Tucidide di Melesia e il partito di opposizione a Pericle

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1. The main source on the opposition of Thucydides the son of Melesias to Pericles is Plut. Per. XI 1-2, the reliability of which has often been doubted by scholars because of the distance between the author and the events: thus, a preliminary examination of this text, both in historiographical (§ 2) and historical (§ 3) terms, is required. 2. In the passages of his Lives in which refers about Thucydides, Plutarch uses fourth century sources (above all Theopompus, but perhaps Ephorus and philosophers too) and, directly or indirectly, fifth century ones (like Stesimbrotus, Ion, the comedy). Besides, as can be inferred from Per. XIII 16, Plutarch carefully analyzes his sources and their historical reliability. Therefore, the author seems well documented and there is no need to reject his report. 3. Many sources (Thuc. VI 13, 1; Aristoph. Eccl., 296-298; FGrHist 328 F 140; Demosth. XVIII 143) suggest that it wasn’t unusual for the Athenians to gather in groups of similar political orientation in the assembly: therefore, what Plutarch tells about Thucydides of Melesias is confirmed by analogous situations and cannot be easily rejected. 4. Political groups could variously influence an assembly meeting: by interruptions and heckling; swinging the votes of the uncertain; trying to manipulate the assessment of the outcome of a cheirotonia. 5. Thucydides’ opposition of to Pericles, between 451/50 or 450/49 (Kimon’s death) and 444 or 443 (Thucydides’s ostracism), can be reconstructed from a few allusions in the sources, such as Plut. Per. XI-XIV, especially about the building program of the Acropolis; evidence can be also be inferred from Per. XXIII 1 and from Anaxagoras’ trial after Thucydides’ return from his exile. 6. (1) Can Thucydides’ group be termed “party”? In effect, despite what most scholars sustain, the careful examination of the requisites of the use of the term “party” and their unbiased application to the direct democracy of classical Athens provide no cogent reason for rejecting the term. (2) Why Thucydides’ opposition to Pericles failed? Although Thucydides’ debacle can be explained through various reasons, the most significant is perhaps that his opposition wasn’t secret and clandestine as that of 411 and 404 conspirators: since the demos was strongly attached to democracy, the nature of Thucydides’ opposition was destined to lead to failure.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Thucydides of Melesia and the opposition party in Pericles
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePartiti e fazioni nell esperienza politica greca (CSA VI)
EditorCinzia Bearzot, Franca Landucci
Numero di pagine40
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2008


  • Pericle
  • Tucidide di Melesia
  • partito

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