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HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
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Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

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Thucydides and Plataian Perjury*

Thucydides and Plataian Perjury*

Chapter:
(p.138) 12 Thucydides and Plataian Perjury*
Source:
Horkos
Author(s):

Simon Hornblower

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.003.0013

In her study on Plataean perjury, Stephanie West raises important questions about Thucydides's treatment of religion. Invoking several contemporary tragedies, she argues that perjury was believed to be a very serious business in ancient Greece, in part due to the perception that the Plataians were tainted by perjury that the Athenians did not help them in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. This chapter examines West's arguments by focusing on Plataian behaviour and perjury as well as Thebes. In particular, it considers Theban perjury and analyses Thucydides's account of the debate over the fate of Plataia. The chapter suggests that the Theban accusation of perjury against the Plataians is – and is meant to be seen as – a red herring to divert attention from the real perjury of the Thebans themselves. It also looks at whether the Athenians helped the Plataians, the alleged oath about the Theban prisoners, and the problem of the 479 oaths.

Keywords:   perjury, Stephanie West, Thucydides, ancient Greece, Plataians, Peloponnesian War, Thebes, Plataia, prisoners, oaths

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