Question 3 Talking Points

3. Leaders often incorporate their own cultural/social and familial traditions or philosophies into the foundations of the empires they create. How do the leaders we’ve studied include/preserve or stray from the traditions of their homelands?

  • Cyrus
    • The Foundation – Persian Philosophy of Life
      • As a boy, Cyrus learned to live moderately in physical and emotional respects (Sophrosune and enkrateia)
      • It was also instilled in him to always strive for the best and work continuously to challenge and better himself
        • Example: racing against better horsemen in order to become a better rider
    • Rewarding those who deserve it
      • Example: giving rich food from the feast he attended with Astyages as a boy to Astyages’ servants as rewards to their work (Book I, Chapter 3, pg 29)
  • Preservation of Cultural Values
    • He carried these values with him as a young leader in Media
      • He continuously physically challenged his men so they could become better soldiers
      • He promoted a system of rewards for his men
  • Straying from the Foundation
    • Once he obtained his empire, Cyrus slightly strayed from the teachings of his youth
      • He did not live as moderately as he once did
        • Example: dressed and feasted extravagantly; Megaloprepeia
  • Aeneas
    • The Foundation
      • Roman Philosophy of Life
        • The ideal way to rule was “parcere subjectis et debellare superbos “ – to spare the submissive and make war on the proud or haughty
        • Rome founded on pietas – dutifulness and devotion to the gods, ancestors, and future generations
  • Preservation of Cultural Values
    • Aeneas valued the traditions of his homeland
      • Pietas – Aeneas was devoted to his gods and ancestors and carrying on Roman values
        • He brought his penates, household gods, with him as he fled his homeland
  • Straying from the Foundation
    • Some can argue that Aeneas did not follow the Roman philosophy of life through his merciless treatment of Turnus and his allies
      • Aeneas brutally killed many seemingly innocent people, who may not have directly harmed Aeneas but became targets because they were cohorts of Turnus

 

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