Thucydides: The Mytilene Debate

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B. Mytilene debate
1. According to Thucydide, the revolt of Mytilene took place in the year 428 B.C and the debate took place in the city of Mytilene who had surrender to Paches (2013 p 94)
2. The Athenians believed that the revolt at Mytilene was premeditated as the Mytilenean people had planned to unify with Lesbos and revolt against the Athenian Empire (2013 p 94). Their government had plotted a rebellion with the help of the Spartans and Boeotian’s as well as cities on other islands to revolt against the Athenian powers (2013 p 94). Whilst the preparations for the war were taking place, an Athenian fleet had arrived as they had been informed of a possible revolt (2013 p 94). Some of the Mytilenean people had been sent to Athens in order to represent the people of Mytilene in order to request a settlement from the Athenians (2013 p 94).
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Thucydides believes that Cleon has an illogical thought process, he is acting too much out of passion and not thinking clearly about the circumstances. He sees his decision as “savage” (2009). Cleon’s words seem to be very persuasive and Thucydides is trying to alert the reader of Cleon’s persuasive nature (2009). He is seen as a brutal and harsh leader with little remorse (3.36). This is because Cleon did not see a way of maintaining order if laws had been broken (1962 p161-163). He shows a bitter attack on the leaders who oppose him. He believed that the Mytilene people as a whole had wanted to revolt against the Athenians and therefore should be held accountable for their actions (1962 p161-163). He believes that Didodutus is thinking more rationally and looking at the bigger consequences for the Athenian people (3.36). He seems to be the more humane man who values someone’s life and tried to highlight the importance of not following Cleon views on the matter (3.36). According to Thucydides, Didodutus is seen as a rational man as he believes that the harsh acts proposed by Cleon will lead to chaos and an uprising

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