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Thread: Who Were the Greeks?

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    Default Who Were the Greeks?

    Who were the Greeks: BBC documentary aired in June and July 2013 on BBC2.




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    Welcome back sexy Hellenita.

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    The rise of Greek culture brings a shift in tone. Rather than the serpent seen as equal to the bird, in Greek myths the creature is painted in an inferior light. The serpent has become a monster, relegated to the position of a subordinate entity to be vanquished by male sky or sun gods and heroes.

    Jason kills the dragon guarding the tree on which the Golden Fleece hangs; Hercules slays Ladon, the serpent keeping watch over the tree of golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides; Zeus dispatches Typhon, the serpent-like monster created by Gaia to challenge his sovereignty; and Apollo conquers Python, the serpent offspring of Gaia that guards the sacred cave of the Oracle at Delphi.

    A far cry from the unified lands of ancient Egypt, the myths of Greece give the impression of an uneasy imbalance.

    Zeus, having disposed of all the Titans, now fancied he would enjoy the power so unlawfully obtained; but Ga, to punish him for depriving her children of their birthright, created a terrible monster, called Typhœus, or Typhon – “Typhon huge, ending in snaky twine,” as Milton called him.

    …A long and fierce struggle ensued, at the end of which Zeus, again victorious, viewed his fallen foe with arrogant pride.
    H.A.Guerber, The Myths Of Greece And Rome
    These myths, describing powerful male Gods and heroes vanquishing serpentine beasts created by Mother Earth, suggest Man conquering his base instincts.

    Ancient Greece marks the rise of Western Civilisation. It is no accident that the same culture that gave us myths of male, solar dominance over female, earthly forces, also gave us Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, great thinkers who set the stage for the rise of rational, logical thought.

    Rational thought is the cornerstone of Western Civilisation.

    The Greeks conceived of nature as following general rules, not acting according to the whims of gods… They saw human beings as having a capacity for rational thought, a need for freedom, and a worth as individuals. Although the Greeks never dispensed with the gods, they increasingly stressed the importance of human reason and human decisions. They came to assert that reason is the avenue to knowledge and that people - not gods - are responsible for their own behavior. In this shift of attention from the gods to human beings, the Greeks broke with the mythmaking orientation of the Near East and created the rational outlook that is a distinctive feature of Western civilizations.
    Marvin Perry, Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics, and Society
    The myths of Greece are thus a mirror to what is taking place at the time. The developing ego and rational mind call for a suppression of the instincts. In many ways this is a positive thing: humankind rising out of its animalistic origins. But the instincts are far more than mere primitive urges; they represent a deep connection to the natural world, an intuitive link to the universal web of life.

    The transition is not a smooth one.

    There is at the time a fierce struggle taking place between two schools of thought: the Platonists, who represent the new, solar way of thinking, and the Sophists, who represent the old, earthly/lunar way of thinking.

    Platonists believe there is an objectively verifiable ‘truth’ out there. Sophists believe that we create our own truths.

    The Platonist way of thinking has ‘masculine’ qualities: order, rigidity, structure, objectivism; whereas the ideas of the Sophists are more ‘feminine’ in nature, embracing fluidity, change and subjectivism.

    Plato has to go up against the Sophists to get his ideas accepted. He eventually argues his opponents down and relegates them to the subordinate status they will endure as rational thought and Western Civilisation blossom.

    The Sophists are denigrated to such an extent that the word ‘sophistry’ comes to be a wholly negative term, describing “the use of fallacious arguments, especially to deceive.” (O.E.D.)

    It is this battle between Plato and the Sophists that provides the focal point for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    Phaedrus reads further and further and into pre-Socratic Greek thought to find out, and eventually comes to the view that Plato’s hatred of the rhetoricians was part of a much larger struggle in which the reality of the Good, represented by the Sophists, and the reality of the True, represented by the dialecticians, were engaged in a huge struggle for the future mind of man. Truth won, the Good lost, and that is why today we have so little difficulty accepting the reality of truth, and have so much difficulty accepting the reality of Quality, even though there is no more agreement in one area than the other.


    Apollo slaying Python, by Goltzius

    It would be mistaken to suggest that Apollo’s defeat of Python marks a sudden and complete suppression of the old ways. At Delphi, under Apollo’s patronage, the oracular pythonesses continue to flourish, their connection to the deeper mysteries held in great regard among the people of the ancient world. Furthermore, the bright sun god shares his temple with Dionysus, the wild-spirited nature god of revelry and One perspective is that Apollo’s victory suggests a taming of the instincts rather than a suppression. But a trend has been set in motion and the pendulum has further yet to swing.

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    Riane, do you really think that anyone will read those 3 pages articles you copy paste here?

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    This thread is dedicated to el22 and of course, to Ancient Greeks

    Famous Spartan Quotes

    Spartan Sayings

    "_____________(Stare)________________"
    - The most famous Spartan proverb of all!

    'Son, either with this or on this.'



    'Spartan mothers to their sons departing for war, refering to their shield. To come home without the shield was the mark of a deserter, the shield being dropped in running away, and the dead were brought back on it.

    'As far as this can reach.'
    When asked 'how far Sparta's boundaries stretched?', King Agesilaus' repied brandishing his spear. [2]

    'These are Sparta's walls.'
    When asked why Sparta lacked fortifications, King Agesilaus' pointed to his men. [2]

    'Not How Many But Where'
    "The Spartans used to ask about the enemy, it was not important how many there are, but where the enemy was"Plutarch (46-125 bc), Apophthegmata Laconica, Agis of Anaxandridas, 3 Agesilaos (Eurypontid King, 400-360)

    Some selected lines from the works of the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus, who was also a military man, his poems were sung to inspire his men.

    'You should reach the limits of virtue, before you cross the border of death. '

    'How glorious fall the valiant, sword in hand, in front of battle for their native land!'

    'Rise up, warriors, take your stand at one another's sides, our feet set wide and rooted like oaks in the ground. '

    '...learn to love death's ink-black shadow as much as you love the light of dawn. '

    'Here is courage, mankind's finest possession, here is the noblest prize that a young man can endeavor to win.'


    'A slave's life is all you understand, you know nothing of freedom. For if you did, you would have encouraged us to fight on, not only with our spear, but with everything we have.'

    When a rich servant of the Persian King asked two Spartans why they would not befriend the Persian King who rewarded his friends and as they were men of merit, if they would only submit to him, he was sure the King would give them Greece to govern. This was their reply: [3]


    'We bow down before no man.'

    Afterwards (the two Spartan from the entry above) when they came to the Persian King's presence, the guards ordered them to fall down in homage and when they refused, force was used, the Spartan's resisted and this was their reply to the King. [4]


    'That's fine, for I shall show that it isn't positions which lend men distinction, but men who enhance positions.'
    When he was still a boy, at a celebration of the Gymnopaidai, the Choral director put him in an inconspicuous position. Even though he was already in line to become king, he complied. Leonidas (Agiad King, 491-480, Killed at Battle of Thermopylae)

    'Come and take them.'
    When Xerxes requested: 'Deliver up your arms', King Leonidas' defiant reply.Note: It would have been said with the bitter taste of, 'If you think your good enough...'. Leonidas' actual words were 'Molon labe' (μολών λαβέ) using Dorian Greek. "Molon" is a participle that means "after you come" and labe(λαβέ) comes from the verb lambano (λαμβάνω) that is still in use in modern greek and as imperative (λάβε in modern, λαβέ in ancient) meaning 'take'. In ancient greek with one or two words you can have a very specific meaning like this. The exact translation in modern greek would be 'αφού έρθεις, να τα πάρεις' or 'ερχόμενος λάβε τα' or not in exact translation 'έλα να τα πάρεις'.


    'Have a good breakfast men, for we dine in Hades!'
    King Leonidas' words to his soldiers to enjoy their breakfast as nobody thought that they would survive the day; they didn't.

    "After Leonidas was enclosed by the enemy at Thermopylae, desiring to save two that were related to him, he gave one of them a message and sent him away; but he rejected it, saying angrily, I followed you as a soldier, not as a postman. The other he commanded to go on a message to the magistrates of Sparta; but he, answered, that is a messenger s business, took his shield, and returned back to his place in the line". [8]

    Ares (the god of war) is lord: Greece has no fear of gold.
    When told that Persian had more gold than any other nation on earth, this was the reply.


    Plutarch, Sayings of Kings and Commanders [ Moralia 191F]:

    "When Paedaretus was not chosen to be one of the Three Hundred, an honor which ranked highest in the State, he departed cheerful and smiling, with the remark that he was glad if the State possessed three hundred citizens who were better than himself." [7]


    "Begin with your own family."
    A man argued that Sparta should set up a democracy, this was Lykurgus reply:


    When someone promised to give fighting roosters that would die in combat, the Spartan replied.
    "Don't give me those, but let me have ones that kill in combat" [5]


    At the Olympic games a Spartan was offered a large bribe to throw a match to which the victor only won a crown made of laurel leaves, he refused and with a great struggle the Spartan beat his opponent in wrestling, when he was asked "What have you gained by your victory Spartan? He replyed, with a smile:
    "In battle, pride of place in front of the King." [6]


    King Agesilaus, who wanted to liberate the Greeks living in Aisa, consulted the oracle of Zeus at Dodona. The answer he heard back was to 'launch the campaign if the person responsible considered it feasible'. The king informed the ephors of the response, and they told him to go to Delphi and ask again.
    When he entered the shire of the oracle he asked the following question:
    "Apollo, is your opinion the same as your father's?" The oracle confirmed that it was.


    "Our Trachinian friend brings us excellent tidings. If the Medes darken the sun, we shall have our fight in the shade."
    Dieneces the Spartan answer to one of the Trachinians who told him, Such is the number of barbarians, that when they shot forth their arrows the sun would be darkened by the multitude.'


    'But we have never driven you from the Eurotas!'
    When an Athenian claimed that 'We have often driven you from the Cephisus'. Antalcidas a Spartan negotiator's reply.
    'Cephisus' is a river that flows through the Athenian plain, and 'Eurotas' is a river that flows near Sparta. The Athenians nor any other enemy had ever reached that far in Lacedamonia towards Sparta. [2]

    When told that 'Sparta was preserved by her kings' talent for command', King Theopompus' reply was:
    'No, but by her citizens' readiness to obey.' [1].

    "Then when you are silent, you are worthless."
    When told by an Athenian that speech was the most powerful of all, King Agis' reply: [2]


    "Neither"
    King Philip of Macedon, wrote to the Spartans, asking whether they wished that he should come as a friend or as a foe; and they returned the answer. The Macedonias took the advice and didn't go.


    "It seems all of Greece knows what is the right thing to do, but it is only the Spartans that do anything about it."
    An old man who went to the Olympic games, couldn't find a seat to watch. As he went from place to place, he met with insults and jeers, as nobody made room for him. But when he came to the Spartan section, all the boys and many of the men rose and yielded their places for him. Whereupon all other Greeks there applauded the action, and commended the action beyond measure; but the old man, shaking and with tears in his eyes, said,


    "So that others may not make decisions on our behalf, but we may for others."
    When somebody asked why Spartans drank so sparingly, Leotychidas replied

    "By not trusting everything to Fortune."
    To a person who asked how a man might best maintain his present favorable circumstances, the Spartan replied

    To the man who was amazed at how modest King Agesilaus and the other Spartans' cloths and meals were, the king replyed:
    'Freedom is what we reap from this way of life, my friend.'

    'What splendid women's quarters."
    When being drawn attention to the solid city-walls with its exceptionally strong construction, King Agesilaus remark


    A Spartan warrior was said to have painted a life size fly upon his aspis (shield). Asked why, the enemy would be scared of a fly he said. Because when I smash it into their face it would appear a giant. [9]

    When he was assigned the last place in the chorus by the man who was organising the dancing, Damonidas said:
    Splendid, director! You have discovered how even this undistinguished place may become distinguished!'


    'Stranger, it would be more honourable for you to be called a friend of your own city'
    King Theopompus' reply, when a foreigner told him that in his own city, he was called a friend of Sparta. [1].


    After watching a small boy pull a mouse out of it's hole turn around and bite him on the hand of it's captor and escape, King Agesilaus said.
    'When the tiniest creature defends itself like this against a giant aggressor, what ought we to do?' [2]

    'Say that throughout the entire time you needed to speak, I continued to listen in silence'
    When an envoy stopped after a lengthy speech and was asking what they should report back to his fellow citizens, King Agis' reply [2]
    The Sayings of Spartan Women

    'Strangers, my son was indeed noble and brave, but Sparta has many better men than he.'
    Some Amphipolitans came to Sparta and visited Archileonis, the mother of Brasidas, after her son's death. She asked if her son had died nobly, in a manner worthy of Sparta. As they heaped praise on him and declared that in his exploits he was the best of all the Spartans, she said: [7]


    Gyrtias: 'Once her grandson Acrotatus was brought home from some boys' combat badly battered and seemingly dead, and both her family and friends were sobbing, Gyrtias said: 'Won't you keep quiet!? He's shown what kind of blood he has in him,' and she added that brave men should not be howled over but should be under medical care.'

    After hearing her son was a coward and unworthy of her, Damatria his mother killed him when he returned to Sparta. This is the epigram on his grave:
    'Damatrius who broke the laws was killed by his mother-She's a Spartan lady, he's a Spartan youth.'

    A Spartan mother who didn't think her son was Spartan enough, this was found on his tombstone:
    'Away to the darkness, cowardly offspring, where out of hatred / Eurotas does not flow even for timorous deer. / Useless pup, worthless portion, away to Hades. / Away! This son unworthy of Sparta was not mine at all.'

    'Son, with each step you take, bear courage in mind.'
    Unnamed: 'Another woman, as she was sending her lame son up the battlefield, said:

    'My father's common sense.'
    Unnamed: 'When asked what dowry she was giving the man marrying her, a poor girl said:


    When asked by a woman from Attica: 'Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?', she said: 'Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.' Gorgo (daughter of Kleomenes I, born ~506. Married Leonidas I)


    Let the weeping be for cowards: but you child, I bury without a tear; you are my son, and Sparta's too.
    Unamed: When a mother heard that her son died in the battle-line.


    Artwork: Statue of Spartan woman kneeling clutching her stomach, 550 - 525 B.C. found in Magnula, a district in Sparta. The statue is housed in the Archaeological Museum of Sparta. It's theme is about child birth.
    In making your escape, where is it your going to? Do you plan to creep back in here where you emerged from?
    Opening her robe to expose her virgina, a mother confronts her son who had fled from a battle.


    Bury him; and let his brother fill his place.
    A Spartan mother, hearing that her son died in battle right at his place, this was her reply.

    Friends, how much finer it is to die victorious in the battle-line than to win at the Olympic games and live!
    A Spartan mother, heard of her sons success in a battle, but also of his death from his many wounds.


    Did you expect me to belive they sent you back to bring us the bad news?
    When her son was approaching and his mother asked him 'how the war was doing?' Her son replyed, 'all the men were dead', she picked up a weapon and killed him saying...



    Other Spartan artifacts and arwork:
    - Statue: Spartan woman dancing (note: this statue claimed to have been made c500 B.C. shows a bare breasted girl dancing. The most interesting thing about this statue is she is wearing a skirt that ends above her knees, which did not get popluar till about the 1960's A.D.)
    -Statue: Bronze reclining banqueter
    -Art: Giovanni Demin. Spartans (women) in wrestling

    Spartan children:

    Spartan children were taught stories of courage and fortitude. A story survives about a boy who followed the Spartan code. He captured a live fox and intended to eat it, as boys were encouraged to scrounge for food, they were punished if caught. The boy noticed some Spartan soldiers coming, and hid the fox beneath his shirt. When the soldiers confronted him, he allowed the fox to chew into his stomach rather than confess that he had anything, and showed no sign of pain in his body or face. The fox however had gnauged at his stomach and the boy later died from the injuries, this was the Spartan way.

    Laconic sayings.

    The Spartans are famous for their dislike of long winded speeches. Their communications often being short and straight to the point. Below are some of the recorded comments, either detailing their dislike for long speeches or for their laconic communication skills.

    "The long speech of the Athenians I do not pretend to understand. They said a good deal in praise of themselves, but nowhere denied that they are injuring our allies and the Peloponnese."
    Sthenelaidas, a Sparta Ephors on hearing from an Athenian delegation on why Sparta should not declare war on Athens.

    When the Spartan Lysander finally entered Athens triumphantly and put an end to the 27 year Peloponnesian War, he sent a message back to to Sparta that read "Athens is taken" the reply back from the Ephors to Lysander was "All you needed to say was 'Taken'.

    Reference:

    *1 'On Sparta' by Plutarch, Lycurgus
    *2 'On Sparta' by Plutarch, Spartan quotes
    *3 'Histories' by Herodotus (7.135)
    *4 'Histories' by Herodotus (7.136)
    *5 'On Sparta' by Plutarch, Lycurgus 20
    *6 'On Sparta' by Plutarch, Lycurgus 22
    *7 'On Sparta' by Plutarch, Lycurgus 25
    *8 'On the Malice of Herodotus' by Plutarch, page 7
    *9 Ap.Lak.,Anon.41=Mor.234C-D by Plutarch.
    Who are the Spartans?

    Ancient Greek thread
    When ancient Greek literature and drama is dramatised in today's theatres, when the actor playing an Athenian speaks he uses 'old English', Shakespearean language, when the actor playing a Spartan speaks he uses the 'Scottish' tone to differentiate (ie think of Leonidas in the movie 300, or the actor Sean Connery). When an actor is playing a character from Boeotia he uses a country drawl, the best way to describe this is he sounds like a 'country bumpkin'.
    http://www.ancientgreekbattles.net/P...artaquotes.htm

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    Thanks Raine. I'll read them. However since you already read them, you can use their arguments in the discussion we're having in PMs.
    I wish I was born Greek

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellenas replying to "nordic" Solin View Post
    You are still thieves, nothing can change that. Also, if we ask of copyrights for using our civilization, you must give us all of your money and return back in caves from were you came out as well. You owe us much more than we owe to you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellenas View Post
    others the perfection of the ancient Greek language that activate unexplored areas of the brain

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    I actually read that. Not enough time for the documentary right now though, may watch it later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benacer View Post
    I actually read that. Not enough time for the documentary right now though, may watch it later.
    Watch it now, otherwise Raine'd give you a disciple time.

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    Tooo lazy to read

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    Homer to Plato: Boris Johnson on the ten greatest ancient Greeks
    By BORIS JOHNSON and YORK MEMBERY

    Boris Johnson, who studied classics at Oxford, explains why figures such as Homer, Sappho and Sophocles had such a mark on civilisation

    1. HOMER (c.700 BC)


    Homer is simply the greatest writer of all time. He wrote the epic Greek poems, of course - The Iliad and The Odyssey - so you need no further proof. The latter is about good old Odysseus and his ten-year journey home following the fall of Troy. It's over 12,000 lines long and is an astonishing feat of literary endeavour. In one section, Odysseus was having a particularly hard time. Men were being turned into pigs, women were luring him astray, yet he smites his shaggy breast and declares, 'Endure, my heart; you've endured a worse thing even than this.' Which is a phrase I've drawn great comfort from when things haven't been going swimmingly.


    Homer's The Odyssey is over 12,000 lines long and is an astonishing feat of literary endeavour

    2. HESIOD (c. 700 BC)


    I've always had a bit of a soft spot for old Hesiod, a Greek oral poet. He was a great moralist and a pessimist - a glass-half-empty sort of chap - who's best known for his poem about agriculture called Works And Days, in which he prescribes a life of honest labour and condemns idleness. There's a line in there that runs: 'Fools, they do not know by how much the half is greater than the whole, nor what great advantage there is in mallow and asphodel.' Putting aside the second bit for a moment (in classical mythology, asphodel flowers were the favourite food of the Greek dead), the point here is that people always want too much and they forget that the half is sometimes greater than the whole. This speaks down the ages to us in our confused consumerist era, when we're so obsessed with material possessions and dissatisfied if our neighbours have more than us.


    Hesiod was a great moralist and a pessimist - a glass-half-empty sort of chap

    3. ARCHILOCHUS (c.680-c.645 BC)


    We're moving on to the lyric poets now. And Archilochus is an absolute champion. He was a wonderfully mordant poet and revered by the ancient Greeks as one of their most brilliant writers. He once wrote, 'I don't like a big general, with a swaggering, straddling kind of gait. And with his curls all combed. Let mine be one who is small and bandy, stands with feet firmly planted on the ground, and is full of heart.' Archilochus is saying he doesn't like authority and people bossing him around - which makes him one of the earliest embodiments of the Greek idea of liberty. The greatest thing that ancient Greece has given us is the idea of political liberty.


    Archilochus was a wonderfully mordant poet and revered by the ancient Greeks

    4. SAPPHO (c.620-c.570 BC)


    Next up is Sappho, another great lyric poet. She wrote lots of brilliant poetry about the experience of falling in love and the horror of unrequited love and the shock of jealousy. Her passion extended to both sexes. However, when it came to women, she wrote of her infatuation with them, rather than anything else. One of her greatest lines is: 'Let there be no concern of honey or bee for me.' She was saying the trouble with love is it might make you feel good, but it has a terrible sting - something we've all experienced at some point... So Sappho rejected both: she didn't want to feel either the joys or the pangs of love, because her passions had left her heartbroken.


    Sappho was a great lyric poet. Her passion extended to both sexes

    5. SIMONIDES (c.556-468 BC)


    We're getting to the Classical period now, so let's have a bit of Simonides, a man best known for his epitaphs commemorating fallen warriors, in particular those at the Battle of Thermopylae - fought between an alliance of Greek city states and the Persian Empire in 480 BC. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held off the Persians for days before their rearguard was wiped out in one of history's most famous last stands, as depicted in the movie 300. It was an amazing act of sacrifice that he duly commemorated in the couplet: 'Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.' The words form the first of many such literary quotations celebrating the idea of the heroic ratio of the 'few' against the 'many'.

    6. PINDAR (c.518-438 BC)


    Pindar wrote a lot about Olympic victors (and incidentally, we're planning to commission at least one Pindar-style ode in honour of the victors at next year's Games). In his First Olympian Ode, he observes simply, 'Best is water.' On one level, the point is that water wasn't that common in ancient Greece - except in Olympia, where the ancient Games were held. It had an abundant supply for the athletes to bathe in and for people to drink. But it's also good, sound advice fit for Olympians: to lead a pure, successful life, water really is best (especially if you've had too much to drink the previous night).


    In his First Olympian Ode, Pindar observes simply, 'Best is water'

    7. SOPHOCLES (c.495-406 BC)


    Sophocles was a quite extraordinary figure. He wrote no fewer than 100 plays in his long life. There's a particularly fine line in Antigone, when the chorus sings, 'There are many formidable things in the world, but there is nothing more formidable than mankind.' The Greeks realised that while the world was full of divinity, mankind was now 'the boss' and the measure of all things. That was an insight you find in no earlier culture. Centuries later, all of us - not just environmentalists - know that mankind is the most dangerous thing on the planet. The fate of mankind lies in our own hands; paradoxically, though, we're wrong-footed by tsunamis and earthquakes which show us that we aren't necessarily always the most terrifying thing.


    Sophocles was a quite extraordinary figure. He wrote no fewer than 100 plays in his long life

    8. PERICLES (c.495-429 BC)


    Pericles was the leader of the city state of Athens. In a mind-bogglingly brilliant speech, which I first read as a child, he says everything you need to know about politics and good government: 'When a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of ascribed privilege, but as a reward of achieved excellence.' Later, he adds, 'We are not angry with our neighbour if he lives as he wishes; we do not cast sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant.' It's the most brilliant description of 'liberal democracy' as we know it - and could easily be put into the mouth of David Cameron or Tony Blair. That said, oratory is not what it was in his day, and if I could give poor Ed Miliband one piece of advice, it would be: 'Brush up on your Pericles!'


    Pericles said everything you need to know about politics and good government

    9. PLATO (c.428-347 BC)


    Now on to Plato, the classical Greek scholar, philosopher and mathematician. Simply put, he and his mentor, Socrates, helped lay the foundations of modern Western philosophy. He wrote widely too, perhaps most movingly about the trial and death of Socrates, executed in 399 BC. He was a brilliant man who was accused of impiety and corrupting the young with his teachings and sentenced to death in quite disgraceful circumstances. And although Socrates made a speech in his defence, he was asked to drink hemlock. After drinking it, his last words - at least according to Plato - were: 'Remember we owe a cock to Asclepius (the god of medicine and healing).' It is an incredibly powerful line to end his life with. Despite all that he is being accused of, he's behaving in an awfully conventional way.


    Plato wrote widely, perhaps most movingly about the trial and death of his mentor Socrates

    10. ARISTOTLE (384-322 BC)


    Last but not least, we've got to have the great Greek philosopher Aristotle - teacher to Alexander the Great and writer of immense wisdom on many subjects. Old 'Ari' was a giant of a man in every sense of the word and coined all sorts of profound sayings. My favourite Aristotelian quotation is: 'All men by nature desire to know.' There's an awful lot of truth in that. A lot of us have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which can be acquired by rich and poor alike, and represents a form of power. This thirst is a wonderful thing, and Aristotle recognised this most salient of facts only too clearly.


    Aristotle (pictured with Plato) was a writer of immense wisdom on many subjects

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