The Peloponnesian War, Book III: Invasion and Revolution

Book III begins as Archidamus, King of Sparta, invades Attica. This triggers a revolt, notably on the island of Lesbos, because of Athens's enslavement of its allies, which causes a proxy war for Athens with the Mytilenians. The Plataeans were attacked by Thebes and retreat to Athens, and Athens defeats the revolt of the Mytilenians, … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book III: Invasion and Revolution

The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration

Book II begins the rise of the war chronologically. The thirty years peace ends when Thebes (allied with the Peloponnesians) attacks Plataea (allied with Athens) and the Thebans surrender. Both cities are loctaed borth of Athens in Boetia. Plataea executes its 180 vaptured prisoners in the country before Athenian emissaries could arrive to instruct them … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration

The Peloponnesian War, Book I: Setting the Stage for War

Thucydides begins his historia of the great war between the Peloponnese and Athens (431 BC - 404 BC) by noting that he is an "Athenian" and that the he wrote of the war "from the beginning" because it is "more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it." In saying so, Thucydides cleverly draws distinction between … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book I: Setting the Stage for War

What is the Teaching of Aristotle’s Poetics?

In Aristotle's Poetics the poetic art (or poieses meaning "to create" in Greek) is a natural activity. It is an imitative act (mimesis) and is also a kind of reflection of nature. Aristotle's examination begins with a larger exploration of poetry in itself, and then the book concludes with a dramatic duel between epic poetry and tragedy. He … Continue reading What is the Teaching of Aristotle’s Poetics?

The Dangers of the Poets in The Bacchae

The Bacchae (Bacchantes) is Euripides's greatest play. It tells the story of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, as he jealously rebukes Pentheus, ruler of Thebes (the latter city of Oedipus), for his lack of faith in Dionysus's sovereignty. Pentheus's impiety ultimately costs his city and family their nobility -Dionysus, in disguise, persuades Pentheus … Continue reading The Dangers of the Poets in The Bacchae

The Seven Against Thebes and The Phoenician Women Considered

Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes is an odd, archaic play. The bulk of the play a long reflection and recital of the blazonry on a champion's shield, during the backdrop of the impending duel between Oedipus's two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, with Eteocles playing the main role. As David Grene (the play's translator) notes, the play … Continue reading The Seven Against Thebes and The Phoenician Women Considered

Thoughts on The Phoenician Women

Euripides's Phoenician Women comes down to us as a heavily edited dialogue. Some have suggested it was performed during Euripides's lifetime, while others have suggested it remained unfinished and was expanded upon by later Greek writers. The play is an interpretation of Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes - in which Oedipus's two sons, Polynices and Eteocles battle for the kingship of Thebes. Recall … Continue reading Thoughts on The Phoenician Women