The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles (Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World)

CLAS 1310: Daily Life in Ancient Greece (Pache)
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Rhodes n. In any case, the heliaia pre-dated the reforms of Ephialtes. For the system of dicasteries, see Hansen n. Download PDF sample. Skip to content. By Loren J. Samons II Mid-fifth-century Athens observed the improvement of the Athenian empire, the radicalization of Athenian democracy during the empowerment of poorer electorate, the adornment of the town via an immense and costly construction application, the classical age of Athenian tragedy, the meeting of intellectuals providing novel methods to philosophical and medical concerns, and the tip of the Spartan-Athenian alliance opposed to Persia and the start of open hostilities among the 2 maximum powers of historical Greece.

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Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World. Date Published. Publication Place. Ancient Greek society in general was extremely rivalrous, but nowhere was this competitiveness as publicly encouraged and institutionalized as at Lacedaemon. Greybeards vied for membership in the Gerousia, the Spartan council of elders. Greek Thinking about the Causes of Wars To investigate the origins of the Peloponnesian War is not only to trace the diplomatic history of the age of Pericles, but also to investigate the dynamics of Greek international politics, Greek thinking about why wars occur, and the ways in which that thinking was similar to and different from our own.

Thucydides, the historian of the war, is clear on why he thinks the war between Athens and Sparta broke out. Why on earth would the Spartans go to war with Athens over such things?

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But Greeks would have had far less trouble understanding this logic than we do: other Greek authors — and Thucydides in other passages — reveal the mechanics of causation that Thucydides rejected in this case. Wars result from perceived attempts to alter relative rank. The primary purpose of war over rank is revenge. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles r Desire for vengeance is increased by the recollection and reinterpretation or invention of previous incidents as other acts of hybris. Traditionally, revenge consists of victory in hoplite battle or ravaging the agricultural land of the enemy. As Donald Kagan showed in , Athenian power was not growing. At this time a war broke out between Argos and Mycenae for the following reasons. The Myceneans, because of the old worth axioma of their country, would not submit to the Argives, like the other cities of Argolis, but when they were given orders they alone paid them no heed.

And they disputed with the Argives about the temple of Hera, and thought themselves worthy to conduct the Nemean games. In sum, the Argives suspected them, fearing lest, if they grew more powerful, they would contend for the hegemonia, on account of the ancient pride of their city. The Argives, being estranged for these reasons aitiai , having been eager of old to raise up their city, and thinking that this was a good opportunity.

Athens and Sparta and the Coming of the Peloponnesian War The Argives and the Myceneans are rivals in rank: this rivalry is manifested especially in the religious sphere, with wrangling over tem- ples and games. The Argives think they have the right to give orders to the Myceneans; the Myceneans, thinking themselves equal in rank — Mycenae was the ancient seat of Agamemnon — refuse to defer, refuse to obey, refuse even to notice. This failure of deference — an insult — is a casus belli.

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The conventional Greek thinking represented here — the refusal of a proud state to defer to another that considers itself superior in rank, and this being considered a cause of war — provides a handy tool with which to understand the origins of the Peloponnesian War. The Spartans led the league by land and by sea, and their hegemonia was symbolized by their holding the honorable right of the line at the battle of Plataea Hdt. And this Athens was not prepared to do.

And then the author of the deceit, Themistocles, told the Spartans forthrightly — Thucydides tells us — that Athens would defer to Sparta no longer. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles towards them because of their zeal in the Persian War, but nevertheless, not getting what they wanted they were secretly vexed.

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The allies appealed to the Athenians to take the lead 1. A story swims up from the murk — centuries later, perhaps an invention — that the Spartans debated whether this Athenian supremacy at sea could be endured, and many Spartans thought not, arguing that it should be wrested from the Athenians by war; but no action was taken. Athens and Sparta and the Coming of the Peloponnesian War to the Spartans, after they and their league defeated the Persians at Eurymedon, destroying ships 1. Cimon Athenian politics imme- diately after the war was dominated by the rivalry of Cimon and Themis- tocles.

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Eventually Themistocles was exiled? Some years later? The Spartans besieged the helots at Mt. Ithome in Messenia and called for the help of their allies and friends, including the Athenians, who came in force under Cimon 1. But why the insult, when relations between Athens and Sparta had recently been so warm?

The two cities had dif- ferent senses of their relative rank.

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Cambridge Core - Classical Studies (General) - The Cambridge Companion to the Age of and Classics; Series: Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles (Cambridge Companions to the Ancient World) (): Loren Samons II: Books.

The Spartans were acting as supreme in rank, as hegemon. The alliance against the Persians that made their primacy manifest was still in force. Had not the Athenians sentenced Themistocles to death when the Spartans asked? Had not the Atheni- ans come to Ithome when the Spartans called? These were the actions of a deferential inferior, an inferior one could order home when con- venient, an inferior who would not be insulted by such treatment, or who, if insulted, would swallow its spleen. Athens came as an equal to Ithome — so even Cimon insisted.

Now Pericles began his ascent to predominance at Athens [Arist. The process of going to war over rank, as the Athenians were now doing, often involved both the reinterpretation of past dealings with the enemy as insults and the invention of grievances. In this light should be understood the odd tale that Thucydides tells of a secret Spartan agreement to invade Attica in support of the rebellion from the Athenian alliance of Thasos, an island in the northern Aegean 1.

Thucydides no doubt thought the story true, but it has all the signs of a manufactured casus belli: at once secret and stillborn, it was quite impossible to prove or disprove.

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Perhaps there had been communication between Thasos and Sparta. Athens and Sparta and the Coming of the Peloponnesian War after the dismissal of Cimon from Ithome it is easy to imagine the angry invention or elaboration of such contacts. But when the Athenians and their allies met the Spartans and their allies at Tanagra in Boeotia, the Spartans won, and reemphasized their superiority in rank by ravaging the land of Megara when they passed through it on their way home 1.

Aegina, an old enemy of Athens that had taken the Spartan side in this war, also surrendered to Athens 1. Nor had they invaded Attica in the years before Tanagra. Were they prevented by the Athenian possession of Megara cf. Why were the Spartans so passive?

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Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational Berkeley: University of California Press, , revolutionary in its time, still provides stimulating discussions of the nature of Greek beliefs. Patrologiae Graecae. The Argives, being estranged for these reasons aitiai , having been eager of old to raise up their city, and thinking that this was a good opportunity. These deities were widely honored, individually or in groups, throughout the Greek world. On this occasion the Spartans summoned their allies to deliberate about going to war with Athens, which means at least that powerful forces at Sparta were prepared to consider going to war themselves, if the essential aid of their allies could be secured. Yet we must avoid thinking from hindsight.

Looked at in terms of rank, they had no reason to be otherwise. This was a war the Athenians had undertaken in quest of revenge for an insult: it was for the Athenians to march into Laconia. At Tanagra Sparta vindicated that claim against an Athenian challenge, and with her supreme rank safe, felt no compelling reason to act subsequently. After Tanagra the Athenians raided around the coast of the Peloponnese and made a descent upon Laconia itself 1.

No sooner had the Spartans departed than the Athenians marched out and placed Delphi back in the hands of the Phocians, their allies 1. The Spartans had long enjoyed special privileges at Delphi, graven upon a bronze wolf: the Phocians granted the Athenians identical rights and carved them upon the same wolf Plut. As the last sands of the truce trickled out, much of Boeotia rebelled.