Thucydides Book 1 call

Folks,

We have our next call – on Book 1 –

Saturday, 3/11 @ 12PM New York Time (9AM California Time)
1-800-615-2900
1-661-705-2005 (for callers outside the USA and Canada)
code: 11215

What do you think so far?

Phil

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1 Response to Thucydides Book 1 call

  1. March 10, 2006 at 01:00 PM says:

    <p>My plan is to make the call, but there is a chance that I won’t (we have house guests this weekend).</p><p>In case I don’t here are a couple of quick thoughts on book one that I will send to you because I am not yet sure of the etiquette of sending to the broader list and feel I would be derailing the thread that was started vs adding to it:</p><p>1. Corinthians are Book 1’s "bad guys." Thinking about the points made earlier that Greek rhetoric is very deliberate and careful — it seems to me they are clearly being painted as the instigators and without them cooler heads (at least in Sparta) might have prevailed. While Thucydides does appear to give Athens a health share of the blame, they come off much less as agitating for war. They may be proud and jealous of their position, but seem less to be gunning for a fight. After their initial intervention in the North and the Athenian’s attempt to careful block it short of all out war, the Corinthians are the ones goading the more cautious Spartans on. This makes sense not only because of the initial entanglement between Corinth and Athens, but also because Corinth is a fellow (and rival) naval/trading city and therefore would have much to gain by a humbling of the Athenians. In addition, the Corinthian Isthmus borders on Athenian lands, so in addition to trading and overseas tension, there was the possibility for friction between the two that was not possible with the more remote Sparta. As for Thucydides, who admits to having speakers say what they ought say, the same rivalries described above would be mirrored from the Athenian perspective – T would expect the Corinthians to behave this way and would logically seem them as the true rivals of Athenians hiding behind the Spartan Hoplites.</p><p>2. 21st century bias. I wonder if (and where) T is trying to convey one thing and we take away a different meaning? By that I mean our world view must be decidedly different from his. All of us (including me) drew analogies to more modern events that carry heavy connotations in our minds (WWI, the current conflict in Iraq). T’s views on the points he is making may be different from what we are reading. For example, I tended to see the Athenians as high handed and perhaps asking for war. That may have been exactly the message T was trying to convey. But perhaps all the historical description of why Athens was forced to look outward, of the danger of the 2nd largest navy getting control of the 3rd, etc was meant not only to excuse Athens behavior but to go a step forward and make us see Athens as the victim? That is not what I came away with and may not have been T’s intention at all. But I am sure there will be places where the author and his 21st century readers don’t end up on the same page (so to speak!).</p><p>Rob<br></p>

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