Athenians and Corinthians

Good Essays
Topics: Sparta
I was required to read two texts: One was of a Corinthian speaking about the Athenians to the Spartans; the other was a speech of the Athenians describing themselves to the Spartans. Let’s begin with the first text. The Corinthian that described the Athenians had a strong favor for them over the Spartans. My understanding of this text is that the speaker didn’t care much for the Spartan culture. He claimed, “The Athenians are innovators, quick to make plans and quick to put what they have planned into execution. You [Spartans], by contrast, like to keep what you already have; you never devise anything new, and when you do take action it stops short even of its most essential objectives {A Corinthian}.” This quote really stuck out to me, and the reason for that is due to the stark opinion that this Corinthian had on the Spartans. He held nothing back. He said it how he thought, and didn’t care about any backlash that the Spartans would have. At least according to this speaking Corinthian, the Athenians had so much success because they took action and weren’t afraid to fail. They were confident people who took what they wanted and didn’t care how they did it as long as they got what they wanted and achieved their goal. The Athenians viewed themselves as unique, different than any other nation. According to this Corinthian, the Spartans were polar opposites of the Athenians. He said, “Your way {the Spartans}, on the other hand, is to do less than you could have done, to mistrust your own judgment even on matters of certainty…{A Corinthian}” So, you see, according to this speaking Corinthian, the Spartans were lacking confidence to truly succeed. They didn’t have the mindset that the Athenians had. And that is ultimately what allowed the Athenians to succeed. This perspective may be true, but let’s take a close at what the Athenians describe themselves as to the Spartans.

“Surely, Spartans, our eager patriotism in that crisis, and the wisdom of our

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