This struggle between master and slave moralities recurs historically. According to Nietzsche, ancient Greek and Roman societies were grounded in master morality. The Homeric hero is the strong-willed man, and the classical roots of the Iliad and Odyssey exemplified Nietzsche's master morality. He calls the heroes "men of a noble culture", giving a substantive example of master morality. Historically, master morality was defeated as the slave morality of Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire.
The essential struggle between cultures has always been between the Roman (master, strong) and the Judean (slave, weak). Nietzsche condemns the triumph of slave morality in the West, saying that the democratic movement is the "collective degeneration of man". Weakness conquered strength, slave conquered master, re-sentiment conquered sentiment. This resentment Nietzsche calls "priestly vindictiveness", which is the jealousy of the weak seeking to enslave the strong with itself. Such movements were, to Nietzsche, inspired by "the most intelligent revenge" of the weak. Nietzsche saw democracy and Christianity as the same emasculating impulse which sought to make all equal—to make all slaves.
Nietzsche, however, did not believe that humans should adopt master morality as the be-all-end-all code of behavior — he believed that the revaluation of morals would correct the inconsistencies in both master and slave morality — but simply that master morality was preferable to slave morality, although this is debatable. Walter Kaufmann disagrees that Nietzsche actually preferred master morality to slave morality. He certainly gives slave morality a much harder time, but this is partly because he believes that slave morality is modern society's more imminent danger.