Cabinet Weary and the Peloponnesian War 11 Comments / February 25, 2023 February 25, 2023 Join Victor Davis Hanson and cohost Sami Winc in an analysis of the current presidential cabinet miss-steps, the history of the Peloponnesian War, and censorship of classic books. Related Share This
11 thoughts on “Cabinet Weary and the Peloponnesian War”
Victor and Sami, I very much enjoyed this weekend’s podcast. The history lessons you provide are really interesting. There is such great insight and analysis of what transpired in the past, and how these events are relevant to current times. I look forward to your podcasts, and also those with Jack.
Man, I love this series. The discussion of Thucydides checked all the boxes (ok, maybe we didn’t get lexicography and transmission) you’d find in a “Cambridge Companion to Thucydides” or higher level college course and did so with sufficient nuance and clarity at the same time. This is VDH, educator of People (ignobile vulgus formed by his pious dictas?) At his best. Roll on Selma Raison Farmer. Spite the impious frosts! Vergil-like, thou shalt abide when thy critics are ashes and dust.
Obvious question, why is called Peloponnesian War, and not Athens/Sparta war?
The word Peloponnesian comes from the name of the peninsula in southern Greece called the Peloponnese. This peninsula was home to many of the great Greek city-states including Sparta, Argos, Corinth, and Messene. After the Persian War, Athens and Sparta had agreed to a Thirty Year Peace.
Thucydides wrote the major work on those 27 years of conflict and a) saw all the wars in Greece during this period as a united phenomenon b) was an Athenian writing about a war with Sparta’s Peloponnesian League. That gave him the formula of “Peloponnesian War”. His work, being the oldest and most popular, set the terms for millenia of debate.
Ancient Greece was a civilization that dominated much of the Mediterranean thousands of years ago. At its peak under Alexander the Great, ancient Greece ruled much of Europe and western Asia. The Greeks came before the Romans and much of the Roman culture was influenced by the Greeks.
Ancient Greece formed the foundation of much of Western culture today. Everything from government, philosophy, science, mathematics, art, literature, and even sports was impacted by the ancient Greeks.
Historians often divide up the history of ancient Greece into three periods:
Archaic Period – This period ran from the start of Greek civilization in 800 BC to the introduction of Democracy in 508 BC. This period included the start of the Olympic Games and Homer’s writing of the Odyssey and the Illiad.
Classical Period – This is the time that many of us think of when we think of ancient Greece. Athens was governed by a democracy and great philosophers like Socrates and Plato arose. Also, the wars between Sparta and Athens were during this time. This period ended with the rise and then the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.
Hellenistic Period – The Hellenistic period lasted from the death of Alexander the Great until 31 BC when Rome defeated Egypt at the Battle of Actium. The name Hellenistic comes from the Greek word “Hellas”, which is the original word for Greece.
As many of VDH’s readers surely know, Hillsdale College has free online classes in the classics, as well as a whole lot more that is of interest to live-long learners. I have tried “The Great Courses”. Topics are great, but their presentations are just too sterile and canned for me.
Hillsdale, on the other hand, is doing a great job with its online courses in providing an instructive path for the “vulgar”, as James might say.
Maybe if America ever experiences the epiphany it so desperately needs, we will have many more schools of higher learning with the values and objectives of Hillsdale.
Correction: that should have been “vulgus” in the 2nd paragraph.
Heh. Thanks! Vulgar is just our modern adjective form of vulgus. I didn’t know about that free content at Hillsdale!
Yes, they have great online content at Hillsdale. As far as “vulgar” goes, when I googled it, it was defined as latin for “common”. This isn’t derogatory, whereas “vulgar” is.
Damn it, there I go again. I meant to type that it was “vulgus” that I googled.
Don’t worry! Old French screwed up everything Latin before it reached poor, muddled English.