A reading of Thucydides’, Pericles’ Funeral Oration and The Melian Dialogue uncovers both contrasting and comparable viewpoints on Athenian politics, power, aims of war, and empire. Thucydides presents two differing characteristics of Athens, one as the civilizer in Pericles’ funeral oration and the other as an tyrant in the Melian dialogue. In the funeral oration delivered by Pericles during the first year of the war, the Athenian leader emphasizes the idealized personal image of the Athenians in regard to their constitution and good character. Pericles goes on to praise the Athenian democratic institution of Athens that contributes to their cities greatness; in Pericles’s own words, “The Athenian administration favors the many instead of few… they afford equal justice to all of their differences” (112, 2.37). This quote emphasizes the good character of the Athens’ to coax and encourage the Athenians to preserve and better their great empire into the future. On the other hand, in the Melian dialogue, this notion of justice and equality is irrelevant; one, because Athens compared to Melos, is the stronger of the two and thus, is more powerful. Further, Athens, will continue to acquire absolute power and build its empire by conquering Melos and whomever else stands in its way. Through Pericles’ funeral oration and the Melian dialogue, the following conclusions/themes will demonstrate both the changing and somewhat stable nature of Athenian policy with regards to empire,
Pericles takes time to laud democracy as a form of government. He believes the division of political power equally amongst citizens inevitably leads to laws that benefit the Athenian people as a whole. This in turn increase overall equality, and by extension, social mobility. Such a government is a just government in the eyes of Pericles, and thus, a shining example of Athenian superiority. “[Athens’] administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.” (2.37.1).
‘The Republic’ is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning about the order of justice, the order and character of just men and just city/states. The Republic is considered as the best known work of Plato and is considered one of the world’s most influential works of politics, history and philosophy. In this Socratic dialogue, Socrates discusses about the notions of justice and whether the just man is very happy when compared with his unjust, Athenian and foreign counterparts. Socrates considers the various facets of the existing regimes and proposes a series of hypothetical cities that are entirely different from his considerations. Such heated discussions result in the culmination of discussing kallipolis, a hypothetical city-state that was ruled by a philosopher king. In this paper, we are going to consider Socrates arguments about democracy by examining whether the concept of democracy always remains inconsistent with philosophical goals.
The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life” (Pericles’ Funeral Oration, Thucydides). In other words, it doesn’t matter what your social rank is, if you are a citizen of Athens, you have a right (and duty) to serve in the government. This is known as a direct democracy today, and it is where we, citizens of the United States, took inspiration for our current system of government. Pericles is right to praise the city-state in this regard, as its legacy still has effect on the world millenniums after its time.
1. When Caesar says that Cassius thinks too much, I agree. Cassius tends to look into the details and over think simple situations. He becomes very meticulous about how the group of the conspirators is organized. Also, while Cassius is the one who originally comes up with the idea of the conspiracy and that he wants Brutus to be in charge, he thinks through the plan, yet does not want to take responsibility. Cassius just about argues with himself, due to too many thoughts running through his mind. He thinks about so vile a thing as Caesar! But, O grief, where hast thou led me? I perhaps speak this before a willing bondman. Then I know my answer must be made. But I am armed and dangers to me
The funeral oration by Pericles is filled with instances in which he exhibits love for common good that surpasses individual benefit. According to Pericles, the Athenians illuminate qualities of people who are good and contribute to the benefit of their city because it is in fact great. In this case, it is possible for the reader to infer that common good can only be attained if the society in which individuals live is permissive of the same. Indeed, it is human nature to tend to feel the individual need and promote its good as opposed to what is good for the society in general. However, Pericles attempts to resolve this predicament of individual and common good by showcasing that people are capable for having such a collective form of thinking if they reside in a society that is permissive of the same. The inference can be gathered from the manner in which the orator describes Athens with so much awe. In his opinion, the city is to be admired because it is economically, socially, and politically great. There is a high level of democracy in Athens, so much so that anyone can wake up one day and decide to be a ruler. He regards the city as one to be admired by many, and in which the aspects of equality and
In Sparta, a state that has become the proverbial homeland of tradition in the eyes of the Greeks, change was never a welcome guest. Thus Thucydides’ account of the way the Spartans voted for the Peloponnesian war in 1.87 is surprising and almost alarming: after the traditional vote by shouting, the ephor Sthenelaidas, on the pretext that the first vote was too close to discern, called for a second one. For this second vote, following the ephor’s suggestion, the Spartans did not vote by shouting, as they had always done in the past, but rather “standing up they divided themselves, and those to whom the treaty appeared to have been violated turned out to be in the
When evaluating the government of ancient Athens, some might say that it was a democracy, however, it can be better described as an oligarchy: a form of government in which a small group of people has power and control (Doc. D by Mogens Herman Hansen). A democracy takes all the citizens’ opinions and thoughts into account, unlike an oligarchy that only takes the male citizens’ opinions and thoughts into account. Thus, Athens is more like an oligarchy than a democracy. The people of Athens also decide as a whole what the best thing for their city-state was, as opposed to a democracy where the people elect representatives to make decisions for them and their city-state. Athens was not truly a democracy because of the lack of basic democratic rules and methods such as what they define democracy as, who is able to vote, and how they vote.
When evaluating the government of ancient Athens, some might say that it was a democracy, however, it can be better described as an oligarchy: a form of government in which a small group of people has the power and control (Doc. D by Mogens Herman Hansen). A democracy takes all the citizens’ opinions and thoughts into account, unlike an oligarchy that only takes the male citizens’ opinions and thoughts into account. Thus, Athens is more similar to an oligarchy than a democracy. The people of Athens also decide as a whole what the best government for their city-state was, as opposed to a democracy where the people elect representatives to make decisions for them and their city-state. Athens could be seen as not a true democracy because of the lack of basic democratic rules and methods such as what they define democracy as, who is able to vote, and how they vote.
Spartan’s government was far superior to the government of Athens. Sparta had elements of an oligarchy. The two rulers were a piece of the administration for convention were the Council of Elders, or Gerousia, a gathering of twenty-eight Spartiate men and the two lords that who make charges, that the Assembly, or basic man, vote on. . There were broad governing rules to ensure that no part, or branch, turned out to be too intense. The Assembly was made out of each mature male in Sparta, yet hypothetically anyone could take part. They voted whether to pass bills into law, and against normal conviction, they could vote more than yes or no. These individuals from the Assembly were picked, by the fair evaluators, who sat in an alternate room and tuned in for the loudest cheer for every hopeful. This technique gave everyone a shot, and in the event that you truly needed a specific competitor, you could simply shout louder. The Ephors, were a gathering of five individuals, who settled on everyday choices, and were chosen yearly.
We want to listen to what they think; we need to know their opinion because every person has a whole different perspective of how things should be done, we have to let them know why is it important for them to attend Assembly. Those different perspectives can help in Assembly, every opinion can help change or improve the opinions of other people, that’s why we’ll need the opinions of the Athenian people. Now that we have seen our enemies destroy our town, trashed our values, and raped our women, now it’s the time to make this government different and we can change it by attending Assembly, not just for the money, but for the future generations of Athens. Some people at first won't attend Assembly due to the lack of education that they have; they will feel embarrassed to attend Assembly, but we have to let them know that we want their opinions and their perspectives based on the life experience that they all have had. We have to unify all social classes into Assembly, saying that no discrimination between classes can get away without expulsion of Assembly. As Plato states in The Republic ‘’ Then we would rightly say that the understanding of the one is knowledge since he knows, but that of the other is opinion, since he judges by appearances’’ (Pg.
My fellow Athenians, we have lost everything to the war against Sparta. I stand here before you to tell you about our monetary policy. It pains me to remind you that we have no money, but do not fear for I shall regain it. I have prayed to the gods over this matter, and I have finally written a new policy under their guidance. If you stand with me you will stand with the Oligarchs who have suffer terrible losses as you all have. Do you want our government’s money in the hands of a fool or in safe hands? Our city will not waste its time with people that don’t even know what they are doing, we shall pick the most qualified by vote.
In a time of turmoil and chaos following the death of our leader, one thing we Greeks need is stability and safety. Team Athena definitely had this is mind when crafting their argument. They stressed the possible consequence of rebellion if we were to rule over the
Even in the modern lives of us as human beings, it takes to go through a test in order to achieve a victory. In the old days, Greece existed as 2 city states. The city states were Athens and Sparta. Athens and Sparta often went to war with each other as to who would dominate the Greek world. The city of Athens had a great political system. You would think that if a place has a great political system, than they would be more domineering. Pericles was a statesman and orator during the time that Greece was in its golden age. Pericles made a statement and said ?Our constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people? (Spielvogel pg 45-46). Even Pericles believed in the people having a voice in the government. It is the people that will bring
“Because of the greatness of our city the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us; so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as our own.” First it can clearly be noted that Pericles is talking on behalf of the city-state of Athens, rather than on behalf of himself. This is demonstrated by his use of “ us”, “our” and “we” signifying the democracy of Athens as a whole. Secondly, Pericles continues to demonstrate a great deal of pride. He is acknowledging the success and excellence of Athens and uses a metaphor to describe the result of Athens’ greatness when he says “the fruits of the whole earth flow in upon us”. He goes on to say that “…. so that we enjoy the goods of other countries as freely as our own.” This is important, because Pericles is using this statement to argue that there is no need to change the style of government Athens has. Furthermore he is using logos and logical reasoning as if to say: Athens is doing great, and we are reaping the benefits of other countries as a result of the greatness of Athens. Why should Athens change the system of government when it favors everyone and is being carried out successfully?