University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2008.
viii, 200 p. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -197) and index.
Athenian stasis and the quiet of the mob
The silence of Hoi Athenaioi : two modes of Athenian action in the history
Deliberative action and Athenian "character"
The silence of the demos and the challenges of political judgment : on the "decline" of Athenian politics
Justice and empire : Athenian silence and the representation of Athens abroad
Athenian silence and the fate of Plataea
Conclusion : Thucydides for democrats?
The role of elites vis-a-vis the mass public in the construction and successful functioning of democracy has long been a subject of central interest to political theorists. In this book, John Zumbrunnen explores this theme in Thucydides' famous history of the Peloponnesian War as a way of rendering our thoughts about this relationship in our own modern democracy more perspicacious.The political transformation of Athenian political life under Pericles - according to Thucydides, "what was in name a democracy became in actuality rule by the first man" - raises the question of how to interpret the silence of the demos. Zumbrunnen distinguishes two kinds, the "silence of contending voices" and the "collective silence of the demos, " and finds the latter the more difficult and intriguing problem to investigate. It is in the complex interplay of silence, speech, and action that Zumbrunnen teases out the meaning of democracy for Thucydides in both its domestic and international dimensions and shows how we may benefit from the Thucydidean text in thinking about the ways in which the silence of ordinary citizens can enable the domineering machinations of political elites in America and elsewhere today. (source: Nielsen Book Data)