Readings for Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War

January 30, 2015

Next week we are reading excerpts from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. You can find the “Funeral Oration” here, and the “Account of the Plague in Athens” here. We will be reading them for Tuesday. For those feeling ambitious, you should also read Pericles’ War Speech (This is a PDF; it is Thucydides’ account of the speech Pericles gave to the Athenians before the war started). You can also find the unabridged versions of Tuesday’s readings here and here. The unabridged versions contain interesting context, particularly for those interested in some of the events of the war.

The “Melian Dialogue” (to be discussed on Thursday) is here.


Links to the Readings on Thucydides

February 2, 2013

Next week we are reading excerpts from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. You can find the “Funeral Oration” here, and the “Account of the Plague in Athens” here. We will be reading them for Tuesday. Just for fun, here’s another translation.

The “Melian Dialogue” (to be discussed on Thursday) is here.


Reading questions on “The Melian Dialogue”

February 2, 2011

Since the reading is quite short, questions will be too.

(1) What is the first thing the Athenians tell the Melians as they begin the debate?

(2) Is the dialogue a debate? Why or why not?

(3) How do the Melians attempt to defend their position? What specific arguments do they use?

(4) What reasons do the Athenians present for explaining why they are unconvinced by the Melians’ arguments?

(5) Does the Athenian position square with the virtues described in “Pericles’ Funeral Oration”? Explain your answer.

(6) Which side do you think has the better argument?

 


Reading questions for Thucydides, part 1

January 30, 2011

I am having technical difficulties, so I will not be able to do full reading questions right now. I will do an update as soon as I can . For now, you can work on these.

**Update: the remaining questions are now up

(1)  We’ll start with the “Funeral Oration.”  What are some of the ritual practices Thucydides mentions in the opening paragraph?  What do you suppose they mean?  How do they differ from contemporary practices of mourning the war dead?

(2)  What do you suppose is the general function of a funeral oration of this sort?  Try to think of a few different ones.

(3)  What are some of the characteristics that Pericles cites as essential to Athenian culture?

(4)  What does Pericles suggest the Athenian soldiers died for?  Did they die for their fellow citizens’ freedom?

(5)  How does Pericles suggest that his audience mourn?  What does his advice tell us about what he thinks makes life worth living?  How does his position differ from contemporary understandings?

(6) What are some of the main consequences Thucydides describes about the plague in Athens?

(7) Are there any parallels between the the consequences Thucydides describes and the virtues Pericles ascribes to the Athenians?

(8) Both the “Funeral Oration” and the “Account of the Plague in Athens” were written as part of Thucydides famous book, The History of the Peloponnesian War. In the original book, these two portions of the text occur side by side (the Funeral Oration is first, then the account of the plague). Why do you think Thucydides put them side by side?


Readings for Feb. 2 and Feb. 3

January 28, 2011

Next week we are reading excerpts from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. You can find the “Funeral Oration” here, and the “Account of the Plague in Athens” here. Just for fun, here’s another translation of it.

The “Melian Dialogue” (to be discussed on Thursday) is here.