Ancient Greece notes - March 9, 2011-1

Ancient Greece notes - March 9, 2011-1 - Ancient Greece...

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Ancient Greece notes March 9, 2011 -This and next week we’ll work on the Peloponnesian War. After Spring Break we’ll look at Greek tragedy and comedy. Over the next few weeks, start trying to think about the relationship between the primary sources we’ll be looking at, particularly Plutarch’s Lives , Thucydides, and the plays, and think about the way they connect with what Stockton is trying to explain about the Athenian system. Think about these in two ways: -the narrative sources (Plutarch and Thucydides) provide us with things that are going on. Think about the counter-point between what Plutarch and Thucydides say about the figures: are they commensurate portraits, are there fundamental differences between the descriptions, etc. -In terms of the plays, what do they tell us about how the Athenians understood significant political questions? Athenian drama is set within a religious context, but it is also deeply political. -We need to aim for an understanding of the Athenian political culture. How does the Athenian state operate? Political culture is the ‘rules of the game’ that define how politics is conducted, but also how people conceive of events and political ideas. How do the Athenians conceive of major political issues? -The Greek World (PowerPoint): -Athenian democracy begins developing under Solon’s reforms around 590 (Stockton says around 570). Solon is a character masked in myth. We have much firmer evidence of the dates for the Peisistratid Tyranny (ancient historiographers dated the Greek and Roman revolutions at around the same time). Cleisthenes’ reforms established a ‘stable’ Athenian democracy. -The new Athenian regime has its first ‘test’ via the first Persian War. The Athenians make a flawed decision to get involved in the Ionian rebellion and get involved also in the first and second Persian Wars (Xerxes 486-465, Thermopylae 480, Salamis 480). -In terms of geographical expanse, the Persian Empire is immense, but it’s ungovernable,
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Ancient Greece notes - March 9, 2011-1 - Ancient Greece...

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