Thursday, March 22, 2007

The 301

Victor David Hansen engages with revisionist historians attacking the 300. As Mr. Hansen reminds us:

True, 2,500 years ago, almost every society in the ancient Mediterranean world had slaves. And all relegated women to a relatively inferior position. Sparta turned the entire region of Messenia into a dependent serf state.

But in the Greek polis alone, there were elected governments, ranging from the constitutional oligarchy at Sparta to much broader-based voting in states like Athens and Thespiae.

Most importantly, only in Greece was there a constant tradition of unfettered expression and self-criticism. Aristophanes, Sophocles and Plato questioned the subordinate position of women. Alcidamas lamented the notion of slavery.

Such openness was found nowhere else in the ancient Mediterranean world. That freedom of expression explains why we rightly consider the ancient Greeks as the founders of our present Western civilization - and, as millions of moviegoers seem to sense, far more like us than the enemy who ultimately failed to conquer them.

It is always good to read an eloquent defense of Western Civilization made against the bleatings of the multicultural avant garde among us who have no sense of their own history. Read Mr. Hansen's article here.

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