By Andrew Wolpert
In 404 BCE the Peloponnesian struggle ultimately got here to an finish, while the Athenians, starved into submission, have been compelled to just accept Sparta's phrases of hand over. presently afterwards a gaggle of thirty conspirators, with Spartan backing ("the Thirty"), overthrew the democracy and verified a slender oligarchy. even if the oligarchs have been in energy for less than 13 months, they killed greater than five percentage of the citizenry and terrorized the remainder through confiscating the valuables of a few and banishing many others. regardless of this brutality, contributors of the democratic resistance circulate that regained keep an eye on of Athens got here to phrases with the oligarchs and agreed to an amnesty that secure collaborators from prosecution for all however the such a lot serious crimes.
The conflict and next reconciliation of Athenian society has been a wealthy box for historians of old Greece. From a rhetorical and ideological point of view, this era is exclusive due to the outstanding lengths to which the Athenians went to keep up peace. In Remembering Defeat, Andrew Wolpert claims that the peace used to be "negotiated and developed in civic discourse" and never imposed upon the population. instead of explaining why the reconciliation used to be winning, as a manner of laying off mild on alterations in Athenian ideology Wolpert makes use of public speeches of the early fourth century to think about how the Athenians faced the troubling stories of defeat and civil warfare, and the way they defined to themselves an contract that allowed the conspirators and their collaborators to move unpunished. Encompassing rhetorical research, trauma stories, and up to date scholarship on identification, reminiscence, and legislation, Wolpert's learn sheds new mild on a pivotal interval in Athens' history.
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Extra resources for Remembering Defeat: Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens
Instead of finish that the democracy was once mostly solid, I argue xviii F creation that dissension and division—even whilst resolved, suppressed, or mitigated—were by no means very faraway from the skin. The Athens of Lysias used to be a really di√erent urban from that of both Pericles or Demosthenes. utilizing Lysias’s speeches to attract normal conclusions approximately rhetorical topoi and their functionality within the courts is deceptive, because the speeches have been brought to handle difficulties and matters distinct to early-fourth-century Athens and aren't simply extrapolated to different sessions. eventually, this examine attracts on literature that matters newer civil wars, partly simply because comparisons to the current are inevitable, even if suppressed. With such comparisons dropped at the leading edge, we're pressured to confront assumptions that might in a different way stay implicit, and we're avoided from discounting factors that appear incredible or not likely. ∞π comparability turns out to be useful additionally as the Athenian response to the Thirty—no subject how particular or exceptional—can support us greater get pleasure from and contextualize how others come to phrases with the demanding and unsettling occasions in their earlier. F PA RT O N E THE ancient atmosphere ∞ F C I V I L WA R whilst Theramenes arrived, Critias stood up and spoke as follows: ‘‘Members of the Council, if any of you thinks that extra everyone is being positioned to loss of life than is true, permit him reﬂect that these items regularly occur the place governments are replaced. in addition, it is crucial that those who find themselves altering the govt. the following to an oligarchy must have the main enemies, either simply because Athens is the main populous of Greek towns and as the humans were reared in freedom for the longest time. Now considering that we think that democracy is an insufferable type of executive for males like ourselves and also you, and because we're confident that the folk could by no means be pleasant to the Lacedaemonians, our preservers, whereas the aristocrats may remain dependable to them, for those purposes we're developing the current executive with the approval of the Lacedaemonians. And if we ﬁnd somebody against the oligarchy, we eliminate him if we will be able to. yet, so much of all, we contemplate it correct to punish somebody of our personal quantity who's harming this order of items. ’’ xen. hell. 2. three. 24–26 S ources for the civil conflict are a variety of and targeted; tested jointly, despite the fact that, they supply a careworn and contradictory photograph of the quit, the guideline of the Thirty, and the recovery of the democracy. ∞ doubtless a number of the adaptations are as a result di√erent genres of the works in addition to the non-public idiosyncrasies of the di√erent authors who selectively recorded and passed over info of their debts. yet additionally they stem from the politics of reconciliation. utilizing the civil battle as a weapon in civic discourse, Athenians delved into the previous both to set up their very own identification and legitimize their very own political positions or to contest these of others. hugely politicized and emotionally charged, this discourse not just had an effect on how the Athenians understood the Thirty and their rule, however it additionally formed the content material and type of the next historic narratives.