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University of Washington
CLAS 430

Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 10/22 Thucydides Peloponnesian War 1. 1: 1-23 Archaeology, Greek history Through Persian War  Thucydides argues two main points: o Peloponnesian War was the greatest war ever fought o Thucydides was an extremely accurate reporter; much more accurate than Herodotus – was writing of events of his over time and was actually involved compared to Herodotus who wrote from a much later time. Herodotus known as “father of lies”  This passage shows that Thucydides is a credible source, experienced the events 1t hand.  Writes to set out the use of his work. Lacks the stories of romance & adventure that Herodotus includes. Instead, stresses how his work is useful to aid the future. o Common idea in modern society, but very left field thinking in Ancient Greece. o Emphasizes that history will repeat itself; there are patterns that can be observed. o ktema ês aei (possession for always/possession for all time)  Lays out the two causes for the war o aitiai (immediate cause) Athenian quarrels with Sparta – visible causes o alêthestatê prophasis (real cause/”truest cause”) Sparta’s fear of the growing power of Athens.  Shows the growth of power of Athens. 2. 1:139-145 Spartan Demands & Pericles’ Reply  Sparta calls assembly – declares war on Athens. Then Pericles encourages Athens to go to war by showing that they are stronger in every way, more adventurous, more wealthy, more effective  Athenians vote to go to war.  Pericles reminds Athenians that their ancestors fought for freedom.  This passage included to show that the Athenians truly believed they were superior to other city-states... had the right to have the power/influence.  Thucydides gives insight on how Athenians felt about themselves compared to other cities.  Athens better militarily on the sea, Sparta excels on land battles.  Herodotus focuses on customs, different lands, explaining how culturally different “Barbaric” lands are (i.e. Egypt) whereas Thucydides begins first book with battles/action. 3. 2:34-54,65 Funeral Oration, Plague, Assessment of Pericles’ Policy  Pericles delivers funeral speech (based on likelihood, not word for word account)  Attempts to lift up the spirits of Athenians o Emphasizes democracy of Athens, which has laws that give equal justice to all male citizens. o Many Greek states have copied this system. o Compares Spartans to Athenians. Live a life of austerity, Athens live as they please BUT are just as equipped for war. Have found the perfect balance between being serious about pursuits and enjoying themselves. o “I doubt if the world can produce a man, who where he only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies and graced by so happy a versatility as the Athenian”  Passage included showing Thucydides’ historical writing about plague shows credibility as a reporter on the events. o He had the illness and saw his fellow citizens with the illness.  This shows the importance of government. o Thucydides discusses the benefits of a democratic government that is run by many to serve all whereas Sparta has an oligarchy government. o Herodotus emphasizes governm
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