Reminder – call this Monday!
Just a quick reminder – we have a call this coming Monday to discuss Chapter 3.
Mon, June 19th
8pm new york time
Make sure you’ve read these key parts of Book 3:
– Mytilenean revolt and debate between Cleon and Diodotus about whether all the adult men should be executed
– Corcyrean revolution and Thucydides’ longest piece of commentary (his commentary on revolutions)
Also, take a look at Andre’s study questions below.
—————————- Thucydides Book 3 – Reading Odyssey
Study Questions prepared by Andre Stipanovic
Summary of events so far:
Book 1 – events leading up to the war
Book 2 – first three years progress of the war; 3rd year, instead of the usual invasion and devastation of Attica, Plataea is besieged and forced to question its association with Athens. At the beginning of Book 2, the Plataean occupation by Thebes starts the Peloponnesian war.
Book 3 – key events revolve around the Plataean seige, the Mytilenean revolt (and the debate about Athens’ response), and the Corcyrean revolution, including Thucydides’ famous commentary on revolutions.
———- Study Questions for Book 3
1. The ensuing Plataean siege still leaves some important questions: – Why are the Spartans so intent on subjugating Plataea? – Is the goal a military one? political? psychological? – Why does Thucydides spend effort on describing the events of this particular siege (specifically 3.20-24, 3.52)?
2. The Plataeans (3.53-59) and the Thebans (3.60-67) debate their own merits in the Greek world at this time. – Which argument is more persuasive to you? – Is either argument much more forceful than the other? – What reasons do the Plataeans have for standing with Athens? – How are these reasons either stated or implied?
3. Meanwhile, the Athenians must deal with a new threat: the revolt of Lesbos, specifically the city of Mytilene. – What were Mytilene’s relations with Athens and Sparta like before the war? – Why did they feel the need to revolt at this particular time? – Was this the best time to revolt? – The speeches showcase Cleon’s defense of harsh measures against the rebels (3.37-40) and Diodotus’ appeal for RealPolitik (3.41-48). Note the extreme viewpoints of both speeches. – What point does Cleon make about Athenian Imperialism? – What point does Diodotus make about Athenian democracy? – How do these questions relate to U.S. foreign & domestic policy today?
4. How does the Corcyrean revolution (3.69-85) complement what Thucydides initially brought up concerning the Mytilenean revolt? Is Thucydides maintaining “historical objectivity” or is he allowing too much subjective comment here?
5. Is the weather phenomena described in 3.89 a “tsunami”?!
6. As for military operations in Northern Greece, what is Thucydides trying to say by focusing on Demosthenes’ defeat and victory? How do the Athenian allies participate? Is Sparta’s military strategy here effective? Why or why not?
7. Mentions of Sicilian operations are scattered throughout the book and will become more important in Book 4 as a reason the Athenians land at Pylos. The ill-fated Athenian Expedition to Sicily will eventually affect the outcome of the whole Peloponnesian war.