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5. Archaeology I

The Analytical Program of the History

The nineteenth-century European notion of “primitive society,” with its links to Darwinism and its confidence in progress (culminating in its own culture), has recently drawn a good deal of attention.[1] Yet the development of such a concept by nineteenth-century anthropologists, who established their own self-serving image of “less advanced” peoples, was not something completely unprecedented. A transformation in attitudes toward early humanity is documented as early as the fifth century B.C.E. In Works and Days, Hesiod had presented an idealized vision of the distant past. Greek myth and literature had generally assumed a heroic age far superior to the present, and well into the fifth century art and literature alike used the glorified past to discuss the present.[2] A variety of sources from the fifth century, however, point to a very different attitude, which postulated a rather bleak vision of early humanity.[3] Thucydides reflects this attitude, but, similar as he may be to other sources, his analysis is on several points distinct, and this distinctness reflects general themes that shape his view of the present.

Thucydides opens his History with the “Archaeology,” which, in this case, means literally “an account (logos) of ancient things (archaia).” In the Archaeology, Thucydides analyzes human development from the earliest past to his own time. Eduard Schwartz’s study of Thucydides, published in the early twentieth century, proved to be one of the most influential publications on Thucydides, but Schwartz’s judgment on the Archaeology found little favor. He saw it as an “incomplete patchwork,” published only because a pious editor could not bear to excise it.[4] Most other readers of Thucydides have seen the Archaeology as a tour de force of Thucydidean analysis.[5] The Archaeology surely functions, in some degree, as a “manifesto of rationalism” [6] and deserves particular attention because in it we can see Thucydides wrestling not only with problems of presentation, but with the construction of his own synthesis and the way in which he analyzes sources.[7] In the Archaeology Thucydides articulates indices by which to measure human civilization, internal problems such as stasis, which can bring down political structures and reverse human development, and recurrent patterns, which clusters of the indices form.[8] In so doing, he introduces several major themes that run throughout the History, themes that have been widely recognized.

The Archaeology suggests first that “settled life and material progress are possible only through political unification, which in practice meant forcible control by some central authority.” [9] Second, it makes clear that sea power plays a crucial role in Greek history.[10] Third, it indicates that Athens represents in some sense a culmination, or at least a logical product, of Greek history and by the logic of Thucydides’ own account should have defeated Sparta.[11] Above all, there is the sense here that history for Thucydides is not static but evolves over time. Whether or not we choose to assume that Thucydides believed in human progress (thus implicitly appropriating a modernist program to his History),[12] there is no doubt that human society has, in Thucydides’ eyes, generally grown larger and more prosperous. This “evolutionary” view of history is not new to Thucydides, but his interpretation of the general idea is unique and particularly revealing of his own analytical project.

Views on Human Development

By the time Thucydides composed his History, the concept of “social evolution” (for want of a better term) was nothing new. Xenophanes, Protagoras, Demokritos, the author of the Prometheus Bound, Sophokles in the Antigone, and Euripides in the Suppliants, among others, had given expression to the idea that humans had developed from a primitive state not unlike that which Hobbes outlines in Leviathan, in which there was “no place for industry because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” [13] Enough survives to reveal that Thucydides’ picture of humans rising from weakness to strength fell squarely within a growing intellectual tradition. At the same time, however, our other sources, scattered and difficult to assess as they are, share many elements that set them apart from Thucydides and, in fact, emphasize how different and unique Thucydides’ analysis was.

The Original Humanity and the Heroic Past

First, Thucydides attacks the vision of early times found in Homer, the strongest source of authority for the heroic period, and begins to develop his own model in its place. The Archaeology immediately demonstrates the revisionist and reductive stance that Thucydides will strike throughout the History. On the other hand, all of the evolutionary theories preserved in other authors supplement but do not directly alter the conventional picture of a heroic past. At Euripides Suppliants 195–215, Theseus looks back from the heroic period to a period of human weakness in which the standard indices of culture—language, agriculture, shelter, seaborne commerce, prophecy, and religious worship—did not yet exist. Likewise at Prometheus Bound 436–506, Prometheus reflects upon a similar state of nature from which he delivered humankind, and the Chorus at Sophokles Antigone 334ff. envisions a comparably grim past. The stories that appear in Plato’s Protagoras and in book 1 of Diodoros exist in a timeless past that stands outside of or before the heroic traditions that constituted a part of Greek identity. The original humans may live in a primitive or inglorious state, but this primitive existence does not impinge upon the proud image of the heroic age.

Thucydides’ Archaeology approaches the problem of human development from a completely different, and far more controversial, direction. He does not insulate the prestige of the heroic period from his analysis of early human weakness. He builds by first demolishing the conventional vision of the heroic past, and then constructing his picture from the rubble. He sees the weakness of humankind in the heroic age itself. The proudest heroes of Greek tradition flourished before the Trojan War: Panhellenic figures such as Herakles, the greatest of the heroes and the dominant mythological subject of Greek art, and local heroes such as Theseus or even Triptolemos of Eleusis, who brought the secret of agriculture to humans. Thucydides does not choose to include such individual men in his narrative. He obliquely dismisses them by equating common action with strength and by pointing to the lack of such common actions as a sure sign of weakness: “Another circumstance contributes not a little to my conviction of the weakness of ancient times. Before the Trojan War there is no indication of any common action in Hellas.” [14] Prior to that time, “the Greeks accomplished nothing as a group on account of their weakness (astheneia) and lack of contact (ameixia) with one another” (Thuc. 1.3.4). The Trojan War itself was a crude affair. It dragged on far too long, not so much because Agamemnon lacked men as for want of money (achrêmatia) (1.11.1). Agamemnon always had to keep much of his forces busy gathering supplies and thus could not concentrate the force necessary to take Troy quickly.

Thucydides does, however, raise the issue of labor power and population. Without attacking the veracity of Homer, he devalues Homer’s strongest claims for the glory of the Trojan War. In so doing, Thucydides does not naively accept Homer at face value but instead accepts Homer’s testimony as a starting point for historical analysis.[15] Homer’s account may or may not be accurate, but, in Thucydides’ view, Homer’s account will err only on the high side, exaggerating its subject. If Thucydides can accept Homer’s exaggeration and still demonstrate that the expedition to Troy is inferior to the Peloponnesian War, then he can make his point even without attacking the bias of the epic account. Thucydides attempts a rhetorical and analytical tour de force. His analysis of Homer has, at least in recent times, encountered considerable criticism and thus, at least as a rhetorical exercise, is not entirely successful.

In the Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.484–760), the epic poem provides a list of the Greek states that contributed ships to the Trojan expedition. Twenty-nine contingents sent roughly 1,200 ships (1,186 by my calculation). Quantitative measures are important to Thucydides: who went where, with how many men, for how many days, with what number of casualties—these are the kinds of figures that Thucydides painstakingly collects for his own narrative. He thus subjects this kind of evidence in Homer to close analysis:

He has represented it as consisting of 1,200 vessels; the Boiotian complement of each ship being 120 men, that of the ships of Philoktetes 50. By this, I conceive, he meant to convey the maximum and the minimum complement: at any rate he does not specify the amount of any others in his catalogue of the ships. That they were all rowers as well as warriors we see from his account of the ships of Philoktetes, in which all the men at the oar are bowmen. Now it is improbable that many supernumeraries sailed if we except the kings and high officers; especially as they had to cross the open sea with munitions of war, in ships, moreover, that had no decks but were equipped in the old piratical fashion. [5] So that if we strike the average of the largest and smallest ships, the number of those who sailed will appear inconsiderable, representing, as they did, the whole force of Hellas.

Assuming that Homer will have, if anything, exaggerated his subject, Thucydides accepts Homer’s figures as an upper limit. The number of ships would probably, in Thucydides’ eyes, have been considerably smaller, but he lets that pass. Furthermore, he assumes that the Boiotian complement (120 men per ship) would have been as typical as that of the smaller ships brought by Philoktetes (50 men each), and thus assumes 85 men per ship. But as G. S. Kirk has recently noted, “Actually the Boeotian number is likely to be as exceptional as their other statistics, and fifty is a more realistic ship’s complement.” [16] Again, Thucydides gives Homer the benefit of the doubt and, like a careful statistician, conservatively chooses a high figure. If 1,200 ships each had a complement of 85, then the Greek expeditionary force contained 102,000 men. Thucydides does not multiply 85 by 1,200 and make this final calculation in his narrative. He just gives the figure for ships and men per ship and concludes that the total number was an “inconsiderable” number of men, if it is to represent all of Hellas.

Thucydides’ dismissive treatment of a 102,000 man force (far larger than any marshaled in the Peloponnesian War) has provoked harsh words and nervous apologies from modern scholars. Thucydides, according to V. J. Hunter, comes to “a conclusion that is patently absurd and generally recognized to be so.” [17] “Thucydides cannot,” comments Gomme, “in fact be acquitted of a certain inconsequence; this excursus, like most of the others, has not been fully thought out.” [18] De Romilly seeks only to change the focus of the analysis: “Even if there were no contradictions between this figure and the analysis given by Thucydides, one could at least say that this is hardly conclusive and that the method is here more original than the result.” [19]

Such criticisms of Thucydides’ analysis are misplaced. Thucydides’ point, though it may shock the modern reader, is consistent and defensible. The gap between military forces of the industrial age and those of the ancient period has made many scholars skeptical of the distinction that Thucydides might draw between the fifth century and the heroic period.[20] But Thucydides has good reasons for his observation. First, the Catalogue of Ships does not cover all of fifth-century Hellas, but only the Greek world of the Bronze Age. (The Catalogue of Ships, in fact, paints a surprisingly faithful picture of which sites were and were not important in the Bronze Age, and thus is a prime example of how retentive oral tradition can, in some cases, be.)[21] Since that time, Hellas had expanded both to the east and to the west. Ionia, Magna Graecia, and Sicily, as well as individual settlements scattered throughout the Mediterranean basin (such as Kyrene in North Africa, Massilia in France, Olbia in the Crimea), had greatly increased the scope of “Hellas.” Syracuse, founded long after the heroic period, was the greatest city in Sicily and as powerful as any other single Greek state.[22] The Bronze Age Greece outlined in the Catalogue of Ships was no more than a “rump Hellas” and constituted a subset of the classical Greek world.

Second, if we look beyond the impressive total of 102,000 and examine the individual contingents that form the basis of this calculation, Thucydides’ analysis does not seem nearly so outlandish. Agamemnon contributed the largest single contingent in the Trojan War, 100 ships (Il. 2.576), but, by Thucydides’ reckoning, this force would have included no more than 8,500 troops. Only six contingents provide more than 50 ships to the Trojan War (Nestor with 90, Diomedes and Krete as a whole with 80 each, and 60 from Menelaus and all of Arkadia). The remaining twenty-three contingents range from 50 ships (c. 4,250 men) from Boiotia, the Myrmidons, and Athens down to 3 ships (c. 255 men) led by Nireus.

By contrast, the Athenian fleet of 300 ships available at the opening of the Peloponnesian War implies a crew of 60,000. Even though a majority of the oarsmen may have been metics (resident aliens) or mercenaries (as the Corinthians assert at Thuc. 1.121.3, a charge that Perikles does not deny; see 1.143.1),[23] the Athenians also fielded 13,000 frontline hoplites, 16,000 garrison troops drawn from the very young and old, 1,200 cavalry, and 1,600 unmounted archers. How would Agamemnon’s 8,500 men have stacked up against the 100 triremes (with 20,000 crewmen), 4,000 hoplites, and 300 cavalry that the Athenians themselves dispatched against Sicily? Even if Athens is exceptional and more dominant than Agamemnon’s Mycene, the Greek forces of the Peloponnesian War overmatch those enumerated in the Catalogue of Ships. A powerful regional fleet such as that deployed by the Corcyraeans (Thuc. 1.29.4) could, just before the war began, simultaneously maintain 120 ships and thus a crew of c. 24,000 oarsmen (not counting hoplites or other categories of fighter). Agamemnon would have been hard-pressed to contend against the 50 ships that Lesbos and Chios (neither of which, of course, appear in the Catalogue of Ships) sent to accompany the Athenian expedition against Sicily (Thuc. 6.31.2).

Agamemnon may have assembled a large number of troops, but his expeditionary force could not, on serious scrutiny, compete with the potential resources available in fifth-century Hellas as a whole. Thucydides wrote for the Greek elite,[24] and those who read his History would have been veterans, wealthy enough to have served as hoplites or horsemen for various city-states. All of Thucydides’ contemporaries must have had some experience of the war that raged on and off for twenty-seven years. It is hard to imagine that such men would not have spent considerable time during their lives speculating on how many ships, hoplites, or horsemen a given polis could bring to bear. Likewise, Greeks were very conscious of what role their city-state did (or did not) play in the Catalogue of Ships,[25] and would thus have been well prepared to compare its present and past capacities.

Furthermore, Thucydides’ analysis goes beyond raw numbers, obliquely undercutting the dignity of the Trojan expedition. The Greeks in the Trojan War made no distinction between oarsmen and infantry. Philoktetes’ ships included nothing but archers, and Thucydides seems to assume that the only specialized foot soldiers would have been the “kings and those most in authority,” that is, the heroes mentioned by Homer. The ships themselves were, of course, not modern triremes but “equipped in the old piratical fashion” and would have been helpless in any serious naval encounter. They were useless except as transports that moved men from one place to another. Technically, the Greek ships sent to Troy were primitive, and their military organization was undeveloped. Thucydides scarcely deigns to mention the individual heroes and ignores the individual exploits around which epic tradition was built. From a qualitative point of view, the entire expedition was backward in conception and execution.

The Peloponnesian War does offer one parallel for a massive invasion, comparable in magnitude to the 102,000 Greeks who descended on Troy, but Thucydides’ parallel is barbarian, not Greek. The Thracian Sitalkes’ vast horde of plundering foreigners reportedly swelled to 150,000 men (Thuc. 2.98.3). This terrifying force threatened northern Greece, but only as far south as Thermopylai (2.101.2), and it departed after just thirty days. In future centuries the Greeks would learn how devastating such mass invasions could be, but for now the Athenians did not take Sitalkes altogether seriously, failing to send the forces that they had promised because they did not expect that he would actually materialize (2.101.1). Thucydides clearly sees in the earlier Greeks a group little different from the disorganized foreigners of his own day.

The point of Thucydides’ analysis is sharp and clear. He attacks Homer on his strongest point, the massive size of the Trojan expedition. When he is finished, the great Trojan expedition proves that it can compete neither in size nor in organization with the forces available in Thucydides’ own day. Thucydides is not naively accepting a vast Greek force at Troy, but conceding the figures implied by Homer so as to make his larger point all the more forceful.[26]

The Original Humanity and the Forces of Production

Most classical analyses of early humanity portray a Hobbesian “state of nature,” in which human beings, naked and unarmed, fall prey to the elements and to the depredations of beasts. “Listen,” Prometheus tells the Chorus of Oceanids, “to the miseries that beset humankind—how they were witless before and I made them have sense and endowed them with reason.…First of all, though they had eyes to see, they saw to no avail; they had ears, but they did not understand; but, just as shapes in dreams, throughout their length of days, without purpose they wrought all things in confusion” (PV 442ff.). Prometheus attributes this condition to the absence of technical skills, and he goes on to list the skills that humans lacked: they could not build homes out of brick (450–451), did not know how to fashion things from wood (451: xulourgia), lived in caves like ants (452–453), and had no way to predict the changing of the seasons (454–456). “They did everything without any rational plan (ater gnômês to pan / eprasson)” (456–457). Theseus in Euripides’ Suppliants likewise pictures humans leading lives that were “confused” (Supp. 201: pephurmenos) and “bestial” (202: thêriôdês) before some unnamed god intervened to change their condition. Diodoros’s account echoes the language of Theseus: the first people “established themselves in a disordered and bestial life” (Diod. 1.8.1: en ataktôi kai thêriôdei biôi kathestôtas) and were “warred upon” by wild beasts (1.8.2: polemoumenous hupo tôn thêriôn). In Plato’s Protagoras, Prometheus observes that humans, in their initial incarnation, had nothing to protect them, being “naked, shoeless, with no proper place to rest, and unarmed” (Prt. 321c: gumnos te kai anupodêtos kai astrôtos kai aoplos). In the Hippokratic treatise On Ancient Medicine, human beings initially ate the same raw products of the earth as cattle, horses, and other beasts and “suffered many terrible things from the harsh and savage lifestyle, consuming things that were raw, unmixed, and possessed of very strong qualities.” This led quickly to suffering, disease, and then ultimately death.[27] Only those with tough constitutions could survive for very long on such a harsh diet.

Each of the Greek “anthropologies” offers its own explanation of how the human race emerged from this feckless state, and most emphasize the manner in which humans learned to control their environment and to produce the things that they needed. In the Prometheus Bound, Prometheus provides humankind first with astronomy (PV 457–458, so that they can discern the seasons), then numbers (459–460) and writing (460–461), and the ability to domesticate animals (462–466) and to build ships (467–468). After a brief pause and exchange with the Chorus, Prometheus goes on to name the other skilled activities of humans: medicine (478–483), prophecy (484–499), and metallurgy (500–504). Plato’s Prometheus steals from Hephaistos and Athena not only fire but the technical skill to use it (Prt. 321d: hê entechnos sophia sun puri), and from this theft mortals acquired all their material needs for existence (321e: ek toutou euporia men anthrôpôi tou biou gignetai). The Chorus in the Antigone skips primitive life and immediately praises human achievements: travel by sea (335–337), agriculture (338–340), and fishing (344). In Euripides’ Suppliants, Theseus praises the unnamed divinity who rescued humans from their condition. The first gift was intelligence (Supp. 203: sunesis), followed by language (203–204), agriculture (205–207), shelter (207–208), seaborne commerce (209–210), prophecy (211–214), and worship of the gods (215). The Hippokratic treatise On Ancient Medicine concentrates on food: the needs inherent in such a primitive state drove humans to seek out (zêteô) food that matched their constitution (trofê harmazousan têi phusei).

Thucydides’ perspective is entirely different. First, he has no interest in the kind of primitive existence from which the other accounts proceed. He takes as exemplars of the “original human” those “who cultivate each individually their own property enough so as to live and who do not possess any surplus wealth” (Thuc. 1.2.2: nemomenoi te ta hautôn hekastoi hoson apozên kai periousian chrêmatôn ouk echontes). Thucydides thus provides one of our earliest descriptions of the classic subsistence farm, the peasant household that produces what it needs with little or no surplus. Thucydides’ category of primitive human does not exist far off on the edge of time but in fact applies to the vast majority of his contemporaries, who lived on their land and had as little contact with the money economy as possible. In Thucydides’ way of thinking, the Peloponnesians are above all small farmers, sufficiently autonomous so that they can imagine themselves as independent of trade and market forces.[28] Recent scholarship on Aristophanes has emphasized the extent to which Dikaiopolis in the Acharnians, with his disdain for monetary exchange and his affection for the nonmonetary economy of his farm (Ach. 29–36), reflects typical Athenian attitudes. Thucydides does not situate his Urmensch in a distant and politically neutral never-never land. A large number, perhaps a majority, of Athenian citizens would have scored low according to Thucydides’ “indices of civilization.”

Second, Thucydides does not glorify the means by which humans provide themselves with their sustenance.[29] Good farmland is the obvious source of agricultural wealth, and agriculture itself is taken for granted. In primitive forms of life, however, fertile land was simply an incentive for civil strife and invasion: “The richest soils were always most subject to this change of masters; such as the district now called Thessaly, Boiotia, most of the Peloponnese, Arkadia excepted, and the most fertile parts of the rest of Hellas. The goodness of the land favored the aggrandizement of particular individuals and thus created factions that proved a fertile source of ruin. It also invited invasion” (Thuc. 1.2.3–4). Athens itself derived much of its early strength from the very poorness of its soil, because Attika, being an unattractive prize, became a safe haven for refugees from without (1.2.5). Thucydides not only minimizes the role of agriculture but subjects it to an apparently polemical analysis as he demystifies agricultural toil.

Third, Thucydides does not generally include in his outline of human development the growth of productive forces at all. Thucydides singles out exchange, rather than production, as the source of prosperity. Other analysts of “human progress” mention seafaring as a major human activity,[30] and conservative poets such as Hesiod and Solon had singled out seaborne trade for skeptical consideration long before the fifth century.[31] Thucydides, however, is unique in singling out maritime commerce and the free intercourse of people by land and sea as critical elements for prosperity—their absence is a fundamental cause of the weakness described at 1.2.2. Trade is the basis for increased prosperity. To Thucydides and others of his time, prosperity derived primarily from the different products of different regions and the trade that allowed these to circulate freely.[32] Stability and security are, however, the key elements on which all else depends, and centralized, authoritarian rule, archê, appears as the best framework by which to provide stability and security.

Thucydides’ use of the prôtos heuretês, “the first discoverer,” [33] illustrates his attitude toward progess. Greeks tended, as they constructed histories of human society, to identify specific advances with particular individuals. Sophokles’ first play was about Triptolemos, who introduced from Demeter cultivated wheat and became the teacher of humankind (frags. 596–617). In Aristophanes’ Frogs, we hear that Orpheus invented cultic ritual (Ran. 1032: teletai), and Mousaios was responsible for medicine and prophecy (1033: exakeseis te nosôn kai chrêsmous). Homeric Hymn 20 attributes to humans the cave-dwelling, bestial existence (3–4) that we have seen elsewhere, but praises Hephaistos for providing humankind with the skills they need to pass their lives at their ease in their homes (5–7). The Prometheus Bound and Plato’s Protagoras, both possibly influenced by Protagoras, develop the traditional figure of Prometheus as fire giver, responsible for making human existence possible. Theseus in Euripides’ Suppliants does not name anyone, but he makes it clear that some individual divinity was responsible for human progress (Supp. 202–203: ainô d’ hos…theôn).

Thucydides expatiates on only one such prôtos heuretês: roughly three centuries before the end of the Peloponnesian War (i.e., c. 700 B.C.), Ameinokles of Corinth constructed for the Samians the first four triremes ever built, and thus opened new possibilities for the application of naval power.[34] To Thucydides the trireme was not just a tactical instrument for individual sea battles, but a strategic resource on which naval empire could depend. On a less technical level, Thucydides presents Minos as the first man known to have created a navy (Thuc. 1.4: Minôs gar palaitatos hôn akoêi ismen nautikon ektêsato) and to have exerted mastery (ekratêse) over the Aegean. Neither of these individuals contributes anything to the actual process of growing food, building shelter, fashioning useful things from metal, predicting the future, or caring for the sick—none of which are of any interest to Thucydides in the Archaeology. Other people, unnamed and unconsidered, produce useful things. Thucydides focuses on the means by which to extract[35] or, at best, exchange wealth. He seems to assume that increased seaborne trade generates as its by-product an overall increase in wealth.[36] While he does not spell out the mechanism that links trade and wealth, Thucydides sees that these two phenomena drive each other. If naval power creates the climate in which wealth can accumulate, wealth can be invested in further naval power[37] and thus form a system that reinforces itself. The only cultural heroes who merit Thucydides’ praise are those who can contribute to this process of redistribution and extraction.

The Polis as the Basic Social Unit

The analyses of human society in Sophokles’ Antigone and Plato’s Protagoras both begin with the means of material production, but both explicitly emphasize that society consists of more than material production. For Sophokles, Plato, and almost certainly Protagoras, the polis is the crowning achievement of human social evolution. The hundreds of city-states scattered throughout the Mediterranean provided more-or-less autonomous societies for their citizens. Both Sophokles and Plato take the polis as the basic, ideal unit for human society.

The first three strophes of the chorus at Antigone 334–364 focus on humanity’s ability to dominate nature, but the climax of the chorus focuses on society itself. Whoever maintains the laws of the land (Ant. 367–368: nomoi chthonos) and the “sworn justice of the gods” (369: chthonos theôn t’ enorchon dikan) has a lofty polis (370: hupsipolis). Whoever seeks what is ignoble (370: to mê kalon) has no polis at all (apolis) and is excluded from any hearth in the community (372). Whatever humans can produce, they are nothing outside of the framework provided by the polis.

The Protagoras draws the distinction between material and social aspects of life even more explicitly. From the start Plato makes the technical skill stolen by Prometheus a second-best gift—Prometheus enters the house of Athena and Hephaistos only because he cannot evade the guards who watch over Zeus’s home (Prt. 321d). Once mortals possessed this skill, they went about building altars and offering dedications to the gods. Then, after acquiring language, they created for themselves “dwelling places, clothes, footgear, places to sleep, and food from the soil” (322a). This material progress—which encompassed those skills conventionally viewed as necessary for the physical maintenance of life—was only a beginning, and a poor one at that. Human beings lived scattered about (322b: sporadên), and poleis did not exist. Although human beings could produce what they needed, individually they could not ward off the depredations of wild beasts, and so they banded together, founding poleis for their own preservation. But this expedient served only to replace one set of problems with another. People living together but “lacking the skill necessary for a polis” (ouk echontes tên politikên technên) now began to wrong one another. They left these imperfect communities and began again to perish (skedannumenoi diephtheironto) (Prt. 322b). Only the institution of dikê, “justice,” saved humans in the end and permitted them to live in the polis communities necessary to their survival.

A citizen of and long-time exile from Athens, descendant of Thracian kings, and, as an exile in midst of the Peloponnesian War, comfortable with Greeks from any state, whether friend or foe of Athens (Thuc. 5.26.5), Thucydides does not present the polis as a triumphant and climactic social formation. Thucydides starts his analysis with Hellas as a whole, not with any particular polis (1.2.1: phainetai gar hê nûn Hellas kaloumenê). Early Greece was weak because there was no seaborne trade and because individuals could not safely travel by land or by sea (1.2.2). One could see the “weakness of ancient times” (1.3.1: tôn palaiôn astheneia) in lack of common action on the part of the Greeks before the Trojan War (1.3.2). Until recently, in fact, they did not even call themselves Hellenes. Here, Thucydides cites Homer, “who lived long after the Trojan War…and calls them in his poetry Danaans, Argives, and Achaians, but not collectively Hellenes” (1.3.3). Concepts such as “Hellas” and “Hellene” had not emerged, because no clear line yet divided barbarian from Greek. The Greeks had not yet begun to define themselves as a separate group, and Thucydides spends some time at 1.6 explaining that Hellenic culture was a relatively recent product.

As far as Thucydides was concerned, the polis was not the product of an evolutionary process that began in the eighth century; it was instead the primeval unit of Greek society. Thucydides calls the groups that preyed upon one another and thus never grew strong poleis, not ethnê or some other name.[38] Where Plato’s Protagoras describes people preying upon one another within the polis, Thucydides opens his spectacle of history with organized groups driving each other from their homes (Thuc. 1.2.1). Agricultural wealth in individual states served to increase the risk of stasis or of external invasion (1.2.4). Attika prospered only because its low-quality soil rendered it a poor prize (1.2.5), and the victims of stasis or war took refuge there (1.2.6). The scattered Greek states were capable of little individually: “weakness and lack of contact with each other” (1.3.4: astheneia kai ameixia allêlôn) prevented them from accomplishing anything.

If other accounts emphasize the polis governed by dikê, Thucydides counters with his poleis restrained by force from devouring one another. Against the harsh and dangerous landscape of 1.1.2, Thucydides sets Minos, whose naval forces controlled the Aegean sea by force, who exerted imperial power (Thuc. 1.4: archê), and who became the personal founder, the oikistês, of most of the islands, drove out the Karian inhabitants, and placed his own sons in charge of the new societies (see also 1.8.2). Without such an iron hand, international anarchy reigned, and piracy flourished: since poleis lacked walls and were dispersed into small villages, those who were armed easily extracted their livelihood from plunder (1.5.1). Worst of all, they felt no shame at such behavior. Thucydides maliciously points to the manner in which speakers pose the question “Are you pirates?”—as if those who are asked the question would have no idea of disclaiming the imputation, or their interrogators of reproaching them for it (1.5.2). The scorn for those who are unashamed at their piracy illustrates better, perhaps, than any other passage that Thucydides did not view interstate relations as “amoral.” [39] People continued to live in their separate poleis, but, under the protection of imperial control, they were able to accumulate wealth and even to develop walls and other resources whereby to defend themselves more effectively (1.8.3). Indeed, it was only because Minos had used his authoritarian rule to instill some initial organization in the Greek world that the Greeks had the means whereby to conduct the Trojan War at all (1.8.4).

Unlike Sophokles, Protagoras, or Plato, Thucydides did not see in the independent polis a viable social unit (an opinion that fourth-century history might seem to confirm). The force majeure of archê is, in the final analysis, necessary if states are not to degenerate into impoverished and fearful chaos.

The Constituent Ties of Society: Aidôs and Dikê

Plato’s Protagoras emphasizes at least one other major theme that sharply contrasts with Thucydides: the attitudes toward “shame” and “respect.” If Plato is accurately representing views held by Protagoras and widely known in the Greek world, then Thucydides may well have had them in mind when he composed his Archaeology, and seen his own analysis as an argument against the Protagorean position. Even if no such connection exists, the tale in the Protagoras sheds light upon an attitude that plays a central role in Thucydides’ History and that emerges in a particularly clear form in the course of the Archaeology. Thucydides does not portray an entirely amoral world, in which interest alone determines the choices that individual actors make, but the problems of human motivation are a major theme in the History.

Consider what unifies society in the Protagoras. Fearing lest mortals be utterly annihilated, Zeus sends Hermes to provide them with aidôs and dikê (“shame” and “justice,” Prt. 322c) so that they might be the ornaments of poleis and the unifying bonds of friendship (hin’ eien poleôn kosmoi te kai desmoi philias sunagôgoi). In this passage, dikê, “justice,” seems to be insufficient: the formula aidôs kai dikê is repeated four times in 322d-e. If dikê describes justice as an objectified system, aidôs describes the manner in which individual social actors respect the boundaries of dikê in their own lives. Aidôs is that quality which makes people respect both those who are stronger and those who are weaker than they. Aidôs restrains individual subjects from pushing their immediate interests too far. Aidôs is also a social phenomenon, shame rather than guilt:[40] one feels aidôs before other people, not in the privacy of one’s own heart. Dikê and aidôs are meant to combine with one another and together bind the members of a community together with desmoi philias sunagôgoi, “ties of affection.” The myth in the Protagoras locates the strength of a community in a moral and emotional framework.

No quality is more problematic in Thucydides than “shame” and the general importance of ties based on affection or social judgments. Before examining Thucydides’ analysis of human motivation in the Archaeology, a brief survey of “shame” in Thucydides as a whole will help us frame the problem. Thucydides understands perfectly well that emotional factors other than raw self-interest and fear do affect human behavior, and gentler possibilities provide the background for some of the most brutal action in the History. Thucydides sketches an apocalyptic vision of society torn by stasis on Corcyra (Thuc. 3.83.1), in which old-fashioned “good nature (to euêthes), of which nobility (to gennaion) had such a great share, was mocked out of existence.” Yet the whole point of the description is to reveal the extent to which stasis could spread “evil character” (kakotropia). Thucydides expatiates upon the sufferings at Corcyra because they provide what we might now call a case study in behavior and reflect events that took place in many parts of Greece (3.82). Thucydides argues that human nature, placed in circumstances such as obtained in Corcyra, will always react in much the same way. At the same time, however, he implies the existence of an earlier, less brutal society from which Corcyra degenerated.

For all of his emphasis on what is expedient and on the harsh calculus of self-interest, Thucydides uses the main Greek terms for shame, aidôs and aischunê, substantially more often than the more conventional Herodotus (nineteen vs. eleven times, just over twice as often when the differing sizes of their works are factored in).[41] Shame is, as noted above, a social phenomenon: it consists not in the internal feelings of guilt, but in the pain that one suffers at a loss of public esteem. Thus the Corcyraeans, according to their Corinthian detractors, refuse to be entangled in alliances, because they do not wish to have witnesses to their crimes and thus to feel shame (Thuc. 1.37.2: aischunesthai). Archidamos urges his fellow Spartans not to let the insults of their allies fill them with shame (1.84.1: mê aischunesthai). According to Perikles, shame binds Athenian society together more firmly than force: Athenians yield not only before written laws but before those that are not written (and thus have no legal penalty) but that bring with them “shame in the common opinion” (2.37.3: aischunê homologoumenê). The participants in Corcyraean stasis are morally bankrupt, but they have a keen sense of shame: “they prefer to be called (keklêntai) clever evil doers than noble fools, because they are ashamed (aischunontai) of the latter and take pride in the former” (3.82.7).

Thucydides puts shame at the center of the martial ethos and thus echoes in at least one regard Homeric values that he otherwise treats with disdain.[42] The dead Athenians praised by Perikles held firm “under the influence of shame” (Thuc. 2.43.1: aischunomenoi) in the heat of battle. This valorization of aischunê is not, however, an Athenian prerogative. A Boiotian general urges his younger troops “not to cast shame upon those virtues that are theirs” (4.92.7: mê aischunai tas prosêkousas aretas). The Spartan Brasidas, faced with battle against barbarians, reminds his troops that barbarians feel no aischunê at running away in battle (4.126.5), just as, a bit later, he urges his own men “to feel shame” (5.9.9: to aischunesthai) when they fight.

One specific passage, however, does raise some questions about and dramatizes the dangers of the efficacy of a “shame” ethos. Four times, speakers on both sides of the Melian Dialogue cite aischunê. Melos is a Spartan colony, and the Melians accordingly express confidence that the Spartans will come to their defence, because if they do not, their “shared kinship” (Thuc. 5.104: suggeneia) would bring aischunê upon the Spartans. The Athenians ridicule such hopes (5.105.3). The Spartans, they argue, exercise the utmost virtue (5.105.4: aretê) in defence of themselves but follow expediency in dealing with others. The Athenians perform for us here the action schematically described at 3.83.1, for they mock the old-fashioned good nature that characterized the well-bred members of Greek society. The ruthless negotiators for Athens acknowledge aischunê but see in it a force of secondary influence.

If the Athenians challenge the effect of aischunê, they also explicitly question its inherent value. Reasonable men, the Athenians argue, do not let mere matters of aischunê influence them when survival is at stake. The Melians face a life-and-death decision, and they have more to worry about than “nobility” (Thuc. 5.101.1: andragathia) and aischunê. A few sections later, they repeat this idea: “Surely you will not,” they urge the Melians at 5.111.3, “be caught by that idea of aischunê, which in dangers that are disgraceful, and at the same time too plain to be mistaken, proves so fatal to mankind!” Disgrace “by the mere introduction of a seductive name” (onomatos epagôgou dunamei) leads people on to a real and manifest destruction. If the Melians yield to the influence of words (hêsseitheisi tou rêmatos) and in very fact willingly encounter irrevocable disasters, they will incur shame that is all the more disgraceful precisely because it could have been avoided. In effect, the Athenians argue here that no abstract notion of honor is worth dying for. This is not to say that nothing is worth one’s life (just as the Athenians do not deny that the Spartans can exercise the utmost aretê). But mere words and ideas do not constitute anything so substantial that they justify desperate acts.

Thucydides, of course, does not himself express this cynical view of “shame” but puts these sentiments in the mouths of the Athenian ambassadors. Nevertheless, the Archaeology analyzes human motivation in equally cold-blooded terms. From the very beginning, material conditions determine behavior: early inhabitants of Greece could easily be pushed out of their territory, because they made no permanent investment in any particular territory and knew they could meet their day-to-day needs anywhere (Thuc. 1.2.2).[43] Greeks from many states invited the sons of Hellen into their countries “for their advantage” (1.3.2: ep’ ôpheliai), presumably as allies in local struggles for power. Minos cleared the seas of piracy “so that revenues could more readily come to him.” [44] When the Greeks began to devote themselves to piracy, they also organized themselves into simple but hierarchically structured units: “The most powerful men led both for their own profit (kerdos) and for the support of those who were weak (tois asthenesi trophês).” [45] When sea travel—and with it wealth—increased, the Greeks began to surround themselves with walls and those (such as the Corinthians) who could seize any available isthmus “for the sake of trade and because of the strength that it gave them with respect to their neighbors.” [46] As trade continued to grow, the simple differentiation of people according to power intensifed. “The weak, seeking profits, endured slavery (douleia) under those who were more powerful, and stronger men, because they had surpluses of wealth, rendered weaker cities subordinate to them.” [47] At Troy, for example, raw power was more influential than emotional attachments. Agamemnon controlled the greatest number of forces, and this surplus of military power was the basis for his authority: “He assembled this expedition just as much by means of terror (phobos) as by … debts of friendship (charis).” [48]

Human beings act according to their own advantage, seeking money, power, and sustenance, while avoiding other actions in the interests of fear. Ultimately, Thucydides describes human beings as products of hard, material forces. He does not altogether deny the impact of debts of gratitude (charis) on the assembly of the Greek expedition against Troy, but the rhetorical form of his language suggests that phobos was in fact not equal to, but much more important than, charis.[49] Although dikê and aidôs are the qualities that make human society possible and that represent the climax of human evolution in Plato’s Protagoras, the same cannot be said of these qualities in Thucydides’ Archaeology. “Shame” appears only once (Thuc. 1.5.1), while neither the noun dikê nor its corresponding adjective dikaios, “just,” appear at all. By contrast, words for power reappear in every chapter of the Archaeology. The term dunamis, “power,” shows up ten times, and related terms for physical force bring the total up to thirty-five.[50] The same terms that appear so often in the Archaeology recur throughout the History, for a total of 931 times. The same group of terms appears in Herodotus, on the other hand, 285 times, or less than one-third as often. There can be little doubt that this fascination with power is conscious and polemical. Thucydides was not the first person to analyze historical events in terms of self-interest and a calculus of forces, but his History does so with greater intensity and thoroughness than any earlier surviving document. Thucydides in some measure anticipates the classic Marxian position, that material conditions (the “base”) determine the intellectual forms and ideas of a society (the “superstructure”).

Thucydides’ insights are complex, and he did not attempt to develop a coherent philosophical system. His History explores events and their causes, but he was acutely conscious that historical events did not follow the (to him at any rate) most logical path—otherwise, the sea power Athens would have defeated its atavistic Peloponnesian rivals—and the speeches in the History are designed to let us see the same events from very different and competing analytical perspectives. Nevertheless, money and its effect upon wealth are primary themes in the Archaeology as elsewhere in Thucydides. Thucydides’ understanding of money and power is fundamental to his working “model of history.” Thucydides displays attitudes that contrast sharply with those of earlier sources, and he self-consciously presents a culture in transition. To approach Thucydides’ distinct vision, I will begin by examining his analysis of wealth and of tyranny, a major cultural phenomenon of archaic Greece.


1. See, for example, the work of Kuper (1988) and Tambiah (1990), who begin their analyses with the work of Henry Maine and Lewis Henry Morgan. [BACK]

2. Castriota (1992, 3–16) offers a survey of mythical analogues for the present; his book as a whole explores the way in which physical monuments representing mythical events were used to glorify the recent Athenian role in the Persian Wars. [BACK]

3. On the possible role of Demokritos, see Cole 1967, which develops a thesis earlier advanced by Reinhardt 1912; on Thucydides and Demokritos, see more recently Hussey 1985. [BACK]

4. Schwartz 1929, 173. [BACK]

5. For an elaborate argument that the Archaeology is also a tour de force of ring composition, see Ellis 1991. [BACK]

6. De Romilly 1956a, 244–251; e.g., p. 251: “C’est un manifeste rationaliste dans tous les senses du mot, puisque les diverses méthodes qu’ il instaure impliquent à la fois rigueur critique, déduction logique, et même, dans une certaine mesure, établissement de grands principes généraux permettant la comparaison et l’analogie.” [BACK]

7. De Romilly 1956a, 242–243; Connor 1984, 27; Hunter 1982, 17. [BACK]

8. Hunter 1982, 44–45. [BACK]

9. Finley 1942, 87; Connor 1984, 25. [BACK]

10. Finley 1942, 88; de Romilly 1956a, 266: “Il n’est point douteux que ce système ait été la grande originalité de Thucydide”; Hornblower 1987, 80; on the influence of sea power, see Starr 1989, esp. 29–49. [BACK]

11. Finley 1942, 91. [BACK]

12. See, for example, Hunter 1982, 42; Hornblower 1987, 87; on the general issue of “progress” in Greek thought, see Edelstein 1967; Dodds 1973; for a survey of the ancient materials, see Cole 1967, 1–10; for a review of the controversy surrounding this idea, see Connor 1984, 26 n. 19. [BACK]

13. Hobbes, Leviathan 1.13, “On the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning their Felicity and Misery.” [BACK]

14. Thuc. 1.3.1: δηλοῖ δέ μοι καὶ τόδε τῶν παλαιῶν οὐχ ἥκιστα·πρὸ γὰρ τῶν Τρωικῶν οὐδὲν φαίνεται πρότερον κοινῇ ἐργασαμένη ἡ Ἑλλάς. [BACK]

15. See Hunter 1982, 32: “What Thucydides does in chapter 9 is accept both Peloponnesian oral tradition and the Homeric poems as factually accurate, and then go on to interpret the data in such a way as to prove his own personal thesis that fear motivated the other Greeks to accompany Agamemnon to Troy;” p. 33: “While admitting to the probability of poetic exaggeration, he accepts Homer’s figures.” It is important to emphasize that this acceptance is skeptical and constitutes the basis for what we would now call a working hypothesis. Note carefully qualified comments such as Thuc. 1.9.2: οἱ τὰ σαφέστατα Πελοποννησίων μνήμη παρὰ τῶν πρότερον δεδεγμένοι i.e., the best available evidence; note also 1.9.4: ὡς Ὄμηρος τοῦτο δεδήλωκεν, εἴ τῳ ἱκανὸς τεκμηριῶσαι. Homer may or may not be correct, but he must, for better or for worse, serve as the starting point for Thucydides’ analysis. [BACK]

16. Kirk 1985, 168. [BACK]

17. Hunter 1982, 35. [BACK]

18. Gomme on 1.10.5. [BACK]

19. De Romilly 1956a, 248. [BACK]

20. See, for example, Gomme’s comment on αὐτόθεν πολεμοῦντα βιοτέσειν at Thuc. 1.11.1. Thucydides criticizes the Trojan expedition for taking more men than could live off the country. Gomme lumps the Trojan War together with the Sicilian expedition in its logistical sophistication: “This was a general principle of all Greek warfare—armies took a few days’ supplies with them and for any longer campaign expected to live on the country. The Athenians took no more than that with them to Sicily (6.30.1, etc.: the wheat was to be made into bread in Sicily), but even so the great bulk of their supplies were to be purchased or seized on the island.” Gomme thus dismisses as inconsequential the entire logistical apparatus of the Athenian empire in particular and the importance of monetary trade (which allowed Athenians to purchase supplies in-country) in general. The complex palace economies of the Bronze Age were clearly sophisticated administrative centers, but Thucydides and his contemporaries knew the heroic age only from Homer and other traditional sources. [BACK]

21. See Simpson and Lazenby 1970, 156–157: “The probability is, then, that the political divisions implied by the Catalogue reflect a real situation which once obtained in Greece, and, if this is the case, it is most likely that this real situation obtained in the Mycenean era, for we can hardly account for the differences between the political map drawn by the Catalogue and that of historical times except by supposing that the changes occurred when Mycenean civilization collapsed.” [BACK]

22. The power of Sicily is a major theme throughout books 6 and 7 of Thucydides, but see also the offer made by Gelon at Hdt. 7.158.4. [BACK]

23. Note that the number of Athenian citizens is a hotly contested topic, but most estimates place the figure at roughly 25,000–50,000. [BACK]

24. On the audience for Thucydides in general and the Archaeology in particular, see Howie 1984. [BACK]

25. The classic example is the meager Athenian entry: the Athenian hero Menestheus plays at best a tertiary role in the Iliad as a whole and receives a brief mention at Il. 2.552–555, where he is briefly praised for his ability, second only to Nestor, to marshal chariots and warriors. At Hdt. 7.161.3, an Athenian envoy at Syracuse is represented as citing this passage to justify Athens’s contemporary status as a leader of the Greeks and as superior to the Syracusans. There may be some understated Herodotean irony when the Athenians place so much weight on such a slight textual basis during such a crisis, but the Athenians took their appearance in the Catalogue very seriously: see the official Athenian inscription that refers to Menestheus in the Catalogue, quoted at Aeschin. In Ktes. 3.185; Plut. Kimon 7.5. On the importance of this inscription in Kimonian Athens, see Castriota 1992, 6–7. [BACK]

26. Within the rest of the narrative, the Mytilenean debate offers a comparable example: there, Diodotos accepts the terms of debate that his opponent Kleon has established, arguing for mercy on the grounds of pure self-interest. When he subsequently carries the day, defeating Kleon, his rhetorical triumph is all the greater because he has defeated Kleon at his own game. [BACK]

27. Hippok. Corpus On Ancient Medicine 3: ἔπασχον πολλά τε καὶ δεινὰ ἀπὸ ἰσχυρῆς τε καὶ θηριώδεος διαίτης [BACK]

28. On the distinction Thucydides draws between the Athenians and Peloponnesians, see Crane 1992a. [BACK]

29. Thucydides’ attitude in part anticipates that of Weber (1958, 68–70, 143–149; 1988, 162–164), who argued that the ancient city was designed to emphasize consumption rather than production. Thus Austin and Vidal-Naquet (1977, 6) comment that “he approached the subject from the angle of the institutions and laid stress on the particular characteristics of Greek history; his aim was to define the ancient Greek city as oppposed to the medieval city. The Greek city was an aristocracy of warriors—or even of sailors—and a city of consumers, whereas the medieval city was a city of producers. A craftsman in fourteenth-century Florence, a city which exercised its sovereignty over the countryside (contado), was a citizen insofar as he belonged to one of the arts, and he exercised his share of sovereignty through the art of which he was a member” (italics mine). In Athens, on the other hand, citizenship depended entirely upon birth. [BACK]

30. Fishing: Soph. Ant. 345–346; seaborne trade: [Aesch.] PV 467–468; Eur. Supp. 209–210 mentions fishing but not seaborne trade. [BACK]

31. Hesiod WD 663ff.; Solon 13.43–46 West. [BACK]

32. At Thuc. 2.38, Perikles praises Athens because it attracts good things from all over the world; the “Old Oligarch,” at 16–18, more cynically points out how much money visitors to Athens, forced to do business at the imperial city, pump into the local economy. Modern economic theory would in addition point out that the circulation of goods through markets facilitates the specialization of labor and thus increases overall productivity. [BACK]

33. On this, see Kleingünther 1933. [BACK]

34. Our understanding of the ancient trireme has been vastly expanded since the reconstruction and testing of an entire trireme: see Morrison and Coates 1986. [BACK]

35. Thus Minos quells piracy so that his revenues may increase: τὸ τε ληστικόν, ὡς εἰκός, καθῄρει ἐκ τῆς θαλλάσης ἐφ’ ὅσον ἐδύνατο, τοῦ τὰς προσόδους μᾶλλον ἱέναι αὐτῷ (Thuc. 1.4). [BACK]

36. E.g., Thuc. 1.7: τῶν δὲ πόλεων ὅσαι μὲν νεώτατα ᾠκίσθησαν καὶ ἤδη πλωιμωτέρων ὄντων, περιουσιας μᾶλλον ἔχουσαι χρήματων; 1.8.3: καὶ οὁ παρὰ θάλασσαν ἄνθρωποι μᾶλλον ἥδη τὴν κτῆσιν τῶν χρημάτων ποιούμενοι βεβαιότερον ᾤ [BACK]

37. Thuc. 1.13.1: τῶν προσόδων μειζόνων γιγνομένων (πρότερον δὲ ἦσαν ἐπὶ ῥητοῖς γέρασι πατρικαὶ βασιλεῖαι). ναυτικά τε ἐξηρτύετο ἡ Ἑλλάς, καὶ τῆς θαλλάσσης μᾶλλον ἀντείχοντο [BACK]

38. Thuc. 1.2.2: οὔτε μεγέθει πόλεων ἴσχυον οὔτε τῇ παρασχευῇ [BACK]

39. This idea, derived in modern scholarship ultimately from Hobbes, is argued by Ste. Croix (1972, 16): “I believe that in practice he drew a fundamental distinction—though he never names it explicitly, in general terms—between, on the one hand, the relations of individuals inside the State, where there are laws, enforced by sanctions, which may enable the weak to stand up to the strong from a position of approximate equality and where ordinary ethical consideration can apply, and on the other, the relations between States, where it is the strong who decide how they will treat the weak, and moral judgments are virtually inapplicable” (italics mine). See, however, Hornblower (1987, 178–190), who is “reluctant to admit that Thucydides made any ‘Hobbesian’ distinction between the morality which prevails between individuals and the ‘war of all against all’ which prevails between states.” [BACK]

40. On the distinction, see Dodds, “From Shame-Culture to Guilt-Culture,” in Dodds 1951, 28–63; for essays analyzing this distinction in other cultures of the Mediterranean, see Peristiany 1966; for a detailed analysis of the distinction in Bedouin culture, see Abu-Lughod 1986. [BACK]

41. Note 1.84.3, where Thucydides uses aidôs and aischunê as virtual synonyms; on the different forms: aidôs: (1 time), aideomai (4 times), aischunê (2), aischunô (2) in Herodotus; aidôs (1), aischunê (11), aischunô (7) in Thucydides; on the differing ratios: we possess c. 180,000 words of Herodotus vs. 150,000 of Thucydides. [BACK]

42. For aidôs as a rallying cry in the midst of battle, see, for example, Il. 13.95; 15.502, 561–562, 662; for aidôs as one of the constituent virtues of battle, see Il.15.129, 657. [BACK]

43. By contrast, see Hanson 1983 and 1989, which forcefully argue against such a view. Hanson analyzes the effects of invasion and devastation of crops by hoplites. The Peloponnesian forces regularly ravaged Attika during the war, but according to Hanson (1989, 4), “even the somber historian Thucydides…presumes that actual long-term losses to Athenian agriculture were not great. Why then did men march out to fight when the enemy entered their farms?” Hanson goes on to conclude that “the mere sight of enemy ravagers running loose across the lands of the invaded was alone considered a violation of both individual privacy and municipal pride.” [BACK]

44. Thuc. 1.4: τοῦ τὰς προσόδους μᾶλλον ἰέναι αὐτῷ [BACK]

45. Thuc. 1.5.1: ἡγουμένων ἀνδῶν οὐ τῶν αδυνατωτάτων κέδους τοῦ τοῦ σφετέρου αὐτῶν ἕνεκα καὶ τοῖς ἀσθενέσι τροφῆς. [BACK]

46. Thuc. 1.7: ἐμπορίας τε ἕνεκα καὶ τῆς πρὸς τοὺς προσοίκους ἕκαστοι ἰσχύος. [BACK]

47. Thuc. 1.8.3: ἐφιέμενοι γὰρ τῶν κερδῶν οἵ τε ἥσσους ὑπέμενον τὴν τῶν κρεισσόνων δουλείαν, οἵ τε δυνατώτατοι περιουσίας ἔχοντες προσεποιοῦντο ὑπηκότους τὰς ἑλάσσους πόλεις. [BACK]

48. Thuc. 1.9.3: τὴν στρατείαν οὐ χάριτι τὸ πλέον ἢ φόβῳ ξυναγαγὼν ποιήσασθαι. [BACK]

49. The technical term is litotes: thus “not more because of charis than phobos ”would imply that phobos is far the more powerful; likewise at 1.5.1 οὐ τῶν ἀδυνωτάτων clearly means τῶν δυνατωτάτων; for examples of litotes in Thucydides, see Rusten 1989, 27. [BACK]

50. See Parry 1972, 52: “The historical facts which make up the object of intellection appear primarily as words meaning power. History in fact is movements of power.” The words that Parry cites are δύναμις, δύνατος, ἰσχύς, βιαζόμενοι, ἐκάτησαν and κρεισσόνων [BACK]

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