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We can learn so much from history

(12 Posts)
Blossoming Sat 26-Dec-20 14:40:09

Currently reading The History of The Peleponessian Wars by Thucydides. I wonder if he ever thought that humanity would find ever more gruesome ways to obliterate each other, rather than ways to live in peace.

Hithere Sat 26-Dec-20 14:41:56


I dont think we have learned that lesson yet

Spangler Sat 26-Dec-20 15:54:13

Historians argue that The Peloponnesian Wars were like so many wars, before and since, all about empire. In the end they all fall, but at horrendous cost to human life.

The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. It might seem unlikely, but in that setting the cradle of democracy emerged.

Athens is often regarded as the birthplace of democracy and remains an important reference-point for democracy. Literature about the Athenian democracy spans over centuries with the earliest works being The Republic of Plato and Politics of Aristotle, continuing with Discourses of Niccolò Machiavelli.

Democracy is not the be all and end all, Hitler came to power by using the vote, but it's the best option that we have. Even so, it can still be divisive and some would argue, open to contrived manipulation.

Elegran Sat 26-Dec-20 16:25:28

Every system is open to contrived manipulation. Democracy is probably the most resistant to it of those that have been tried. I suppose the most resistant would be an all-powerful, all-knowing, uncorruptible, sensitive, humane saint - and even a saint would have to rely on delegating to deputies who could be trusted to be equally perfect.

M0nica Sat 26-Dec-20 16:30:35

‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

Spangler Sat 26-Dec-20 16:41:34

The Peloponnesian War also brought us a heroine in the form of Lysistrata. What a great bargaining tool. You can have war and no nookie, or nookie and no war. The origin of: Make love not war. (I've seen the graffiti: Phone 123456 for details.)
Lysistrata is an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC. It is a comic account of a woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War between Greek city states by denying all the men of the land any sex, which was the only thing they truly and deeply desired. Lysistrata persuades the women of the warring cities to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace.

growstuff Sat 26-Dec-20 16:53:52

Spangler I have often though that some who use "democracy" as a battle cry are deluded. It's a complex issue. In the past, I even started a thread about democracy, but it didn't really take off and was diverted by some who didn't want to discuss that it's not the holy grail.

It's a fascinating topic.

PS. I hope Carrie Symonds knows about Lysistrata! hmm

Spangler Sat 26-Dec-20 17:48:25

You are right growstuff and M0nica makes a valid point with Churchill's quote. Democracy does get complicated. Interpreting it's variations such as proportional representation compared to first past the post, inevitably stirs the blood. But when it comes to choice it's only the megalomaniacs who prefer the bullet to the ballot.

Lysistrata was a mini-series on the BBC in the 1960's, I remember that is caused quite a brouhaha.

nanna8 Wed 13-Jan-21 12:12:43

I have come to the conclusion that we really never learn anything. So many things repeated over and over again throughout the ages.
We assume our generation is the best informed, most enlightened etc but I don’t think so.

Luckygirl Wed 13-Jan-21 12:18:00

Now you know why I HATED history at school - one war after another, one cruel method of killing after another.................

I dropped it as soon as I could.

I wanted to know what people ate, where they lived, what they wore, how they dealt with periods, what they sang etc. etc. But our history lessons covered none of that - it was all megalomaniacs trying to rule the world. Has anything changed??.....................

M0nica Thu 14-Jan-21 07:12:04

I learnt both, we did social as well as, what Harold Macmillan called Events, dear boy, events

But how people lived their lives is shaped by the events they live through. Consider how WW2 affected how people lived aat the time and for decades afterwards.
You cannot have one without the other.

Juliet27 Thu 14-Jan-21 07:23:55

PS. I hope Carrie Symonds knows about Lysistrata!

Melania’s not having much effect it seems!!