War Is The Thunder Of Feet And The Lightning Swords Essay

War Is The Thunder Of Feet And The Lightning Swords Essay

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War is bloodshed and pain and rust. War is the thunder of feet and the lightning swords hitting swords and shields. Often, humans become tricked into believing that they are more than animals, more than their basic nature. Athens dares to rise above and continue to rise after that, dares to journey out into the unknowable when they are still fighting a war they have yet to win. They’re eyes were set on geras when they should have remained on the battlefield, on the lives lost. Homer also portrays this in The Iliad with Achilles and his menis, the rage that overcomes him so much that he wishes the death of his own soldiers to prove a point, and the price he must pay for his own glory is first the death of a dear friend, and then his own.
War is too often a quest for glory, that is what Thucydides is referring to when he says “war is a stern teacher,” that the lessons people learn from war are the ones that are never forgotten, that mistakes are paid for with lives and land and power. Athens, throughout History of the Peloponnesian War, strives to obtain geras. When the civil war breaks out all of Greece falls susceptible to “a general deterioration of character throughout the Greek world. The simple way of looking at things, which is so much the mark of a noble nature, was regarded as a ridiculous quality and soon ceased to exist.” All that was left was “revenge [which] was more important than self-preservation.” When debating the launch of the launch of the Sicilian expedition, this idea of over expansion is further realized, as the Athenians remain fighting the Peloponnese, yet when Alcibiades is stating his case he says “it is not possible for us to calculate, like housekeepers, exactly how much empire we want to have. The fa...

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...acts. He wishes death and destruction on his own side, just so he can have his war prize, his honor. Achilles remains absent for most of the book, and the only thing that pulls him back into the war is the death of his dearest friend, Patroclus, who Achilles lets go into battle as him because it would bring him even more kleos. This amount of vanity, of stubbornness, is something that can only become eroded by the truth of war and violence. Until Achilles felt an important loss, there was no way for him to understand the impact of his actions. He, along with everyone else, is not safe from the destruction war reaps.

“because of the difficulties in preparing for it, became more enthusiastic about it then ever.” (425, 24)

They find themselves saying something akin to what Achilles would believe, that “revenge was more important than self-preservation.” (page 243)

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