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Made You Think

Apr 4, 2023

“Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.”

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're diving into History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. Full of speeches, history, parallels, and battles, this book provides an account of the Peloponnesian War as told by an Athenian general.

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • The style of combat in 5th century BC vs. modern tactics
  • Effects of the plague of Athens
  • Unhinged Google reviews of the US House of Representatives
  • How war is depicted differently depending on your perspective
  • The difference in lifestyle between the Spartans and Athenians

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

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(1:06) History of the Peloponnesian War- The first and oldest history book that we have. While there are older books about historical events and periods, this book strives to depict things with historical accuracy rather than for storytelling and entertainment purposes. 

(6:08) The history was divided into eight books, and each book changes slightly in the style of which it was written.

(9:10) What was the Peloponnesian War? We talk about the history of the war. While the Athenians and Spartans were the main players in the fight, there were a bunch of smaller allies mentioned as well.

(14:41) "If an opponent made a reasonable speech, the party in power, so far from giving it a generous reception, took every precaution to see that it had no practical effect."

Nat, Neil, and Adil read some passages from the book and discuss some of the parallels.

(19:44)  "A city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed, than with good laws that are constantly being altered, that lack of learning combined with sound common sense is more helpful than the kind of cleverness that gets out of hand, and that as a general rule states are better governed by the man in the street than by intellectuals.”

Many politicians in the earlier days had a career before they were a politician, and many roles in politics were just on a part time basis whereas today, most elected officials are in that role full time. 

(26:19) What do people really think of the US House of Representatives?

(28:09) Strength of the Athenian navy. Much of the naval battles included hand-to-hand combat as guns and cannons were not yet in use. This looked much different than naval battles would in today's time. 

(35:01) While the sizes of the battles seem very small in comparison to today, it still affected a sizeable percentage of the population.

(40:54) The writing style changed as the book went on. In the beginning, there were more detailed descriptions of the actual war, but as it went on, the narrative became more of an accounting of the battles and casualties. 

(41:37) The book describes a plague that broke out that ended up killing a lot of people. Why “watch words” were common in this war as a tool to recognize who was or was not on your side. 

(47:45) Depictions of war today include the costs that come with war such as the potential of losing your home or family. There can be different perspectives of the same battle just based on what side you're on and where you live.

(53:14) That wraps up this episode! As previously hinted, we will be covering The Three-Body Problem next. Make sure to grab a copy to follow along with us!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS, @adilmajid, @nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

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Thanks for listening. See you next time!