Courtesy Reuters

WHEN the Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset, finished his lecture before an American audience at Aspen, Colorado, in 1949, the great German scholar Ernst Robert Curtius pointed to him and said: "There you have the Mediterranean and a country that ruled the world." The remark is worth keeping in mind when one thinks of Spain. I don't mean, of course, that Spain has preserved any of her former power or that she will regain it in the future. But a country which ruled the world--so few did--must have some features that are not likely to vanish into thin air. Such a country cannot be a nonentity; it should not be ranked among others which "statistically" seem similar in population, output, income, manpower or military strength, but have a quite different background and perhaps are newcomers on the historical stage instead of having had major parts in the making of history.


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  • JULIÁN MARÍAS, a founder with Ortega y Gasset of the Instituto de Humanidades, Madrid; lecturer in philosophy at Harvard, Yale and other universities, now resident in Madrid; author of a number of scholarly studies
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