The Mytilenian Debate

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Policies are tools that keep the peace, the economy and that allow a country to function. The Mytilenian Debate takes place after the revolt of Mytilene, the council immediately decided in sentencing the entire male population to death and to enslave the women and children yet, “there was a sudden change of feeling…to destroy not only the guilty, but the entire population of a state. In Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War the role of policies can affect the course of war and the state. It is best seen in The Mytilenian debate where the parliament of Athens discusses if the sentence they proposed was truly right. In this debate we have two men Cleon, and Diodotus who discuss their view on the sentence and discuss the delicacy policies…show more content…
We are now introduced another point of view that differs to that of Cleon. Thucydides introduces Diodotus a man who originally opposed the notion and continues to provide the reasons as to why, “haste and anger are, to my mind, the two greatest obstacles to wise counsel-haste, that usually goes with folly, anger that is the mark of primitive and narrow minds” (p. 218). As a member of parliament Diodotus stresses the fact that as men of government it is their duty to avoid making terrible decisions and as men of government they are the representatives of the law and thus must act according to justice. Diodotus continues to discuss the matters of corruption and deception, for through this the matters of state cannot be fully addressed, “her counsellors will be afraid to speak and will be deprived of their services” (p. 218). He warns the council that although a proposition may seem appealing they must not be fooled by it for a man will do anything to be believed and even though they may not notice the deception the state will not be fooled. However, Diodotus understand that the Mytilenians should not be left unchecked, he agrees with Cleon in concern of the future but not the death sentence of the Mytilenians. For if they do impose the death penalty it would only cost the country instead, he suggest something else, “we should be looking for a method by which, empowering moderation in our punishments, we can in the future secure ourselves the full use of those cities which bring us important contributions” (p.221). He brings up the error in which led them to the revolt for by forcefully subduing a free country it lead its populace to assert its dominance, so the country at this point must care for them to avoid having the same thing happen. And if they choose to continue with the death
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