Greece and Persia: The Treaty of Antalcides, 387 BCE
Artaxerxes II of Persia (404-358 BCE) ruled the Persian-dominated lands from India to Egypt. However, on the western flank, the Persian
Empire had waged intermittent war with the Greeks for over a century. Although the Greeks were no threat, the Persians were irritated by their
constant interference with the affairs of Asia Minor. The Persians developed a policy of "divide and conquer" by giving help to weaker city
states fighting against other more powerful states; typically Athens or Sparta. In the case of Artaxerxes II, he helped Sparta against Athens,
bringing about a peace settlement in the Treaty of Antalcides in the year 387 BCE.
Why is the treaty so short?
How does the length relate to its tone?
Is the dividing line between Asia and Greece geographical or political?
'The king, Artaxerxes, deems it just that the cities in Asia, with the islands of Clazomenae and Cyprus, should belong to himself; the rest of
the Hellenic cities he thinks it just to leave independent, both small and great, with the exception of Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros, which three are
to belong to Athens as of yore. Should any of the parties concerned not accept this peace, I, Artaxerxes, will war against him or them with
those who share my views. This will I do by land and by sea, with ships and with money."
Pericles' Funeral Oration
In his magisterial
History of the Peloponnesian War
(431-404 BCE), Thucydides could speak with authority and precise analysis. Born around
460 in Athens, he had caught the Plague that beset the city in 430, served as one of its generals in 424, and, despite his exile after 424,
followed events in Athens and the Greek world generally for the next twenty years. He claims to have begun taking notes for his
when it started, because he knew "that it was going to be a great war and more worth writing about than any of those which had taken place in
the past." Devoted to the memory of Pericles, the city's guiding spirit throughout most of the mid-S^-century and the statesman who had led it
into war, Thucydides reconstructed a speech Pericles had spoken over the Athenian dead in the war's first year. [The bones of some of these
dead were recently discovered, and the forensic scientists involved were profiled in
magazine (March/April 2000).] The speech
encapsulates what Pericles believed to have been Athens' greatest accomplishments and characteristics during his lifetime.
Were any of the virtues Pericles attributes to his fellow Athenians contradicted by their behavior in the
Compare this speech with the Gettysburg Address given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Are
there any common themes between the two speeches?
In the same winter the Athenians, following their annual custom, gave a public funeral for those who had been the first to die in the war.