The Peloponnesian War - 1 Nichole Leese Hist. 205 10-24-06...

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Nichole Leese Hist. 205 10-24-06 The Peloponnesian War And the breakdown of order As seen in his descriptions of the plague and the Corcyrean Revolution, the collapse of order is a recurring concern of Thucydides. As a result of the disorder, the society’s values became dishonourable and self-indulgent. They began acting in ways not previously seen, neglecting their duties to their gods and fellow citizens, becoming hedonistic and vengeful. Though the Corcyrean Revolution and the plague differ in many ways, the way in which Thucydides presents the occurrences, as well as the disorder they created and their effects on the character of Greek society were very much the same. During times of peace, Greek civilization was governed by the rules of society, its beliefs, and their individual sense of honor. “That all people should be morally accountable for their actions” was also a common characteristic of Greek society (eawc.Evansville.edu). The people of Greece always acted honorably, those who were able and had the resources cared for the ill and less fortunate. When some one died, they took the necessary steps to insure that the deceased had a proper funeral ceremony. It was in their belief system to help and care for others, and it was unusual for anyone to ignore the social facts. Though it was infrequent, those who did not adhere to the traditions were seen as dishonorable. 1
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Nichole Leese Hist. 205 10-24-06 During the time of the plague, however, the character of their society began to crumble. Seeing the multitudes of people who had died, and those still fighting the disease, they began to ignore the laws and virtues that had previously governed them. As for what is called honour, no one showed himself willing to abide by its laws, so doubtful was it whether one would survive to enjoy the name for it. It was generally agreed that what was both honourable and valuable was the pleasure of the moment and everything that might conceivably contribute to that pleasure. No fear of god or law of man had a restraining influence (Thucydides,History,Warner,London,1972,p.155). The society no longer worried about right or wrong, instead they were concerned with their own personal satisfaction, with no thought to the repercussions. Honor no longer held any power over their actions; people stopped caring for the welfare of others, and instead focused their attention on themselves. During the plague, most citizens refused to
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course HIST 205 taught by Professor ? during the Fall '07 term at Michigan State University.

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The Peloponnesian War - 1 Nichole Leese Hist. 205 10-24-06...

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