"The History of the Peloponnesian War"
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This paper discusses how in "The History of the Peloponnesian War" Thucydides produces a detailed account of the cultural context of Athens at the time of the Peloponnesian War, many ideas of which illuminated themes of drama in his time. The paper looks at how his historical account and analysis of the time echoes Aeschylus' praise of Athenian reason in civilized Hellenic culture and how Thucydides went further, providing numerous ideas of political science and philosophy through his historiography, and thus illuminated greater questions of deeper levels than his predecessors. The paper concludes that Thucydides great achievement was not only the presentation of Athenian culture and drama in a historical context, but the very establishment of Western thought.
From the Paper:"The Mytilenian debate between Cleon and Diodotus, of impulse against caution and violence against peace, can also be viewed as a battle between the tendencies of traditional vengeance and the more contemporary inclination towards reason and argumentative debate, as portrayed in Aeschylus's The Eumenides. In the same way that Thucydides brings many political theories to light through the Mytilenian debate, Aeschylus illustrates many conflictual topics, such as the clash of religion and law. The vengeful chthonic gods of Athenian religion are pitted against Athenian law and trial by jury. This follows the conflict of the traditional world of oikos and predominance of the family and the new society of polis and the predominance of state. The influential decline of the traditional chthonic world of vengeance and traditional values, enforced by females, illustrates the patriarchal society that Athenian wisdom creates and the fall of female power, in contrast with the greater equality enjoyed by women of militant Sparta. "
Sample of Sources Used:
- Aeschylus. Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides). Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953.
- Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Trans. Rex Warner. New York: Penguin, 1954.
Cite this Book Review:
"The History of the Peloponnesian War" (2009, December 30) Retrieved September 26, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-history-of-the-peloponnesian-war-118050/
""The History of the Peloponnesian War"" 30 December 2009. Web. 26 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-history-of-the-peloponnesian-war-118050/>