The Tragic Ancient World

The Tragic Ancient World September 23, 2003

The whole ancient world is tragic because the only way to bring happiness and peace is through imposition of power. Aeneas is the hero of pietas , which includes the meaning of pity; he conquers with tears in his eyes because he knows what his conquests cost. His motto is sunt lacrimae rerum — “here are the tears of things,” “here they weep for how the world goes” (Fitzgerald). At Carthage, where he speaks these words, he thinks he’s found a people of tears as he is a man of tears. The whole ancient world is tragic because it is still under law.

But we are not under law but under grace. And we hope for peace on earth established by the sword of the Spirit. Therefore, the Christian world is comic. Our conquest does not have “victims,” since we pursue peace through raising people rather than killing them. Therefore we conquer without tears of regret.


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