Greatness – like change – is an alluring word that promises everything, and nothing at all. Therefore, both are among the demagogue's favorite buzzwords. Without knowing what's involved, many people get taken in by them. To avoid this, we must raise the simple question that encourages people to think things through. This column attempts to do so.
Throughout the history of the world, there have been great nations and empires. Sometimes the word refers to their size, and particularly to the extent of their conquests. But these attributes are themselves valued mainly as an indication of power. Though the ancient Greek city-states were none of them equal in size and extent to the empires erected by the Romans or the Mongol rulers of China, they nonetheless loom large in the history of mankind, thanks to the enormous influence their virtues and intellectual achievements had on countries and empires that later came to be renowned for their great conquests or achievements.
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