[Milton-L] teaching practices

Duran, Angelica ADuran at sla.purdue.edu
Mon Feb 23 12:24:01 EST 2004


Thank you so much for providing the information.  I included a "?" next to my attribution: I am so glad to know the source text of a quotation that has meant much to me.  I will have to check out Thucydides from my university library.


Angelica Duran
Assistant Professor
English Department
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2048
(765) 496-3957, phone
(765) 494-3780, fax
<aduran at sla.purdue.edu>

> ----------
> From: 	milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu on behalf of tom bishop
> Reply To: 	John Milton Discussion List
> Sent: 	Monday, February 23, 2004 11:05 AM
> To: 	John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: 	RE: [Milton-L] teaching practices
> <<File: ATT619772.txt>>
> Angelica Duran quotes the following "At birth, there is not much difference between man and man, but superiority lies with he who is reared in the severest school" attributing it tentatively to Archidamus.  It is recorded by Thucydides in his history (Book 1 chapter 84, section 4), where it is indeed given to Archidamus as part of his speech attempting unsuccessfully to dissuade the Spartans from going to war against the Athenians. I thought it might be of interest to the list to provide the context:
> "We are both warlike and wise, and it is our sense of order that makes us so. We are warlike, because self-control contains honor as a chief constituent, and honor bravery. And we are wise, because we are educated with too little learning to despise the laws, and with too severe a self-control to disobey them, and are brought up not to be too knowing in useless matters,--such as the knowledge which can give a specious criticism of an enemy's plans in theory, but fails to assail them with equal success in practice,--but are taught to consider that the schemes of our enemies are not dissimilar to our own, and that the freaks of chance are not determinable by calculation. In practice we always base our preparations against an enemy on the assumption that his plans are good; indeed, it is right to rest our hopes not on a belief in his blunders, but on the soundness of our provisions. Nor ought we to believe that there is much difference between man and man, but to think that the superiority lies with him who is reared in the severest school. (85.1) These practices, then, which our ancestors have delivered to us, and by whose maintenance we have always profited, must not be given up. And we must not be hurried into deciding in a day's brief space a question which concerns many lives and fortunes and many cities, and in which honor is deeply involved,--but we must decide calmly. This our strength peculiarly enables us to do."
> The severity of the Spartan school was, of course, as well-known for its brutalizing narrow-mindedness as for its effectiveness at turning out superior soldiers.  I do not recall that it is recorded what Milton thought of the Spartan system, but it is hard to imagine he would have regarded it with anything but horror.
> Tom
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