"Democracy's Impact on Warmaking in Ancient Athens and Today"
When: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 5:30pm
Where: RI Hall, Room 108
Description: Lecture by David Pritchard (The University of Queensland)
This paper considers how democracy impacted on warmaking in ancient Greece’s largest and most populous state. Athens developed democracy to a far higher level than any other state before the modern period. It was the leading cultural innovator of its age. Less well known is its military record. Athens transformed war and became one of the ancient world’s greatest powers. The timing of this military revolution is striking: it followed directly the popular uprising of 508 and coincided with the flowering of Athenian culture, which was largely brought about by democracy. This suggests that it was democracy which caused this military success. Ancient writers may have thought as much but the tradition assumptions of ancient historians and political scientists have meant that democracy’s impact on warmaking has not been studied. Democracy impacted on Athenian warmaking in two general but quite different ways. The competition of elite performers in front of non-elite adjudicators created a pro-war culture. This encouraged the Athenians to join the armed forces in ever-increasing numbers and to vote regularly for war. But this was offset by the democracy’s rigorous debating of war. This reduced this militarism’s risks and encouraged military reforms. It also helped to develop the initiative of the city’s generals, hoplites and sailors. Today there is a pressing need to understand better how democracy affects war. The number of democracies is certainly rising in new regions of the world. But these regions are still plagued by wars, territorial disputes and arms races. They continue to experience wars or threats of war. Increasingly these conflicts will involve democracies. Currently there is no satisfactory explanation of the behaviour of democracies in such conflicts. Consequently we will struggle to prevent them or even to predict how they will progress. Political Science has long used democratic Athens as a source of new hypotheses. Thus classical Athens serves as a historical study which is rich in new lines of enquiry into the wars of today’s democracies.
67th Annual Latin Carol Celebration
When: Monday, December 8, 2014, 8:00pm
Where: The First Baptist Meeting House in America, 75 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02903
Description: Featuring seasonal readings by members of the Department of Classics. Musical prelude and accompaniment by University Organist Mark Steinbach, plus the Chattertocks' rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas and special arrangement by the Brown Madrigal Singers. Admission is free; all are welcome.
Brown Seminar on Cultures & Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean
When: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 12:00pm
Where: RI Hall, Room 008
Description: Matthew Rutz (Egyptology & Assyriology)
Note: Please contact Classics_Department@brown.edu for an advance copy of the paper.
49th Charles Alexander Robinson, Jr. Memorial Lecture (Title TBA)
When: Thursday, January 29, 2015
Description: Lecture by Glenn Most
Lecture by Alain Bresson (Title TBA)
When: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Description: Lecture by Alain Bresson (University of Chicago)
Lecture by David Levene (Title TBA)
When: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Description: Lecture by David Levene (New York University)
Lecture by Stephen Harrison (Title TBA)
When: Friday, March 13, 2015
Description: Lecture by Stephen Harrison (University of Oxford)
Lecture by Joseph McDonald (Title TBA)
When: Thursday, April 9, 2015
Where: Providence College
Description: Lecture by Joseph McDonald (Wheaton College) at the New England Ancient History Colloquium
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