“Our institutions do not emulate the laws of others. We do not copy our neighbors: rather, we are an example to them. Our system is called a democracy, for it respects the majority and not the few”. To this day, some two and a half millennia hence, Athens still remains an example to its neighbors. Mounted high above us, she enjoys the lonely summit of grandeur and refinement to which every civilization hopes to ascend. She alone breathes this thin air to which we’ll never be fully acclimatized. The greatness of any age, the perfection of any epoch, shines less brilliantly when held next to the dazzling prosperity of Pericles’ tenure.
Here, in our first discussion of Thucydides, the most scrutinizing and professional historian ever to have lived, we will delve into the peculiarities of this renowned city state, whose rapid acquisition of territory and power threatened her Peloponnesian neighbors to the point of war. In the following, we will touch on the famous passages from Thucydides’ classic work, including his depiction of Corinth’s hostile assessment of the Athenians, Pericles’ Funeral Oration at the end of the war’s first year, the devastating plague by which Athens was afflicted, and the morally bereft Melian Dialogue.