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I will not pursue the relationship between Thucydides and Athenian tragedy for At , Herodotus quotes in indirect discourse an exchange between Gyges (cf. the following in Herodotus: Solon at –33, Artabanos at , Artemisia at ). “Thucydides on Pausanias and Themistocles: A Written Source?”. the paradeigma and its relationship to the notion of induction, and Aristotle's literate 13 We may wish to consider Themistocles' speech at Salamis as more At Rhetoric Aristotle quotes some nineteen phrases of Alcidamas to and a woman, Artemisia, Queen of Caria (23), and cowardly to allow the King of. TV show and created more memes than Spartans who were actually at Thermopylae. Themistocles faces Artemisia (Eva Green), Xerxes' greatest .. Vader in Empire and her relationship with Xerxes is explored well, like.
Rise of an Empire have to do with the events in the original movie ? Rise of an Empire is a prequel, a side-sequel, and a sequel to the original film,with the events in the follow-up taking place before, during, and after the events in the original.
The first battle that takes place in the This happens ten years prior to the events in 's movie. Athens victory over Persia at Marathon, Greece sets the stage for the motivations behind Xerxes's transformation into the movie's fictional God King. The second battle that occurs in Rise of an Empire, the Battle of Artemisium a BC naval engagementtook place concurrently with the Battle of Thermopylae that unfolds in the original movie, It was Themistocles who proposed that the Greeks attempt to stop the Persian advance by confronting them on land at the narrow strait at Thermopylae.
Leonidas and the Spartans undertook the task, which is chronicled in the moviewith the Spartans eventually being overtaken by the Persian forces.
At the same time, the Greek navy attempted to block the Persians on the water in the Straits of Artemisium. However, they were forced to retreat after the defeat at Thermopylae. Persian king Xerxes Rodrigo Santorowith ax in hand, sits atop his horse as he looks over his fallen enemy, the Spartan king Leonidas Gerard Butler. Rise of an Empire. The third battle in Rise of an Empire, the Battle of Salamis, occurs after the Persians have advanced and burned Athens to the ground.
Like in the movie, Themistocles had learned from the mistakes he made in the Battle of Artemisium, realizing that Greece likely did not stand a chance when confronting the larger Persian navy in the open water. He figured out that if the Greeks were to win, they would need to engage in close combat with the Persians in straits that were more narrow, such as those at Salamis.
There, the large Persian warships could be outmaneuvered by the smaller Greek ships. Had the Athenian general Themistocles been born into poverty? According to historians Herodotus and Plutarch, the brave Athenian general Themistocles was not born into wealth. His father, Neocles, was an ambiguous Athenian citizen of modest means.
It is believed that his mother was an immigrant. Other children kept Themistocles at a distance. It didn't bother him much, because as other children were off playing together, Themistocles was studying and sharpening his skills.
As described by Plutarch, his teachers would say to him, "You, my boy, will be nothing insignificant, but great one way or another, either for good or for evil. Rise of an Empire true story, we learned that Themistocles less than modest upbringing benefited him in the newly democratic government of Athens. He campaigned in the streets and could relate to the common and underprivileged in a way that no one had before, always taking time to remember voters' names.
He was elected to the highest government office in Athens, Archon Eponymous, by the time he was thirty. Was Themistocles really responsible for Greece's strong navy? Themistocles always believed in building up the Athenian navy. He knew that the Persians could only sustain a land invasion if their navy was able to support it from the coastal waters.
However, most Athenians, including the Athenian generals, did not agree with Themistocles. They did not believe that a Persian invasion was imminent, and they thought that the Athenian army was strong enough to make up for any shortcomings with regard to the navy. To get his wish for a stronger navy, Themistocles used his political position to lie and mislead the Athenians into believing that the rival nearby island of Aegina posed a threat to merchant ships.
Accepting his argument, the Athenians decided to invest in the navy, leaving Athens with the most dominant naval force in all of Greece. Therefore, it can be argued that Greek civilization was saved by a lie. Actors stand on the deck of an Athenian trireme ancient vessel constructed on a sound stage for the movie.
A seaworthy reconstruction of a trireme, the Olympias, was launched in Did Themistocles really kill Xerxes's father, King Darius? The true story behind King Darius died approximately four years later in BC of failing health.
Did Xerxes really transform into a God King? As you probably guessed, the real Xerxes did not transform into a supernatural God King like in the movie pictured below. In fact, Xerxes's motivation for his transformation did not even exist in real life, since Themistocles did not kill Xerxes's father at the Battle of Marathon.
This highly fictionalized version of Xerxes comes from the mind of Frank Miller, the creator of the graphic novel and the still unpublished Xerxes comic series.
Was Artemisia's family murdered by Greek hoplites, after which she was taken as a slave? Rise of an Empire movie, a young Artemisia Caitlin Carmichael watches as her family is murdered by a squad of Greek hoplites. She then spends several years being held as a sex slave in the bowels of a Greek slave ship.
She is left to die in the street and is helped by a Persian warrior. She soon finds herself training with the finest warriors in the Persian Empire, hoping to one day exact revenge on Greece. As the Lacedaemonians under Thimbron were now at war with Tissaphernes and Pharnal azus, Xenophon and his troops were invited to join the army of Thimbron, and Xenophon led them back out of Asia to join Thimbron B.
The Persian, with his women, children, and all his moveables was seized; and Xenophon, by this robbery, replenished his empty pockets Anab. He tells the story himself as if he were not ashamed of it. Socrates was put to death in B.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
His death during Xenophon's absence in Asia appears to be collected from the Memorabilia iv. Xenophon was not banished at the time when he was leading the troops back to Thimbron Anab.
It is not certain what he was doing after the troops joined Thimbron. The assumption of Letronne. As we know nothing of his movements, the conclusion ought to be that he stayed in Asia, and probably with Thimbron and his successor Dercyllidas.
Agesilaus, the Spartan king, was commanding the Lacedaemonian forces in Asia against the Persians in B. When Agesilaus was recalled B. It seems that he went to Sparta with Agesilaus after the battle of Coroneia, and soon after he settled at Scillus in Eleia, not far from Olympia, a spot of which he has given a description in the Anabasis v. Here he was joined by his wife Philesia and his children. It has been said that Philesia was his second wife; but when he married her, or where, is unknown.
His children were educated in Sparta, or at least Agesilaus advised him to educate them there Plut. Xenophon was now an exile, and a Lacedaemonian so far as he could become one. His time during his long residence at Scillus was employed in hunting, writing, and entertaining his friends; and probably his historical writings, the Anabasis and the Hellenica, or part of the Hellenica, were composed here, as Diogenes Laertius says.
The treatise on hunting and that on the horse were probably written during this time, when amusement and exercise of that kind formed part of his occupation. Xenophon was at last expelled from his quiet retreat at Scillus by the Eleans, but the year is uncertain.
It is a conjecture of Kruger's that the Eleans did not take Scillus before B. Diogenes says that the Lacedaemonians did not come to the aid of Xenophon when he was attacked by the Eleans, a circumstance that may lead to the probable inference that they were too busily employed in other ways either to prevent his expulsion or to reinstate him; and this is a reason why Letronne supposes that the Eleans probably attacked Scillus in B.
Xenophon's residence at Scillus in either case was above twenty years. In the battle of Mantineia which was fought B. He sent them, says Diogenes, to Athens to fight on behalf of the Spartans.
From the circumstance of Xenophon's two sons being in the battle. Letronne assumes that the decree for Xenophon's banishment must have been repealed before B. Kruger concludes for other reasons that it was repealed before the battle of Mantineia.
Thucydides and the Ancient Simplicity
He is said to have retired to Corinth after his expulsion from Scillus, and as we know nothing more, we assume that he died there Diog. The Hipparchicus was written after the repeal of the decree of banishment, and the treatise on the revenues of Athens.
The events alluded to in the Epilogus to the Cyropaedia viii. Diogenes quotes Stesicleides as authority for Xenophon having died in the first year of the th Olympiad, or in B.
The time of his death may have been a few years later. The titles of the works of Xenophon which Diogenes enumerates are the same as those which are now extant. He says that Xenophon wrote about forty books bibliaand that they were variously divided, which expression and the list of works which he gives, show that by the word books he meant the several divisions or books of the larger works, and the smaller works which consist of a single book.
The number of books of Xenophon thus estimated is thirty-seven, which is tolerably near the number mentioned by Diogenes, and shows that a division of Xenophon's works into books existed at that time. Of the historical writings of Xenophon, the Anabasis, or the History of the Expedition of the Younger Cyrus, and of the retreat of the Greeks, who formed part of his army, has immortalised his name.
It is a clear and pleasing narrative, written in a simple style, free from affectation; and it gives a great deal of curious information on the country which was traversed by the retreating Greeks, and on the manners of the people.
It was the first work which made the Greeks acquainted with some portions of the Persian empire, and it showed the weakness of that extensive monarchy. The skirmishes of the retreating Greeks with their enemies and the battles with some of the barbarian tribes are not such events as elevate the work to the character of a military history, nor can it as such be compared with Caesar's Commentaries. Indeed those passages in the Anabasis which relate directly to the military movements of the retreating army are not always clear, nor have we any evidence that Xenophon did possess any military talent for great operations, whatever skill he may have had as a commander of a division.
The editions of the Anabasis are numerous In a passage in the Hellenica iii. Plutarch De Gloria Athen. We might suppose that there was a work on the expedition of Cyrus by Themistogenes, and that Xenophon wrote his Anabasis after he had written this passage in the Hellenica.
But this is merely a conjecture, and not a satisfactory one. When we read the Anabasis we never doubt that Xenophon was the author of it, for he speaks of himself in many places in a way in which no other person could speak: The Anabasis, then, as we have it, was either written by Xenophon, or compiled from his notes; and the reference to the work of Themistogenes either proves that there was such a work, or that Xenophon's work passed under the name of Themistogenes, at the time when the passage in the Hellenica was written, if Xenophon wrote the passage in the Hellenica.
Bornemann's proposal to translate the words in the Hellenica, Themistogenei toi Surakousioi gegraptai, " das habe ich fur den Themistogenes geschrieben" is altogether inadmissible. The Hellenica Hellenika of Xenophon are divided into seven books, and comprehend the space of forty-eight years, from the time when the history of Thucydides ends to the battle of Mantineia, B.
But the fact of the assassination of Alexander of Pherae is mentioned vi. It is the opinion of Niebuhr and others that the Hellenica consists of two distinct parts or works written at different times. The History of Thucydides would be completed by the capture of Athens, B. The second paragraph of the third book in which Themistogenes is mentioned, may be considered as completing the history up to B.
This would only prove that Xenophon had the work a long time under his hands. The division into books proves nothing, for that was posterior to Xenophon's time.
The Cyropaedia Kuropaideia in eight books, is a kind of political romance, the basis of which is the history of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian monarchy. Xenophon adopted the current stories as to Cyrus and the chief events of his reign, without any intention of subjecting them to a critical examination; nor have we any reason to suppose that his picture of Persian morals and Persian discipline is any thing more than a fiction, for we know that many of the usages of the Persians in the time of the first Dareius and his successors were different from the usages which Xenophon attributes to the Persians; and Xenophon himself affirms this.
Besides this, Xenophon could know no more of the Persians in the time of the first Cyrus than other Greeks; and, setting aside the improbability of his picture, we are certain that he could not know many things which he has introduced into his romance.
His object was to represent what a state might be, and he placed the scene of his fiction far enough off to give it the colour of possibility.
The Cyropaedia is evidence enough that Xenophon did not like the political constitution of his own country, and that a well-ordered monarchy or kingdom appeared to him preferable to a democracy like Athens. The genuineness of the Epilogus or conclusion, in which Xenophon shows how the Persians had degenerated since the time of Cyrus, is doubted by some critics; but there seem to be no sufficient reasons.
The author here says that the " Persians of his time, and the rest who were among them, were proved to be both less reverential towards the gods and less just to their kin, and more dishonest towards others, and less courageous in war now than they were before; and if any man has a contrary opinion, he will find, if he looks to their acts, that they testify to the truth of what I say. Xenophon's remarks are practical; we do not find in his writings any thoughts that strike us as very profound or new, but we always discover careful observation of human life, good sense, and honest purpose.
The dying speech of Cyrus viii. This passage may be assumed as evidence of Xenophon's belief in the existence of the soul Psuche independent of the organised being in which it acts. That Xenophon wrote such a work is proved by the list of Diogenes, and the testimony of Cicero ad Fam. Some modern critics do not consider the extant work as deserving of high praise, to which it may be replied, that it will be difficult to find a panegyric which is. It is a kind of composition in which failure can hardly be avoided.
However true it may be, it is apt to be insipid and to appear exaggerated. The Hipparchicus Hipparchikos is a treatise on the duties of a commander of cavalry, and it contains many military precepts. One would be inclined to suppose that it was written at Athens, but this conclusion, like many others from internal evidence, is not satisfactory. A strain of devotion runs through the treatise; and on this the author makes the following remark near the end: But all these things the gods know, and presignify them to whom they please by means of sacrifices, birds, voices, and dreams.
In the beginning of the treatise Xenophon refers to a treatise on the same subject by Simon. The Cynegeticus Kunegetikos is a treatise on hunting, an amusement of which Xenophon was very fond; and on the dog, and the breeding and training of dogs, on the various kinds of game, and the mode of taking them.
It is a treatise written by a genuine sportsman, who loved the exercise and the excitement of the chase; and it may be read with delight by any sportsman who deserves the name. The two treatises on the Spartan and Athenian states Lakedaimonion Politeia, and Athenaion Politeia were not always recognised as genuine works of Xenophon, even by the ancients.
They pass, however, under his name, and there is nothing in the internal evidence that appears to throw any doubt on the authorship. The writer clearly prefers Spartan to Athenian institutions. A treatise on the Revenues of Athens Poroi e peri Prosodon is designed to show how the public revenue of Athens may be improved: In the Memorabilia of Socrates, in four books Apomnemoneumata Sokratous Xenophon defends the memory of his master against the charge of irreligion i.
Socrates is represented as holding a series of conversations, in which he developes and inculcates moral doctrines in his peculiar fashion. It is true that it may exhibit only one side of the Socratic argumentation, and that it does not deal in those subtleties and verbal disputes which occupy so large a space in some of Plato's dialogues.
The charges against Socrates for which he suffered were Mem. The whole treatise is intended to be an answer to the charge for which Socrates was executed, and it is, therefore, in its nature, not intended to be a complete exhibition of Socrates. That it is a genuine picture of the man, is indisputable, and it is the most valuable memorial that we have of the practical philosophy of Socrates.
The Memorabilia will always be undervalued by the lovers of the transcendental, who give to an unintelligible jargon of words the name of philosophy: The Apology of Socrates contains the reasons which induced Socrates to prefer death to life. It is not a first-rate performance; and because they do not consider it worthy of Xenophon, some critics would deny that he is the author; but this is an inconclusive reason.
- Artemisia I of Caria
Laertius states that Xenophon wrote an Apologia, and the original is as likely to have come down to us as a forgery. The speakers are supposed to meet at the house of Callias, a rich Athenian, at the celebration of the great Panathenaea. Socrates, Cratibulus, Antisthenes, Charmides, and others are the speakers.
The accessories of the entertainment are managed with skill, and the piece is interesting as a picture of an Athenian drinking party, and of the amusement and conversation with which it was diversified.
Some critics think that the Symposium is a juvenile performance, and that the Symposium of Plato was written after that of Xenophon; but it is an old tradition that the Symposium of Plato was written before that of Xenophon. The Hiero Hieron e Turannikos is a dialogue between king Hiero and Simonides, in which the king speaks of the dangers and difficulties incident to an exalted station, and the superior happiness of a private man.
Hiero speaks of the burden of power, and answers Simonides, who wonders why a man should keep that which is so troublesome, by saying that power is a thing which a man cannot safely lay down. Simonides offers some suggestions as to the best use of power, and the way of employing it for the public interest.
It is suggested by Letronne that Xenophon may have been led to write this treatise by what he saw at the court of Dionysius; and, as already stated, there is a story of his having visited Sicily in the lifetime of the tyrant of Syracuse. The Oeconomicus Oikonomikos is a dialogue between Socrates and Critobulus, in which Socrates begins by showing that there is an art called Oeconomic, which relates to the administration of a household and of a man's property.
Cicero copies this passage, in his treatise on Old Age de Senectute, c. Xenophon gives the same character of Cyrus, in this passage of the Oeconomicus, which he gives in the Anabasis i.
In answer to the praises of agriculture, Critobulus speaks of the losses to which the husbandman is exposed from hail, frost, drought, and other causes. The answer of Socrates is that the husbandman must trust in heaven, and worship the gods.
The very sentiments that have become standards of political realism—the anarchic nature of international relations, the domination of the weak by the strong, the primacy of interest over emotional or sentimental considerations—still clashed with the image that Greeks cultivated of themselves. This account is no more complete than the ideology of megaloprepeia, according to which the powerful, because of their inherent goodness and generosity, lavish their wealth on gifts and public displays.
Second, if Thucydides pushes some ideas to the foreground, he also rejects established pretensions. Thucydides wrote to shock. I believe that he would be surprised, if not shocked himself, to discover the broad acceptance his view of the world has won. To take only one example: Thucydides is notorious for the degree to which he minimizes the role of religion—this despite the fact that impiety was a capital offence that his fellow Athenians persecuted with vigor and that each Athenian army had its own professional seers with catastrophic results for the Sicilian expedition.
This secular bias corresponded to the attitude of more than one Thucydides scholar including, for example, A. Gomme, whose massive commentaries are a monument of twentieth-century Thucydidean scholarship. Not only have modern scholars generally taken the marginal role of religion and especially the great religious sanctuaries for granted, but such religious phenomena as did find their way into the narrative received less attention than they deserved.
There are really two very different aspects of Thucydides, and much scholarship has constituted a tug-of-war in which scholars seek to redress the balance, stressing one side over the other. The scientific Thucydides of Charles Cochrane and even Jacqueline de Romilly is, in this sense, comparable to the postmodernist Thucydides of Robert Connor, for each of these visions emphasizes an element of Thucydides that speaks to contemporary thought.
Of course, none of the scholars whom I have cited has completely neglected the other Thucydides. My goal in this study is to highlight the tension between the archaic and the modern Thucydides. But Thucydides seems ambivalent. Although his text repeatedly pushes into the foreground the sad fates of those who, like the Plataians and the Melians, depend upon traditional values, Thucydides makes it clear in his description of civil war at Corcyra that he takes a dim view of those who trampled upon such values.
But if Thucydides felt that he could provide an accurate account of individual events—how many men fought at a given place, the symptoms of the plague, even the general pattern of moral collapse in civil war—to his great credit, he never pretended to resolve the larger ambiguities of his narrative. The Sicilian expedition, which occupies books 6 and 7, is almost a separate monograph, and book 5, with its complex and messy multipolar politics, anticipates the atomization of events that characterizes book 8.
Rise of an Empire True Story vs Movie - Artemisia, Themistocles
His unfinished account of the war sputters to a close with the desultory warfare of We do not know why the History was never finished.
Certainly, death with little or no warning may have carried off Thucydides, but I think it at least as possible that Thucydides simply stopped because events diverged from both the vision of history that he articulates in the Archaeology—according to which, Athens, with its sea power, financial reserves, and clear-eyed ruthlessness, should logically demolish its atavistic foes—and the synthesis between public and private interest that Perikles develops in all three of his speeches.
In part, the methodological integrity that Thucydides claims for his text seeks to replace the moral integrity that vanished during the war, but I think that Thucydides attempted to do more. The Thucydidean Perikles and Diodotos each offer syntheses of the old and the new. Neither vision takes root, of course: Thucydides subordinated himself to a stricter set of rules.
He insisted that he wanted to view the world as it really was. The model of ideology articulated most prominently by Louis Althusser provides a useful tool with which to measure the goals, achievements, and limitations of Thucydides and his Athenians.
According to Althusser, ideology serves, above all, to reproduce exactly the means of production—to ensure that those in dominant positions hand on their privileges undiminished to their children, while the oppressed members of society never rise above their traditional status. In such a scheme, ideology can never be an obvious rationalization cynically exploited by a ruling class. Once the claims upon which privilege are based have been exposed as fictitious and self-serving, they lose their best protection and become powerful targets for resistance.
If ideology is to be effective, it must be invisible. His Athenians act as if they wished to do away with ideology altogether and conduct their affairs according to straightforward if harsh rules. To take one well-known scholar as an example, in her analysis of the Athenian speech at Thucydides 1. For her, Thucydides was a kind of heroic realist and pioneering antecedent to the modern, scientific mind. They frame a new, deeply logical system based upon the principle that the strong rule the weak.
In modern terms, they seek to ground their empire in natural law and, to this end, assume a transhistorically valid, universal human nature to which I will return in the final chapter. But, of course, if we accept the view of ideology popularized by Althusser, we can see that the flight from ideology that Thucydides inscribes in his History is ultimately futile.
More important, though, I argue that Althusserian ideology, with its need to be invisible and to disappear into accepted common sense, allows us to understand some of the unresolved tensions in the History. However hard the Athenian representatives at Sparta in book 1, Cleon and Diodotus in book 3, and the Athenian commissioners on Melos in book 5 may argue, the natural rule of the strong never finds the kind of immediate and spontaneous acceptance that strict ideology should attain.
My argument in general form traces the tension in Thucydides between the ideals toward which he struggled and the goals that he could achieve. For Leo Strauss, however, this tension lay in the gulf between the universalism of the city and the universalism of the History. The universalism of Athens, the universalism of the city…is doomed to failure. For Thucydides bases his claim on behalf of his work on the fact that it brings to light the sempiternal and universal nature of man as the ground of the deeds, the speeches, and the thoughts which it records.
Unlike Strauss, Hannah Arendt, for example, reveled in the vitality of the city—she reversed a traditional opposition of Western thought, subordinating the life of contemplation to that life of action in which human beings define themselves by their dealings with one another: Simply put, Greeks had traditionally striven to approach, insofar as the human condition would allow, that immortality that their gods enjoyed.
But, if, in his feel for immortality, Thucydides plays upon a deep chord in Greek tradition, his work, albeit less tangibly, gropes toward a newer vision, one to which Plato would give shape.
Both Thucydides and the Athenians whom he represents struggle to establish for themselves positions that stand beyond ideology. They labor to ground their actions firmly in a natural law tied to an unchanging human nature. He has entered the vita activa and chosen the way of permanence and potential immortality. Likewise, the new logic of power and self-interest proves as ambiguous as any Delphic oracle.
The most prudent Athenian strategy would pursue limited goals in Sicily and keep forces potentially hostile to Athens tied up and unable to intervene on the Greek mainland. The consequences are significant.
If there is indeed a natural law that governs human relations, no human actors in Thucydides—with the possible exception of Perikles—are able with any reliability to interpret where their true interests lie, and even with Perikles, the plague arrives to dramatize the problems inherent in the best rational planning. The rule of the strong and the pursuit of interest may constitute natural law, but this natural law produces no certainty.
Nevertheless, these analogies, though inexact, do capture a crucial element of the Thucydidean project. Nowhere in the exact sciences does any thinker take a greater leap in the direction of reductive analysis than Thucydides. Operating without any mathematical models and with only the most rudimentary numerical measures, Thucydides applies a small but powerful set of rules to human events and, in so doing, transformed his understanding of events.
Two ideas play a particularly crucial role. Thucydides did not discover these principles his speakers often refer to it as a piece of general knowledge, and it certainly influenced Herodotusbut, for better or for worse, he perfected them as an analytical tool and refined them to an unprecedented and still unsurpassed degree. I have no intention of lauding Thucydides for a perfect objectivity to which he never laid claim or of undercutting him for pursuing a chimerical goal.
I seek to emphasize at once both the boldness of his objectives and the degree to which he ruthlessly includes in his own narratives the problems and contradictions that he never resolved. No writer ever understood more deeply the impossibility of that quest. Machiavelli and Hobbes are regularly enlisted as intermediaries who, closer to us in time and culture than Thucydides, serve to bring the History into focus.
While I will have occasional recourse to these benchmark figures, I have chosen as a bridge William Tecumseh Sherman, the Union general who earned fame both as a strategist for his daring march from Atlanta to the sea and as a major figure in the development of modern war.
I mean, in part, to address a standard bias against figures such as Sherman in the study of Realpolitik—the British major general and military historian J. In chapter 3, I survey the raw cultural materials on which Thucydides would later build. I begin, however, not with the sophists of the fifth century but with the discourses of absolute power that appear already in Homer and Hesiod. For Herodotus, Sparta is a hegemonistic power, whose authority depends in large measure on the fact that it has only a limited will and ability to project power beyond its borders.
For Xenophon, Sparta defines itself. It does not depend so much upon the consent of its fellow Greeks as upon its ability to project military force and thus to compel respect. The change in attitude reflects the extent to which Thucydides had helped develop a new paradigm for power and authority.
In chapter 4, I argue that the debate between the Corcyraeans and the Corinthians at Athens is programmatic. First, the Corcyraean and Corinthian representatives illustrate the dynamics of gift and countergift as well as the value attached to gratitude and to accumulating over long periods of time moral debts on which individual subjects or whole city-states could draw. These ideas, however, enter the narrative only to be discarded.
Athens ignores the old conventions to which Corcyraeans and Corinthians alike point and demonstrates at the start of the History that it is a new kind of state with a different paradigm for human relations.
Where the Corcyraeans and the Corinthians see exchanges as embedded in long-term, ideally affective relationships, the Athenians analyze their dealings with other states as if they were simple market transactions: In subsequent chapters, I demonstrate that Thucydides uses much of book 1 to flesh out, in programmatic fashion, the revisionist principles that shape his work.
Thucydides marginalizes the importance of agriculture and of all material production. For him, the rise of agriculture and other arts is not the beginning of human civilization as it is for other authors of the fifth century.
Rather, he takes small farming and basic production as a given that has limited value of its own. For Thucydides, political stability is the true source of prosperity.
Human society did not develop because of material technology, but because powerful rulers were periodically able to yoke ever larger groups of states together into well-ordered imperial units. In chapter 6, I explore further the new paradigm of wealth that, for Thucydides, shapes events during the Peloponnesian War. I also examine the system of symbolic capital that had dominated traditional Greek relations.
For Thucydides, however, the Athenian empire was a radical departure: If the allies sought to break off their relations with Athens or to withhold tribute, the Athenians could bring overwhelming naval power to bear.
Where Sparta had exercised hegemony over its allies, Athens had constructed a system that could support domination and convert allies into subjects. In chapter 7, I pursue the consequences for human relations of the power politics described in chapter 4.
The traditional language of friendship and reciprocity is found throughout key passages of the History, but Thucydides gives his own slant to these traditional ideas. He introduces the mechanisms and assumptions of symbolic capital in order to demonstrate the inadequacy of such conceptual tools.
In particular, the often overlooked Mytilenean speech at 3. Furthermore, the critique of reciprocal relations that runs throughout the History is crucial to our understanding of the eloquent Spartan offer of peace in book 4.
Where the Spartans muster a sophisticated argument for the Athenians to show generosity and earn symbolic capital, the History as a whole and even the Spartan argument itself undercut the strength of such claims. In chapter 8, I examine the dilemma that Athens, this new kind of power, constitutes for Sparta, the traditionalist leading state in Greece.
Two distinct Spartan types—the old king Archidamos and the blunt government official Sthenelaidas—argue over how best to confront Athens. Archidamos clearly understands the fundamental difference between Athenian power, with its roots in the empire and in the coercive extraction of wealth by which to maintain a near-professional military force, and Spartan authority, with its reliance upon consensus and upon the willing support of many disparate and touchy allies.
Archidamos argues that Sparta should wait before declaring war and accumulate financial reserves of its own.
Sthenelaidas, by contrast, delivers a brief but furious harangue in which he calls for immediate action. Because Spartan power is qualitatively different from that of Athens, the Spartans must act decisively to dramatize their continuing good faith.