Thucydides And Herodotus: Is War Good Or Bad?

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War and Morality: Thucydides and Herodotus Jaylin Swan

As I read both excerpts of Thucydides and Herodotus, I could tell that they had conflicting ideas about the question, “Is war good or bad?”. When I first thought on the topic, I was leaning more to the good side, but I re-read my notes and both excerpts and realized that I agreed with Thucydides’s argument; war is actually bad. Not only for the two nations that are fighting in the book, but for all nations and the surrounding areas. Rulers and other high ranked people can do things that are unpredictable. Both of the historians told us that when it came to war, all the rulers wanted the bigger army and to either kill off or enslave the other nation. Some wars were
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Herodotus seemed to be more on the pro side of war than Thucydides, but neither one made a full commitment to one side. Herodotus would show us the bad, but try to make the bad sound as if it had its positive aspects. Thucydides showed both and I noticed Thucydides made his arguments clearer than Herodotus. Herodotus’s example was based in Sparta versus Athens, whereas in Thucydides’s examples, he explained more than one war and battle and their pros and cons. I personally agree with Thucydides but feel that the examples of war from Herodotus’s excerpts show why Herodotus’s opinion is the most effective to a …show more content…
He tells us that party leaders only made decisions that helped them out at the moment they specifically wanted or planned for(244). If that is true, then it’s possible that means that some (if not most) wars were fought because one leader simply disagreed with another, maybe on something as simple as timing. Later, he explains how the war actually takes its effect on human nature and change what they can be more passionate about (245). During the time of war, a lot of laws are broken. Local authorities want to maintain that the most important thing is that the civilized life doesn’t get thrown away in the midst while citizens go into a confusing state of mind. War tends to bring out the true motives and colors of everyone involved. When true colors are shown, you can become confused on how civilized life should be, or forget about how it once was. Thucydides tells us that there were citizens who voted with the majority because they were afraid of what the others would say or do if they went against it (417). That statement makes me think that there could be a lot of this “majority ruling” during deliberation about what to do in the war. Certain wars might not have happened and history would have happened differently. Our personal lives could be different as well. For example, slavery existed as far back into this tale of war, and think of what kind of influence that gave to future generations (like how

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