By Paul A. Cartledge
The conflict of Plataea in 479 BCE is one among international history's unjustly missed occasions. It decisively ended the specter of a Persian conquest of Greece. It concerned tens of hundreds of thousands of opponents, together with the biggest variety of Greeks ever introduced jointly in a standard reason. For the Spartans, the motive force in the back of the Greek victory, the conflict was once candy vengeance for his or her defeat at Thermopylae the 12 months earlier than. Why has this pivotal conflict been so overlooked?
In After Thermopylae, Paul Cartledge masterfully reopens one of many nice puzzles of historic Greece to find, up to attainable, what occurred at the box of conflict and, simply as vital, what occurred to its reminiscence. a part of the reply to those questions, Cartledge argues, are available in a little-known oath seemingly sworn through the leaders of Athens, Sparta, and a number of other Greek city-states ahead of the battle-the Oath of Plataea. via an research of this oath, Cartledge offers a wealth of perception into historic Greek tradition. He indicates, for instance, that after the Athenians and Spartans weren't scuffling with the Persians they have been battling themselves, together with a propaganda struggle for regulate of the reminiscence of Greece's defeat of the Persians. This is helping clarify why this present day we simply take into account the Athenian-led victories at Marathon and Salamis yet no longer Sparta's victory at Plataea. certainly, the Oath illuminates Greek anxieties over ancient reminiscence and over the Athens-Sparta competition, which might erupt fifty years after Plataea within the Peloponnesian conflict. additionally, as the Oath was once eventually a non secular rfile, Cartledge additionally makes use of it to focus on the profound function of faith and delusion in historic Greek existence. With compelling and eye-opening detective paintings, After Thermopylae offers a long-overdue background of the conflict of Plataea and a wealthy portrait of the Greek ethos in the course of essentially the most serious sessions in historical heritage.
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Additional info for After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (Emblems of Antiquity)
Once there had been six independent cities on that eastern Aegean island, but by Herodotus’ day there were only ﬁve, and Arisba was no more, having been eliminated by the other ﬁve. , pro-Persian) Thebes, but they did not destroy it utterly. This is the only clause of the epigraphic version of the Oath that was certainly falsiﬁed in subsequent practice on the part of its putative swearers. That circumstance could be—but need not be—taken as an argument for the authenticity of at least this clause, since it might be thought odd to invent retrospectively a clause that was not put into practice.
On that latter point, I remain adamantly sceptical. Overall, I believe that the weight of argument ﬁrmly tips the balance in the AFTER THER MOPYLAE 29 direction of literal, verbal inauthenticity. And yet in a crucial way that is beside the point, the main point of this book, which is to try to identify and to explain the function(s) the Oath of Plataea was designed to serve in its immediate monumental context. Those functional needs, I suggest, are to be located ﬁrmly within a retrospectively triumphalist narrative—or rather story, in the sense of a fabrication—that the Athenians had begun insistently to tell themselves and anyone else who would listen to them from the mid-380s bce onwards.
Emblems in this sense are pictures containing multiple symbols and allegorical meanings. This book in the “Emblems” series takes as its focus a document from Graeco-Roman antiquity. It contains multiple symbols and is susceptible of yielding meanings of diﬀerent sorts. I should make it clear, right from the start, where I stand on the issue of just one of those possible meanings: the complicated question of the document’s authenticity. In the literal sense, as a text inscribed upon a ﬁnely honed and adorned piece of Athenian marble sometime during the third quarter of the fourth century bce, the version of the “Oath of Plataea” included here is unarguably authentic—no one has faked the monument as a whole of which the document in question forms a part.
After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (Emblems of Antiquity) by Paul A. Cartledge