Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War/Meetings/2008-February-23

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This is the chat from our meeting on 23rd February 2008 in #thucydides about Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War.

People joining the chat: Daan, Erkan Yilmaz, myrmikonos, pietrodn

topics to discuss for this meeting

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14:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so Daan_ how about we start with the meeting :-)
14:18 <Daan_>Shall we start telling the contents of the text?
14:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
14:18 <Daan_>Here are my notes:
14:19 <Daan_> Themes for discussion on 23 february [edit]
14:19 <Daan_>The text for this meeting is a bit like a frame story.
14:19 <Daan_> * The present is the year 432/431 at the start of the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Both sides know that war is inevitable but the fighting has not started yet. It is the silence before the storm. Both Sparta and Athens send messengers to each other to insult each other (using religious reasons: curses) and to convince each other to be just. Questions:
14:19 <Daan_> o What is the role religion plays at the start of this war?
14:19 <Daan_> o How sincere is the appeal to give freedom to the Greeks?
14:19 <Daan_> o Both Pericles, the leader of Athens, and the king of Sparta (earlier in the text) describe the strengths of their country compared to the other. The speeches contradict eachother.
14:19 <Daan_> * The background of the curses are explained in great length, especially the story behind the Spartan Pausanias and the Athenian Themistocles, leaders of the Greeks during the Greco-Persian Wars. Pausanias wanted to become the governor of a Greek province, as part of the Persian Empire and Themistocles was accused of being in league with Pausanias.
14:19 <Daan_> o The text indicates that there was some Greek support for making Greece part of the Persian Empire.
14:19 <Daan_> o The rule of law in Sparta.
14:19 <Daan_> o The respect for the king of Persia. Both Macedon and Persia were kingdoms, yet Thucydides simply says 'the king' when referring to the king of Persia. Persia has a strong appeal to Pausanias.
14:19 * Erkan_Yilmaz reads
14:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>done

What is the role religion plays at the start of this war?

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14:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so as you say the text about the religious probs was quite long, aphorisms: 126-138
14:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and then the Athenian discussion about war decision was until 146
14:22 <Daan_>Well, Thucydides gives a very long explanation of the curses.
14:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, but I liked them
14:22 <Daan_>Especially the cuse due to the murder of Pausanias in a holy temple in Sparta.
14:22 <Daan_>Me too.
14:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, people are quite tricky to avoid "probs"
14:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but he died actually outside the temple :-)
14:23 <Daan_>That is true.
14:23 <Daan_>So, there wasn't actually a curse.
14:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>people still were near him when he died, aren't they good people ? (sarcasm)
14:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>no curse - I am not sure - the oracle from Delphi told to bury him where he died and to scarifice 2 humans
14:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but as I understood they sacrificed 2 statues ?
14:24 <Daan_>Well, in those days that kind of goodness didn't exist.
14:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>at least it i snot written
14:24 <Daan_>I will read it.
14:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I 134 (in my book version)
14:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>"But the god at Delphi afterwards ordered the Lacedaemonians to remove the tomb to the place of his death--where he now lies in the consecrated ground, as an inscription on a monument declares--and, as what had been done was a curse to them, to give back two bodies instead of one to the goddess of the Brazen House. So they had two brazen statues made, and dedicated them as a substitute for Pausanias."[1]
14:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>
14:26 <Daan_>They took the roof of the building.
14:27 <Daan_>Yes, that is the right one.
14:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I am not sure, but perhaps they see this as the curse ? because they didn't give back two real humans ?
14:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what do you say ?
14:27 <Daan_>Yes, that is right.
14:28 <Daan_>So, in Greece if you didn't observe the rules of the gods, than you would be cursed.
14:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah
14:28 <Daan_>And both Athens and Sparta reminded eachother of eachothers curses.
14:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the question is: what did the curse have an effect ?
14:28 <Daan_>Question is were they really religious.
14:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>in the text it is told that the Spartans for killing the helots were send an earthquake by teh Gods
14:29 <Daan_>Bad luck, perhaps.
14:29 <Daan_>Yes.
14:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>to the question you told
14:30 <Daan_>A bit like the earthquakes in Israel, which were blamed to liberalizing homosexuality laws by orthodox Jews.
14:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I remember a passage where Pericles friends were accused to also give bad light on him on religious matters and there it is told that he always did go to the religious services
14:30 <Daan_>In the beginning of the text, Thucydides says that certain natural disasters happened due to the war, so he probably was religious.
14:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, if it is asked form Athenian politicians to do this, I guess the demos had an high interest in this religious things
14:31 <Daan_>Yes.
14:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, the question then is: when did the people during the war lose their religion ? because they did quite many bad things - killing people who surrendered already
14:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and such
14:32 <Daan_>They were not christians.
14:32 <Daan_>Greeks even sacrificed living people.
14:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>perhaps we must difference between normal people not involved in war activities and warriors and politicians and so on
14:32 <Daan_>Because they thought they were ordered by the gods.
14:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and who tells them what God wants ?
14:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the priests ?
14:32 <Daan_>Tradition.
14:32 <Daan_>Stories.
14:32 <Daan_>Common knowledge.
14:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but when I see the stories, there are also Gods, who don't act as other Gods do
14:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so you could actually everything blame on Gods decisions .-)
14:33 <Daan_>That is true.
14:33 - Olando joined
14:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>hi Olando
14:33 <Daan_>No, because they could punish you.
14:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ciao Olan
14:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>tsts
14:34 <Daan_>And gods are divded amongst eachother, a bit like the humans are divided as well.
14:34 <Daan_>He was looking for someone?
14:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I am not sure, he was from Italian WP as it seems
14:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, back again .-)
14:35 <Daan_>Death and murder weren't always bad in Greece.
14:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
14:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like in fighting - when someone kills many enemies he is "good"
14:35 <Daan_>But largescale war probably was, because there were natural disasters, according to Thucydides.
14:36 <Daan_>Yes, but only when it is according to the rules.
14:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well probably there is also other views:
14:36 <Daan_>Killing can also be bad for the ancient Greeks.
14:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. you could perhaps say: Spartans would think: Athens started war, so all dead people are to blame to them
14:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and they are just doing what the Gods want
14:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>wasn't it that the oracle told that the God is with the Peloponnesians ?
14:37 <Daan_>The gods are divided, so you can do what one god wants, but another god would be against it.
14:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so how you do it -it is always good and bad all together
14:37 <Daan_>Zeus, wasn't it.
14:37 <Daan_>Yes.
14:38 <Daan_>The world is a bit like a chaos.
14:38 <Daan_>In ancient Greece.
14:38 <Daan_>But, there were many different opinions.
14:38 <Daan_>Many Greek philosophers didn't believe in gods or a god.
14:39 <Daan_>And Plato believed in perfect ideas.
14:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well comparing to the actual times - I am not sure how many people these days believe in Gods or higher powers
14:39 <Daan_>Most people in the world do.
14:39 <Daan_>Only Europe and East Asia are different.
14:40 <Erkan_Yilmaz>one mom, someone called
14:40 <Daan_>Buddhists and taoists don't believe in god.
14:40 <Daan_>Okay.
14:41 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so told to call me later :-)
14:41 <Daan_>:-)
14:41 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah I see like - either give the responsibility for actions to someone else or oneself
14:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but well we probably are going too far away from our book now ?
14:42 <Daan_>Or to nature.
14:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
14:42 <Daan_>That is true.
14:42 <Daan_>We can discuss another theme.
14:42 <Daan_>Justice.
14:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, I would say the Greeks in general or the people in general in these times back then were religious
14:42 <Daan_>Sparta demands from Athens to give freedom to the Greeks.
14:42 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and how this affects their deeds which Thucydides describes
14:43 <Daan_>Sorry, lets stay with the Greek religion.
14:43 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
14:43 <Daan_>They were back then, but religion was starting to become a vague blur.
14:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so Thucydides describes what Lacedaemonians and Athenians tell each other about religious problems in the past
14:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you mean like the more people know the less religious they are ?
14:44 <Daan_>No, they use it for political reasons.
14:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
14:44 <Daan_>To insult eachother.
14:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>at least Thucydides tell so
14:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>perhaps they use it also for others to convince more in their cause
14:44 <Daan_>New ideas arised, and they were very different from traditional religion.
14:45 <Daan_>That could be.
14:45 <Daan_>Propaganda.
14:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>exactly
14:45 <Daan_>Especially the appeal to freedom is.
14:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
14:46 <Daan_>Athens dominated foreign city states and Sparta dominated Messenia, so they both abused people.
14:46 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I guess no matter what if you have power (in that times) you abuse someone
14:46 <Daan_>Yes.

Sparta was sincere in appealing to Athens to give the Greeks their freedom. It really was the precondition to make peace

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14:47 <Daan_>Strange is: why should a villager in Attica feel like an Athenian, while his neighbour is living in another country.
14:47 <Daan_>So, what is freedom?
14:48 <Daan_>Theory: Sparta was sincere in appealing to Athens to give the Greeks their freedom. It really was the precondition to make peace.
14:49 <Erkan_Yilmaz>freedom is what others allow you to being able to do
14:49 <Daan_>Yes.
14:49 <Daan_>But also what you allow for yourself to do.
14:50 <Daan_>Feeling happy could be freedom.
14:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>who said this onece ? my freedom goes until the border of one elses freedom ?
14:50 <Daan_>John Stuart Mill
14:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>oh, cool
14:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>probably he was not the only one saying so
14:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you graduated with this topic ain't ?
14:51 <Daan_>I don't know. I read a lot of books on him for my final paper.
14:51 <Daan_>Most writers tell lies in order to advance their ideology.
14:51 <Daan_>So, i don't know if he was the first.
14:51 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
14:51 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so about your theory
14:52 <Daan_>What i read from a 'good' book was that he was the first to express the freedom of action, instead of only the freedom of speech.
14:52 <Daan_>Yes, lets go back to thucydides.
14:52 <Erkan_Yilmaz>according to Pericles it was just an excuse of the Lacaedomonians to interfere in Athenian politics
14:53 <Daan_>Yes, but Pericles has an ambiguous speech.
14:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
14:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>when judging the Lacaedemoninans actions from the past - they stay most of the times in the Peloponnese - who knows ? it is worth discussing this theory
14:54 <Erkan_Yilmaz>it could be something like: divide and conquer ?
14:54 <Daan_>Pericles tried to unite Athens for the coming war, i think.
14:54 <Daan_>He used the best words to bring war closer.
14:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes, he wanted to show Sparta a firm answer, because what Pericles wanted to do, giving up the lands and houses and await in the walls is quite interesting action and is untraditional
14:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>some might even call it cowardice
14:55 <Daan_>Yes, but that is his strategy.
14:56 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, but unfortunately in the days to come there are things which strain on his strategy
14:56 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but actually a good strategy
14:56 <Erkan_Yilmaz>to use the powers you have for the best and the things you are not good at, leave them
14:57 <Daan_>Here is an interesting sentence: "If you yield to them in a small matter, they will think that you are afraid, and will immediately dictate some more oppressive condition; but if you are firm, you will prove to them that they must treat you as their equals."
14:57 <Daan_>Last sentence of aphorism 140.
14:57 <Daan_>In the speech of Pericles.
14:57 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
14:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I guess there were then less people who wanted to say something against this, since it gets people at their pride
14:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like: the proud Athenian polis will not yield to anyone
14:59 <Daan_>Perhaps he was afraid that Athens would be much weaker and vulnerable if they yielded.
14:59 <Daan_>Now they can still beat the enemy, he thinks but later on it could be too late.
14:59 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes, because if they gave in to Sparta more of Athenian allies would defect
14:59 <Daan_>It is a bit like the American logic of nowadays.
14:59 <Daan_>Not giving in to the 'terrorists'.
14:59 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, how is the American logic nowadays ?
15:00 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, no state gives in officially to terrorists :-) this happens behind closed doors
15:00 <Daan_>Well, if you attack, than people will respect you, if you don't they will attack you.
15:00 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like: attack is the best defense ?
15:00 <Daan_>Yes.
15:00 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, I guess so too
15:01 <Daan_>But, America also wants to rule the world, Athens wanted to stay an empire.
15:01 <Daan_>So, they don't want to give in to the weak.
15:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well was Sparta and allies weak ?
15:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>in matters of navy: yes
15:01 <Daan_>Of course, Sparta actually was stronger, because Sparta won the war.
15:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>in money: yes
15:01 <Daan_>So, perhaps it was wiser to keep the peace.
15:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well since I did not read until end, I do not know why they won, so please don't tell me now

after this reading group finished, we will continue with Xenophon

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15:02 <Daan_>Than I have an unpleasant surprise, Thucydides quit writing when the war still had to go on for 6 years in his book.
15:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah but Xenophon continues
15:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>my plan is after reading Thucydides to continue with Xenophon
15:03 <Daan_>Than we can continue with Xenophnon.
15:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, that would be fine
15:03 <Daan_>That would be good!
15:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>great, so we are already two for the next reading group
15:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, back to this RG :-)
15:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>from what happened: Athenians gave a united answer to Peloponnesians
15:04 <Daan_>Did they have a majority vote?
15:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>not told in the text, but it is told "they tell" - one mom, looking up
15:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>second last aphorism in book1: "145 Such were the words of Pericles. The Athenians, persuaded of the wisdom of his advice, voted as he desired, and answered the Lacedaemonians as he recommended, both on the separate points and in the general; they would do nothing on dictation, but were ready to have the complaints settled in a fair and impartial manner by the legal method, which the terms of the truce prescribed. So the envoys departed home and did not return again"[2]
15:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so majority I think, but strong or weak ?
15:06 <Daan_>It doesn't tell.


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15:06 <Daan_>What was the impartial method?
15:06 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what do you mean ?
15:07 <Daan_>"they would do nothing on dictation, but were ready to have the complaints settled in a fair and impartial manner by the legal method, which the terms of the truce prescribed"
15:07 <Daan_>impartial manner, i mean.
15:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I think they mean arbitration
15:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>let me see the truce
15:08 <Daan_>The conflict is, do Corcyra and Potideia belong to Corinth or are they independent?
15:08 <Daan_>Or is it, Corinth and Athens fighting eachother on the ground of a third party.
15:09 <Daan_>While they are supposed not to fight eachother.
15:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Potideia was a settlemnt of Corinth, but member of the Delian league
15:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Corcyra was accordng the treaty neutral
15:10 <Daan_>So, impartiality is impossible, and Pericles knew that.
15:11 <Daan_>The confederation didn't had much confidence in the legal method of the treaty at least.
15:12 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well I think arbitration could have been an option if e.g. Corinth would not interfere too much, because Lacaedemoninas were not so easy willing to go to war, also Pericles' actions until the declaration of the Athenian meeting was not so war aggressive
15:12 <Daan_>(Playing advocate of the devil) All these squabling wouldn't have been possible if Greece was ruled by sattrap Pausanias.
15:13 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because both hegemonial powers already did divide their territories
15:13 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but smaller states who were uprising were not happy
15:13 <Daan_>You mean regarding Pausanias?
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>no, not yet Pausanias, I was still at the arbitration issue
15:14 <Daan_>Okay.
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>if both powers could have more influence on their allies (meaning here e.g. Sparta to Corinth) arbitration could have been an option
15:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but as you say
15:14 <Daan_>There was only a small rebellion in Potideia at the start of the war.
15:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Pericles and also Spartans saw that Corinth did not want to give in :-(
15:15 <Daan_>Yes, i think so.
15:15 <Daan_>So, Sparta and Athens could have negotiated a deal together.
15:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well even started small at Potideia, but it took quite long and a lot of money for Athenians to bring down Potiteida
15:15 <Daan_>That is true.
15:16 <Daan_>Sparta and Athens didn;t trust eachother too much.
15:16 <Daan_>Sparta couldn't afford losing Corinth, but Corinth couldn't aford losing Sparta as well.
15:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well for Sparta this is true, but Corinth had also other options
15:16 <Daan_>Whom?
15:16 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. they threatened Sparta to make a treaty with Argos and so
15:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>since the treaty with Argos and Sparta was coming to an end soon
15:17 <Daan_>But Sparta was stronger than Argos. Sparta had one of the largest territories in Greece and a highly disciplined army. Athens even was strong enough to invade Egypt.
15:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>one mom, let me search the place
15:18 <Daan_>I think Corinth wanted to keep independence.
15:18 <Daan_>And Corinth was a naval power, and therefore could afford to demand things from Sparta.
15:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>"102: and the instant that they (the Athenians) returned home they broke off the alliance which had been made against the Mede, and allied themselves with Sparta's enemy Argos;"
15:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>"71: and drive the rest of us in despair to some other alliance."
15:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>it is not directly told, but the explanation to my text tells it
15:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. 421-418 Korinth was partnered with Argos
15:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and yes, Corinth demanded many things always from Sparta
15:23 <Daan_>So Corinth had been against Sparta some time.
15:23 <Daan_>Or not?
15:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well they were not always willing to do as Sparta wanted
15:24 <Daan_>Yes, but despair means that it wouldn't the right thing to do.
15:24 <Daan_>Yes.
15:24 <Daan_>So, they were equal partners.
15:24 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like e.g. the Boeotians one of the other ally of Lacaedemonia
15:25 <Daan_>It is a bit Nietzschean.
15:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>equal when Lacaedemoninas had probs on other fronts :-)
15:25 <Daan_>Yes.
15:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the prob was that Sparta could not fight on several places
15:25 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what is with Nietzsche ?
15:25 <Daan_>I read Also sprach Zarathustra partly last year.
15:26 <Daan_>The kind of friendship that Sparta and Corinth have seems Nietzschean: they respect eachother by demanding to be respected upon.
15:26 <Daan_>I mean:
15:27 <Daan_>They are equal, because they can temporarily turn their backs on eachother.
15:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>something like a hate-love-relation ?
15:28 <Daan_>Yes.
15:28 <Daan_>both a bit macho, doing things the other doesn't like. Than they can do things against eachother, but in the end they stick together: true friendship.
15:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>who knows if it ever was friendship, it was a necessity
15:30 <Daan_>Allthough friendship can also be something else, of course.
15:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they needed each other and the only option was this kind of relation ?

Greece as part of Persia ?

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15:30 <Daan_>Well, they could have become part of Persia.
15:30 <Daan_>No.
15:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well if so, then they didn't need to fight the Persians before :-)
15:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they seemed not to like the idea being part of Persia
15:31 <Daan_>Most did, but there were people secretly and even openly thinking twice.
15:31 <Daan_>Pausanias was regent of Sparta and one of the ephors supported him.
15:32 <Daan_>Sparta could have become a Persian provincial capital.
15:32 <Daan_>Or perhaps another place.
15:32 <Daan_>The Fifth Column.
15:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, though he was King of Sparta, the power was also not only with him, e.g. ephors command him back when he was on his secret mission
15:33 <Daan_>Yes, but a minority was in league with him.
15:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>which ephor or place you have this from ?
15:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>134 I think ?
15:34 <Daan_>Before it, i will look it up.
15:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>"It is reported that, as he was about to be arrested in the street, he saw from the face of one of the ephors what he was coming for; another, too, made him a secret signal, and betrayed it to him from kindness."
15:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I, 134
15:35 * Erkan_Yilmaz is back in 2 mins
15:36 <Daan_>Yes.
15:37 <Erkan_Yilmaz>back
15:37 <Daan_>And, was Themistocles in league with Pausanias or was it just a fear among the Greeks.
15:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I think he was, because:
15:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I 135: "Matter was found in the course of the inquiry to implicate Themistocles; and the Lacedaemonians accordingly sent envoys to the Athenians and required them to punish him as they had punished Pausanias. The Athenians consented to do so."[3]
15:38 <Daan_>When one side is in power all those who are dependent of them will keep their silence, it is not known how they will respond if the enemy conquers all.
15:39 <Daan_>I have read some books about the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the 1940s.
15:39 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, and ?
15:40 <Daan_>Two of the three major prime ministers of the Netheralnds openly made pro-German actions and remarks, once the Germans were in power.
15:40 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-) camp followers
15:40 <Daan_>One of them was in office, he left the goverment in exile in London and went back to occupied Holland.
15:40 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I guess these politicians were punished later on ?
15:40 <Daan_>It was a deal with the Nazis.
15:41 <Daan_>The latter guy was shunned by his wife, his village and collegues in his political party.
15:41 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok
15:41 <Daan_>They wanted him to stay in London.
15:42 <Daan_>w:Dirk Jan de Geer
15:42 <Daan_>Dirk Jan de Geer, was his name.
15:42 <Daan_>The other politican was Hendrikus Colijn.
15:42 <Daan_>But the Dutch Nazi party was trippled in size in the summer of 1940.
15:43 <Daan_>So, the Greeks were affraid of this in the 5th century.
15:43 <Daan_>as well.
15:43 <Daan_>Persia was huge and Greece was small.
15:43 <Daan_>and divided.
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, even Persia was small, still they could not conquer them :-)
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and I guess people who wanted to act with the Medes were considered traitors after such many losses in wars
15:44 - BotSottile joined
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>hi BotSottile
15:44 <Daan_>Hi BotSottile
15:44 <Erkan_Yilmaz>it is a bot
15:45 <BotSottile>Hey :)
15:45 <Daan_>What is he doing here?
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>even when Athens was engaged in Egypt Persia made offers to Sparta, but there was no success in the actions
15:45 <Daan_>Not a bot, i guess.
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I asked his owner to jon this channel
15:45 <BotSottile>Hello Erkan_Yilmaz.
15:45 <BotSottile>Hi Daan_.
15:45 <Erkan_Yilmaz>that is his normal greeting
15:46 <Daan_>Yes (Sparta)
15:47 <Daan_>Persia probably didn't want to go though all the fuss again.
15:47 <Daan_>Persepolis was very far from Greece.
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but Persia's strategy to use internal quarrels is a good one
15:47 <Erkan_Yilmaz>before they could not fight both powers and trying to get one on Persia's side is nice
15:48 <Daan_>Divide and conquer.
15:48 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah
15:48 <Daan_>Here is the map:
15:48 <Daan_>Greece fits 15 times in the raod from Greece to the capital of Persia.
15:49 <Daan_>Persia was not afraid, i think.
15:49 <Daan_>And Athens had to go to a lot of trouble to keep big enough to stay independent.

knowledge over time

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15:50 <Daan_>Strange that there are so many Greek texts, and so little Persian texts from that time.
15:50 <Daan_>Or have they vanished from history?
15:50 <Erkan_Yilmaz>sorry again someone here
15:51 <Daan_>Busy place :-)
15:51 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what is your theory on why the Persian texts are so less ?
15:52 <Daan_>I think that Athens was very much advanced.
15:52 <Daan_>Without athens, there hardly was a Greek culture.
15:52 <Daan_>Athens was a major city in the Mediterranean Sea.
15:52 <Erkan_Yilmaz>unfortunately we have no Greek here, let me try to find one
15:52 <Daan_>But that doesn't explain all.
15:53 <Daan_>The main reason is coincidence.
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>not available :-(
15:53 <Daan_>Pity.
15:53 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, my theory would be - without knowing the details - either some probs because of conservation restrictions or that one power destroyed unwanted knowledge
15:54 <Erkan_Yilmaz>though there are much more possibilities
15:54 <Daan_>If Greece hadn't become so big, than many Greek texts could have been lost.
15:54 <Daan_>The Europeans and the Arabs have preserved many texts.
15:54 <Daan_>All the originals are gone.
15:54 <Daan_>We only got copies now.
15:54 <Daan_>coppies
15:54 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I wonder what happens with our texts in 2400 years from now ?
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>we don't have so many things in stone or such
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>imagine something destroys everything digitally
15:55 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and I don't know how quality of these days papers are
15:55 <Daan_>Our culture of cherishing as much information as possible only exist for 150 years.
15:56 <Daan_>It could be that a power arises among people, which destroys all knowledge.
15:56 <Erkan_Yilmaz>let's hope not
15:56 <Daan_>Or, what will climate change bring.
15:56 <Daan_>Climate is changing as rapidly as at the end or the beginning of an ice age.
15:57 <Daan_>In 500 years earth probably will have a much different climate.
15:57 <Erkan_Yilmaz>who knows until then some humans escape to other places in the universe and save our knowledge
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or another place on earth, e.g. into the oceans
15:58 <Daan_>Well, the planets are too barren in the solar system.
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or we transcend into pure matery
15:58 <Daan_>And other stars are too far away.
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or we just are extinct :-)
15:58 <Daan_>Like in Star Trek :-)
15:58 <Daan_>I think the last thing is most likely.
15:58 <Erkan_Yilmaz>:-)
15:59 <Daan_>;-)
15:59 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so, where were we before future-telling ? ;-)
15:59 <Daan_>But, lets get back to Thucydides.
15:59 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yes
15:59 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Persia and Greece
15:59 <Daan_>Yes.

The rule of law in Sparta

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16:00 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so which of the discussion points we didnt have yet ?
16:00 <Daan_>I quickly read my notes and i think that we have discussed them all.
16:00 <Daan_>Perhaps there are parts in the text which are interesting enough, and which i missed.
16:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>what was this one ? "The rule of law in Sparta."
16:01 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and "Both Pericles, the leader of Athens, and the king of Sparta (earlier in the text) describe the strengths of their country compared to the other. The speeches contradict eachother."
16:02 <Daan_>Well, i liked the rule of law in Sparta. The way Pausanias is treated is likely to how the system of justice works in Western Europe for common Europeans.
16:02 <Daan_>First evidence and than conviction.
16:02 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah, I see
16:02 <Daan_>Only the punishment is slightly different.
16:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>though there are several indications they just wait for the securest proof
16:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>at least as how Thucydides tells
16:03 <Daan_>Yes, there was tricked evidence, that is forbidden in Holland.
16:03 <Daan_>Yes, of course.
16:03 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like recording someone without his/her knowledge ?
16:03 <Daan_>Yes.
16:04 <Daan_>If evidence is taken from that, than it is not counted in court.
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well, I guess this is done already and not just told and then somehow people die in accidents
16:04 <Daan_>The Americans were very angry with this in the case of Nathalie Holloway.
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but you are right in courts normally it wouldn't count
16:04 <Erkan_Yilmaz>.wiki Nathalie Holloway
16:05 <Daan_>Yes, that is true.
16:05 <BotSottile>"Natalee Ann Holloway (born October 21, 1986) disappeared on May 30, 2005 during a high school graduation trip in Aruba, a Caribbean country that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands."[4] -
16:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>thx BotSottile
16:05 <Erkan_Yilmaz>nice feature isnt it ?
16:05 <Daan_>The American dad of Nathalie said that Van der Sloot would have been convicted with acquired knowledge in Alabama where they come from.
16:06 <Daan_>It is.
16:06 <Daan_>But i don't know if that is true.
16:06 <Daan_>It has nothing to do with 5th century Greece, though.
16:06 <Erkan_Yilmaz>can't tell you either
16:06 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well I guess the ephors reasons must have been also be ruled by other things
16:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>perhaps that the Spartan King was King for lifetime and they needed more things to get him convicted and such
16:07 <Daan_>Pausanias was regent for the king, so he would lose all power when the king became adult.
16:07 <Erkan_Yilmaz>indeed
16:07 <Daan_>Still, he was above the ephors, that was tricky.
16:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>unless the regent would die before
16:08 <Daan_>Yes.
16:08 <Erkan_Yilmaz>or he could manipulate him somehow ?
16:08 <Daan_>That is true.

speeches of Pericles and Archidamos

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16:09 <Daan_>The other point about the speeches:
16:10 <Daan_>I wanted to compare the speech of Pericles with that of the Spartan king.
16:10 <Daan_>Especially when it comes to military strategy.
16:10 <Daan_>I think Pericles has a better story.
16:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Archidamos speech I 80-85
16:10 <Daan_>The Spartan king says that the Athenians are morally bad, so they will do something stupid.
16:10 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Pericles I 140-144
16:11 <Daan_>Pericles gives a reasonible strategy: pillage their land, whcih they can't afford and we will be fed by the empire on sea.
16:12 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well Archidamos offers also a strategy like: prepare for the war e.g. collect more money
16:12 <Daan_>Archidamos doesn't use the word moral though.
16:12 <Erkan_Yilmaz>you have the passage ?
16:12 - BotSottile is now known as BotoloPazzo
16:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>he also tells to limit Athenian income, because the war will not be won by weapons, more by money
16:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>because it will go on long
16:14 <Erkan_Yilmaz>most of the Greeks though that Athens could last only some years agains Sparta
16:15 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I 80: "I fear rather that we may leave it as a legacy to our children; so improbable is it that the Athenian spirit will be the slave of their land, or Athenian experience be cowed by war."[5]
16:17 <Daan_>It is 84
16:17 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I 84: "In practice we always base our preparations against an enemy on the assumption that his plans are good; indeed, it is right to rest our hopes not on a belief in his blunders, but on the soundness of our provisions."[6]
16:18 <Daan_>The king is wrong, because Pericles is a thoughtful politicain.
16:18 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok, let me play Archidamos and you play Pericles ok ?
16:19 <Daan_>Okay
16:19 <Erkan_Yilmaz>so Pericles, why is Pericles thoughtful ?
16:20 <Daan_>He knows that he can pillage enemy land in a geurilla war and fead from povisions from the sea.
16:20 <Daan_>feed
16:20 <Daan_>provisions.
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>true and this also was done several times in the War
16:20 <Daan_>What will the Spartans do against it?
16:20 <Erkan_Yilmaz>short attacks on coastal cities on the Peloponnese
16:20 <Daan_>Yes.
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>not so much, because at e.g. Sphacteria there were taken Spartan hostages
16:21 <Daan_>When the Spartan army goes the Attica, than the Athenians could try to conquer Sparta.
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and Sparta could not do much because of fear that these hostages would be killed
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well Athenians dont have the power to conquer Sparta
16:21 <Daan_>But, if the Spartan army is gone, then they can.
16:21 <Erkan_Yilmaz>they tried on some occasions at the Northeast of the Peloponnese
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>thinking to get together with Argos
16:22 <Daan_>So, the Athenian army was too weak?
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the Athenian Army was also decimated by the pest
16:22 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and also their money was decreasing the longer the war went
16:22 <Daan_>That is bad luck.
16:23 <Daan_>Yes, Sparta didn't had a big money problem.
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>the Peloponnesians did their regularly "visits" to Attica to demoralize the Athenians
16:23 <Daan_>Except when Athens could sack Spartan land.
16:23 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but also didnt continue these after certain restrictions
16:23 <Daan_>A very long war.
16:24 <Daan_>The big disadvantage for Athens was the bad working government with silly plans.
16:25 <Daan_>Like the invasion of Sicily.
16:25 <Daan_>Also, Sparta wouldn't lose allies if the money was done.
16:26 <Daan_>Perhaps, Archidamos was right after all.
16:26 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well I guess that the Athenian politicians became after Pericles died and they saw that they could hold out against Peloponnesians too eager to increase their empire more
16:26 <Daan_>Sparta didn't have to discipline his allies, so that was a major benefit.
16:26 <Daan_>Yes.
16:27 <Daan_>That is what you often see in history in my opinion.
16:27 <Daan_>Arrogance comes before the fall, is a Dutch saying
16:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>that is also used in Germany :-)
16:27 <Erkan_Yilmaz>Hochmut kommt vor dem Fall
16:27 <Daan_>Yes, i mean hoogmoed
16:28 <Daan_>Hoogmoet is something different than arrogance.
16:28 <Daan_>Hoogmoet komt voor de val.
16:28 <Daan_>Nearly the same language.
16:28 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well I guess nobody is immune against arrogance
16:29 <Daan_>Only if you want to have more than you got.
16:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but then we are again at freedom
16:29 <Daan_>Or presume that what you have is better than that of others.
16:29 <Daan_>Yes.
16:29 <Daan_>And philosophy.
16:29 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well I guess both hegemonial powers had these kind of thoughts
16:29 <Daan_>Yes, certainly.
16:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>e.g. the Spartans believing that their way of living is better than the Athenian way of living
16:30 <Daan_>Archidamos thinks the Spartans are better, and that has to proven still.
16:30 <Daan_>Yes.
16:30 <Erkan_Yilmaz>he tells Spartans are prudent, sense of honor and are not so good educated
16:30 <Daan_>Yes, it is nonsense.

non-topic lines deleted

16:31 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ah well we can stop then ?
16:32 <Daan_>Okay
16:32 <Daan_>Shall we meet again next week?
16:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>not so good educated .. to go over our laws
16:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>definitely
16:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I will put the chat log again online
16:32 <Daan_>What do you mean with: to go over our laws?
16:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>and next week I hope the others join too - ain't it so pietrodn ?
16:32 <Erkan_Yilmaz>myrmikonos ?
16:33 <Daan_>Shall we read 1-25 of book II?
16:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I84: "And we are wise, because we are educated with too little learning to despise the laws, and with too severe a self-control to disobey them, and are brought up not to be too knowing in useless matters--such as the knowledge which can give a specious criticism of an enemy's plans in theory, but fails to assail them with equal success in practice--"[7]
16:33 <Erkan_Yilmaz>yeah, 25 aphorisms is fine
16:34 <Daan_>I think knowledge mostly makes you stronger.
16:34 <Erkan_Yilmaz>agree
16:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>but I guess he sees it as a soldier
16:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>something like: what worked so far, works also good for the future, soldiers don't ask they do orders
16:35 <Erkan_Yilmaz>like goal oriented
16:35 <Daan_>Soldiers always use the tactics of the last war.
16:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>I guess soldiers do what they are told
16:36 <Daan_>Yes, but generals often are concervative.
16:36 <Erkan_Yilmaz>well there are in the War some generals which do quite contrary things
16:37 <Daan_>That is true.
16:37 - BotoloPazzo is now known as BotSottile
16:37 <Daan_>I will go now.
16:37 <Daan_>See you next week.
16:38 <Erkan_Yilmaz>ok, thx for the chat, see you next week latest
16:38 <Daan_>Pity that we were the only two, actually discussing.


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  1. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:21, March 22, 2008, from
  2. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:23, March 22, 2008, from
  3. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:23, March 22, 2008, from
  4. Natalee Holloway. (2008, February 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 23, 2008, from
  5. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:28, March 22, 2008, from
  6. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:28, March 22, 2008, from
  7. History of the Peloponnesian War/Book 1. (2008, March 10). In Wikisource, The Free Library. Retrieved 12:28, March 22, 2008, from