In Thucydides’, “The Peloponnesian War”, there is a specific passage that was rejected in antiquity and is still reject now by most modern scholars, book 3 paragraph 84. It does seem, however, that this paragraph was added in by almost a want to-be Thucydides imitator because it seems to break his character. Nevertheless, I believe that this paragraph should be included with the rest of the book. Although, the text is somewhat difficult to understand how it could fit in with Thucydides, it does follow his train of thought throughout the books. My argument is that I fully agree, that the passage in book 3 paragraph 84, is indeed Thucydides’, although it seems a little out of place, it fits in with the other themes of his work and this paper will explain how.
Thucydides looks at how humans interact with the environment around them. He not only seems to look at individuals but also at the groups and masses. Humans by nature are immoral, corrupt, evil and surprisingly wicked. There are at least three different themes like this throughout Thucydides works that are mentioned in the rejected passage, but they all lead into one another. Hence, the first situation we come across in our rejected passage is about poverty. “…every sort of reprisal taken by their subjects against violent and immoderate rulers who now paid the penalty; men looking for relief from their round of poverty, and driven by their condition to deliver unjust verdicts in hope of acquiring their neighbors’ property…”
Although Thucydides doesn’t state other paragraphs this bluntly, he does give other implications to this passage. For instance, the civil war in Corcyra, before the civil war there were some people who were rich and powerful, while others were poor and powerless. But when the civil war breaks out and the balance of power changes, the poor people have tendency to take the opportunity to seize what belongs to the rich for themselves. This poverty can progressively turn into greed which blossoms into many other human behaviors. For example, if an unjust person was in a position of ruling they might strive for personal gains and wealth that isn’t rightfully theirs, which turns into injustice. This injustice turns into revenge from the side that it was taken from, and if this was during a time of civil war, where there are no laws in place to stop this malicious cycle, it runs rampant through the city streets.
With all of life thrown into chaos at this time of crisis for the city, human nature triumphed over law: it has always been inclined to criminal [sic] breaking of the laws, but now it reveled in shoeing itself the slave of passion, a stronger force than justice, and the enemy of anything higher.
Then next theme we come across in the repudiated passage is justice, or the lack of it, injustice. In times of war order is controlled by chaos and destruction. Order becomes disorder and morals become forgotten among the pandemonium that is war. Thucydides gives us an...