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Posts Tagged ‘Thucydiocy’

Jocks and Greeks

Just to prove that I don’t only care about misquotations of Thucydides – though admittedly I came across this one in the course of correcting yet another occurrence of the familiar “the society that separates its scholars from its warriors…” line. In this case, it was being cited in response to this tweet:

This looked somewhat dubious at first glance, and attempts at googling key phrases just produced lots of people quoting the same thing (or the same thing with “too effeminate”), mostly in support of their sporting philosophies. However, as Sententiae Antiquae (@sentantiq) has identified, it is not completely ungenuine: it’s a paraphrase of Jowett’s translation of the Republic, 410b-412a, simply substituting ‘scholar’ for the original ‘musician’. According to Socrates, the man who can best blend music with gymnastics and apply them both to the soul is not merely the ideal citizen but the prototype of the city’s future rulers. You could even argue that it’s not unreasonable to see music as standing in for the whole range of liberal arts, requiring the admixture of physical training and prowess to make them fulling effective just as athletes need to indulge their inner geek to avoid complete savagery. And actually this seems to be paraphrasing so much text that it seems likely it was never originally intended to be read as a quote – but someone then reproduced it as such… (more…)

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A Thucydides Christmas Carol

No, not a heart-warming story about how the curmudgeonly old cynic came to be persuaded of the essential goodness of human nature and the unshakeable bonds of fellowship – okay, simply writing that out makes it seem like a really good idea, but probably not this year – but a reprise of @Thucydiocy’s little song from the Twitter, in case you missed it…

On the twelfth day of Christmas Thucydides sent to me

Twelve misquotations
Eleven dubious analogies
Ten IR Realists
Nine war college seminars
Eight Auden references
Seven exemplary catastrophes
Six brutal massacres
Tragic irony!
Four hundred oligarchs
Fear, honour and interest
A bipolar conflict
And a κτῆμα ἐς αἰεὶ

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It’s been a bumper year for Thucydiocy: an assortment of new sightings (‘Don’t confuse meaning with truth’, ‘You shouldn’t feel sorry for the lifestyle you haven’t tasted, but for the one you are about to lose’, ‘Democracies are always at their best when things seem at their worst’, and ‘You should punish in the same manner those who commit crimes with those who accuse falsely’), and the results of my study of who exactly is responsible for the ‘Scholars and Warriors’ quote with the stupid graduation photo (answer: a deeply annoying Social Jukebox), which means I feel justified in responding to it with emojis rather than a properly considered response.

But this year’s William F. Butler Award for Egregious Misquotation of Thucydides can have only one winner: (more…)

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Spitting Image

The Thucydiocy Bot (@Thucydiocy) continues its tireless work to combat misattributed, distorted and downright invented ‘Thucydides’ quotations on the Internet; touched by the people who offer heartfelt thanks for its corrections, irritated by those who insist on the veracity of their version even in the face of actual evidence, and driven to distraction by the gentleman who regularly tweets a legitimate quotation from the Funeral Oration with the tagline ‘Stop Socialism’, as if this was remotely Pericles’ intended meaning. Most depressing, however, is the fact that the same ones appear again and again – especially around Veterans’ Day, when that bloody William F. Butler ‘The nation that divides its scholars from its warriors…’ turns up all over the place…

Just in the last month, however, a marginally different version has appeared (at least, I haven’t found it before 1st November, on the basis of skimming back through the last two months, but it may be older): same quote, but this time with a picture: (more…)

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