Thucydides and the Lure of Empire

Peter Green

in The Shadow of the Parthenon

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255074
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934719 | DOI:
Thucydides and the Lure of Empire

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This chapter explores Mme Jacqueline de Romilly's Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism, which was conceived and written during the 1839–45 war. It observes that during the past two decades, a small but highly articulate minority group has been systematically attacking Athen's reputation for moral and cultural supremacy. The chapter notes that this group—which was armed with the records of the Athenian tribute-lists, and indifferent to the high flown phraseology of Pericles' Funeral Oration—has set out to show that, from start to finish, the Athenian Empire was promoted by pride, ambition, and self-aggrandizement, justified by a naked might-is-right ethic, and largely tied up with economic necessities and ambitions.

Keywords: Jacqueline de Romilly; Athenian Imperialism; moral supremacy; cultural supremacy; Pericles' Funeral Oration; Athenian Empire

Chapter.  6516 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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