first state; however, still too early this phenomenon came into being that rules the destiny of the world, and a frightening natural occurrence suddenly stopped all steps, which the human species was to accomplish in the idea of its improvement.

The First King

Asia, abandoned during the Flood by its human inhabitants, soon had to fall prey to wild animals, which increased themselves rapidly and in greater number in so fertile a soil, as resulted from the Flood, and spread their domination there, where mankind was too weak to stop it. Thus, every tract of land, which the new human species cultivated, had to first be wrested from the wild animals, and to be further defended against them by cunning and force. Our Europe is now cleansed of these wild inhabitants, and we can hardly imagine the misery that had oppressed those times; however, as terrifying as this trouble must have been, let us, from several places in the document, conclude with the customs of the earliest peoples, and, above all, with those of the Greeks, who recognized immortality and the God-like dignity in the conquerors of wild beasts.

In this way Oedipus became the King of the Thebans, because he exterminated the ravaging sphinx; so gained Perseus, Hercules, Theseus, and many others, their posthumous fame and their apotheoses. Whoever labored in this way for the annihilation of these universal fiends, was the greatest benefactor of mankind, and, to be successful in it, he also had to really combine in himself exceptional gifts. The pursuit of these animals was, before war among men themselves began to rage, the proper work of heroes. Probably, this hunt was commenced in a great band, which the bravest always commanded, namely that one, for whom his courage and his intellect afforded a natural superiority over the others. This one then gave his name to the most important of the battle deeds, and this name invited many hundreds to join his retinue, in order to perform deeds of bravery under him. Since these hunts had to be undertaken with certain well-planned logistics, which the commander designed and directed, through that planning, he thus quietly placed himself in a position to allot to the rest their roles and to make his will into that of theirs. One became imperceptibly accustomed to achieve results for him, and to submit to his better judgments. Had he distinguished himself through deeds of personal courage, through boldness of spirit, and strength of arms; awe and admiration worked to his advantage, so that, in the end, people blindly accepted his leadership. Had quarrels now emerged between his hunting companions, which among such a numerous, rough, hunting band, could not fail to appear for long; thus was he, whom all feared and honored, the most natural judge of disputes, and the reverence and awe of his personal bravery was enough, to give his pronouncements force. A commander-in-chief and judge thus already arose out of a leader of the hunting bands.

Were the spoils now divided, the greater portion, in all fairness, had to fall to him, the leader, and where he did not consume such for himself, he thus had something with which to bind the others to him, and could therefore attract followers and companions. Soon a number of the bravest men assembled themselves, whom he always, through new good deeds, sought to multiply around his person; and, unnoticed, he had created out of it a type of bodyguard, a band of Mamelukes, which supported his arrogance with wild zeal, and through their number, struck terror into anyone who was willing to oppose him.

As his hunts became useful for all landowners and shepherds, whose borders he cleansed of ravaging beasts, in this way, it was possible, initially that a freely-given gift of the fruits of the fields and the herd would have been offered to him for this useful work, which he later allowed himself to seek as an earned tribute, and, finally, extorted as a debt and a duty-bound offering. These acquisitions he also distributed among the most able of his band, and that way always further enlarged the number of his followers. Since his hunts more frequently led him through pasture and fields, which suffered damages in these passages, many landowners consequently found it for the better to pay off this obligation in advance through a voluntary gift, which he subsequently collected in the same way from all others whose fields he could have damaged. Through such and similar means, he increased his riches, and through these, his following, which, finally, grew to a small army, which was all the more frightening, because it had hardened itself toward every danger and task in battle with the lion and tiger, and through its rugged handiwork, was turned wild. Terror now arose from his name, and no one would any longer dare to refuse a request from him. Did disputes occur between one of his band and one of foreign parts, so the hunter naturally appealed to his leader and protector, and the latter learned in this way to spread his jurisdiction also over things which did not concern the hunt. Now he lacked nothing more from being a king than solemn recognition, and could one well deny him this, at the head of his armed and imperious troops? He was the most fit to rule, because he was the most powerful to enforce his commands. He was the universal benefactor of all, since one was in debt to him for peace and security in the face of the common enemy. He was already in possession of the authority, because the mightiest were at his command.

On a similar model, the ancestors of Alarich, Attila and Meroveus came to be kings of their peoples. It was exactly this way with the Greek kings, which Homer shows us in The Iliad. All were first leaders of a fighting band, conquerors of monsters, benefactors of their nations. From fighting chiefs they became, little by little, arbitrators and judges; with the plunder gained, they bought themselves a following, which made them powerful and terrible. Finally, through might, they raised themselves to the throne.

There is the example of Dejoces in Media, to whom the people freely assigned the kingly title; subsequently, he had made himself useful to the same as judge. However, one is wrong to apply this example to the emergence of the first kings. When the Medes made Dejoces their king, they were already a people; already formed a political society; in the previous case, on the contrary, the first political society was supposed to be established through the first king. The Medes had borne the oppressing yoke of the Assyrian monarchs; the king, of whom we are now speaking, was the first in the world, and the people that submitted itself to him, a society of freeborn men, who had up to that time experienced no dominion over themselves. A dominion already formerly endured can very well be reestablished in this peaceful way; however, a totally new and unknown one can not be installed in this peaceful way.

Thus, it appears more appropriate to the way things happened, that the first king was a usurper, who was put on the throne not by the free, unanimous call of the nation (because there was still no nation then); but rather, by might, and Fortune, and a ready militia.
—translated by Anita Gallagher

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