Ñîöèàëüíî-óòîïè÷åñêèå èäåè
è ìèô î «çîëîòîì âåêå» â äðåâíåì Ðèìå

×àñòü II

Òåêñò ïðèâîäèòñÿ ïî èçäàíèþ: ×åðíûøîâ Þ. Ã. Ñîöèàëüíî-óòîïè÷åñêèå èäåè è ìèô î «çîëîòîì âåêå» â äðåâíåì Ðèìå:  2 ÷. ×. 2: Ðàííèé ïðèíöèïàò. Èçä. 2-å, èñïð. è äîï. — Íîâîñèáèðñê, èçä-âî Íîâîñèáèðñêîãî óí-òà, 1994.




Pt. 2. EAR­LY PRIN­CI­PA­TE. 2-nd ed. NO­VO­SI­BIRSK, 1994


Both parts of this book are de­vo­ted main­ly to the prob­lem of the spe­ci­fic fea­tu­res of the uto­pian (or, as so­me scho­lars sug­gest, an­tiu­to­pian) men­ta­li­ty in an­cient Ro­me. Si­mul­ta­neo­us­ly ñ.151 the de­ve­lop­ment of the “Sa­tur­nia reg­na” po­pu­lar le­gends and their con­nec­tion with the res­pec­ti­ve de­ve­lop­ment of the so­cial-uto­pian ideas are exa­mi­ned. From the aut­hor’s point of view it is hard to ad­mit that “the Ro­mans did not know an Uto­pia”: mo­re exactly would be to say that at pre­sent Ro­man uto­pian ideas (or “Ro­man uto­pia” in a wide sen­se), un­li­ke the Greek ones, ha­ve not ex­pe­rien­ced a se­rio­us and pro­found in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

One may re­cog­ni­ze the re­la­ti­ve weak­ness of the Ro­man po­li­ti­cal Uto­pia, which spread on­ly in the se­cond half of the 2-nd cen­tu­ry B. C., when the ci­vi­tas cri­sis had be­gun. Be­fo­re this pe­riod the Ro­mans had been usual­ly sa­tis­fied by the ima­ge of the “ideal Ro­me”, be­quea­thed by their an­ces­tors. Du­ring the epoch of the ci­vil wars so­me at­tempts were ma­de “to cu­re” the Ro­man sta­te with its ideal “mi­xed con­sti­tu­tion” (de­moc­ra­cy, aris­toc­ra­cy and mo­nar­chi­cal power) by eit­her the smal­ler ñ.152 or big­ger strengthe­ning of the last, i. e. mo­nar­chi­cal ele­ment. In ac­cor­dan­ce with the ge­ne­ral evo­lu­tion ten­den­cies of po­li­ti­cal li­fe the­re was the great world em­pi­re which had co­me to rep­la­ce the for­mer “ideal po­lis” projects, and ideal ru­ler must be “sup­re­ma lex” in it. The ima­ge of “ideal Ro­me” af­ter the es­tab­lishment of the prin­ci­pa­te was expres­sed in the of­fi­cial pro­pa­gan­da appro­xi­ma­te­ly by the for­mu­la: “RES PUB­LI­CA RES­TI­TU­TA — PAX RO­MA­NA — RO­MA AETER­NA — AUREA SAE­CU­LA”, and the “gol­den age” was dec­la­red in ma­ny ca­ses as al­rea­dy ad­van­ced. Non-of­fi­cial in­terpre­ta­tions were mo­re va­rio­us. For example, the idea of the “OP­TI­MUS PRIN­CEPS” see­med rea­so­nab­le for tho­se, who pre­ser­ved their ho­pes on the “ter­restrial” Ro­man sta­te; and on­ly “COS­MO­PO­LIS” — the world pe­ren­nial sta­te of the gods and man­kind — did not seem sen­se­less for the “anar­chists”. In any ca­se “AUREA SAE­CU­LA” took an im­por­tant pla­ce. So, per­haps the main re­sult of the po­li­ti­cal uto­pia evo­lu­tion was the con­cep­tion of the “world sta­te”, which will bring the bles­sings of the “gol­den age” for all peop­les and at all ti­mes.

The Ro­man li­te­ra­ry uto­pia con­tains ve­ry ma­ny prai­ses of this hap­py being bles­sings, of­ten as­so­cia­ted with the li­fe of the “bar­ba­rians” or with the “simple li­fe” in any idyl­lic country li­ke Ar­ca­dia. At the sa­me ti­me a gra­dual “dep­ri­mi­ti­vi­sa­tion” and “pat­rio­ti­sa­tion” of the “Sa­tur­nia reg­na” myth de­ve­lo­ped. An ideal of “simple li­fe” was no mo­re con­nec­ted with the wild (“bes­tia­rum mo­do”) being of the first man, but as­so­cia­ted with the “mo­res majo­rum”, which were yet in ho­nour among the Ita­lian pea­sants, heirs of Sa­turn. Du­ring the prin­ci­pa­te se­mi-of­fi­cial wri­ters and poets pre­sen­ted Ro­me of the em­pe­rors as the hig­hest sta­ge of the cul­tu­ral and mi­li­ta­ry de­ve­lop­ment, gi­ving its bles­sings to all the na­tions. In non-of­fi­cial ver­sions mo­re tra­di­tio­na­lis­tic and “pri­mi­ti­vis­tic” views were expres­sed. They or­di­nar­ly pla­ced the reign of Sa­turn in the pat­riar­chal past or, ra­re­ly, in the fu­tu­re ti­mes, which must co­me af­ter the es­ha­to­lo­gi­cal ruin of the old world. In any ca­se the descrip­tions of the “gol­den age” in se­mi-of­fi­cial and in non-of­fi­cial li­te­ra­tu­re were sty­li­sed: the­se “to­poi” were of­ten used as a form for the prai­sing of the ru­ler or for the bla­ming of the con­tem­po­ra­ry mo­ral deg­ra­da­tion.

The most in­te­res­ting and im­por­tant chan­ges are to be found in the re­li­gio­us—my­tho­lo­gi­cal uto­pia. Just in the Ro­man pe­riod es­ha­to­lo­gi­cal and mes­sia­nic ideas of the co­ming blissful epoch were spread, and just at that ti­me FIRSTLY the “gol­den age” (not “gol­den ra­ce”) con­cep­tion ap­pea­red. Ac­cor­ding to He­siod’s ver­sion of the myth the spe­cial ñ.153 “gol­den ra­ce” (“chry­seon ge­nos”) had re­mai­ned in the past not to re­turn, and for the mo­dern “iron ra­ce” on­ly destruc­tion by Zeus is pre­pa­red. Yet in the I-st cen­tu­ry B. C. ex­pec­ta­tions of Ro­me’s ruin had brought not on­ly the calls to es­ca­pe by sai­ling to the “is­lands of the Bles­sed”, but al­so the op­ti­mis­tic pro­phe­cies of the co­ming world’s re­newing. Firstly in the clas­si­cal li­te­ra­tu­re proc­lai­med in the 4-th ec­lo­gue of Ver­gil, this idea was then de­ve­lo­ped in the “Aeneis”, whe­re we find the ve­ry term “gol­den age” — “aurea sae­cu­la”. Sin­ce this ti­me his­to­ry was rep­re­sen­ted li­ke a chan­ge of the ages, not of the ra­ces. The­re was an Et­rus­can se­cu­lar con­cep­tion, and va­rio­us (main­ly Stoic) phi­lo­sop­hi­cal theo­ries about “apo­ka­tas­ta­sis”, and Judaeo-hel­le­nis­tic pro­phe­cies of the “Si­byl­li­ne books” that had been laid in the foun­da­tion of this new ver­sion. Two re­li­gio­us phe­no­me­na of this pe­riod — the em­pe­ror cult and the ear­ly Chris­tia­ni­ty — both ref­lec­ted an evo­lu­tion from the cyc­li­cal to the li­nean con­cep­tion of his­to­ri­cal ti­me. They had both over­co­me an idea­li­za­tion of the past — cha­rac­te­ris­tic ele­ment of the po­lis ideo­lo­gy, they were both using the idea of a Sa­viour as a me­dia­tor between the hea­ven and the earth, they were both pro­pa­ga­ting pro­vi­den­tia­lis­tic ideas of the blissful epoch as the fi­nal aim and the fi­nal re­sult of the who­le his­to­ri­cal evo­lu­tion. But if for the of­fi­cial im­pe­rial ideo­lo­gy main­ly pre­sen­tism (with the “growing pre­sent hap­pi­ness” idea) was cha­rac­te­ris­tic, ac­cor­ding to Chris­tian doctri­ne a “new pa­ra­di­se” must be­gin on­ly in the fu­tu­re, af­ter the se­cond ar­ri­val of the Christ.

It should be stres­sed that even in the qui­te dif­fe­rent “gol­den age” descrip­tions the sa­me bles­sings were of­ten re­pea­ted: the­se are the pea­ce among the li­ving crea­tu­res, the abun­dan­ce of na­tu­ral pro­ducts, the soft cli­ma­te, the ab­sen­ce of sin’ etc. The­se uni­ver­sal “pa­ra­di­si­cal” mo­ti­ves were the main ingre­dients of the myth ar­chaic ver­sions, and on­ly la­ter they were supple­men­ted or sub­sti­tu­ted by the va­rio­us pri­va­te in­terpre­ta­tions. The old sac­ral-ar­chaic con­tents of the myth were gra­dual­ly being squee­zed out by the new so­cial-uto­pian in­terpre­ta­tions, which were of­ten using on­ly the form of the po­pu­lar myth. So­me “uto­pio­lo­gists” say that the pla­ce of uto­pia is between the myth and the scien­ce. If it is so, we may call the myth of the “gol­den age” as the “most uto­pian” an­cient myth, as the “myth-uto­pia”, as the ini­tial point and the con­centra­te expres­sion of the an­cient so­cial uto­pia. But the­re is no rea­son to dis­cuss the in­dis­pen­sab­le “com­mu­nis­tic” or “so­cia­lis­tic” ten­den­cies of this myth and the­se uto­pias. In Ro­me, for example, the cri­ti­cism of lu­xu­ry and the prai­se of ñ.154 “com­mu­ni­ty of pos­ses­sions” were, main­ly, the na­tu­ral so­cial reac­tion to the destruc­tion of the pat­riar­chal ci­vil col­lec­ti­vism with its tra­di­tions of the “ci­vi­tas” and its pro­per­ty on the “ager pub­li­cus”. Be­si­des it was the wide-spread rhe­to­ri­cal “lo­cus com­mu­nis” that was used by ma­ny aut­hors (such as Ovid, Ger­ma­nic, Se­ne­ca the Phi­lo­sop­her etc.), ac­tual­ly ve­ry far off from any “com­mu­nism”.

If it’s true that “his­to­ria est ma­gistra vi­tae”, we can find the answer to one ques­tion: is it real­ly, as so­me so­cio­lo­gists say, that the end of uto­pia be­gan in the se­cond half of our cen­tu­ry? In or­der to es­ti­ma­te the pre­sent si­tua­tion, we must see so­me his­to­ri­cal perspec­ti­ve. The “cri­sis of uto­pia” took pla­ce in the 1-st cen­tu­ry A. D. too. Then the peop­le’s uto­pia, ha­ving been tur­ned from the feet to the head, at first be­ca­me the “of­fi­cial uto­pia” and then — “ful­fil­led (rea­li­zed) uto­pia”, which was de­ge­ne­ra­ting to apo­lo­ge­tism. But the true uto­pia, as the Phoe­nix, grew from the as­hes and ro­se even on a hig­her le­vel, as it was in the Chris­tian con­cep­tion of the “mil­le­nial reign”. So, to ma­ke a long sto­ry short, any at­tempts “to end with uto­pia” are cer­tain­ly uto­pi­cal. Uto­pia­nism is one of the main ca­pa­ci­ties of the “ho­mo his­to­ri­cus”. And it may be a great for­ce in cri­sis epochs. Augus­tus (that is whe­re his dif­fe­ren­ce from the ma­ny la­ter cha­ris­ma­tic lea­ders lies) used this dan­ge­rous for­ce main­ly with the crea­ti­ve, not with the destruc­ti­ve in­ten­tions. In his ti­me, it should be ad­ded, the sta­te had not de­ve­lo­ped in­to such a power­ful bu­reauc­ra­cial sys­tem with so va­rio­us tech­ni­cal means to influen­ce hu­man minds, as in the to­ta­li­ta­rian sta­tes of the 20-th cen­tu­ry. The mo­dern ci­vi­li­zed so­cie­ty can­not be free from uto­pias, but it can and should avoid the dic­ta­torship of any single uto­pia or, mo­re exactly, the dic­ta­torship of po­li­tics spe­cu­la­ting on such an uto­pia. The dream of the “gol­den age” is eter­nal but should be left shi­ning in the dis­tan­ce for on­ce rea­li­zed the gol­den paint will ine­vi­tab­ly peel away, re­vea­ling the rust of an “iron age” un­der­neath.


  • 1I wish to thank Pro­fes­sors K. Bu­ra­se­lis, A. Ke­le­si­dou, V. Lambri­nou­da­kis, E. Mik­rojan­na­kis and ot­her Greek col­lea­gues for dis­cus­sing the­se conclu­sions du­ring my re­search work at At­he­nian Uni­ver­si­ty (1991—1992). Be­si­des that it seems for me ne­ces­sa­ry to ci­te so­me ge­ne­ral in­ves­ti­ga­tions which were not men­tio­ned in the no­tes of the book:

    Al­föl­di A. Re­deunt Sa­tur­nia reg­na // Re­vue nu­mis­ma­ti­que. 1971. P. 76—99; Chi­ron. Bd. 2. 1972. S. 215—230; Bd. 3. 1973. S. 131—142; Bd. 5. 1975. S. 165—192; Bd. 6. 1976. S. 143—158;

    At­ti del Con­veg­no Na­zio­na­le di Stu­di su “La cit­tà idea­le nel­la tra­di­zio­ne clas­si­ca e bib­li­co-cris­tia­na”, To­ri­no 2—4 Mag­gio 1985, a cu­ra di R. Ug­lio­ne. To­ri­no, 1987;

    Bian­chi U. Raz­za aurea, mi­to del­le cin­que raz­zà ed Eli­sio // Stu­di e ma­te­ria­li di sto­ria del­le re­li­gio­ni. V. 34. 1963. P. 143—210;

    Bich­ler R. Zur his­to­ri­schen Beur­tei­lung der grie­chi­schen Staat­su­to­pie // Gra­zer Beit­rä­ge. Bd. II. 1984. S. 179—206;

    Bloch E. Das Prin­zip Hoffnung. In fuenf Tei­len. Frankfurt am Main, 1959;

    Blun­dell S. The ori­gins of ci­vi­li­za­tion in Greek and Ro­man thought. L., 1986;

    Boas G. Es­says on pri­mi­ti­vism and re­la­ted ideas in an­ti­qui­ty. Bal­ti­mo­re, 1948;

    Brau­nert H. Uto­pia. Antwor­ten grie­chi­schen Den­kens auf die He­raus­for­de­rung durch so­zia­le Ver­hältnis­se. Kiel, 1968;

    Bris­son J.-P. Ro­me et l’âge d’or: fab­le ou ideo­lo­gie? // Poi­ki­lia. Etu­des of­fer­tes à J.-P. Ver­nant. P., 1987. P. 123—144;

    Idem. Ro­me et l’âge d’or: Dio­ny­sos ou Sa­tur­ne? // Mé­lan­ges d’Ar­chéo­lo­gie et d’His­toi­re de l’Eco­le Fran­cai­se de Ro­me, An­ti­qui­té. T. 100, 2. 1988. P. 917—982;

    Cher­nys­hov Ju. G. Did the Ro­mans ha­ve the uto­pia? // VDI. 1992. ¹ 1. P. 53—72 (in Rus­sian with an English sum­ma­ry);

    Idem. From the “Gol­den Ra­ce” to the “Gol­den Age” (So­me sta­ges in the de­ve­lop­ment of the an­cient myth) // Ar­chaiog­no­sia. 1992 (in print);

    Dih­le A. Fortschritt und gol­de­ne Ur­zeit // Kul­tur und Ge­dachtnis / Hrsg. von J. Assmann und T. Holscher. Frankfurt am Main, 1988. S. 150—169;

    Freyer H. Die po­li­ti­sche In­sel. Eine Ge­schich­te der Uto­pien von Pla­ton bis zur Ge­genwart. Leip­zig, 1936;

    Gray L. H., a. o. Ages of the world // En­cyc­lo­pae­dia of re­li­gion and et­hics / Ed. by J. Has­tings. V. I. Edin­burgh, 1908. P. 183—210;

    Guth­rie W. Ê. Ñ. In the be­gin­ning. So­me Greek views on the ori­gins of li­fe and the ear­ly sta­te of man. L., 1957;

    Hall J. F. The Sae­cu­lum No­vus of Augus­tus and its Et­rus­can an­te­ce­dents // ANRW. Bd. II, 16, 3. 1986. S. 2564—2589;

    Koch M. Zur Uto­pie in der Al­ten Welt // Festschrift K. G. Kie­sin­ger / Hrsg. von H. Sund — M. Tim­mer­mann. Konstanz, 1979. S. 399—417;

    Ku­bu­sch K. Aurea Sae­cu­la: My­thos und Ge­schich­te. Un­ter­su­chung eines Mo­tivs in der an­ti­ken Li­te­ra­tur bis Ovid. Frankfurt am Main, 1986;

    Pflei­de­rer. Die Idee eines gol­de­nen Zei­tal­ters. B., 1877;

    Reck­ford K. J. So­me ap­pea­ran­ces on the gol­den age // The Clas­si­cal Jour­nal. V. 54. 1958—9. P. 79—87;

    Rey­nen H. Ewi­ger Fruh­ling und gol­de­ne Zeit // Gym­na­sium. Bd. 72. 1965. S. 415—433;

    Schwabl H. Zum an­ti­ken Zei­tal­ten­ny­thos und sei­ner Verwen­dung als his­to­rio­gra­phi­sches Mo­dell // Klio. Bd. 66. 1984. H. 2. S. 405—415;

    Spoer­ri W. Spa­thel­le­nis­ti­sche Be­rich­te uber Welt, Kul­tur und Got­ter. Ba­sel, 1959;

    Uto­pia. Re­fe­ra­te und Tex­te des 6. In­ter­na­tio­na­len Hu­ma­nis­ti­schen Sym­po­siums 1984. At­hen, 1986;

    Waer­den, van der, B. L. Das gros­se Jahr und die ewi­ge Wie­der­kehr // Her­mes. Bd. 80. 1952. S. 129—155;

    Wal­bank F. W. Ko­ni­ge als Got­ter. Uber­le­gun­gen zum Herrscher­kult von Ale­xan­der bis Augus­tus // Chi­ron. Bd. 17. 1987. S. 365—382.

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