gen2112 lecture03 the greek polis

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Published on April 16, 2008

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[ The Greek Polis ]:  [ The Greek Polis ] GEN 2112 The Characteristics of Western Culture References on Athens:  References on Athens A.H.M. Jones, Athenian Democracy Frank Frost, Democracy and the Athenians 余英時 ﹝民主制度之發展﹞ 黃俊傑﹝古代希臘城邦與民主政治﹞ Donald Kagan, Pericles of Athens and the birth of Democracy The Greek Polis:  The Greek Polis polis (s.) poleis (pl.) “city-states” (Kitto ×) = a self-governing state = an independent & autonomous political unit = a political structure an advanced or a degenerate form of tribalism =small =exclusiveness (oneness) (wholeness) “small” The Size of the Greek Polis:  The Size of the Greek Polis There were more than 200 poleis in ancient Greece The biggest = Sparta = 3,300sq.m. Athens = 1,000sq.m. Most poleis = less than 400sq.m. e.g. Corinth = 340 sq.m. Geographically, a polis covered a very small area, usually much less than a modern country e.g. Plato’s Republic: Ideal polis = 5,000citizens Aristotle’s Politics: Each citizen should be able to know all the others by sight The Citizens of a Polis:  The Citizens of a Polis The citizens of a polis felt themselves tightly bound together & separated from the citizens of any other state. Each polis had its own distinctive customs & its own gods, & was an object of intense religious-patriotic devotion As a result, a Greek polis could not easily expand its territory or admit foreigners to citizenship. Its jealous local pride made it ready to fight with its neighbors for the slightest causes. But, polis was more than a mere region, it was a community of citizens — enjoyed political rights & played a role in govt. *“Participation”參與:  *“Participation”參與 “Man is a creature (an animal) who lives in (belongs to) a polis ” Aristotle’s Politics The chief political virtue = “participation” It’s everyone’s duty to participate in the polis ∴Greek culture = creative + all-roundedness The Political Development of Athens:  The Political Development of Athens polis of Athens: Attica (peninsula) 7thc. B.C. aristocrats …………Solon (594 B.C.) “If there was injustice anywhere in the state, it directly or indirectly affected everyone, even though he went inside his house & locked the door.” Solon rewrote law code + judges were chosen by “lot” from among the entire citizenry without regard to wealth Clisthenes (508 B.C.):  Clisthenes (508 B.C.) (Until the time of Clisthenes reforms, loyalty to clans & tribes had remained strong) Clisthenes appealed to the common citizens ∴Athens = democracy or “the rule of the people” & Clisthenes called it “isonomia” the system of equal rights + abolished the ancient clans & replacing them with 10 new “tribes” by regions (territorial districts) ∴members of every class (commercial, industrial, rural) = evenly divided (distributed) among 10 tribes The Athenian Empire :  The Athenian Empire The evolution of democracy at home was intimately connected with the increasing imperialism of Athens abroad. democracy Athens Imperialism Pericles (495-429 B.C.) :  Pericles (495-429 B.C.) (Age of Pericles: 461-429 B.C.) dignified well-educated an “hypnotized” orator a practical statesman (yet idealistic) “Pericles saw what a polis might do for their citizens; and what the citizens might do for their polis.” % John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what the country can do for you; ask what you can do for the country!” Thucydides (史學家) :  Thucydides (史學家) Pericles was “persuasive”! Pericles, Funeral Oration (Winter, 431 B.C.):  Pericles, Funeral Oration (Winter, 431 B.C.) “ Our constitution……Its administration favors the majority instead of the few, this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private disputes; & our public opinion welcomes & honors talents in every branch of achievement, ……on the grounds of excellence alone.” Pericles introduced “state pay” for service on the Council of 500 (or as ) ∴even poor citizens could take part in public life. Pericles’ Political Aims :  Pericles’ Political Aims to develop an equal balance % the individual & the polis to make duty a delight, & service an honor. to recognize benefits to the community as the only ground of civic distinction. Pericles: far-sighted d. 429 B.C. “was afraid of Athens’s mistakes than of Sparta’s designs” —    proved to be well-founded 404B.C. Sparta>Athens The Situation After Pericles:  The Situation After Pericles According to Finley, “Pericles…had 4 characteristics: he could see & expound what was necessary, he was patriotic & above money.” Athens’ misfortune the essential cause of her ruin was that none of his successors combined all his 4 characteristics. Nicias, who was honest but inactive, had the last 2. Alcibiades, who was able but utterly self-interested, only had the first 2. Time Chart:  Time Chart Athens 594 B.C. Solon 546 B.C. Cyrus the Great (Persia) conquered Lydia (Asia Minor)→499 B.C. Ionian Rebellion Athens 20 ships to aid Ionian→Pericles 508 B.C. Clisthenes 490, 480, 479 B.C. Persian Wars ∴Delian League 461-429 B.C.: Age of Pericles 447-438 B.C.: Parthenon巴特龍神殿 431-404B.C.: Peloponnesian War % Athens & Sparta 429 B.C. d. of Pericles Questions:  Questions The spirit and characteristics of ancient Greek poleis (Athens, Sparta, etc.) Athens’ democracy and imperialism Compare and contrast Athens and Sparta References on Sparta:  References on Sparta Forrest, W.G. A History of Sparta Barrow, Robin. Sparta Jones, A.H.M. Sparta Frost, Frank.  Greek Society Slide18:  Frank Frost, Greek Society.  5th ed., 1997: “Sparta: an Experiment in Elitist Communism,” pp. 44-49. Military obedience = paramount virtue + tough life Thus, producing strong, courageous, highly disciplined soldiers (infants were abandoned to die of exposure, if they were not qualified) – “elitist” Sparta Life in Sparta:  Life in Sparta  At the age of 7, a Spartan boy would be owned by the polis, + 13 years of military training: physical, endurance of hardship, and unquestion of devotion to the polis. At the age of 20, a soldier/warrior in a barrack (for 10 more years) At 30, = full-fledged citizen (may go home) Sparta:  Sparta “terrible food/meal” “Now I understand why the Spartan do not fear death.” No individual existence (body & soul) – the ultimate in self-denial dedicated to the polis (complete loyalty to the polis was demanded of every Spartan) Virtue = obedience, courage, and participation Sparta:  Sparta The Greeks admired “ordered’ life, and nowhere was life more ordered than in Sparta!   Spartan slaves (helots)’ life was hard, because they had to; Spartan citizens’ life was hard, too, because they chose to Plutarch’s story of an old man in the Olympic Games: “All Greeks know what is right, but only the Spartans do it.” – that is “courage”! Sparta:  Sparta To the Spartans, Honor = to win in battles The story of a mother to her son who was a soldier going to battle: Giving him a shield – “with it or on it”! “They asked not how many enemies there were, only where they were.” Sparta:  Sparta Spartan art = silent? “Spartan art … is creation, and Sparta created not things in words (no drama [tragedy, comedy, fables] nor philosophy) or stone (no sculpture) BUT men” Sparta:  Sparta Sparta is a small community of warriors who have little interest in material comfort Sparta has an enormous slave (helots) population (1 : 10) All Spartans are full-time professional soldiers Spartans: Good Fighters:  Spartans: Good Fighters 480 B.C.  Xerxes, King of Persia, led an army of 250,000 men seeking revenge for his father’s defeat 10 yeas ago (at the battle of Marathon) Xerxes, “Which of the Greeks will dare resist me?” (It seems that even if all the Greeks joined together, they would stand no chance against my army)   Demaratus answered, “  -- the Spartans!” Sparta:  Sparta “In single combat, the Spartans are as good as any soldiers on earth.  Fighting together, they are the best in the world.” “They will fight, ….. And do not ask me whether they have enough men to fight you.  If only a thousand of them march into the battle field, then that thousand will fight you.”  Xerxes laughed, “Are the Spartans free?”  (Do you really imagine that so few would freely choose to fight?) “Yes, … free … but … they do have a master – the law (eunomia), whatever the law demands, they do.  And the law always demands the same thing: never retreat in battle, whatever the odds.  Always stand your ground.  Win or die.” (Herodotus, The Histories of the Persian Wars.  7.101) Sparta:  Sparta Common life, food, wealth, & even family = shared Thus, Frank Frost, Greek Society: Sparta = “elitist communism” Plato on Sparta:  Plato on Sparta Plato admired Sparta: the idea of an equal community in which all citizens share things among themselves, and cooperate rather than compete with each other; the discipline and order of the Spartan system; strong sense of loyalty and duty to each other, and the life of the community Battle of Thermopolae :  Battle of Thermopolae  In the Battle of Thermopolae, (a narrow pass) less than a thousand Spartans fought against a few thousand (250,000) Persians The Spartans chose to die.  They were killed to the last men and buried where they fell.  Over their graves was written, “Passer-by, go and tell the Spartans at home that we lie here in obedience to the law.” Prefer death to dishonor; and military glory to everything else Weakness: Spartans were brought up to understand only one way of life, thus, “inflexible” (to survive) + helots (slaves) outnumbered x 10! The Decline of the Polis :  The Decline of the Polis Definition: The political form of polis has disappeared in reality in ancient Greek history. Even though polis has not disappeared, the characteristics and spirit of the polis have disappeared or it was different from (or even opposite to) the original ideal, or it has been replaced by other ideals/concepts Essence of the Polis :  Essence of the Polis “participation” (in the political/ cultural life of the community) e.g. Pericles = statesman, administrator, orator, general, etc.   polis at its best = a community of well-rounded me {多才多藝} (Because life was simple) [equilibrium % polis & individual] Slide32:  BUT then, Life became complicated Military tactics →complex ∴division of labor (∴army →mercenary) “Progress broke the polis” Kitto, The Greeks, p. 161 (irony: progress was a fundamental ingredient of the way of life that the polis created.) Factors Leading to the Decline of the Polis:  Factors Leading to the Decline of the Polis Externally: The Peloponnesian War (431-404B.C.) % A & S = end of polis as a creative force Politically: Wars had exhausted Greece “materially” & ”spiritually” ∴confused, wearisome, & depressing (e.g. 20th c. Europe: WWI, WWII = suicidal wars) Internally: Groeth of individualism in art, philosophy, & in life (new ways of thought of life) e.g. sculpture, drama (tragedy), etc. The Rise of Individualism :  The Rise of Individualism No more Pericles (well-rounded) (Statesmen no longer excel at a number of other activities) No longer would people be impressed with the well-rounded amateur. (& it’s quite impossible) Slide35:  By 3rd c. B.C., Generals = professionals Actors = .. Athlets = ..   The 4th c. B.C. philosophers deplored the growing professionalism To the philosophers, Professicalism was a symptom of malaise & decline ∵professionalism = by hiring ($) & no direct participation of the citizens Loss of faith :  Loss of faith Sophists: rhetoric (art of persuasion) Plato→ × ∵ 1.  Teaching people not knowledge of wisdom BUT how to take either side of any argument 2.  Accepting money for teaching (“intellectual prostitute”) Yet, sophists: rhetoric = popular among the rich/ wealthy (: The Greeks saw the wicked prosper, the good perish!) Loss of Faith:  Loss of Faith “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill, BUT time & chance happenth to them all.” Ecclesiates late 3rd c. B.C. Loss of Faith:  Loss of Faith Yet, some historians propound the belief that there is no reason to regret the gradual disappearance of the independent polis. In an expanding economy & a society that was becoming sophisticated & cosmopolitan, the ideal of the polis was a “luxury”. Slide39:  Nevertheless, even in philosophy, there was a growing spirit of individualism e.g. Protagoras of Abdera (c. 481-411) “Man is the measure of all things” (“人為萬物的權衡)

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