Athens and Its Subjects. Imperial Controls and Imperial Ideology. Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove Thucydides, 1.76.
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Imperial Controls and Imperial Ideology
“We have done nothing contrary to human practice, in accepting an empire when it was offered to us and then refusing to give it up. Three very powerful motives prevent us from doing so--honor, fear, and self-interest. And we were not the first to act in this way. It has always been a rule that the weak should be subject to the strong; besides we consider that we are worthy of our power.”
Empire and Life Among “Allies”
“Athenian imperialism employed all the forms of material exploitation that were available and possible in that society.”
Coinage Decree450-446 or 425/4 or before 414 BCE “The herald making the journey shall require of them (that they accomplish) all that the Athenians command. An addition shall be made to the oath of the Boule by the secretary of the [Boule, in future, as] follows: “If someone coins money of silver in the citiesand does not use [Athen]ian coins or weights or measures [but (uses instead) foreign coins] and measures and weights, [I shall exact punishment and penalize him according to the former] decree which Klearch[os moved.” Anyone shall be allowed to turn in] the foreign money [which he possesses and to convert it in the same fashion] whenever he chooses. The city [shall give him in place of it our own coin.] Each individual (?) [shall bring] his money [to Athens and deposit it at the] mint.”
Athenian Import Interests in the Peloponnesian War (427 BCE)“The Athenians sent the fleet [to Sicily], ostensibly because of their kinship with the Leontinians, though their real aims were to prevent grain being brought in to the Peloponnesus from the west and to make a preliminary survey to see whether it would be possible for them to gain control of Sicily.”Thucydides, 3.86
Empire and Life in Athens
2nd century CE
Euripides, The Trojan Women (415 BCE) as Social Protest?
Theater of the Absurd: Aristophanes
Lysistrata, Acharnians as anti-war plays; Birds and Cloudcuckooland (414 BCE) as utopian satire of Athenian empire: cui bono? Aristocratic class bias (cf. “Old Oligarch”)?Athenian people as beneficiaries of empire