Classical Greece


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The Impact of Socrates:

1)View on his death:

"Even when Socrates is in prison under sentence of execution, the authorities allow large groups of his friends to visit him and discuss with him such questions as whether he should escape, and the nature of life after death. Finally Socrates drinks the hemlock, and his limbs alowly lose sensation as he converses peacefully and rationally."

2)Classical Greek Philosophy:

"The most important facts about Socrates were that he lived, uncomprimisingly for philosophy; and that he was put to death on anti-intellectual grounds, the charges being that he introduced new divinities and corrupted the youth. It is plausible that behind this lay unspoken political motives, since Socrates had associated with many of the aristocrats who had overthrown the democracy, but the dislike was in past geniunely anti - philosphical. Socrates remained for Plato the prototype of the person unconditionally commited to philosophy; his conception of philosphy changed, but never his convictions of the imporatnce of Socrates example."

3)A Sophist View of Socrates:

"Antiphon approached Socrates with intention of taking his companions away from him, and int heir presence spoke as follows: 'Socrates, I always thought that philosophers ought to become happier people; but you seem to me to have derived the opposite from philosophy. At all events, you live in such a way that not even a slave under a master would be able to endure; your food and drink are of the poorest kind, and you not only wear a poor cloak, but wear the same one summer and winter, and always go barfoot and without a tunic. Besides you won't take money, which gladdens its receivers and makes those who posses it live more freely and pleasantly. The teachers of other occupations try to make their studnets imitate themselves, but if you are disposed to make your companions do that, you must think yourself a teacher of misery.'....'You seem to think, Antiphon, that happiness comprimises luxury and extravagance; but my view is that wanting nothing is divine, and to want as little as possible comes closest to the divine, and as that which is divine is supreme, that which approaches nearest to the divine is nearest to the supreme. "

The Impact of Pericles:

1)His Acievements:

" Even so Pericles' own achievement is clear. He held the Athenian democracy on course when it was at its height, successful in politics in wat, int he arts. By interpreting his own personality between the realities of political existence, and the unstable nature of the Athenian democratic system, Pericles was able to direct the city when ut reached its peak."

2)On His Aristocratic Independence:

" In his aristocratic independence he pursued policies which he had decided were right, and, instead of anticipating the desires of the people, tried first to intill into them his own principles. This reflected his moral integrity, of which his famous incorruptibility in money matters was but another sign. In a democratic age he kept a high detachment which smacked of a more select society. This marks almost everything that we know about him and separates him decisively from his successors in directing the destinies of Athens."

3)Plutarch on Pericles Philosophical Training:

"...a lofty spirit and an elevated mode of speech, free from the vulgar and knavish- tricks of mob- orators, but also a composed countenance that gave way to laughter, a dignity of carriage and retraint in the arrangement of his clothing which no emotion was allowed to disturb while he was speaking, a voice that was evenly controlled, and all the other characteristics of this sort which so impressed his hearers."

4) Alkibiades teaching Perikles:

" ' Tell me, Perikles,' he asked,'could you teach me what a law is?' 'Why, cartainly,' replied Perikles. ' Then please teach me,' said Alkibiades. 'For whenever I hear men being cmmended for observing laws, I htink that no one can justly obtain this praise with knowing what a law is.'....'Everything, I think,' replied Perikles,' that a person compels someone else to do with persuasion, whether by enactment or not, is force rather than law."

Significance of the Peloponnesian War:

1)Thucycides Explanation:

"...the truest explanation, least uttered, was - I think - that the Athenians growing great and frightening the Spartans made war inevitable. On the other hand, the accusations made openly on both sides, on the basis of which they dissolved the peace treaty and went to war, were as follows..."

2)First Decade of the War:


"The Peloponnesians started by invading Attica. According to plan, Pericles allowed the Attican countryside, whcih was difficult to defend, to be devastated, and evacuated the inhabitants behind the new city walls. There they could be provisioned becuase Athenian supremacy on the seas could guarantee the necessary import of food and supplies. The plan worked, and it is probable that new invasions thereafter would have been equally unsucessful. But as a result of the overcrowded conditions in Athens, a terrible plague broke out in 430 B.C., which killed a third of the population. Pericles himself was a vicitm the following year.

3) Sparta and Athens on the Breakdown of the Delian League:


"But more and more the decisions of a protective alliance not only on defense but on other matters fell into the hands of its powerful member, Athens. So did what was supposed to be a common treasury. Contributions for the maintenance of the Athenian navy in mutual defense soon became tribute money....This bred rebellion. Athens and Sparta split from each other. Each organized a rival bloc. Smaller states turned to Sparta for protection against Athens, and to Athens for protection against Sparta. The Hellenic world was split in two, and the next great armed struggle int eh fifth centuary was between these two rival combinations. This culminated in the long and ruinous Peloponnesian war.

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