The speeches are ment to give a picture of the situation and values of classical and democratic time in Athens and its surroundings. By time, more speeches will be put on the page.
The first three speaches are chosen to show the opponent values and perspectives on democracy, and the Plataean situation, to show the dramatic end to a little place in history that no one hardly knows about.
Cleon as a concervative, has low belief in free speech and democracy. We see here a perspective of looking back on tradition, to archaic time, on how things has been done. Cleon is not a typical representative for an aristocrat of the old times, but a mix of the new democratic time, an “individual” politician, where honour in the way to speak and respect of the word, changed to a more low and “dirty rhetoric” way of speech.
Diodotus holds his speech the day after Cleon. His speech probably saved the lives of the Mityleans at Lesbos, and the physical existence of the city. The Athenian “punishment” to the Mytileans was executing about 1000 “rebels”, and tearing down the protective city-wall. The day before the people of Athens voted for extinction.
Source: Thucydides “Peloponnesian War”: http://classics.mit.edu/Thucydides/pelopwar.html
Download/open: Thucydides Peloponnesian War Cleon
Download/open: Thucydides Peloponnesian War Diodotus
The words of Lacon at Plataea are some of the last he made. He and 300 other defenders were executed, and about 100 woman sold as slaves to Persia. They could not defend themselves “in court” outside the wall, against the hopeless accuse about not helping their agressors! The other Plataeans had taken shelter in Athens before the two year sieg, and automatically had citizenship, as being a loyal and heroic allied of Athens, fighting side by side with them at the battle at Marathon about 65 years earlier.
Download/open: Thucydides Peloponnesian War Lacon Plataean leader