In Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom, Mary P. Nichols argues for the centrality of the belief of freedom in Thucydides' notion. via her shut studying of his History of the Peloponnesian War, she explores the manifestations of this topic. towns and participants in Thucydides' historical past take freedom as their target, whether or not they declare to own it and need to take care of it or whether or not they wish to reach it for themselves or others. Freedom is the target of either antagonists within the Peloponnesian conflict, Sparta and Athens, even supposing in several methods. one of many fullest expressions of freedom should be obvious within the rhetoric of Thucydides’ Pericles, specifically in his recognized funeral oration.
More than just documenting the fight for freedom, although, Thucydides himself is taking freedom as his reason. at the one hand, he demonstrates that freedom makes attainable human excellence, together with braveness, self-restraint, deliberation, and judgment, which aid freedom in flip. nonetheless, the pursuit of freedom, in one’s personal regime and on the planet at huge, clashes with pursuits and fabric necessity, and certainly the very passions required for its aid. Thucydides’ paintings, which he himself thought of a ownership all the time, as a result speaks a great deal to our time, encouraging the security of freedom whereas caution of the bounds and hazards in doing so. The robust needs to shield freedom, Thucydides teaches, yet watch out that the associated fee now not develop into freedom itself.
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Extra resources for Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom
1). Thucydides is reminded of Pylos, for what the Athenians now endure resembles what they inflicted there (7. seventy one. 7, four. 36. 3). they're in reality trapped on an island just like the Spartans have been on Sphacteria, without option to get away by way of sea. they have to retreat via land, within the wish of discovering shelter someplace. As for the Spartans on Sphacteria, the island offers no safe haven. while the Athenians start their retreat, they pay attention the lamentation (olophurmos) of the ill and the wounded whom they need to go away at the back of, and notice the corpses that they have got been not able to bury (7. seventy five. 2–4). Nicias’s supposedly H O M ECO M I N G A N D F R E E D O M 151 comforting phrases to his troops that they are going to be capable to represent a urban anyplace they identify themselves (7. seventy seven. four) point out that he doesn't anticipate them to come domestic. They echo his phrases prior to departing that the day trip needs to take such a lot of humans and provides that they might be sufficient to came upon a urban in a international land (6. 22–23. 2). The backing out military, even though, is going with no adequate provides, specifically nutrition and water, back similar to the Spartans on Sphacteria, who are suffering from wish of provisions (7. seventy six. 6; see four. 15. 2, four. 36. three, and four. 39. 2). The lamentations of the unwell and wounded as they're left in the back of by way of these departing sound like lamentations for the lifeless (cf. 2. 34. four; 2. forty six. 2). The Athenians are mourning themselves. The speech Nicias gives you to his males as they start their retreat has the flavour of a funeral oration: they've got suffered so tremendously that the gods needs to now consider extra pity for them than envy, he tells them. they could hence wish that the gods may be “kinder” to them now (7. seventy seven. 4). Nicias has been mistaken prior to, yet he's by no means extra mistaken than he's now. As Kagan observes, the retreat is “like a bad nightmare from which there's no waking. ”11 Demosthenes and his troops, who retreat within the rear, are surrounded first, and quit at the situation that nobody be killed, both from violence or legal or loss of the prerequisites of lifestyles (7. eighty two. 2). Demosthenes is familiar with adequate approximately his enemies to insist on those humane stipulations, but when they might act inhumanely with no the contract, will they honor the contract? they don't, and Thucydides doesn't point out the stipulations back. After Demosthenes and his males hand over, the Syracusans quickly overtake Nicias’s contingent. Like departed souls in delusion, the Athenian troops led via Nicias make their strategy to a river, which they search to traverse to security. yet they trample each other as they fight to go, locate the enemy at the contrary financial institution in addition to at the back of them, and are slaughtered as they search to quench their thirst within the river. Very quickly they're consuming water choked with their very own blood (7. eighty four. 3). Athens is eating itself. ultimately you decide with out contemplating what Athens may well count on of him, Nicias surrenders to the Spartans, telling them to do no matter what they prefer with him if in basic terms they cease slaughtering his infantrymen (7. eighty five. 1). Nicias doesn't ask his males to uphold their honor by way of loss of life battling; he's attempting to hinder their loss of life slaughtered.