Thucydides vs Plato

2006 words 9 pages
Compare and contrast Thucydides’ and Socrates’ analyses of the fate of Athenian democracy in war, of why the Athenians went to war, and of how and why they failed.

The Peloponnesian War was the turning point in Athenian hegemony in Ancient Greece. It was fought in 431 B.C. between the Delian League, led by Athens, and the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. According to Thucydides, Athens’ imposing hegemonic status and its overwhelming quest for more power made the Peloponnesian War and Athens’s eventual fall from power inevitable. Despite the Athenians having a far more superior navy and being considerably wealthier, they were defeated and made subjects of Sparta. In this paper, I will discuss Thucydides’ and Socrates’ reasons for why
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However, Pericles himself was not prepared for the invisible enemy that was to come. The plague first broke out in the outer provinces of the Athenians empire. The summer following the first year of the war, the plague broke out in Athens as well. Doctors were powerless to stop it, so was any other form of science or human art. The plague was not exclusive to any age group or social class. Everyone in Athens got it from the youngest to the very old, from the servants to the very wealthy. Healthy or weak, the plague did not discriminate. The worst part, according to Thucydides was not the plague itself, but the attitude people adopted once they got ill. He said, “[the sick] would immediately adopt an attitude of utter hopelessness.” With this loss of hope came a loss of respect for the law. Athens fell into a state of chaos, not only because everyone was plague ridden but because, people thought they had very little time to live. “Thus they resolved to spend their money…on pleasure, since money and life alike seemed equally ephemeral.” This is was the turning point for Sparta in the war. The Athenians did not stand a chance in a city where “men [were] dying inside…and the land outside [was] being laid waste.” The Peloponnesians rarely caught the disease. Many times they fled a town for fear of catching the dreadful plague. It seemed like they were the only ones that were excused from it which


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