From Beetroot to Buddhism
III. Christianity coming into the world of antiquity and the mysteries
8 March 1924, Dornach
Good morning, gentlemen. I'll continue today with the things we have been considering before. You need to be really clear. Asia is over there in the east [drawing on the board]. From Asia people came to Europe in antiquity, to Greece, along a whole chain of islands. This was as far as Asia went; here came Africa; and there was the Nile — I have told you a lot about it. Here is Greece, the Adriatic Sea, here Italy and Sicily, the island. Many islands would be here — Samos, Rhodes, Cyprus and so on, and people came to Greece from Asia via these islands. This would be Greece, this the Roman Empire, the Italy of today.
Now you need to call to mind the following, gentlemen. You see, from about the year 1000, 1200 before Christ, everything I have told you developed in Greece. With people learning to look at the world. Very soon, however, from the fourth and third centuries before Christ, Greece gradually lost its dominance, and this went to Rome, the capital. What happened was that Greeks who were more or less dissatisfied with conditions in Greece emigrated in growing numbers in very early times, settling down here in Sicily and southern Italy. For half a millennium, four or five hundred years, they brought Greek culture to these regions, so much so that Sicily and southern Italy were known as Greater Greece in those days. They would refer to their old homeland simply as Greece, calling the rest Greater Greece. Not only discontented people went there but also people like the great philosopher Plato who wanted to establish an ideal republic there. 9Plato (c. 427–347 bc), Greek philosopher. After living for a time at the Syracuse court, Plato founded the most influential school of the ancient world, the Academy, in Athens. The people who were most important in developing that civilization really all lived in southern Italy and we have to say that life in that region was refined, with people highly educated. The brutal dominance of Roman civilization, as it came to be called, spread from the region above this.
You know that the original population of Rome has a most peculiar origin. Chieftains, one of the best known of them being Romulus, called together all the rogues and scoundrels in the area, and effectively created the first robber state. This robber mentality continued under the first Roman kings. Soon, however, under the fourth and fifth kings, a northern tribe, the Etruscans, came and settled in Rome. They brought a human element to Rome, intermarrying with the descendants of the early robbers. But the whole dominion over the world later established by Rome, all the lust for power that continues even into our own time, really originated — we should be under no illusion here — from the original colony of rogues on the seven hills of Rome. All kinds of other things were added on top; the whole business has been much refined, but we cannot really understand how things were done in later times unless we know that originally a band of robbers had been gathered from the woods. All the lust for power and so on that spread over the whole of Europe and still plays such a great role today came from this. Something else that developed in Rome was the thinking through which the Church became increasingly tied up with worldly government. Medieval times evolved from this, and so on.
Now you see, at the beginning of our era there was the Mystery of Golgotha. The Roman rule I have spoken of was established in the eighth century before Christ. At the time of Golgotha, Roman rule, established seven centuries earlier, spread far and wide, including the area where the Mystery of Golgotha took place. The Jews living in Palestine, among whom Jesus of Nazareth appeared, were also under Roman rule. It will be good, having said so much about the Mystery of Golgotha, to take some account also of what really had been happening on the Italian peninsula from very early times.
It is absolutely true to say that Europeans really only understand the things that go back to Roman times. 'Educated' people have of course learned Greek, but there has really been very little understanding of Greek culture in Europe. You see, it is most interesting that a hundred years after the Mystery of Golgotha Tacitus, one of the most important Roman writers, 10Tacitus, Publius Cornelius (c. ad 55–120), Roman public official and historian. His greatest works, Histories and Annals, covered the period from the death of Augustus to the death of Domitian (ad 14-96). wrote only a single sentence about Christ Jesus in his vast historical work. A hundred years after Golgotha, Tacitus wrote about the ancient Germans, for instance, in a way that simply was no longer possible afterwards. His works include a single sentence about Christ Jesus, which says: 'The Christ, as he was called, founded a sect among the Jews, and was later sentenced to death and executed.' 11'The originator of this name (Christianian), Christ, was executed during the reign of Tiberius, under the Procurator Pontius Pilate.' Annals, Book 15, 44. So this is what Tacitus, an educated Roman, had to say a hundred years after the founding of Christianity in Palestine. So you can imagine, ships went to and fro all the time, all kinds of trade and cultural links developed, and a hundred years after the event no more notice was taken of Christianity in Rome than to make a note that a sect was founded and its founder condemned to death and executed!
There was, of course, the aspect that the idea of the state developed from Roman culture. We cannot really call the Roman Empire a state in the proper sense, for the idea of a state as we know it only developed in sixteenth-century Europe. Thus we may say that Tacitus was already thinking so much in terms of state that the most important thing to him was that Christ Jesus was properly condemned and executed. That is one thing.
You also have to consider that in its early days Christianity was not what it became later. Originally it had a real air of freedom. It would be fair to say that people had all kinds of different views, and only came together in that they saw Christ Jesus to be something special; apart from that they had very different views.
Well, gentlemen, you'll only be able understand what came into the world with Christ Jesus — and why it was after all necessary for me to show you that the surroundings of our earth have an influence on it, even in language — if I now attempt to show you how Christianity developed as teaching, as a view, a view of the world and of life, and how Christ Jesus came into this evolution of Christianity. It is really something very special to see that Christianity was founded there in Jerusalem, and a hundred years later the most erudite Roman author knew no more about it than I have told you. People were, however, always migrating from Asia via Africa to Italy. And this Christian sect was spreading beneath the surface, I would say, of human affairs as they were seen in Rome. When Tacitus wrote those words, the Christians, Christianians as they were called, had long since spread among the populace, which would not interest a noble Roman.
But what did they do with the Christians? Well, you see, the descendants of Romulus the robber, too, had gradually reached a point where they were 'really educated'. Their education consisted among other things in building vast arenas where fights with wild animals took place. They took great pleasure in throwing those whom they did not consider to be part of humanity in the Roman sense to the wild animals and delighted in watching them being eaten, having first been forced to fight. That would be a 'noble' pleasure. The despised sect called the Christians were particularly suitable for throwing to the wild animals at the time when people thought like this in Rome; they were also particularly suitable for being painted with pitch and set fire to, so that one could see them as torches in the circus. But the Christians still found ways of surviving. They did so by holding their ceremonies and so on in secret. They would spread what they felt it was important to spread below ground, in the catacombs. Catacombs are large underground spaces. There the Christians buried those of their dead whom they loved. So there would be the graves, and the divine services were held over the graves.
It was generally the custom in those days to hold divine services over the graves. You can still see this today if you look at the altar in a Roman Catholic church. It is in fact a burial place [sketching], with relics such as the bones of saints kept inside. In earliest times the altar was an actual gravestone, with divine services performed on it. Below ground, in the catacombs, the Christians of those early centuries were able to hide the things which they had to do.
A few centuries later the picture had changed a great deal. What happened then was this. You see, the Romans were up above in the early centuries after the founding of Christianity, amusing themselves in the way I have told you, and below, in the catacombs, were the Christians. A few centuries later the Romans had gone and the Christians began to rule the world. The question as to whether they did better or worse is something we can discuss on another occasion; but they took over world rule. It proved extremely harmful to Christianity to be thus connected with world rule, for as world history progresses the religious life is less and less compatible with the state system and world rule.
The matter is as follows. We can only understand the evolution of Christianity, the involvement of Christ Jesus in the evolution of Christianity, if we understand the nature of religious life in earlier times, when it was part of everything. I have told you of the ancient mysteries. To use a modern term, the mysteries were institutions where everything a person could learn was learned. And at the same time they were the religious institutions and the art institutions. All cultural life came from the mysteries. And people did not learn the way they do today. How do people learn today? People have things drummed into them in grammar schools and secondary schools; they then go through some years at university and this leaves them the same as before. But in the mysteries you became a different human being. You had to gain a new relationship to the whole world. In the mysteries you had to grow wise. The institutions we have in the modern world do not make anyone wise; at most you can become learned. But two things may be compatible or not compatible; wisdom does not go with stupidity, but learnedness can easily go hand in hand with great stupidity. So that is the situation. In the ancient mysteries people were made into wise human beings and truly cultured. They became human beings who could take the spiritual realm seriously. They had to go through seven stages, with only very few reaching the highest stage. Those seven stages had names which we must learn to understand so that we shall know what the individuals who had reached them had to do.
If we translate what a person had to do when first admitted to the mysteries, we arrive at the term 'Raven'. The first stage thus were the Ravens. Admitted to the mysteries you became a Raven. What did Ravens have to do? Well they primarily had to maintain communications between the outside world and the mysteries. They did not have newspapers then. The first newspapers only came thousands of years later when printing was invented. The people who taught in the mysteries had to gain information by sending out trusted individuals who would observe the world. The Ravens may be said to have been the confidential agents of the people who served the mysteries. And this was something you had to learn first, to be someone who could be trusted. Today political parties and so on employ many confidential agents, but one has to ask oneself if they can always be trusted! Those employed as Ravens in the mysteries were only accepted as confidential agents after being tried and tested. Above all they had to learn to take the things that they saw seriously and report them truthfully. But in the first place it was also necessary to learn what truth signifies in human beings. I am sure people were no less deceitful in antiquity than they are today. But today lying and deceit come into everything; whereas in those days you first had to learn to be a true human being. This was what you had to make your own in the years of being a Raven, a confidential agent of the mysteries.
The second stage was something people find most unacceptable today. It was the level of the Occultists. Occult means hidden, secret. They would not be sent out but had to learn something modern people do not like to learn — to be silent. One level of learning in the ancient mysteries was to learn to be silent. You'll think it grotesque, a real joke, that people had to keep silence for a year at least, or even longer. But it is true. You learn a great deal from keeping silence. It is something that can no longer be done today. Imagine schools were required to make young people between the ages of 17 and 19 be silent for a year instead of having to go into the army. It would indeed be very useful for the gaining of wisdom, for keeping silence would make them terribly wise. But it can no longer be done today.
Something else can be done, however. I know you cannot stop people talking, they don't want to be silent but want to chat, and everyone knows everything, and if you meet someone today he has above all what we call a 'point of view'. Everyone has a point of view, of course, but the world looks different from another point of view, and this is nothing new for anyone who knows the world; it is understood. If you stand here, the mountain looks different compared to the way it would look if you stood over there. The same holds true in cultural life. Everybody has his point of view, and every person is able to see something else. And if you have a dozen people they will, of course, have thirteen opinions! That need not be so. But it need not surprise us that they have twelve points of view; only they should not take it so seriously. Everybody considers his own point of view to be most important, terribly important! In earlier times people simply had to keep silence about the things they were to learn; they were merely listeners. One could not call them anything but 'Listeners' in the occult world, for they had to listen. Today the students at German universities are called 'hearers' and no longer pupils. 12Rudolf Steiner was able to use wordplay in German here that cannot be reproduced in English. The two German verbs hören and zuhören are 'to hear' and 'to listen'. The zu prefix signifies attention. Steiner said this had been omitted in referring to university students, who may hear but not necessarily listen. Translator. But they often do not hear, for they chatter. Some actually consider it more important to chat to their fellow students than to listen in the lecture theatres. And sometimes listening is no longer something that makes people particularly serious.
This, then, was the second stage. People learned to keep silence. And when there is silence it happens — this is like a cause and effect relationship — that the inner nature of the human being begins to speak to him. This is the way. Imagine you have a basin of water; if you use a hose to siphon off the water, the water will run away — if you have a basin, not a spring — and then there is none left. And this is what happens when people chatter all the time. Everything runs away with those words, and nothing is left. The ancients knew this, and because of this their Listeners were first of all made to keep silence. They thus learned to appreciate the truth and then to keep silence. The silence came afterwards.
The third stage was one we might translate as the 'Defenders'. Now these people were allowed to talk. They were now permitted to defend the truth they had learned by keeping silence in the mysteries. Above all they were asked to defend the spirit. 'Defence' is the word we may reasonably use for this third stage. The people who were at this stage had to know enough to lend weight to anything they said about things of the spirit. It was therefore not permissible in the mysteries simply to talk about the spirit; you had to learn about it first and have become a proper Defender.
People would then advance to the fourth stage. We may translate this as 'Lion'. That is how it is usually translated. It would be even better to say 'Sphinx'. The word signifies more or less that one has become a spirit. You would still go about in a human body but you would behave among people the way gods behave. People did not make a great difference between humans and gods; you simply became a god as you progressed through the mysteries. The ancients had a much more open way of looking at things. People of later times saw the gods as always being above humanity. That was not the view held by the ancients. Today people say: All right, man is descended from the apes. Du Bois- Reymond, a famous scientist, 13Du Bois-Reymond, Emil (1818–86), physiologist in Berlin. The quote comes from his Über die Grenzen der Naturerkenntnis, 7. Aufl. S. 46; Leipzig 1916. actually said there had been a giant leap from anthropoid apes to humans, a giant step also in the size of the brain. The brain was suddenly larger than it was in the anthropoid apes. That was a strange statement for a modern scientist to make. One would assume that someone who says such a thing would have dissected an anthropoid ape and know how big the brain was. But if you look it up you'll find that scientists have to admit that the anthropoid ape has not yet been discovered! Dr Du Bois-Reymond, the famous scientist, was therefore referring to something that has not yet been found, something nobody has seen so far — the anthropoid ape. That is the kind of 'conscientiousness' applied in science today. People would never think that Du Bois-Reymond might speak of something he has never seen. They think a famous scientist knows everything! People are more credulous today than they were in antiquity.
The ancients thus certainly believed that human beings can develop and are able to gain the conscious awareness of gods.
Someone who had reached the fourth stage and was a Sphinx would no longer speak like a Defender of the third stage but use a language in which he expressed himself in such a way that it was really difficult to understand him; you had to reflect on how he should be understood. It is difficult for people today to get an idea of the language spoken by the Sphinxes because we no longer see things the way they saw them then. Even in the Middle Ages, in the seventeenth century, for instance, something of that language still survived. At that time, two hundred years ago, they had the Rosicrucian schools, for example. In them, certain initiates would speak in a language that was slightly veiled and had to be studied first; they would above all speak in images. Two hundred years ago you would still find an image — you may find this interesting — that was used everywhere to explain the human being to some extent. This image [blackboard drawing] was a human form with a lion's head, and next to it a human form with an ox head. Speaking to the people under instruction they would refer to the relationship between the two as 'the creature with the ox head', 'the creature with the lion's head', meaning man and woman. They would not use the words 'man' and 'woman', but 'the creature with the ox head — meaning the man — and 'the creature with the lion's head' — meaning the woman. The relationship between ox and lion was seen to be like the relationship between man and woman. This sounds funny to people today, but the tradition has survived. And the Sphinxes always used the names of animals to give clearer and more characteristic expression to anything that Eves in a human being. This, you see, would have been the language of the Sphinxes, who were already speaking more out of the spirit.
There followed the fifth stage. These people were obliged to speak only out of the spirit. Depending on which nation they belonged to they would be called 'Persian' or 'Indian' or 'Greek'. In Greece, it was they who were the real Greeks. People would say to themselves: 'Someone who belongs to a nation has private interests, wanting this or that; wanting something different from someone belonging to another nation. It is only when he has advanced to the fifth stage that he no longer wants something for himself but only what the nation as a whole wants; this is also what he wants. He has become like a spirit of the nation.'
Those spirits of the nations in the ancient mysteries, and still in ancient Greece, were exceedingly wise people. They would not say: 'When something comes up I'll stand there and have my own point of view, knowing everything.' No, although they had advanced to the fifth stage they would go through long periods of exercises that would allow them to judge situations. You see, if you have a modern statesman, a point may be raised in parliament and he has to answer. Just think what it would be like if things were done the way they were in those earlier days, when someone required to answer would say: I must first withdraw from the world for a week, go into myself, so that I may form an opinion. Well, I'd like to know what the parliamentary parties would say to Mr Stresemann 14Stresemann, Gustav (1878–1929), German foreign minister (1923–29). He shared the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize. or to other bodies if someone asking a question were to be given the answer: 'To give a considered opinion on the issue I must first withdraw for a week.' That is how it was in those days. People believed in the world of the spirit and knew that it would not speak to them in the hustle and bustle of life but only when they were able to withdraw from this. One will then of course also develop the ability to withdraw in the midst of the hustle and bustle; but it has to be learnt first. Once it had been learnt, the individual would progress to the sixth stage.
At the sixth stage the individual no longer had an earthly point of view, not even that of his people. He would say to himself: I am a 'Greek', my brother initiate who has reached the fifth stage in Assyria is an 'Assyrian', the one who lives even further away a 'Persian'. But those are all one-sided points of view. The sun moves through Persia and then on to Greece; it shines on us all. Initiates of the sixth stage no longer wanted to learn from what a nation was saying; they wanted to learn from what the sun was saying. They became Sun People, no longer people of the earth but of the sun. You see, those Sun People would seek to consider everything from the sun point of view. People have no idea today of the things that were done in those days, for they know nothing of the secrets of the world.
To gain insight into such things we have to consider the bllowing, for example. Some time ago a man came to me ind said: 'A strange book has appeared in which it is shown that the Gospels were written in a numerical code.' If we were to take a particular word in the Gospels, let us say the word 'beginning' in John's Gospel: Tn the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was a God', and divide the phrase up, and we were to find that one particular part was twice the length of another, and each word had a numerical value — there you have a word with a numerical value of 50, followed by 25, another word, 50, and another word, 25. And one would be able to calculate which word should be written in which place.
It is interesting to see if this works. Let us take a word — I'll use one that we also have in German — the word Eva. Let us assume the E has the value 1, the V a two, the A a three. Let us assume it is so. In the past every letter had a numerical value; it was not only a letter and people knew that if you had an L, for instance, this also meant a number. You can still see the numerical values in Roman letters:
I = one, V = five, X = ten
These are letters but they also have numerical value. So with Eva as an example, it is not really 1, 2,3, but we'll assume it is:
1 2 3 = Eva
Eva is the mother of all that lives. Now we turn it round:
3 2 1
and we have 'ave', which means the end of life.
Going in opposite directions, read in reverse from the back:
1 2 3 = Eva; 3 2 1 = ave
Changing the numbers you'll always find that figures and letters agree.
And so there is a numerical code. We may say, let us look at the first line in John's Gospel. The numbers are these. Let us look at the second line. The numbers are in a different order, and that signifies something. Now you see, gentlemen, people are amazed at this. But, you know, a man called Louvier 15Louvier, Ferdinand August, Sphinx locuta est. Goethes Faust und die Resultate einer rationellen Methode der Forschung (2 Bände), Berlin 1997. launched himself at the 'Sphinx': 'The riddle is solved'. He applied these numerical relationships to Goethe's Faust and it worked. Goethe never thought of composing his Faust on the basis of some law of numbers. But it works nevertheless, because all composition involves numerical elements. But if you just try and say something I can also apply a numerical code to your statement; this is something that lives in speech itself. A spiritual principle is at work in your speaking.
And that, gentlemen, is the element from beyond this earth, the sun influence. These Sun People therefore studied the secrets of the sun. The pyramids were probably not just built to be royal tombs, for instance, but had specific openings where a sunbeam might enter at a particular time of the year. The sunbeam would write a figure on the earth. The Sun People studied this figure and let it inspire them. In this way they studied secrets of sun life. Someone who had become a Sun Person was able to say he did not go by earthly things at all but by the sun.
And when he had been one of the Sun People for a time and had taught humanity about things beyond this earth, he was elevated to the rank of Father. This was the highest rank, and few attained it. These were the people who had full maturity, people who were obeyed and followed. Others would obey them firstly because they had grown old in years — for by the time you had gone through these seven stages you had grown old in years — and because they had wisdom of life and also wisdom of the world.
2. Occultist: listener
3. Defender — defence of the spirit
5. Greeks: spirit of a nation
6. Sun Person
Now just imagine, gentlemen, that Christ Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, lived at a time when people everywhere in Asia still knew something about those mysteries. It was still known, for example, that there were people who taught sun wisdom. Jesus of Nazareth wanted people to be enlightened and to understand not only within but also outside the mysteries that what the sun does for human beings is already there within them, it is there in every human being. That is the most important thing about Christ Jesus that he is sun truth, teaching the sun word, as it was called, to be held by all people in common.
You need to note the great difference between Christ Jesus and the other Sun People. If you do not understand this you'll never gain insight into the Mystery of Golgotha. For you see, it is like this: What did people have to do to become Sun People in those early days? They had to be Raven first, then Occultist, Defender, Sphinx, Soul of a Nation — before they could advance to being a Sun Person. There was no other way. You had to be admitted to the mysteries. What did Jesus of Nazareth do? He had himself baptized in the River Jordan, as was the custom among the Jews then. And on this occasion, that is without having been in the mysteries first, the wisdom came to him that was held by the Sun People. He was therefore able to say that his wisdom had come from the sun itself. He was the first to relate to heaven without the mysteries.
What did a Sun Person in the mysteries say when he looked up to someone who had reached the seventh stage? He would say: Behold, that is the Father. That individual would be standing at the altar in the white garment of a priest. That was the Father, the Father among those who had gone through the different stages in the mysteries. Christ Jesus did not go through the mysteries but received it from the sun itself. This is why he said: 'My Father is not on earth' — meaning not in the mysteries — 'but my Father is up above in the world of the spirit.' He was thus clearly speaking of the Father in the world of the spirit. Christ Jesus wanted to make people, who in the past had received all things of the spirit from the earth, aware of the spiritual sources that lie beyond the earth. And this has always been misunderstood. People would say, for example, that Christ Jesus taught that the earth would perish and a kingdom of the spirit would come very soon that would last a thousand years. The clever people of today, sometimes feeling benevolent towards the ancients in their cleverness, say: 'Well, this is something current at the time and Jesus quoted it; after all, he was a child of his time and would accept what people said.'
But that is nonsense, for the thousand-year kingdom did indeed come, only it did not look the way people thought it would. It was like this. In earlier times people gained ideas and also experience of the spiritual world by the means I have described. It was the custom in those days, when people were different. This had ceased at the time when Christ Jesus lived, and people had to find the spirit in a different way. The spirit had to be found by direct means. Christ Jesus did so. And if he had not done what he did, humanity would have gone into a complete decline. Life would have become meaningless. This is not to deny that much that is meaningless has later emerged particularly through Christian institutions; but originally there was none of this. So people would have become witless. The mysteries would have perished the way they did indeed perish; but people would not have known anything of what was taught in the mysteries.
Take the Sun Person of old. What was said of him? People knew that he had the knowledge to be gained from the viewpoint of the sun, that he had died where life on earth was concerned. Speaking of a Sun Person, they would say he had died where life on earth was concerned. This was the reason why a ceremony imitating death and burial was performed in the mysteries before someone became a Sun Person. Christ Jesus put death and burial openly before the whole world; what happened publicly at his death was something that had always been part of the ritual in the mysteries. It had been a secret of the mysteries, and then it was there for all the world to see on Golgotha. You see, it really was true that a Sim Person had died where the earth was concerned. Because of this he was in between, between death's world of decline and the world of resurrection, the world of the eternal.
Things sometimes remind us of old customs where we can no longer perceive the meaning. Think of canonization in Rome, for example. It is a major ceremony when someone who died hundreds of years earlier is canonized in Rome. The ceremony is as follows. First the Advocatus dei, the defender of the divine, appears. He presents all the good qualities of the person to be canonized. Then the Advocatus diaboli, the devil's advocate, speaks of all the bad qualities of the saint. The decision lies between the two; I am not saying it is always the right decision, but it lies between the two. The ceremony is still performed today. When someone is canonized, for instance Joan of Arc, the two advocates appear. The saint stands between the two advocates, in the spirit. You remember that in pictures of Golgotha one always has Christ Jesus on the cross that is in the middle, and beside him the two thieves, or robbers. But the strange thing is that the Christ said to one of them: 'Today you'll be with me in Paradise.' This one went up above, therefore, and the other one went below. Lucifer and Ahriman are those two advocates.
This also held true for the Sun Person of old. He made the acquaintance of Lucifer and Ahriman, meeting the principle that wants to draw us up into the world of the spirit, making us wholly spiritual — which is not the right thing for a human being — and the principle that wants to take us down into the earth's sphere, which also is not right for a human being, for the human being is at the in-between stage.
In the Mystery of Golgotha, the whole world could see something that had only happened in the mysteries before, where it was only a metaphor, for the initiates would not really die. They became Fathers. The Christ did really die. But he said: 'My spirit does not die; it goes to the Father, for the Father is now no longer working down here as the ancient Father; he is working in the world of the spirit.' This is something that came entirely from the mysteries. We must look in the old mysteries for the Father idea, and only then do we really understand how Christianity evolved.
Now you see, gentlemen, everything I have told you was very much the custom over there in Asia. It also had an influence on the founding of Christianity. But even the Greeks knew extremely little of this, for they were developing outer civilization. And the Romulus people, descendants of a robber colony, knew nothing at all of this; they knew only about ruling the world in outer terms. They knew so well how to rule the world that the Roman Caesars, or emperors, behaved as if they were initiates. One of the early Roman emperors was Caligula. 16Gaius Caesar Germanicus, called Caligula (ad 12–41), Roman emperor ad 37-41. Now you see, in the 1890s a German historian wanted to describe the German emperor Wilhelm. 17William or Wilhelm II (1859–1941), German emperor 1888–1918. But this could not be done, for anyone writing such a description would have been put in prison. The historian therefore wrote a small book entitled Caligula 18Quidde, Ludwig, Caligula, Leipzig 1894 6 He wrote about the Roman emperor Caligula but every trait applied to Wilhelm II! Everybody who knew about these things realized: that is our Wilhelm II. That was the only way of doing it. Caligula had also been an initiate, for by that time it had all become outer form. It was possible to understand the function of the Ravens by seeing what the princes did, at least at a superficial level. Caligula had become a Sun Person but only superficially, more or less the way a 5- or 6-year-old becomes a 'general' by putting on a uniform. Caligula was also supposed to initiate others. And during one of those ceremonies it happened that when one of the Sphinxes was given the symbolic stroke of the sword, Caligula actually killed him with the sword. 19What is said here about Caligula refers to Commodus (ad 161–192; Emperor of Rome 180–192). See lecture of 5 May in this volume, also the lecture of 20 May 1917 in Mitteleuropa zwischen Ost und West (GA 174a). The probable source was H.P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (vol. 3): 'Ragon [J.-M. Ragon, Orthodoxie maçonnique, Paris 1853, p. 101] speaks of rumour accusing the emperor Commodus — on an occasion when he played the role of initiator — to have taken his role in the initiation drama so seriously that he actually killed the seeker when he struck him with the axe.' This, of course, would not have been a problem for a Caesar. Everything had become outer form with the Romans, and they did not understand the inner meaning of any of it. No wonder they were quite unable to understand Christianity.
In Rome, therefore, Christianity became connected with worldly, or temporal, rule. When Christianity came to Rome, they had a temporal ruler who, however, saw himself as a god — naturally, for you became a god if you were an initiate. Augustus 20Augustus, originally called Octavian (63 BC–14 AD), first Emperor of Rome (27 bc-ad 14). was considered to be a god, and so were his successors. They also had the pontifex maximus, the 'great bridge builder'. He was the spiritual ruler but gradually faded away to a mere shadow in Rome, having no real role to play; the temporal ruler had all the power. This was only to be expected in a nation descended from Romulus who gathered all the rogues together. And then, you see, Christianity became worldly exactly through its connection with Rome.
This is what I had to tell you today concerning the outer aspect of Christianity. I'll speak about the inner aspect, the true influence of the sun on Jesus, the next time, which will be next Wednesday.