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Sunday, February 17, 2019

088 - Thucydides and Periclean Politics



In this episode, we discuss the life, influences, drawbacks, and positives of the “Father of Scientific History”, Thucydides (ca. 460-395 BC); the nature of Athenian politics and of political organizations in the time of Pericles; and the domestic political scene in Athens in the late 440s and early 430s BC, including the ideological clash between Pericles and the conservative Thucydides (not the historian) and the series of personal and judicial attacks on Pericles and his three closest associates (Phidias, Aspasia, and Anaxagoras)

447 BC - the decree of Pericles authorized the immediate use of 5,000 talents (and a further 3,000 talents later) on his building program; the building of the Parthenon began
444 BC - the pro-democratic Pericles and pro-oligarchic Thucydides clashed multiple times in the ekklesia over the way that Pericles was spending state money, as he considered it immoral to use allied phoros to finance an Athenian building program
443 BC - the Athenians voted to ostracize Thucydides over Pericles; possible date of the Old Oligarch's The Constitution of the Athenians
440 BC - Aspasia and Pericles had a son (Pericles the Younger) out of wedlock
440-439 BC - The Samian war; Aspasia became very unpopular as it was believed that she persuaded Pericles to intercede on behalf of her home city, Miletus, against Samos
438 BC - Phidias completed his great statue of Athena Parthenos for the Parthenon that was worth 100 talents of gold and ivory
437 BC - Draconides moved a decree, requiring Pericles to deposit the financial accounts for his building program with the Prytaneis of the Boule; Pericles' enemies prosecuted Phidias unsuccessfully for embezzlement but successfully on a charge of impiety for representing himself and Pericles on the shield of the statue of Athena Parthenon; Aspasia was also charged with impiety (unsuccessfully) on unspecified grounds; Diopeithes brought forward a decree, authorizing that atheism and "teaching about the heavens" were to be considered public crimes, probably directed against the philosopher Anaxagoras

Greek wordsphilia (political friendship), phoros (tribute), misthophoria (the payment for public service), emmisthos polis (a city of wage-earners), stasis (ideological clash/civil war between factions), kaloikagathoi (the noble and the good), aristoi (the best men), eugeneis (the well-born), gnorimoi (the notables), chrestoi (the useful), ochlos (the mob), penetes (the poor), poneroi (the worthless), phauloi (the vulgar), deiloi (the cowardly), bema (the platform from which orators spoke in the Athenian assembly), kurios (legal protector)

Primary Sources: 
Marcellinus' Life of Thucydides
Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War (Book 1)




Supplementary Resources (Photos, Videos, Other Podcasts)

Video/Thucydides - Another Father of History?




File:Thucydides-bust-cutout ROM.jpg


File:Pericles.jpg

Photo/Ostrakon Bearing Pericles' Name

File:AGMA Ostrakon Périclès.jpg


File:1868 Lawrence Alma-Tadema - Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends.jpg


File:Aspasie Pio-Clementino Inv272.jpg

History in the Making Episode 14 Helen of Athens - "A lone woman comes to Athens. In a span of six years she somehow becomes a household name. Meanwhile, Athens tries to find some more permanent peace solution with Sparta as they face rebellions across their territory. The first existential threat that Athens has had to face in decades is beginning to show its face. This episode covers approximately 450 BC – 440 BC."

 

History in the Making Episode 15 The Shrinking World - "The Greek world is getting smaller. Athens and Sparta are the sole dominating powers in Greece and cities are forced to consider what sides they will choose. The grandeur of Athens continues to allure as their wealth and power are demonstrated at the 4 year Panathenaic Festival while Sparta grapples for peace. It’s time to choose what side to join. This episode covers approximately 440 BC - 432 BC."

 

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