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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Athenian Empire

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Today is a new day, a new assembly, and with new proposals for us to dissect and explore. As our session winds to a close, I have one pressing question to ask each of you. How is your conscience coping with all of the stresses of participating and voting in this assembly? If you have represented your fellow Athenians to the best of your abilities, then you have acted honorably. If you have acted honorably, then there is no doubt that you will be receiving much glory from the Gods. Throughout life, success will follow your every footstep, as it does in my own. However, if you have acted dishonorably, then your life will become a cursed one, one that will lead to your inevitable downfall into the underworld. Therefore, in order to attempt to redeem yourselves, you will have yet another today.


As the Oligarchic faction has continuously insisted, our discussion should be regarding the restoration of the Athenian empire to its prior days of glory in which, not only the elite prospered, but all its citizens. There are many relevant proposals that could be made to attempt to make our dreams into a reality. Nevertheless, the consequences of each decision on all of our lives will serve to accelerate, or impede, our success as a city-state. The questions we must answer will affect each class of society, each citizen, each child, each man, each woman, and as such, we must take the utmost care to ensure the effects of any decision on the populace. All Athenians desire to rebuild Athens to the glory of the days of imperial conquest. However, this involves great care, thought, and experimentation. There are a great many questions and solutions we must test in order to determine which path is truly that for the good fortune of the state as a whole.


Foremost, the question of greatest significance is that of the rebuilding of the long walls between Athens and Piraeus. If we do take on this endeavor, our populace will suffer the burdens of its incision into our society by bearing a substantial increase in their taxes. As we have already established, not one of us can bear the influx of taxes that the Democrats seek to impose on our citizenry. While they concoct new, and more extravagant, ideas in order to better their fortunes, the whole of Athens must pay for the consequences of their actions. Let me also point out that the walls failed to protect us once, what is to say they will work this time? What guarantee is this on our safety? There is no a guarantee! The only certainty is that our neighbors may feel that the construction of these walls is a threat, or a foreshadowing of possible military ventures. We must not build these walls because of the financial burdens, the insult it would direct to our neighbors, and that its goal, of increasing our safety, is completely and absolutely unrealistic.


Secondly, no new triremes should be constructed and no military expedition pursued. What have we to gain from such foolish pursuits? Rebuilding and expanding our military will most definitely result in undesired attention from our neighbors, severe strains on our economy, and an obvious future. I say obvious future because if we expand the military, we will most definitely then use the triremes and send our able-bodied men to war. Why else would we spend such extravagant amounts? We would not be spending such obscene amounts of money on boats we are not going to use. The building of these triremes will ultimately lead to war. Who are we to send anyone to the killing fields for a deliberate and offensive attack? What assurances can be made to their safety? None. What can be guaranteed of the outcome of such ventures? Nothing. I must admit that the possibility of tributes from the Ionian, Hellespontine, Thrace, Cyclades, and Black Sea zones are quite enticing, but at what cost to our people and our prosperity? We must not take for granted what we do have at the present. We have our families, sustenance, education, land, and a future. We cannot stand aside as our subordinates destitute us to a cursed future.


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Accordingly, the tributes should not be sought after, not at this time. An increase in the wealth of our state would be ideal. Nevertheless, I do agree that we must pursue to expand our city-state’s wealth. However, we should do so only with our own resources and products through commerce. Why should we revert to the times where our great city, Athens, was synonymous with greed and pillage? When our reputation was as such, we had the all the might imaginable to protect our city and ourselves. Now, we must take great care because even if one city falls, what of the others. They may decide to preemptively strike us on our soil. What do we know of our futures? We will be sold into slavery. We will forever regret the decision that simply began with the building of triremes.


Our power to rise from the ashes into a new era of Athenian prosperity and pride will determine true Athenian spirit and might. The prosperous city-state that I speak so highly of is not a fantasy, but within our grasp, if only we act wisely. Let us make haste to move into decisions to block all attempts at imprudent military ventures. Instead, we shall seek to nurture what we have. A seed cannot grow without the care and resources it requires. However, once it has formed a stable structure, with roots going ever deep, then it can flourish on its own. As with our city, a strong foundation is necessary before we can face any of the elements of foreign conquest. The problem with our city in its current state is not the lack of wealth. It’s the economy, stupid! With that said, let us seek to increase the building of merchant ships. These ships are to be bigger and better in order to make more shipments, thus bringing wealth into our city. Wealth will then spread by increasing the exports, increasing the products produced within our borders, and providing an increased number of delivery methods.


In addition, there are more pressing issues at hand. We have already discussed the future of education in our state, as well as the social welfare of the state, etc. However, we have not thoroughly convinced each other on the best uses of the taxes collected thus far, or the most significant of our tasks in rebuilding our city. The candle that represents the mentality of the greatness of Athens has been flickering for quite some time. We must foster the flame and bring it once again to a roaring fire of greatness, ambition, success, and authority. Let us, the most successful and supportive of all, lead our city-state, and restore it to its former glory. However, in order to do this, we must desert the irrational desire to seek tributes once more. Only with a clean slate can we formulate a new and correct plan for our future. n of empire-building must be delicately examined and resolved.





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