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Historical Personalities and Events in the light of Spiritual Science
By Rudolf Steiner
Copyright © 1982
These lectures are concerned with spiritual forces and influences
working in world history and in the karma of human beings.
Steiner's penetrating insights, based on spiritual science, into the
events and personalities in history are one of his major contributions
to modern times. Steiner focuses here on the Babylonian and Greek cultures
and the connecting threads running between individual personalities and
the evolution of humanity as a whole.
This English edition is published in agreement with the Rudolf Steiner
Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland. The German edition is:
Okkulte Geschichte. Esoterische Betrachtungen
karmischer Zusammenhaenge von Persoenlichkeiten
und Ereignissen der Weltgeschichte.
Translation and revision of this volume,
from shorthand reports unrevised by the lecturer,
by D. S. Osmond and Charles Davy. Appendix and notes additional to those
in the German Text by D. S. Osmond.
This e.Text edition is provided with the cooperation of:
The Rudolf Steiner Press
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| ||Cover Sheet
|About the series of Lectures
|Synopsis of Lectures
||December 27, 1910|
Inadequacy of the customary way of studying history.
The deep meaning of historical events is disclosed in myths. Higher
Beings work and act from the spiritual world through physical men.
Individualities as instruments of the onflowing stream of human evolution.
The epic of Gilgamish. The symbolic meaning of certain events. Projections
on the physical plane of earlier, more spiritual Happenings. Alexandria.
||December 28, 1910|
The intervention of higher supersensible Powers through
the deed of the Maid of Orleans. Thc interplay among the individual
peoples of Europe is made possible and modern history given a different
form. Scotus Erigena. The occult background of the frgures of Gilganaish
and Eabani. Thc picture of the centaur.
||December 29, 1910|
Modification of the course of the incarnations through
the intervention of the higher Hierarchies. Law in the connection
between individual karma and influences from other worlds. The objective
reality of a revelation must be distinguished from the content of
the consciousness which comes to meet it. Culture based an clairvoyance
or on the human personality. The ego Works in the ego. Aristotle.
Catharsis through fear and compassion.
||December 30, 1910|
A reascent to culture based an clairvoyance begins
with our epoch. Primeval speech and the connection between thought
and uttered sound. An echo of this in the Sumerian language. Sacred
buildings and the principle of measure taken from the heavens and
from the human body. The mission of the Babylonian people. The Tower
of Babel and its meaning. Chaldean Mystery-culture and its technique of
numbers. Expression of pure and essential manhood in Greek civilisation.
Julian the Apostate. Tycho Brahe.
||December 31, 1910|
Connection between the single personalities in history
and the individual threads running through the whole evolution of
mankind. Beings of the Third Hierarchy (Angels, Archangels, Spirits
of Personality) work on and through the souls of men in the course
of the successive civilisation-epochs. The phenomenon of so-called
“canals” on Mars. The Spirits of Form also manifest in
the beings of the kingdoms of nature and thus work upon man. Crucial
points in evolution: their connection with the position and movement
of the earth in relation to the neighbouring celestial bodies, and
with the position of the earth's axis in relation to the axis of the
ecliptic. The Atlantean catastrophe and the impulses of the year 1250.
Cycles of ascent and decline in the history of mankind; catastrophic
happenings in nature and fundamental changes in the activities of
spiritual Beings and of human souls. The onset and waning of these cycles;
they are intersected by other powerful influences. Differentiations
caused by particular conditions. Nicolaus Cusanus. Nicolaus Copernicus.
||January 01, 1911|
Greek culture, in which the essentially human element
comes to expression, is prepared by the preceding Babylonian culture and
the Mystery-wisdom of prehistoric ages. In the Greek epoch the ego weaves
and works in the ego, but this faculty had previously been inculcated
into the souls of men by higher Beings in the ancient temple-sanctuaries.
Homer and Aeschylus. Greek art, philosophy, and the folk-character.
The Greek heroes in the battles against the Persians. Plato and Aristotle.
Periods of ascent and decline in the streams of culture. A symptom of
periods of decline is that special aims and interests become independent
of the question of truth itself. In Stoicism, Epicureanism, Scepticism,
man is thrown back upon his own soul. In Neo-Platonism, the individual
looks within himself and strives to reach truth by mystical ascent.
In the year 1250 a new inspiration begins for humanity; in the 16th
century it peters away. At the portal leading to the new period of
decline stands Kant. Inklings of what the re-ascent demands often
arise out of the folk-instincts. In the pre-Grecian epoch: sons of
the gods; in the Greek epoch: sages; in the post-Grecian epoch: saints.
Among the Hebrews, transition from the patriarchs to the prophets.
The fact that individuals are at the same time instruments of the
evolutionary process is revealed in a series of incarnations of profound
interest. Elijah. John the Baptist, Raphael, Novalis. The transition
from Michelangelo to Galileo. The true feeling for time.
|Notes and References