It is difficult to justify the preference for antiquity since it has
arisen from prejudices:
1. From ignorance of all non-classical antiquity.
2. From a false idealisation of humanitarianism, whilst Hindoos and
Chinese are at all events more humane.
3. From the pretensions of school-teachers.
4. From the traditional admiration which emanated from antiquity itself.
5. From opposition to the Christian church; or as a support for this
6. From the impression created by the century-long work of the
philologists, and the nature of this work. It must be a gold mine,
thinks the spectator.
7. The acquirement of knowledge attained as the result of the study. The
preparatory school of science.
In short, partly from ignorance, wrong impressions, and misleading
conclusions; and also from the interest which philologists have in
raising their science to a high level in the estimation of laymen.
Also the preference for antiquity on the part of the artists, who
involuntarily assume proportion and moderation to be the property of all
antiquity. Purity of form. Authors likewise.
The preference for antiquity as an abbreviation of the history of the
human race, as if there were an autochthonous creation here by which all
becoming might be studied.
The fact actually is that the foundations of this preference are being
removed one by one, and if this is not remarked by philologists
themselves, it is certainly being remarked as much as it can possibly be
by people outside their circle. First of all history had its effect, and
then linguistics brought about the greatest diversion among philologists
themselves, and even the desertion of many of them. They have still the
schools in their hands: but for how long! In the form in which it has
existed up to the present philology is dying out; the ground has been
swept from under its feet. Whether philologists may still hope to
maintain their status is doubtful; in any case they are a dying race.
- -- Friedrich Nietzsche