Essay on The Plague of Athens

Essay on The Plague of Athens

Length: 1111 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The plague of Athens

The Athenian plague was an epidemic that began in the summer of 430 B.C. in Athens—a year after the Peloponnesian war in 431 B.C. It was supposed that the plague was a result of excess number of Athenians within the city walls also known as the long walls—a military strategy by Pericles which consisted of building walls that connected the city to its port . The surplus of Athenians led to a shortage of food, water, an absence of sewage systems, and other important factors were said to have brought about the plague. It first appeared in the south of Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, and later on in the Persian Empire, and Rome before arriving in Athens . The disease attacked the population of Piraeus and then travelled to Athens where the death tolls were greater. The plague came back in 429 were it claimed the most lives, and later on in the winter of 427/426 B.C were it claimed more lives. From man to woman, the rich and the poor, and the elderly and the young, everyone in the Athenian population was affected by the disease. As it will become evident, the Plague of Athens devastated Athens and which made it harder to recover from , as it resulted in the failure of its social order, weakened the Athenian government, and the Athenian military.




To begin with, the plague killed an estimated 30000 Athenians – out of a population of 100000—it represented 25% of the population . As a result of the mass deaths, the conventional Athenian society changed. It led to the failure of social order in Athens. This idea of “living in the moment” became the motto of so many Athenians. Consequently, the traditional moral laws such as the obligation of families to care for the sick, funerary, and religious rites were not as i...


... middle of paper ...


...fically, the Athenians – already demographically disadvantaged—lost an approximate 4400 hoplites and 300 Calvary men due to the plague . It means that they lost some of their available forces for battle which was a great loss for Athens. They also lost a lot more men because of the Peloponnesian war that was happening. For example, the Athenian army – being a powerful naval polis—started with approximately 150 triremes, hoplites, and horsemen in order to attack Peloponnesus states . The Athenians were forced to retreat due to the fact that they had lost a lot of men. It illustrates how events such as the plague had a consequence – not really proven by historians—on how they fought the rest of the war. Even if they went on to later win the Sicilian expedition – 415 B.C. — they were only able to do so because they gained some “strength” few years after the plague .

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Oedipus the King by Sophocles Essay

- Oedipus the King, was a play by Sophocles, it takes place in the city of Thebes. The city swept with a plague, it was just like the one in Athens (Kennedy 710). The plague encourages Oedipus to find and exile the man who murdered Laios, the former king. Throughout the play Oedipus portrays his ignorance and innocence, but then he begins to question his upbringings and realizes the truth about his life. “...Oedipus gets his name through a complex pun. Odia means “to know” (from the root vid-, “see”), pointing to the tale’s contrasting themes of sight and blindness, wisdom and ignorance” (Kennedy 710)....   [tags: thebes, plague, athens]

Better Essays
1053 words (3 pages)

The Conflict Of Athens And The Cold War Essay

- “The conflict of Athens and Sparta is supposed to serve as a lesson for what can happen to any people in any war in any age” (Hanson, 7). How Thucydides was right when he made this statement, when you compare the Peloponnesian War and the Cold War, the similarities are striking. Even though these wars occurred thousands of years apart the are very similar. They both lasted for many decades and even though the Cold War had not involved any fighting it has themes that echo all the way back to the Peloponnesian War where its occupants fought with crud weapons compared to today’s modern technology....   [tags: Cold War, World War II, Soviet Union]

Better Essays
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Comparing Ancient Sparta And Athens Essay example

- There was once an era when Greece was one of the most powerful empires intellectually and physically. Ancient Sparta and Athens, being two of the most popular city-states in Greece, were rivals. These two powerful states had different trademarks; “. . .Athenians boasted of their art and culture, Spartans valued strength and simplicity” (Frey 260). One contrast between the two city-states was the way they treated slaves. In Constitution of the Athenians, Pseudo-Xenophon wrote, “. . . they let the slaves live luxuriously.” The staff of history.com wrote, “Spartans, who were outnumbered by the Helots, often treated them brutally and oppressively in an effort to prevent uprisings....   [tags: Sparta, Peloponnesian War, Ancient Greece]

Better Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

The Plague or The Black Death Essay

- ... Later on, the infected person would be sneezing, have hoarseness and violent coughing. Thucydides also noted that “Those who recovered were congratulated by the others, and in their immediate elation cherished the vain hope that for the future they would be immune to death from any other disease.” They believed since they conquered such a rough and deadly disease, they assumed they could fight off anything. Unlike Thucydides claim on plague symptoms, Procopius says “For there ensued with some a deep coma, with others a violent delirium, and in either case they suffered the characteristic symptoms of the disease....   [tags: fleas, cure, symptoms, origins, precautions]

Better Essays
1211 words (3.5 pages)

Bioterrorism and Plague Essay

- Bioterrorism and Plague Plague, also known as Yesirnia pestis, has wreaked havoc since the first documented outbreak in the 6th century, along with changing the course of history. Although bubonic plague is the most common form of plague, pneumonic plague is the more fatal form of the bacteria. It is the only form that has been successfully aerosolized by man and has the potential of taking down a mass of people in days. If used as a bioweapon, it would cause major damage. This paper is designed to inform you of the history, the facts, and the precautions needed to prevent a bioterrorist attack....   [tags: Biological Terrorism Terrorist Homeland Security]

Better Essays
1780 words (5.1 pages)

The War Against Athens And The Peloponnesians Essay

- In Thucydides’ opening, he believed that the war against Athens and the Peloponnesians was going to be a great war that it would be a fundamental event proceeding all other wars for the past and future. Beginning to understand the Peloponnesian War, how it started and who was blamed, it is important to understand the Athenians. Athens was a city-state of art, philosophy and great power. With great power and influence, arrogance also followed. Greece had just finished eighteen years prior with their war against the Persians....   [tags: Sparta, Peloponnesian War, Greece, Peloponnese]

Better Essays
1078 words (3.1 pages)

Essay The Delian and The Peloponnesial Leagues

- Intro The Delian League (Athens) The Delian League was an empire that included most of the island and coastal states around the northern and eastern shores of the Aegean Sea. As a result of this, Athens had a strong navy. Athens was also financially prepared for war, owning a large fund they had amassed from the regular tribute paid to them from their empire. The Peloponnesial League (Sparta) Sparta was leader of an alliance of independent states that included most of the major land powers of the Peloponnese and central Greece, as well as the sea power Corinth....   [tags: athens, sparta, greece]

Better Essays
1285 words (3.7 pages)

Epidemics and Pandemics throughout History Essay

- When looking back on history, it is evident to see that humans by nature are warriors. Humans often find themselves fighting mysterious battles against disguised enemies. Throughout history the earth has been afflicted with mysterious diseases, which tend to invisibly cause the preponderance of civilizations to perish. The evolution of infectious diseases has and always will provide challenges for humankind (Hoff, Smith, and Calisher 6-7). Over the course of time, humans gradually developed a preference to live in large urban settings....   [tags: Communicable Disease, Black Plague]

Better Essays
1945 words (5.6 pages)

Essay on Black Death : The And Great Mortality

- Do you know what Black Death is. Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people and peaking in Europe in the years 1346–53. Black Death had different names. Today, it 's best known as the Black Death or the bubonic plague. Medieval people called it "the blue sickness," La pest (the Pestilenc), and the Great Mortality. The name bubonic comes from the Medieval Latin word bubo via Italian Bilbo meaning a pustule, growth, or swelling....   [tags: Black Death, Bubonic plague]

Better Essays
1855 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about The Greatest Empire Lying Just Outside Of Greece

- This video is about strong and charismatic Greeks strategically harnessed the materials and people around them to create the most advanced technological feats. Persia is the greatest empire lying just outside of Greece. In September 480 BCE, Persia determined to add Greece to their empire. Briefly describe Themistocles was a good politician, who had a vision to deal with Persian. He built the navy ships to defeat the Persian. He also demonstrated his leadership at Salamis but creating a perfect to trick a Persian....   [tags: Ancient Greece, Homer, Trojan War, Athens]

Better Essays
730 words (2.1 pages)