Read at Aeneas Quest a post that draws a distinction between modern colonial imperialism and the practice of ancient Greeks to found colonies in various places around (what today is) Greece. Main differences are that 1) Greeks did not oppress the peoples where they founded new cities, 2) they did not make colonies for profit, 3) they did not make colonies to force their culture upon other peoples.
Read also at Aeneas Quest two articles there presented, one about the relations between state and church in Byzantium, and the other about the notion of the beautiful in ancient Greece and Byzantium, a notion that, according to the author, would help Christianity become more appealing to modern people. I’d like to add on my part how surprised I was when reading St Basil the Great speaking about how God does not recognise the beautiful the way we are, but only in terms of functionality (beautiful, in this sense, is the way various parts cooperate to form a totality, and the way this totality works for a purpose).
Although Christianity created beauty – in images, in architecture, in singing, etc – it always kept also an ascetic suspicion against beauty, seeing in beauty a temptation towards creatures instead of concentrating to God. I agree with the author of that article, that we need to change a little this ascetic perspective, recognising a critical truth in Plato’s way of passing from beauty to always a greater beauty, until one recognises the highest beauty that makes anything else beautiful to various degrees. This type of asceticism could be more relevant today, but it pays also more justice to God’s world regardless of epochs and customs.