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Unformatted text preview: Athenian society demanded, of all its citizens, certain characteristics it deemed important. As viewed through the eyes of the Corinthians, Athenians were perceived as innovators because they were able to spot the problem and fix it immediately. More importantly Athenian culture dictated that all of its people possessed courage, devotion, pride, bravery, and above all, honor. Athenian society mandated that its members constantly lived a life committed to defending the honor of Athens. Although Athenian citizens prized these traits, Thucydides demonstrated that Athenians did not universally apply these positive standards to citizens beyond Athens. “The Debate at Sparta and Declaration of War” and “Pericles’ Funeral Oration” did illustrate all of the noble characteristics for which the Athenians prided themselves. However, “The Melian Dialogue” evidenced how the Athenians compromised their perceived model of the ideal citizen as it applied to foreigners by trying to persuade them to surrender . (Note: The guy I met with told me to be more specific here.) Readers gained their first perception on what it meant to be an Athenian through “The Debate at Sparta and Declaration of War.” The Corinthians explained that “an Athenian is always an innovator” because they wanted to set the precedent for all of the other cultures that surrounded Athens (Thucydides, CWT, p. 175). Athenians felt that the risks posed by daring innovation and exploration were exceeded by the potential rewards. Rewards that could one day add up to an empire. “While you [Spartans] are hanging back, they [Athenians] never hesitate; while you [Spartans] stay at home, they [Athenians] are always abroad” (Thucydides, CWT, p. 175). Athenians would capitalize on other cultures’ fears of other cutlers out there in the world by being proactive and expanding their territory outside of Athens. The Athenians were always optimistic despite the possibility of potential failure and always had alternative plans. “Suppose they fail in some undertaking; they make good the loss immediately by setting their hopes in 1 some other direction” (Thucydides, CWT, p. 176). some other direction” (Thucydides, CWT, p....
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 111 taught by Professor Joshel during the Fall '08 term at University of Washington.
- Fall '08