Thucydides and Human Nature

From these 6 questions, PLEASE pick one question and answer the question in a paper of at least five pages:

1. With specific examples from the text, what seems to be the opinion of Thucydides about war? What causes it? Is it inevitable? Is it a part of human nature?

2. Why do cities and tyrants want to have empire? Is it a worthwhile goal? Do they come to the same or different conclusions about these questions?

3. What is Pericles’ view of the war? Examine Pericles first speech (I.139-146, funeral oration (II.34-46), and final speech (II.59-65)? Does he think the war is good for Athens? What does this tell us about his leadership? Do you agree with Thucydides’ judgment about it (II.65)?

4. Thucydides writes a lengthy section on the growth of partisanship and rebellion in Greece (III.82-84). What lessons does this give us about politics and factions? What does it teach about power and law? Does what he says about the way we look at things apply to us today?

5. The Athenians and Melians have a lengthy discussion about power and justice at the end of Book V (V.84-113). How do the Athenians justify their behavior towards the Melians? Why do they dismiss the Melian arguments? Why do they dismiss the Lacedaemonians? Are they right?

6. Nicias and Alcibiades argue in front of the Athenian people over whether to undertake the expedition to Sicily in Book VI. What is the position of Nicias and why? What is the position of Alcibiades? How does he justify it? what do you think of their leadership of the Athenians?

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