CLAS 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9-10: Oligarchy, Thesmophoria, Aeschylus

31 views9 pages
Week #4 – January 26th-30th, 2015
Week #4 – Chapters 9 & 10:
Chapter 9 The Peloponnesian War: A Tale of Thucydides:
Introduction:
During the late 5th century, Athens was at the pinnacle of its intellectual and artistic creativity,
but it was also involved in a prolonged and, ultimately, disastrous war with Sparta and its
allies, the Peloponnesian War
This war served as the subject of perhaps the greatest historian of the ancient world, the
Athenian Thucydides, who fought in the war himself and recorded its progress in great detail
Thucydides was reflecting current trends in the science of medicine, which Hippocrates is
often considered to be the founder
A large number of medical treatises preserved under the names of Hippocrates and his
followers are devoted to the detailed observation and description of the symptoms of
diseases, in the expectation that the more we know about the progress of morbid conditions
the more successful we will be in anticipating and averting the unpleasant outcome
The revenues from the Delian League enabled the Athenians to rebuild their temples and
other monuments on the acropolis on a magnificent scale
The Parthenon is regarded as definitive of the classical art the Parthenon frieze depicts a
ritual procession of the sort that formed only one of the central events in the religious life of
contemporary Athens
Thucydides and the Writing of the Peloponnesian War:
“Thucydides the Athenian wrote up the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians”
intro sentence
“In the expectation that it was going to be a major war that that it would be more deserving of
renown than any previous war”
Thucydides spends the next few pages telling us what led him at the start of the war to
expect that it would eclipse previous wars by its magnitude mentions the Trojan War and
the Persian Wars
Thucydides history breaks off mid-sentence, with the events of the last 6 years to be related
Thucydides constantly presents the words and thoughts of the participants in the war as the
they try to anticipate the course of events and try to persuade others to act in one way or
another on the basis of their confident expectations
Then, by describing what actually took place, Thucydides allows us to evaluate the success
or failure of those predictions
The participants in the war often present their assessments of what is likely to happen by
means of formal speeches that Thucydides features as a prominent element of his history
These speeches often take the form of a general’s address to his troops or a course of action
and another speaker opposes it, with each speaker generally providing reasons why he is
confident that events will turn out as he predicts
Pericles was the leading figure in Athens at the time the Peloponnesian War began
He rose to prominence in the 450s as a champion of popular democracy by supporting the
introduction of pay for service on Athenian juries increased participation in public affairs
among those who needed to be paid for their time
Most public offices at Athens were filled by a process of drawing names at random from
among those eligible to serve, on the theory that, in a true democracy, any citizen can serve
the public interest as well as any other and ensured that no one individual could be
repeatedly elected to office merely as a reward for pandering to the electorate
There was one office that was immune from selection by lot and from the provision that
restricted service in many areas of Athenian government to no more than once or twice in a
lifetime office of general, which the Athenians thought required experience and expertise
There is heated debate among scholars regarding the accuracy of Thucydides’ reporting the
speeches that he includes in his history while Thucydides expresses the general content of
the actual speaker’s words, we must imagine that the specific structure and diction are
Thucydides’ own
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 9 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Week #4 – January 26th-30th, 2015
Thucydides also controls the placement of the speeches in his narrative
Perciles’ predictions were later confirmed by Thucydides; narrative: the war lasted well
beyond anyone’s expectations, the Spartans did invade Attica nearly every year during the
course of the war, but the Athenians were able to supply themselves by sea, as long as the
Athenians concentrated their efforts on the war, they were in fact successful
The Athenians’ success suffered a disastrous setback precisely when they took it into their
minds to expand the war in hopes of extending their control to include the territory of Sicily
This was in 415 BC, after Pericles had died and was no longer able to provide sensible
advice
Thucydides makes explicit the contrast between Pericles and those who became the leaders
of Athens after his death: whereas Perciles had only the best interest of the people ay heart,
those men were for the most part interested in securing their own personal advancement,
and so they threw their support behind whatever appeared to be attractive to the people
Both young and old were aroused by the prospect of the conquest of Sicily
In particular, the military and the lower classes were convinced the wealth of Sicily would
provide the Athenian state with limitless funds to confer lifelong employment on all of its
citizens
Only the general Nicias recognized that expansion of the theater of operations was likely to
lead to disaster, but even then, he lacked charisma and effectiveness as a public speaker
Those lacked qualities were possessed in abundance by another of the Athenian generals,
Alcibiades, who hoped to enhance his political career by leading a successful and profitable
attack on Sicily
The Athenian assembly voted to mobilize the most lavishly funded and most impressive force
deployed by a single Greek city up to that time
The contrast with the utter catastrophe that the expedition suffered two years later could not
be greater the defeat would presumably have been explained in terms of divine punishment
for the Athenians overconfidence
Thucydides account, however, presents the Athenian failure instead in terms of poor planning
and indecisveness, particularly on the part of Nicias
Thucydides believes that success in political and military matters depended upon how well
men are able to foresee the outcome of their own actions and those of others and how well
they are able to convince others of the accuracy of their predictions
Thucydides was himself a general who held command during the early part of the war, but
because of his failure to hold a strategically important city against the Spartans, he was
exiled from Athens for 20 years
During that period of exile, he has numerous opportunities to observe the events of the war
from both sides of the action
Diagnosis and Prognosis:
Some things cannot be readily predicted, like the sudden appearance of a storm at saw that
may affect the outcome of a naval engagement
Thucydides never suggests that these events arise from anything but natural causes
One such event was the epidemic that began to afflict Athens in the summer of 430 BC, at
the beginning of the 2nd year of the war tens of thousands of Athenians died in the
epidemic, whose effects were intensified by the overcrowding within the walls of the city as a
result of the Spartan invasion of the Attic countryside
Thucydides does not attribute the disease to any divine visitation, he merely recorded in
details the symptoms, so if the disease ever came back, it could be recognized by combining
observation and foreknowledge
Observation and foreknowledge figured prominently in the medical literature that was
beginning to be written and was to continue being written throughout antiquity
We possess a large collection of medical treatises written in Greek that circulated in antiquity
under the name of Hippocrates
Hippocrates came from the island of Cos, just off the south west coast of Asia Minor, whether
there was an important school of medicine and a major shrine dedicated to the healing g-d
Asclepius
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 9 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Week #4 – January 26th-30th, 2015
Most physicians in ancient Greece were considered to be a “descendant of Asclepius”
While much of early Greek medical writing is taken up with theorizing about the causes of
disease, some of the authors of the earliest treatises recognized as well the importance of
case studies
The purpose of compiling medical case histories is to preserve a record in as objective a way
as possible of the timing and the sequence of changes in the patient’s status
This is necessary both in order to diagnose the disease and to give a well-founded prognosis
In addition, by noting variations among instances of the same disease, the physician can
begin to determine how the progress of the disease is affected by treatment or by such
factors as to the patient’s age, constitution, place of habitation, and so on
This seems to be Thucydides’ purpose as well, by recording as accurately as possible the
progress of the Peloponnesian War, he makes it possible for future readers to compare the
events of 431-404 BC with the progress of future conflicts, enabling his readers to foresee
and perhaps even alter the course of events in their own lifetime
Thucydides chronicles not only the horrible destructiveness of the Peloponnesian War in
terms of human and material loss, but also the deterioration in moral standards that
accompanied the protracted and bitter conflict
Thucydides portrays a Greece that has abandoned human decency and is motivated by
nothing but self-interest
“Melian Dialogue” record of negotiations between the representatives of the Athenian army
and the people of Melos
Melos is an island in the Cyclades, of no particular strategic importance, that wished to
remain neutral, but in 416 BC, the Athenians attacked the island and gave the Melians the
option of becoming members of the Athenian alliance either by choice or force
The Melians objected that its not right for the Athenians to use force on a sovereign people
The Athenians told them that the question of right or wrong is relevant only among those who
have equal power, and since Athens is more powerful than Melos, they had no choice
The Melians then tried to persuade the Athenians that it wasn’t in their interests to add Melos
to their alliance but since Milos wasn’t a democracy, its representatives lacked the facility in
debate and failed
Milos was confident that neither the g-ds nor the Spartans would allow the Athenians to
conquer their land, they refused to join the Athenian alliance
Later that year, Athens conquered the island of Melos, killed all the men, sold the women and
children into slavery, and resettled the island with Athenian colonists
12 years later in 404 BC, the Athenians, exhausted and desperate, surrendered to the
Spartans, finally ending a war that had lasted almost a generation
Thucydides portrays Athens’ downfall as an intellectual failure, as an inability on the part of its
leaders to foresee accurately what needed to be done in order to secure the victory that the
Athenians would undoubtedly otherwise have won
Invention of “The Classical”:
Many of the most glorious achievements of Greek, and particularly Athenian culture was yet
to come
The works of Greece’s most influential philosophers, prose stylists, mathematicians
scientists, sculptors, and architects were created in the 4th and following centuries
But the works that were created in the 5th century between the beginning of the Persian Wars
and the end of the Peloponnesian War, have always been felt to possess special status, as
embodying “the Classical”, particularly in the visual arts
Nothing has been seem to typify “the Classical” more comprehensively than the buildings that
were added to the acropolis in Athens between the middle and end of the 5th century BC
When the Persians occupied Athens in 480-479 BC, they destroyed the temples and other
buildings on the acropolis and threw down many of the statues that had been dedicated there
The Greek forces swore an oath that they wouldn’t rebuild any of the temples that had been
burned and demolished by the barbarians, but shall allow them to be left as a reminder to
future generations of the barbarians’ impiety
For the next 30 years this oath seemed to have been adhered to
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 9 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Get access

Grade+
$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class
Class+
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class