Classes Conflict & Defense: Terrorism, Wars & Conflict – War through History | Health & Health Services: Epidemic, Endemic & Pandemic Disease – (1) Impact on Society (2) Long-lasting Effects | Journalism: Journalistic Challenges – Discerning Truth & Credibility | Societies: (1) Stamping Out Human Suffering – Disease (2) Inhabiting Our World – Civilizations
Goals Challenging Problems: (1) Questions – Reveal the World (2) Humans in the World – Civilizations & Cultures | Of the Mind: Imaginary Beings & Worlds | Intended Learning Outcomes: Instilled Citizenship Values – Societal Influence & Political World | CTEs & Disciplines: (1) Military (2) World History (3) Cultural Studies (4) Religious Studies & Mythology
Ancient Greece & War
The term Ancient, or Archaic, Greece refers to the years 700-480 B.C., not the Classical Age (480-323 B.C.) known for its art, architecture and philosophy. Archaic Greece saw advances in art, poetry and technology, but is known as the age in which the polis, or city-state, was invented.
The so-called golden age of Athenian culture flourished under the leadership of Pericles (495-429 B.C.), a brilliant general, orator, patron of the arts and politician—”the first citizen” of democratic Athens, according to the historian Thucydides. Pericles transformed his city’s alliances into an empire and graced its Acropolis with the famous Parthenon. His policies and strategies also set the stage for the devastating Peloponnesian War, which would embroil all Greece in the decades following his death.
The Peloponnesian War, one of the most significant events in ancient Greek history, enveloped the city-states of the ancient Greek world, forever changing the region.
The Peloponnesian War was a war fought in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta—the two most powerful city-states in ancient Greece at the time (431 to 405 B.C.E.). This war shifted power from Athens to Sparta, making Sparta the most powerful city-state in the region.
See also: Peloponnesian War
In the ancient Greek world, warfare was seen as a necessary evil of the human condition. Whether it be small frontier skirmishes between neighbouring city-states, lengthy city-sieges, civil wars, or large-scale battles between multi-alliance blocks on land and sea, the vast rewards of war could outweigh the costs in material and lives. Whilst there were long periods of peace and many examples of friendly alliances, the powerful motives of territorial expansion, war booty, revenge, honour, and the defence of liberty ensured that throughout the Archaic and Classical periods the Greeks were regularly engaged in warfare both at home and abroad
Plagues & Epidemics
The Impact & Origin of the Plague of Athens
In Greek mythology plagues, and even pandemics, were blamed on lack of human intelligence or leadership. Leaders were expected to anticipate the future. This appears to have helped ancient storytellers and their audiences make sense of human suffering.
In the 2nd year of the Peloponnesian War, 430 BCE, an outbreak of plague erupted in Athens. The illness would persist throughout scattered parts of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean until finally dying out in 426 BCE.
No one knows what caused the Plague of Athens in the 5th century B.C. One popular theory is Ebola—but to discover the source of an outbreak millennia after the fact, scientists need victims’ remains and a bit of luck.
These days, quarantined in our homes and ever alert to the media’s latest reports on COVID-19, infectious disease is never far from our thoughts. Athenians, however, have been through all this before, more than 2,400 years ago. And even then, in the Classical late 5th c. BC, there was quarantine, panic, heroic self-sacrifice by the city’s health-care workers and fake news.
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