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Earned Bachelor Degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (Class of 2013) Major: Political Science Minor: Sociology ------------------- I am your typical nerd/geek/otaku. I like to ride my bike, read, write, and surf the internet. Otaku(noun)(おたく/オタク)- is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and/or video games.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thucydides: On Justice, Power, and Human Nature -- Foundations of Political Thought - Blog Post #1

Thucydides: On Justice, Power, and Human Nature, 66-95 (Book III, sec.37-68, 81.2-85; Book IV, sec. 47.3-48)
Post Started: February 2, 2012 at 8:47p.m.

Selected Section: Book III, sec.37-68 (I focused just on the the Mytilenean Debate for the sake of a shorter argument. The Plataean Debate is also pertinent to the ideas presented here, albeit with an alternate result as the final outcome.)

This passage, a debate between Cleon and Diodotus (as told by Thucydides) concerned what penalty should be given to the Mytileneans for their betrayal of the alliance they had once formed with Athens. The Mytileneans had been a former ally of Athens until in the summer of 428 when they rebelled alongside those residing on the island of Lesbos. On the one hand of the debate, Cleon advocated that those Mytileneans of military age should all be put to death as retribution for their insolence and those remaining Mytileneans not of military age should be enslaved while Diodotus on the other hand, vehemently rejected and opposed this cruel suggestion of capital punishment.

I was more in favor of Diodotus as he stated that "We should not...[rely] on capital punishment to protect us, or set such hopeless conditions that our rebels have no opportunity to repent and atone for their crime as quickly as possible." It seemed a rather harsh proposal to have the women and children atone for the sins (or unjust actions) of a select few (those that lead their followers to rebellion) and have them bare the burden for years to come, possibly making them MORE resentful than their fathers had been of Athenian Empirical rule especially considering that the casualties of war alone are a sufficient enough punishment (at least in my own opinion). By Cleon's judgement, it would only serve to "rub salt on an open wound". Diodotus instead thought that the assembly should "impose moderate penalties to ensure that we will, in the future, be able to make use of cities that can make us substantial payments".

1 comment:

  1. David,

    You raise some important issues here and I concur in your agreement with Diodotus. I like that this is relatively concise. My only criticism is that some points were a bit confusing to me. If the men of military age are killed, you can't just say the women and children are atoning, because the men have sacrificed their lives. Also, I'm not sure what Cleon was referring to when he talked about salt in the wound.

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