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Political Science
Ryan Balot

POL200Y1Y L5101 1 R. Balot L2: Thucydides May 14, 2009 3:16 PM Today: Thucydides as historian + theorist Diagnosis of the Present War Causes of War: Political Action + National Character Justifying Imperialism? Spartan War Council Pericles War Speech Pericles Funeral Oration Thucydides as Historian He attempted to draw theories from specific and concrete conditions Hence to understandread him as a theorist we must understand his political theories o e.g. his theories on the relationship between democratic ideals and emerging Athenian imperialism o Justice between states, etc. He was a theorist who educates our judgment on permanent political situations o Mostly through the critical evaluatioof his contemporaries But he never states his belief in what was a utopian political system Do his political criticism travel well and survive the ages? Thucydides on Historical Method o In these pages we may begin to understand his appraisal of historytheory o He wishes to be judged useful by those who wish to understand events of the past so as to understand the facets of human nature (i.e human nature within political context) o He vies to diagnose human nature Note the medical analogy He saw the world as a world of suffering, conflict and injustice This suffering could be represented as a diseaseunhealthy condition of the bodypolitik The war between the Greek superpowers was a form of civil war for him o This in itself was a disease o He distinguishes his own work from poets (such as Homer) and other historians (herodotus0 o He doesnot wish to write an epic or a poem, but a proper history o He finds pleasurable words as suspect He wishes to distinguish himself from the political rhetoric which the Athenians depended on o Hence, he contrastsopposes himself to the chief mode of deliberative democratic politics which the Athenians used
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