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How did Mytilene’s ambassador to Sparta justify Mytilene’s revolt against Athens?

The selection from Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War provides a detailed account of one year in this long and protracted conflict and describes how the city-state of Mytilene broke its alliance with Athens and the consequences of this action. It also provides a description of a debate between Athenian citizens in the city’s governing assembly and hence an insight into how democracy functioned in Athens.

1. How did Mytilene’s ambassador to Sparta justify Mytilene’s revolt against Athens?

2. What arguments did Cleon and Diodotus make for and against democratic open debate about foreign policy especially in times of war?  Summarize in your own words these arguments, but cite the page number.

3. What do the speeches reveal about Greek attitudes concerning government and direct democracy?


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