In chapter 53 of book 2, Thucydides describes the surrounding circumstances of a plague that had struck Athens during the Peloponnesian War. The situation he presents is of utter despair and chaos. People began to become completely careless of everything because death was rampant throughout their lands (2. 52. 2). Sacred temples were desecrated with dead bodies and traditional burial rites were abandoned due to the excess of corpses (2. 52. 3).
The number of free men in Laconia who were not Spartans was increasing at an alarming rate. In the early 421, the number of neodamodies was around one thousand, helots were the people who battled in the Spartan army, they were awarded their freedom and rewarded with a piece of land, by 396 they were around two thousand. Another group consisted of bypomeiones, these are men who were born to a Spartan group, went through the Spartan structure of education and they had qualified as Spartan citizens but their poverty status disallowed them from donating their share to the regular meals. Hence they were disqualified from respect, citizenship and honor. Mothakes was another group; it included people like, Lysander, Gylippus and Callicratidas who participated greatly in the Peloponnesian war. The only hope for these men who were viewed as inferior to reach a point of eminence and honor was only through military occupation. This helped them to gain enormous wealth so as to acquire economic foundation to be admitted as a citizen or to a mess. The best opportunity for them was to destroy the Athenian empire in the Aegean because it offered a good chance to obtain wealth for the victorious Spartans and the leaders were to be honored as well. Those who did not have a way to obtain citizenship gained it through warfare. People such Lysander and Gylippus who had citizenship but their positions of respect and honor were downplayed by their inferior origins, wished to advance their condition by conquering in the war. All these men provided an authoritative pressure for more aggressive and forward strategy than was usual for Spartan (Kagan, 1991, pp 11-13).
Believing that their lives would not last long, people began to openly engage in activities that were previously kept hidden and quick and easy satisfactions became the only thing that people sought after (2. 53). According to Thucydides, honor had lost all meaning and fear of god or any man was no longer a restraint (2. 53. 2). This is clearly indicative of the idea that war is a violent teacher. In other words, the plague that was brought on during the Peloponnesian War had reduced the Athenians to sheer necessity and as a result, people began to act on baser impulses.
Most criticism falls somewhere between these two poles. Some schoalars have suggested, for example, that Thucydides's notion of history may itself have allowed for a sense of accuracy not at odds with bias. Along these lines, most critics agree that Thucydides presents his readers with two causes of the Peloponnesian war, one of which he considers superficial and the other, "real." While there were a series of diplomatic exchanges between Athens and Sparta regarding the allegiance of certain city-states that led up to the conflict, Thucydides suggests that the larger force at work was Sparta's fear of Athens' imperial expansion. Much of his analytical method and his careful accuracy is aimed, as most critics agree, toward uncovering this underlying cause, so that the image of a "scientific" Thucydides is often synonymous with the image of a Thucydides committed to a particular view of history. Moreover, some scholars contend that Thucydides' objectivity necessarily had certain viewpoints built into it, since the very definition of "history" in his era is based on certain assumptions about which there is still debate.
The Peloponnesian War - Essay - Term Papers, Book …
Could the Peloponnesian War been avoided? I believe the war was certain. Sparta and Athens could not compromise with each other and risk being conquered by the other state. If Athens kept the truce, would Sparta have joined its allies in war anyway? I believe Sparta would have chosen to attack Athens regardless of communication. Since Sparta fears Athens power, it is doubtful that they will trust Athens to not be aggressive towards their state. Perhaps the Peloponnesian War could have been avoided. The leaders of Sparta and Athens could have discussed the situation in Epidamnus. Together they could have provided some resolutions and an end to the civil war. Each side remained fearful of the other holding too much power. I agree with Thucydides that in the end the war was inevitable, and Athens’ aggressions and greed was certain to end their reign.
the peloponnesian war - Essay by Pwalsh89
Thankfully, along comes Jim Lacey to save a complacent war-college professorate from our “mentality” that “things are fine as they are.” There’s just one problem with his tale of discovery and redemption. We and our illustrious predecessors in Newport have been teaching the Peloponnesian War for forty-plus years, since Adm. Stansfield Turner, then the president of the Naval War College, instituted a .
Indeed, reading the whole thing represents the basic, minimum, irreducible requirement for teaching the Peloponnesian War effectively. And, because Thucydides thoughtlessly neglected to carry the story down to Athens’ fall in 404 BC, we assign another primary source, , to complement Thucydides’ chronicle. A to complement Thucydides and Xenophon, and we’re set for the writing of essays and for informed discussion in seminars.
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Meantime Peloponnesian army continued intrusions into Attica. A turning point during military operations was reached in the year 425, when Athenians succeeded to seize Pylos and to take prisoner the representatives of the noblest families. But this success was weakened by the defeat of Athenians in a battle near the city Delil and the return actions of the Spartan war-lord when he succeeded to obtain falling off from Athens a row of their allies.