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Saturday morning quotes 5.20: Dowland and Context

Our weekly posts are unapologetically focused on vocal music of the 16th century and the lute as it was regarded in its golden age; an emblem for all that was civilized and sophisticated, refined and nuanced.  1,272 more words

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The Melian Dialogue

The debate is artfully constructed. The Melians admit that their weakness leads them to search for whatever arguments may fend off the Athenians, but they stick tightly to the two most relevant points.

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Notes On History

Democracy and Aggression

Today we think a government is not “democratic” if it violates human rights. Contemplating the unabashed wickedness of the Athenian treatment of Melos should give us pause; Athens was unequivocally democratic and frequently wicked.

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The Rise of Radical Athenian Democracy

Political writers for two thousand years and more saw in this history an object lesson in, variously, the dangers of hubris—overweening self-confidence—the folly of allowing the lower classes to dominate politics, the corrupting effects of power, and much else.

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Notes On History

Athenian Democracy

Cleisthenes’s creation was unlike a modern democracy not only in being a direct not a representative democracy. It was not a liberal democracy; there were no constitutional restrictions on what the Assembly could do, no boundaries between public and private life it could not transgress.

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Notes On History


A headline in The Atlantic magazine yesterday declared:

When America Was ‘Great,’ Taxes Were High, Unions Were Strong, and Government Was Big

And when considering history, this title is entirely accurate.  

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On Politics

Saturday morning quotes 5.18: Matters of Invention

Therefore I would give this Caviat, of Cautioon to any who attempt to Exercise Their Fancies, in such Matters of Invention; That They observe Times, and Seasons, and never Force Themselves to any Thing, when they perceive an Indisposition; but wait for a Fitter, and more Hopeful Season; for what comes most Compleatly, come most Familiarly, Naturally, and Easily, without Pumping for (as we use to say).

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