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Aristophanes and Thucydides on Cleon[edit]

I've heard by a well known Italian satirist, Daniele Luttazzi, that Aristophanes was quite right on Cleon: that would make this section totally wrong. I'm gonna move it to the talk page if no source is provided (section was inserted with the article creation).--BMF81 21:19, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

When did an Italian satirist become an authority on ancient Athenian politicians? You need better reason than that to argue against the position in the article (unless Luttazzi has a secret life as a published ancient historian). On the one hand, it is correct to note that our view of Cleon is shaped by Aristophanes and Thucydides. On the other hand, the article should provide some documentation that backs up the revisionist view. But I don't think the paragraph should be removed on the satirist's authority alone.--Iacobus 05:48, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
There is some controversy regarding the assessment of his figure; in particular I remember that the Italian historian Luciano Canfora wrote a book on Thucydides "one lie", that would be his maliciously slandering Cleon in the battle of Sphacteria.--Aldux 13:14, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I see no reason to accuse Thucydides of being partial. I have read his whole book. And it reads like a modern book, written by a thorough and objective person. He is not partial to Sparta, like later authors said; he is very cautious on politics, many times even cynical; he is surely not a believer in the kindness and goodness of any regime... Thucydides seems concerned, even obsessed, with objectivity. When he gives his opinion -- which, in the case of Cleon, is very unfavorable -- he backs it up with a thorough description of his speeches and his actions. On the other hand, his description of aristocrats and Sparta is not laudatory; the many errors of Sparta in the battle of Pylos are discussed at length. Brasidas, probably the only hero in the whole book, is not a typical Spartan: he defends democracies pillaged by Athens, he even speaks very well (in public) for a Spartan.

Also, the wikipedia text is misleading on another fact. The death of Cleon and Brasidas did not end the Pelloponesian war, as is suggested here; a cold war followed the armistice of Nicias. A new Athenian warmonger, Alcibiades, restarted the conflict a few years later; the war zone was enlarged to Sicilly, and the conflict grew fiercer than ever.

Cleon's carreer can be interpreted, in itself, as an implicit criticism of democracy, so maybe that is the reason why some modern authors try feverishly to rehabilitate him. Perhaps some of them have not even read Thucydides. Cleon's actions, as narrated in "History of the Peloponnesian War", are an extreme example of the corruption of democracy by demagogy and populism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 19 October 2012 (UTC)