Compare and Contrast two readings_week3

For the Note Assignments, it is asked to provide some basic information about the documents that you have read. There are some basic facts to ascertain about each of the documents:1. Who wrote this document, and when and where?2. What kind of document is it?3. Who is the intended audience for this document?4. What are the main points of the document?5. Why was the document written?6. What can you tell about the society that this document comes from?PS: Those questions have to be answered for each documents or readings (2).All the details (including the readings) are in the documents attached. Thanks a lot!


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The translation of Thucydides 2.47.1-55.1 was made by Richard Crawley.
In the first days of summer the Spartans and their allies, with two-thirds of their forces as
before, invaded Attica, under the command of Archidamus, son of Zeuxidamus, king of Sparta,
and sat down and laid waste the country.
Not many days after their arrival in Attica the plague first began to show itself among the
Athenians. It was said that it had broken out in many places previously in the neighborhood of
Lemnos and elsewhere; but a pestilence of such extent and mortality was nowhere remembered.
Neither were the physicians at first of any service, ignorant as they were of the proper way to
treat it, but they died themselves the most thickly, as they visited the sick most often; nor did any
human art succeed any better. Supplications in the temples, divinations, and so forth were found
equally futile, till the overwhelming nature of the disaster at last put a stop to them altogether.
It first began, it is said, in the parts of Ethiopia above Egypt, and thence descended into
Egypt and Libya and into most of the [Persian] King’s country. Suddenly falling upon Athens, it
first attacked the population in Piraeus -which was the occasion of their saying that the
Peloponnesians had poisoned the reservoirs, there being as yet no wells there- and afterwards
appeared in the upper city, when the deaths became much more frequent.
All speculation as to its origin and its causes, if causes can be found adequate to produce
so great a disturbance, I leave to other writers, whether lay or professional; for myself, I shall
simply set down its nature, and explain the symptoms by which perhaps it may be recognized by
the student, if it should ever break out again. This I can the better do, as I had the disease myself,
and watched its operation in the case of others.
That year then is admitted to have been otherwise unprecedentedly free from sickness;
and such few cases as occurred all determined in this. As a rule, however, there was no
ostensible cause; but people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the
head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue,
becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath. These symptoms were followed by
sneezing and hoarseness, after which the pain soon reached the chest, and produced a hard
cough. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile of every kind named by
physicians ensued, accompanied by very great distress. In most cases also an ineffectual retching
followed, producing violent spasms, which in some cases ceased soon after, in others much later.
Externally the body was not very hot to the touch, nor pale in its appearance, but reddish,
livid, and breaking out into small pustules and ulcers. But internally it burned so that the patient
could not bear to have on him clothing or linen even of the very lightest description; or indeed to
be otherwise than stark naked. What they would have liked best would have been to throw
themselves into cold water; as indeed was done by some of the neglected sick, who plunged into
the rain tanks in their agonies of unquenchable thirst; though it made no difference whether they
drank little or much.
Besides this, the miserable feeling of not being able to rest or sleep never ceased to
torment them. The body meanwhile did not waste away so long as the distemper was at its
height, but held out to a marvel against its ravages; so that when they succumbed, as in most
cases, on the seventh or eighth day to the internal inflammation, they had still some strength in
them. But if they passed this stage, and the disease descended further into the bowels, inducing a
violent ulceration there accompanied by severe diarrhea, this brought on a weakness which was
generally fatal.
For the disorder first settled in the head, ran its course from thence through the whole of
the body, and, even where it did not prove mortal, it still left its mark on the extremities; for it
settled in the privy parts, the fingers and the toes, and many escaped with the loss of these, some
too with that of their eyes. Others again were seized with an entire loss of memory on their first
recovery, and did not know either themselves or their friends.
But while the nature of the distemper was such as to baffle all description, and its attacks
almost too grievous for human nature to endure, it was still in the following circumstance that its
difference from all ordinary disorders was most clearly shown. All the birds and beasts that prey
upon human bodies, either abstained from touching them (though there were many lying
unburied), or died after tasting them. In proof of this, it was noticed that birds of this kind
actually disappeared; they were not about the bodies, or indeed to be seen at all. But of course
the effects which I have mentioned could best be studied in a domestic animal like the dog.
Such then, if we pass over the varieties of particular cases which were many and peculiar,
were the general features of the distemper. Meanwhile the town enjoyed an immunity from all
the ordinary disorders; or if any case occurred, it ended in this. Some died in neglect, others in
the midst of every attention. No remedy was found that could be used as a specific; for what did
good in one case, did harm in another. Strong and weak constitutions proved equally incapable
of resistance, all alike being swept away, although dieted with the utmost precaution.
By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which ensued when any
one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of
resistance, and left them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was the awful
spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other.
This caused the greatest mortality. On the one hand, if they were afraid to visit each other, they
perished from neglect; indeed many houses were emptied of their inmates for want of a nurse: on
the other, if they ventured to do so, death was the consequence. This was especially the case with
such as made any pretensions to goodness: honor made them unsparing of themselves in their
attendance in their friends’ houses, where even the members of the family were at last worn out
by the moans of the dying, and succumbed to the force of the disaster.
Yet it was with those who had recovered from the disease that the sick and the dying
found most compassion. These knew what it was from experience, and had now no fear for
themselves; for the same man was never attacked twice- never at least fatally. And such persons
not only received the congratulations of others, but themselves also, in the elation of the moment,
half entertained the vain hope that they were for the future safe from any disease whatsoever.
An aggravation of the existing calamity was the influx from the country into the city, and
this was especially felt by the new arrivals. As there were no houses to receive them, they had to
be lodged at the hot season of the year in stifling cabins, where the mortality raged without
restraint. The bodies of dying men lay one upon another, and half-dead creatures reeled about the
streets and gathered round all the fountains in their longing for water. The sacred places also in
which they had quartered themselves were full of corpses of persons that had died there, just as
they were; for as the disaster passed all bounds, men, not knowing what was to become of them,
became utterly careless of everything, whether sacred or profane.
All the burial rites before in use were entirely upset, and they buried the bodies as best
they could. Many from want of the proper appliances, through so many of their friends having
died already, had recourse to the most shameless sepultures: sometimes getting the start of those
who had raised a pile, they threw their own dead body upon the stranger’s pyre and ignited it;
sometimes they tossed the corpse which they were carrying on the top of another that was
burning, and so went off.
Nor was this the only form of lawless extravagance which owed its origin to the plague.
Men now coolly ventured on what they had formerly done in a corner, and not just as they
pleased, seeing the rapid transitions produced by persons in prosperity suddenly dying and those
who before had nothing succeeding to their property. So they resolved to spend quickly and
enjoy themselves, regarding their lives and riches as alike things of a day. Perseverance in what
men called honor was popular with none, it was so uncertain whether they would be spared to
attain the object; but it was settled that present enjoyment, and all that contributed to it, was both
honorable and useful. Fear of gods or law of man there was none to restrain them. As for the
first, they judged it to be just the same whether they worshipped them or not, as they saw all
alike perishing; and for the last, no one expected to live to be brought to trial for his offenses, but
each felt that a far severer sentence had been already passed upon them all and hung ever over
their heads, and before this fell it was only reasonable to enjoy life a little.
Such was the nature of the calamity, and heavily did it weigh on the Athenians; death
raging within the city and devastation without. Among other things which they remembered in
their distress was, very naturally, the following verse which the old men said had long ago been
A Dorian war shall come and with it death.
So a dispute arose as to whether dearth and not death had not been the word in the verse;
but at the present juncture, it was of course decided in favor of the latter; for the people made
their recollection fit in with their sufferings. I fancy, however, that if another Dorian war should
ever afterwards come upon us, and a dearth should happen to accompany it, the verse will
probably be read accordingly. The oracle also which had been given to the Spartans was now
remembered by those who knew of it. When the god was asked whether they should go to war,
he answered that if they put their might into it, victory would be theirs, and that he would himself
be with them. With this oracle events were supposed to tally.
For the plague broke out as soon as the Peloponnesians invaded Attica, and never
entering Peloponnese (not at least to an extent worth noticing), committed its worst ravages at
Athens, and next to Athens, at the most populous of the other towns. Such was the history of the
Note Assignment
Document 1:
Type of Document:_______________________________________________________
Intended Audience:_______________________________________________________
Main Points:_____________________________________________________________
Why was the document written?
What can you tell about the society that produced it?
Document 2:
Type of Document:_______________________________________________________
Intended Audience:_______________________________________________________
Main Points:_____________________________________________________________
Why was the document written?
What can you tell about the society that produced it?
Compare and contrast: How are these documents similar or different? What does that
Spring ‘18
For your Note Assignments, you will be asked to provide some basic information
about the documents that you have read. There are some basic facts to ascertain
about each of the documents:
1. Who wrote this document, and when and where? Most of these documents you
can easily find out who wrote it, and where and when; it’s usually in the
introduction to the document itself, if there is one.
2. What kind of document is it? Is the document written, or part of a speech? Is it a
letter, a note, a decree, declaration, etc.? How can this (document type) aid your
understanding of it historically?
3. Who is the intended audience for this document? Is the document written to be
widely read, or only by a few people? Is the audience supposed to be similar
people (all the Franks), or different (all Christians)? Is it intended for the rich only
or the poor only, or everyone in between, or some other group altogether?
4. What are the main points of the document? Summarize!
These are the main ideas that you should first discover about the document:
the who, what, where and why questions that will get you started in using this
document as a historical source. Once you have this information (and some of it
may very well be listed for you in the introduction to the particular document),
then you can go on to the more important historical questions:
5. Why was the document written?
Is it supposed to do something specific (free the serfs, declare war, brag,
threaten, make law, etc.), or is it more general (here’s my description of the
Crusades)? Is it to share something (like a discovery), or to teach, or correct an
earlier mistake, or merely record (like a journal)? All these things, plus those
above, should help you to figure out why a document was written. A oneline
answer is not sufficient; Gregory VII wrote to all the German princes in response
to questions from just one of them—there are differences between replying to just
one person and writing an open letter.
6. What can you tell about the society that this document comes from?
This is another area where you’ll have to try to synthesize all of the above
information. The audience for the document is one of the most important things
here; if it is written to only a small segment of the population, that might tell you
something about the society (like only a few people really count). If it is a speech
(or contains a speech), you might think that it reflects the thinking of some of the
leaders of a society, (but make sure that they are not too unusual– Not all leaders
reflect their population’s views; or perhaps it just reflects the views of the author
who included that speech!). Also: be careful! Some of these documents may be
influential without being very popular; they express ideas that just never caught on,
or are pretty far afield for most of society. If all else fails, take a guess at this
society; it’s worth a try. Above all, try to be thoughtful; there are reasons that these
documents were chosen for you. They all tell something about their societies, and
you should try to get as much information as possible from them. As above, a
oneline answer is not sufficient!

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