Hypocrisy

Discuss the culture of Alexander's world and his image in art

Moderator: pothos moderators

jasonxx

Hypocrisy

Post by jasonxx »

I thought I would raise the point of Hypocracy relating to Michaels wery good views on Spartan ideology and the view they were the good guys.

As I sain in a prior post in the UK weve had a very good 2 part Documentary on Early Athenian Democracy. I guess were all used to the whitewash Ideology of Athenian Democracy. Bla Bla bla.

But it is also very clear that the so called Athenian Democracy was still Imperial Expansion with the aid of a very good maritime force. Maybe Athens preached Democracy when it suited them. If not they soon resorted to any tactics available to subdugate and take wealth from that which was not theres.

kinda like reading democracy while your going through some ones pockets. We get the endless arguements against Alexander and Philip and there war mongering ambitions. Oh those naughty Macedonian Bogey men. Maybe youi will back me up paralus but the Sparatns and all hellenes were all in the same game one way or another. Imperialism Expanstion.

Its the old Saying Do what i say not what I do. Hypocracy through and through... Hey not that it aint normal. But i wish The Ancient Greeks would have stopped bleeting how bad macedonia was.

Kettle calling Frying pan comes tio mind.

Kenny
Semiramis
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:24 am

Post by Semiramis »

To add to the Spartan treatment of Helots, where was it that I read that the Athenian population was 4/5ths comprised of slaves at one point? I am a huge admirer of Greek civilization but these populist TV shows that don't allow for any nuances have always irritated me. Does the viewer deserve to have their intelligence insulted by comic book "good guys" and "bad guys" when it comes to history? (Oops! I just realized that could be taken as in insult by fans of the movie 300. Fear not, I haven't even seen it yet. :))
User avatar
Vergina Sun
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 131
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: USA

Post by Vergina Sun »

I really didn't like how the Ancient Greeks treated the Macedonians either, but we must admit, there's a little hipocrisy in all of us. I suppose the Ancient Greeks saw themselves as more "refined" in a sense. Early Macedonian history is filled with a lot of killing and barbarity to get to the throne. I understand the same happened to the Athenians, though, but perhaps they saw themselves above that. I'm not disagreeing - the Ancient Greeks shouldn't have treated the Macedonians as barbarians. It's just that we can't really stop anyone from being a hypocrite. :)
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by Paralus »

Semiramis wrote:To add to the Spartan treatment of Helots, where was it that I read that the Athenian population was 4/5ths comprised of slaves at one point?
Not quite. I think you’ll find that’s likely the other way around. Figures that I recall put the Athenian slave percentage of population at near to a quarter. Although life in the Laurium silver mines will have been no summer holiday, the Athenians did not, to my knowledge, declare war on the serfs each year so as to morally give them the right to murder them. The Athenians did not enslave the populations of Attica or a goodly part of Boeotia as the Spartans did in Laconia and Messenia as well.

Selling the losers off into slavery was an occasional pastime in ancient Greece. It wasn’t always the case but it did happen.

All of that said, Athens did possess a rather ambivalent attitude to autonomy for a good part of its classical history. Their view of the world and how it functioned as expressed by Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue is a tour de force of power politics: we do because we can; you submit because you must. It is backed with the reasoning that if we don’t then someone else will anyway. Best be us then.

Whilst relieving the eastern Aegean and Asiatic Greeks of their Persian yoke, they saw no dichotomy in submitting them to an Athenian one. By and large, though, it seems not to have been fiercely onerous empire. Resistance was not huge and the number of revolts was not large. Those who did were few and were taught lessons, severe in some cases. Freedom and autonomy, though, is a particularly Greek thing and was always longed for

Indeed, only half as many signed up in the fourth century version under the belief that Athenian Imperialism, long since dead and buried by the Peloponnesian War, was a thing of the past. How silly they were. Platitudinous guarantees that the fifth century tools of empire – tribute, garrisons, governors, enforced constitutions and, more importantly, land holdings in allied states by Athenians (cleruchies) – were put away turned out to be just that.

Ardent imperialists rarely if ever change their spots and such was the case here. Constant attempts from the 360’s to recapture Amphipolis (the doorway to empire in the north) and the attempted recovery of the Chersonese signalled the resurgent reality. The expulsion of a Persian garrison from Samos in 365 which was then replaced with that most hated of fifth century tools of empire, a cleruchy, rang serious alarms. As did the intervention in Corcyra – an ally. Chios, Rhodes and Byzantium revolted and the second Athenian Confederacy died the death of the Social War.

The revolt occurred because of resentment at Athens recovering her “property” as Demosthenes, a fellow who seemingly knew something about imperialists, put it. He knew well enough to know what he was looking at when he looked north to Macedonia as well. Imperialists never change their spots no matter what ideology they might cloak it in.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

Semiramis: Watch the movie. Your oppinion might not change, but watch it.

Kenny: Democracy is the state in which the citizens, or the representatives of the citizens elected by citizens, make decisions based on voting and proposals. The Athenians during the Peloponnesian war wanted something to give them prestige and power. And so many of them were in favor of a campaign to Sicily. We must understand the conditions that they were in, and that this seemed as a way to gain strength against the Spartans.

The Athenians were not as imperialists as the Spartans were. But they also had their share. Imperialists in confounds of the city states, and not against foreign nations. I dont know if the colonization of Sicily can be translated as an imperialistic movement, as according to the traditions it was Aias and some comrades of him who first went to Sicily after the Troyan war. But surely the first big imperialistic move outside of the borders of Greece was Alexander's campaign.

About Athens and Macedonia. The Athenians did not view the Macedonians as barbarians.This was a tactic used by Demosthenes and some others. In fact before Philip decided to expand to the south, Macedonia was in a cultural floresence, and many people o the arts and litterature e.t.c. went there, as they did also go to Athens. The image of Macedonia as a very confined Kingdom is not entirely true. At least at the time of Philip.
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by Paralus »

Efstathios wrote:The Athenians were not as imperialists as the Spartans were. But they also had their share. Imperialists in confounds of the city states, and not against foreign nations. I dont know if the colonization of Sicily can be translated as an imperialistic movement, as according to the traditions it was Aias and some comrades of him who first went to Sicily after the Troyan war.
Oh the Athenians were imperialists: aggressive Imperialists at that. It's a bit of a neat distinction by limiting "imperialism" to outside of the Greek states. Had things gone differently in Egypt, the "King of the Marshes" may have found himself - along with the rest - Athenian vassals. Ditto Kimon's ill-fated adventure to Cyprus in 450. Indeed there is evidence to suggest that Kimon - and like thinkers - had designs on the Asian mainland. Cyprus and the Levant were theatres of Persian operations over the late 460's to 450. After which, having had enough - for the time being - Persia and Athens entered that compact of detente known as the peace of Kallias.

The disastrous (due to Nikias in great part and the demos the rest) adventure to Sicily was nothing if not imperial. Athens had harboured designs for Sicily for some considerable time. Certainly since before the war .

The Spartans, when their turn came, proved just as ruthlessly imperial. Lysander - had he lived and regained his influence - will have pushed Sparta to the brink earlier or changed her to accomodate the imperial reality. As it happened, a pig headed, recidivist and trash-panhellenic-talking king in Agesilaos set much of the tone. His imperious Laconic arrogance sowed the seeds of the Laconian lambasting at Leuktra.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
Semiramis
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:24 am

300

Post by Semiramis »

Efstathios,

There was something about the invading swarthy barbarian hordes in the trailer that made me kinda uncomfortable... On the other hand, I do have a minor crush on the guy who plays Xerxes... That together with your recommendation just tipped the balance... I'll just have to get it out now. :)
User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: 300

Post by Paralus »

Semiramis wrote:Efstathios,

There was something about the invading swarthy barbarian hordes in the trailer that made me kinda uncomfortable... On the other hand, I do have a minor crush on the guy who plays Xerxes... That together with your recommendation just tipped the balance... I'll just have to get it out now.
It'll be an education.....just not how you might think. I saw it and spent much time chuckling. I guffawed at the ephors: straight out of Orc city. It succeeds greatly as a comedic representaion of what might have been. We have Magic Johnson as Xerxes, a host of unspeakable trolls lined up as the Persian polyglot barbarians and a group of attack creatures from Steven Spielberg's most fevered nightmare.

Oh, and Epialtes is a cross between Gollum and the elephant man. He wonders why the Spartans wouldn't accept him as a homoioi and so betrays them.

Pardon me if there are spoilers in all that but it is about as obvious as a seventeen year old lad in house of ill repute with a bunch of hormones to burn and wads of hundred dollar bills to match.

That said, I saw it whilst on a business trip to Melbourne. Five pints of Guiness and a bottle of red over lunch helped appreciably in the enjoyment.

I've never been tempted to hire the DVD.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu
User avatar
Efstathios
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 759
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:08 pm
Location: Athens,Greece

Post by Efstathios »

On the other hand, I do have a minor crush on the guy who plays Xerxes...
I hope not like he was dressed in this movie :P

This movie is not to be seen as a historical representation. Just as an enjoyable epic movie. It has symbolisms. Which are obvious. The ephors, the orc like soldiers, and all that, i think are good representations of the feeling you get for each person. Of course the Iranian people may dissagree, and they have a point.

But anyway, it was a good movie.

I would like to see "gates of fire" being made into a movie though, and a good one.
Semiramis
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:24 am

Post by Semiramis »

Efstathios wrote:I hope not like he was dressed in this movie :P

This movie is not to be seen as a historical representation. Just as an enjoyable epic movie. It has symbolisms. Which are obvious. The ephors, the orc like soldiers, and all that, i think are good representations of the feeling you get for each person. Of course the Iranian people may dissagree, and they have a point.

But anyway, it was a good movie.
Efstathios, your post piqued my interest, so I had to check it out on IMDB. Gawd! He looked quite suited to play a Persian in the movie I saw him in, where he plays a Spanish guy I think. But... em... Whats up with the dark make up and girlie jewellery? So now he's swarthy and effeminate... Please tell me he's not gay as well. That would just complete the trifecta of the "Other"... :twisted:
User avatar
Vergina Sun
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 131
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: USA

Post by Vergina Sun »

Semiramis wrote:Efstathios, your post piqued my interest, so I had to check it out on IMDB. Gawd! He looked quite suited to play a Persian in the movie I saw him in, where he plays a Spanish guy I think. But... em... Whats up with the dark make up and girlie jewellery? So now he's swarthy and effeminate... Please tell me he's not gay as well. That would just complete the trifecta of the "Other"... :twisted:
I see this has turned into a conversation about the actor who plays Xerxes in the movie 300. I must admit, I didn't find him too attractive in the movie, but I see that he was number 12 in People Magazine's 2006 Sexiest Man Alive, and on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful list in 2004. You still might have a chance, Semiramis. :wink:
Semiramis
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:24 am

Post by Semiramis »

Vergina Sun wrote:I see this has turned into a conversation about the actor who plays Xerxes in the movie 300. I must admit, I didn't find him too attractive in the movie, but I see that he was number 12 in People Magazine's 2006 Sexiest Man Alive, and on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful list in 2004. You still might have a chance, Semiramis. :wink:
You mean he might still have a chance. ;) I'm going to try and justify talking about the movie by saying that any discussion of pro-empire propaganda could be kinda relevant to kenny's original post. Legitimizing empire is an important part of it's survival, be it the Athenian pseudo empire, the Spartan treatment of Helots or the mother of them all, the Persian empire. The constant and repetitive reminder of who the good guys and bad guys are. The creation or exaggeration of differences with the perceived "enemy". The conjuring of the "Other". Modern ideas of "Us" and "Them" taking on a historical dimension. For example, in classical times, the identification of Persians with the Trojans of Homer. Now none of this might apply to '300'. As I've said before, I'm waiting for the DVD to come out here to watch the movie. But, it still gives me an excuse to Google image search the"12th sexist man alive". :D
jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

Semiramis

You make a very good and valid point about good guys bad guys and how one would interprit an Enemy Invader etc. And the point in my opinuion is relevent to 300.

Its been critisized for Orcs. Disfigured and monstrous Persians. Ok its not true but in the eyes mind it probably is. A people would paint a similar picture of those who intend to over run and conquer your land.

I just think the whole concept is symbolic of what war really is. And as far as the Deformed Monstrous Persians its basically adding to the Ancient Greek Concept that all apart From Greeks are Barbarians only these Barbarians are monstrous to boot.

It goes without saying the Hoplite Demonstration in 300 is about the best scene of battle Ive seen.

I would add to the battle Scenes and a prevelent point made by my brother a outside observer. He probably correctly said those Persian forces could have been mopped up with a lawnmower.

As far as sexy guys. U got the Guy playing Xerxes. My wife now watches All Gerald Butler stuff. Good heavens.

Kenny
User avatar
alejandro
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 242
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: China

Post by alejandro »

Hi all,

I agree that propaganda and the distinction "us v them" is a crucial part of fighting a campaign. I guess this is one of the main reasons why Alexander's alleged policy of fusion (or at least tolerance) was difficult to accept (especially by the winners, of course, but even for the losers) and why problems started to arise after the imperial capitals were taken.

At the same time, it is interesting to notice that the same kind of policy would have been employed by the Persians. We know that Alexander may have been despised for being short (for Persians, it seems that the taller the better), ruddy (or at least that is what Mary Renault suggests, especially when combined with a bad tan :) ) and young and inexperienced (until Issos at least). Now there you have several ingredients for a political cartoon in "The Babylonian Times" or "Persian News"! :) What about a baby-conqueror, very small compared to Darios and with a pale/sunburnt face? Now THAT is news! :D

All the best,
Alejandro
Semiramis
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:24 am

Post by Semiramis »

jasonxx wrote:It goes without saying the Hoplite Demonstration in 300 is about the best scene of battle Ive seen.
Hi Kenny,

OK! Sold! Paralus mentioned something about a bottle of wine to go with the DVD. Who am I to ignore the advice of one so wise? :)
jasonxx wrote:You make a very good and valid point about good guys bad guys and how one would interprit an Enemy Invader etc. And the point in my opinuion is relevent to 300.

Its been critisized for Orcs. Disfigured and monstrous Persians. Ok its not true but in the eyes mind it probably is. A people would paint a similar picture of those who intend to over run and conquer your land.

I just think the whole concept is symbolic of what war really is. And as far as the Deformed Monstrous Persians its basically adding to the Ancient Greek Concept that all apart From Greeks are Barbarians only these Barbarians are monstrous to boot.
Brilliant observations about the monsters in the mind's eye. I find it interesting that Alexander during his pan-Hellenic campaign of revenge is said to have thrown his spear onto Asia in emulation of Achilles. But Xerxes too, during his Greek invasion, also invoked Homer. Revenge for the previous Greek invasion apparently. :)

What I find fascinating about Homer is how human both sides of the war are.. how nuanced, flawed and justified all the main characters are in their own way. To the point where it's possible to identify with either side. I wish this type of narrative would come back into fashion. :) Is that too much to ask for from Hollywood? Or maybe we should just be happy to get Brad/Orlando/Eric et al. in pretty costumes? ;)
Post Reply