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ruveyn ben yosef

There was more to ancient Greece than Athens

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Let me guess. I will bet most of you Objectivist folk think Athens is the greatest city-state that was. Maybe it was, but it was far from the only city-state in ancient Greece. There was also Sparta (aka Lacedaemon,) which defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War. After which Athens declined as a sea power. Not only that, Athens was creamed by Phillip of Macedon and became thrall to Alexander, while he lasted.

Athens reign as an intellectual superpower was rather short lived and after the death of Alexander, The Ptolemy dynasty in what became Alexandria made that city-state the most potent intellectual force of the ancient world. If any Greek or Hellenistic city-state could be called Science City, it was Alexandria, not Athens.

The Aristotelian line of philosophic development went into decline not too long after Aristotle died (322 b.c.e.). The main line of development thereafter was Pythagorean, Platonic and neo-Platonic.

Some of Aristotle's legacy was retained in Rome (particularly by marcus tullius cicero). But with the decline of Rome much of Aristotle's works were lost. Some of Aristotle's legacy went to Constantinople and there was picked up by the Muslims and later re-exported to Europe. If we take Cicero at has word, we have lost 3/4 of what Aristotle wrote. We we have mainly are the course notes written at the Lyceum, probably by The Philosopher's grad students. Cicero indicates that Aristotle wrote dialogues as good as Plato but we have none of these. All we got were the "Cliff Notes".

Now to Sparta, which was victorious in the Peloponnesian War. What can we say about Sparta? Probably Sparta made Stalinist Russia look positively delightful. Everything the Athenians were for the intellect the Spartan's were not. They were a state of military thugs who not only believed might was right, but proved it for an extended period of time. I will venture to say that none of you folks would want to live in Sparta. The food was awful and the intellectual and spiritual ambiance even worse.

If there were ever a super cool brain city in ancient times it was Alexandria under the Ptolemy Dynasty. It was where Archimedes, probably the greatest scientific intellect of ancient time did a good part of his mathematical work. He also did great technology in his home town of Syracusa in Magna Greacia where he gave the Romans nightmares with his lethal weapons. You can read about Archimedes unfortunate demise in Plutarch's -Lives- under the article on General Marcellus.

Alexandria remained a first rate intellectual center until the horrific death of Hypatia at the hands of Christians, around 415 c.e. She was the last of the classical Greek (or Hellenistic) intellectual superstars.

Science did not originate in Greece. In Sumer and later Babylonia astronomy reached a high state of development accompanied by a decent number system (base 60, which we still use for angles and telling time). These ancient dudes even had the zero, which the Greeks did not.

Massive civic works got a 2000 year head start in Egypt. The Great Pyramid of Kufu was the tallest building in the world, for 3800 years, before the Eifel Tower was built. Both the Egyptians and Sumerians had a head start on geometry wrt. the Greeks by about 2000 years. It was from the Egyptians that Thales got his first geometry lessons.

None of this denigrates the Greek contribution to intellectual history. The Greeks invented mathematics as we now know it. Theorem-Proof, Theorem-Proof. making mathematical results the logical consequence of a few axioms was a Greek original and started with Thales hundreds of years before Aristotle. Euclid perfected what Thales started and produced the greatest work in geometry ever and it remained the gold standard of mathematical rigor until the 18 th century when European mathematics surpassed that of the Greeks (with more than a little help from Muslim and Jewish scholars who invented algebra).

Athens had its day in the sunlight and has bestowed the legacy of its philosophical superstars, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle for our benefit and enlightenment. Even so, keep in mind that it was the pre-Socratic Aristarchus who got the solar system right - Sun in the middle and planets going around it.

ruveyn

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Do you realize who Sparta allied with in order to prevail in the Peloponnesian War?

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peloponnesian_War

From this article:

The Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. On the level of international relations, Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection, while Sparta became established as the leading power of Greece. The economic costs of the war were felt all across Greece; poverty became widespread in the Peloponnese, while Athens found itself completely devastated, and never regained its pre-war prosperity.[1][2] The war also wrought subtler changes to Greek society; the conflict betweendemocratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta, each of which supported friendly political factions within other states, made civil war a common occurrence in the Greek world.

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Athens we beaten soundly.

Athens and Sparta were allied against Persia man decades before the Pelloponesian War

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Persian_Wars

ruveyn

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Do you realize who Sparta allied with in order to prevail in the Peloponnesian War?

see http://en.wikipedia....loponnesian_War

From this article:

The Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. On the level of international relations, Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece prior to the war's beginning, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection, while Sparta became established as the leading power of Greece. The economic costs of the war were felt all across Greece; poverty became widespread in the Peloponnese, while Athens found itself completely devastated, and never regained its pre-war prosperity.[1][2] The war also wrought subtler changes to Greek society; the conflict betweendemocratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta, each of which supported friendly political factions within other states, made civil war a common occurrence in the Greek world.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Athens we beaten soundly.

Athens and Sparta were allied against Persia man decades before the Pelloponesian War

See: http://en.wikipedia....co-Persian_Wars

ruveyn

So the answer is, yes, you realize that statist Sparta allied with a former enemy to take out Athens. Thanks!

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