Friday, February 6, 2009

Ancient Greece - Readings

Reading: The Funeral Oration.
"Our government does not copy our neighbors', but is an example to them."

"And, if I am to speak of womanly virtues to those of you who will henceforth be widows, let me sum them up in one short admonition: To a woman not to show more weakness than is natural to her sex is a great glory, and not to be talked about for good or for evil among men."

Pericles' great speech to re-affirm why Athens is at war (from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War).

Reading: The Melian Dialogue.
"... the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

The Athenian give the Melians a dose of harsh city-state politics. (from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War).

Reading: Socrates' Proposal for his Sentence. (second last section)
"And so he proposes death as the penalty. And what shall I propose on my part, O men of Athens? Clearly that which is my due... I say that maintenance in the Prytaneum is the just return."

The jury expects Socrates to beg that his sentence be reduced from death to exile. Instead, he argues for "maintenance in the Prytaneum*". (from: Plato's Apology).

*The Prytaneum was a public hall where dinners would be held for diplomats and Olympic Champions at the state's expense. Essentially, with his life on the line, Socrates proposes his punishment should be free dinners for life for the service he provides to Athens by asking difficult questions.

Reading: Rhampsinitus and the Thief

"As he spoke, the princess caught at him, but the thief took advantage of the darkness to hold out to her the hand of the corpse. Imagining it to be his own hand, she seized and held it fast; while the thief, leaving it in her grasp, made his escape by the door."

This is the story that amused me. It's a longer tale found a little more than halfway through Book II of Herodotus' The Histories. Search the text for the name Rhampsinitus (from Herodotus: The Histories).

No comments: