Justice And Injustice In Thucydides The Republic

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Thucydides offers a comprehensive analysis of the formation of early Greek cities during ancient times in the Peloponnesian War. His depiction portrays early Greeks as barbaric and simplistic freeloaders, who often pillaged each other to fulfill their own callow self-interest. According to Thucydides, they came together to develop cities out of a desire for safety without the turbulence of conflict. In The Republic, Glaucon paints a similar vision of politics in his speech to Socrates about the emergence of justice. Through arguing that justice evolves as a by-product of individuals’ natural tendency to exhibit injustice, Glaucon suggests people band together to create laws and cities to seek protection against the mighty inflicting injustice …show more content…
Thucydides invokes that people are naturally animalistic and unjust by relating how persons turned to piracy and annihilated whole villages in order “to serve their own greed” (1.5). His depiction of early Greeks committing injustice is strikingly similar to Glaucon’s assertion that “doing injustice is naturally good” (358e). Thucydides and Glaucon conclude that human nature is nasty and brutish. While Thucydides argues that fighting amongst early Greeks “proved a fertile source of ruin” for themselves, Glaucon asserts that the worst misfortune a human can face is “suffering injustice without being able to avenge oneself” (1.2; 359a). Thus, without a requisite force countering the innate tendency for individuals to exploit other people to attain their selfish wants, both Thucydides and Glaucon concur people would continually have to suffer from …show more content…
Glaucon contends weak individuals should join forces to create political communities that safeguard themselves against the injustice of the strong through enacting their own laws and dictating what is just (359a). Similarly, Thucydides illustrates that the fear of a violent death from faction or subjugation propelled early Greeks from fertile lands to migrate to Athens, the coast populations to join together with Minos to expel the pirates and form colonies, and for the Peloponnesians to coalesce under Agamemnon (1.2; 1.7; 1.9). Political communities are, thus, according to Glaucon and Thucydides, a necessary means for peace, safety, and mutual defense. Whether it’s Glaucon’s conception of the weak banding together to create laws or Thucydides’ description of coastal populations uniting with Minos to start colonies, these accounts reveal that politics enables the power of the masses to work together to constrain the savagery intrinsic to human nature. Both accounts also portray political communities as artificial inventions. If humans were not limited by their natural propensity for the injustice that Glaucon refers to or the barbaric greed that Thucydides describes, there would be no reason for governments to exist as it only serves to unify individuals together, shield them from violence, and act as a check on human

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