For you final discussion forum post, we’d like you to reflect on the experience of the game. Respond to the prompt below, or to the comments of your fellow students.
Please complete your post before class on Monday, Dec. 5th. Our conversation will be focused on debriefing from the game that day, and gathering your thoughts in advance will greatly enrich our conversation.
Prompt: Consider some (not all) of the following questions:
- Were you able to accomplish your goals and act as your character? How or why not?
- How did you feel about the specific character you were asked to portray?
- Did you carry on significant discussion or debate outside of the Assembly (meaning, outside of class)?
- Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
- Did participating in the game change or expand your ideas about ancient Athens?
51 thoughts on “Discussion Forum: Week 14”
Drew Buck and I were Xenophon of the Solonian Aristocrats and two of our main goals were to pass the Reconciliation Agreement and acquit Socrates. Both of these goals were achieved! I feel like the character we were asked to portray was a little difficult as I did not find myself agreeing with a lot of his views, however, the sheet we were provided with had extensive information and potential strategies which allowed for us to choose from the many avenues on our road to success. Outside of the classroom I found myself often discussing strategies and rebuttals with Lizzy, Will, Drew, Clay, Meinhardt, among others, both formally and informally. If I were to go back and do this differently, I think that I would have prepared questions for each class, whether or not the topic was particularly important to our characters goals. I feel lucky to have learned about the inner-workings of the Athenian Assembly, and I definitely can say I have a learned a lot this semester about ancient Athens.
Continuing from what Matt said from this experience Matt and I learned a ton about both ancient Athens and the court system. Personally, having to make formal speeches and informal remarks in front of the crowd helped hone my speaking skills. Public speaking is now a skill that I wish to keep working on and improving. One thing the game showed me about ancient Athens was how much power the rich landowning farmers had. They not only had more money than most people but they also controlled the food supply. Matt and I were also able to accomplish pretty much all of our main goals. We passed the reconciliation agreement and acquitted Socrates.
The game made me realize how far present-day democracy has come since 5th century BC Athens. It was fascinating to explore the ideas and debates that sparked the birth of democracy. In this day and age, some of the debates seemed absolutly foreign to me. For example, I would have never considered randomly assigning positions by lottery but it is interesting that it was the norm back then. Also, I was able to draw connections to the present-day. I would ask myself, would it be helpful for American congressman to be randomly assigned?
Over the course I Aristracus, was able to sign onto a couple laws and some were even passes. As a character I think it would have been fun to maybe speak up more but i did get nervous at times. I think that this exercise really showed what it was like to be an Athenian in the assembly. I know we had lots of guidance from the Gods, but to see the reasoning for areas that were important to them. I think that the debates about eduction and reconciliation were the most interesting. As a community the first meeting , I think went very well. Everyone was so involved and exited for the game to begin. I found myself talking about class and about other Athenians that we did or did not agree with, with my other half Anna. We also constantly talked with our friends Anna Kirn and Clare. I feel like we always had a little debrief or the “vibe” of the assembly.
My character Anytus was mostly able to reach his goals of reconciliation for the Thirty and their supporters and to exile Socrates from Athens. This was due both to speeches given on the two topics and collaboration with other characters in the class. I feel like my character’s motives did not always align with the opinions of the other Periclean democrats, which made it a bit difficult at times to work with other members within the faction. Overall, the game gave me a much better perspective on how Athenian democracy functioned and reminded me how much their democracy has changed to become the democracy that we have today.
Adding on to what Emma has said, we mostly met our goals as Anytus. One of our main goals was to pass the Reconciliation Agreement, which seemed to pass pretty popularly. Our other main goal was to exile Socrates, which was unsuccessful due to the planning of the followers of Socrates, but we tried our best to stir up anger against Socrates. Overall, this experience was really enlightening about the processes of Ancient Athens, and also some insight into how our democracy today might unfortunately be run.
Brandon and I portrayed Kephisophon, a radical democrat and potter with a strong allegiance to his father-in-law and employer. Our primary goal was to expand democracy in any way, shape, or form, which I feel we accomplished through allowing women to sit on the assembly and expanding education and citizenship. It was really fascinating to see the existence of competing interests play out in front of us, and to me that helped to demostrate the true diversity of Athens in identities and ideas, which manifested itself in some passionate disagreements. It was really cool to be able to try to see the world through the eyes of an Athenian, which is challenging given how far into the future we are as compared to them, but I could really understand the true points of contention in Athenian society and peoples’ commitments to their goals through our lively debates.
Hannah and I were able to accomplish almost all of our goals as a character. We successfully achieved amnesty for the Thirty Tyrants and their followers. We achieved a system of gaining citizenship through education. We prevented corruption in the assembly by blocking the implementation of payment for being part of the assembly. We reformed education, expanding it across genders and classes. We prevented Athens from pursuing the tragic path of becoming an empire once again. And, most importantly, we successfully repelled the horrid attacks on our beloved Socrates. These goals were achieved by the application of intense questioning of unjust laws (as Socrates taught us to do) along with communication and coordination with out faction and others.
I think our biggest achievement was acquitting Socrates. I was expecting some compromise on sentencing instead of a full acquittal. I think Zach and I got our hands around the Socratic debate and were able to push people to our side.
I enjoyed embodying Crito, although I think we made him more vocal than he would have been. From our sources, he seemed more a follower than a leader or advocate.
We were able to accomplish a bunch of our goals! Our main personal goal was to avoid being challenged on our citizenship because of our parentage, and that wasn’t really an issue at all. The objectives for the faction became more of a focal point for me, at least, and we accomplished most of them! I think the reason we were able to do so well is due to the really outspoken and eloquent natures of some of the members of the faction. In general, I liked the character we were assigned, although he definitely felt like he was on the periphery of the actual issues. I’m not sure that participating in the game made me think differently about ancient Athens specifically, but it did make me think about the way I think about history in general. Thinking about real historical issues and looking at them from inside perspectives is definitely a unique experience, and it allowed me to take on the problems in a more modern way.
Eric and I were asked to portray Thrasybulus, the leader of the radical democrats. I was very excited to portray a leading figure in the assembly since I wanted to make a real impact in the assembly. Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve two of our most pertinent objectives, (reestablishing an empire and being selected to lead the first tribute mission). When I read what actually happened in Athens, it appears that we failed to pass many of the laws that Thrasybulus was able to pass. However, I believe that I portrayed him in a believable way. I prepared and gave frequent speeches, defended my faction against questions and exuding a love for athens and democracy throughout the game. Despite being unsuccessful in our objectives, I am proud of how I played my role and I am prepared to stand by that. While we put in a significant amount of effort to organize our faction outside of class, I think we were out-organized by socrates’s faction so in another timeline where I was even more on top of things, we could have been more cohesive. Overall, I greatly enjoyed participating in the game. Getting involved in athenian politics allowed me to see what was going on in the minds of the largest figures in Athens.
Aaron and I were Aristogeiton, one of the Periclean democrats. We were able to accomplish some of our main goals, such as getting the Reconciliation Agreement to pass and continuing with the Assembly. I think we could have accomplished more goals had we had more conversations with our faction outside of class, since I feel that we didn’t meet as often as we could have in order to get our laws to pass. Additionally, I think there were some questions about our character that made us hesitant to vote yes or no on some laws. For example, Aristogeiton was a hoplite but he greatly disliked killing, so we were a bit conflicted on his stance on wars — as a hoplite, would he be pro-militarization, or would his morals take precedence meaning that he would take a hard anti-war stance? I really enjoyed the game, and appreciated the wide range of characters in the Assembly since I learned a lot more about different Athenian viewpoints in a fun learning environment.
As Kephisophon, Anna Stowe and I were not able to accomplish our main goals of striking down the Reconciliation Agreement, and passing legislation to ensure that a majority of political offices would be filled by lottery. I personally thought of Kephisophon as just a regular guy who didn’t have much to him. He didn’t appear to be very relevant to Athens as a whole, unlike a character like Thrasybulus or Aristocles. I didn’t converse with members of my faction as much as I probably should have, which is the only thing I would change if I could play the Game again. Participating in the Game’s assembly sessions didn’t change much of how I thought about ancient Athens. Most of what I learned ended up coming from my preparations for the assembly sessions
During the game, Zoe and I were Eryximachus of the Followers of Socrates. Our main goal was surrounding our citizenship, since our parentage did not meet the Athenian standard for being a citizen. It was not difficult keeping this fact a secret, and we managed to get a law passed expanding the definition of citizenship, thereby ensuring we would not be challenged on the issue. Participating in the game definitely helped me understand the process of direct democracy in ancient Athens, and how time consuming it would have been to come participate in the Assembly, specifically for lower status individuals who needed to work for a living. For myself in particular, the game helped me practice my public speaking skills, and become more comfortable giving presentations/speeches in front of an audience.
Sid and my character in the game was Diognetus. I often found it difficult to act as my character because I largely disagree with his views. Diognetus opposed democracy and promoted an oligarchic government in Athens. He felt that it was best for the city to be ruled by a few wealthy elites. I felt uncomfortable even pretending to support this view because it promotes social and economic inequality. However, Diognetus also promoted the use of soft power in Athens. I was much more willing to express support for this view because I oppose violence and the use of force as means to achieve political goals. For this reason, I voted in favor of proposed laws that promoted reconciliation. The proposed laws and discussions in the Assembly introduced ideas such as electing public officials at random. Hearing and discussing these new ideas greatly expanded my understanding of the political process in Athens.
D’Andre and I were Gorgias the Younger. We were meant to give out GLW’s for anyone that gave a speech that was convincing and utilized our fallacies. This was complicated as they were not frequently used by others, but also many of the fallacies were confusing in their wording. The other goal we had was to vote on every issue that was discussed as we did not want to appear as a craven businessmen and our character was meant to be active rather than passive as well as opinionated. I think that Gorgias seemed like a very respectable sophist for the time which liberal ideas about education and rights, and so I enjoyed trying to think like he would have. Overall, I found the game to be very helpful in thinking about how a Athenian assembly would function, however I would be more interested to learn about the actual laws that were passed.
My character Militadies accomplished both of his goals reasonably early on in the game. Our first goal was to pass the Pericles reconciliation agreement which was a goal that our faction all wanted to complete which made the process easier to get sup. Our our second goal was to defend Socrates was a little more difficult as the assembly seemed to be split when we voted. Outside I collaborated with Meinahardt a fair amount to ensure our character was portrayed the way we wanted in assembly and to accomplish our goals. We worked with other people in our faction such as Matt and Drew to have our common goals completed.I enjoyed the position my character held as an older wealthy Athenian Oligarch who just wanted to see Athens return to its glory days. However, I do think that Meinhardt and myself may have turned our character a little more radical than he was described in the character sheet.
I agree with Clay’s view about the role of our character, Miltiades, in the Assembly. I enjoyed the game and found it very engaging to be a part of, even when the topic being discussed on a given day was not one of our character’s explicit goals. This was also a somewhat challenging part, as we often had to decide during the speeches and given the questions/responses what we thought about the proposed law. I also enjoyed the first day of the game, where we sat amongst our factions and found out what other characters were like and what goals they had. It was nice finding friends and enemies which seemed to carry throughout the whole game. One aspect that could have been slightly frustrating was that characters would generally not actually have their opinions swayed given someones arguments because everyone was sticking to the points of their character sheet.
My character, Archinus, was unsuccessful in achieving his goal of restricting citizenship to those born to two Athenian parents, but he was successful in making sure a governing council did not rule. As a faction, the goal passing the reconciliation agreement was achieved, but the goals of exiling Socrates, paying people to attend the Assembly, restoring the empire, and educating the youth in the democracy were not. If I were to do things differently, I would probably try to meet up with people more outside of class, and I would speak up more during the Assembly. I also would have consulted my character sheet more regarding the goals of my faction, even if my character was not one of the leading characters in achieving this goal.
My character, Theozotides had a rough time of it. We were unsuccessful in completing any of our personal goals and as a faction was only able to succeed in reconciliation and making sure no ruling council was instilled. I do believe that Josh and I did our best to get our plans out and passed but it was a bit hard since the moderates weren’t moving as much as a cohesive group as we should have. I did find myself agreeing with Theozotides on a lot of key points ( like paying for civic service, giving women the ability to sit in the Assembly, and establishing communication with other states) but also didn’t love the fact that we owned slaves and didn’t want to give them the right to be citizens. I didn’t find it too hard to embody the role and possibly at times we may have taken the hostility a bit far in the Assembly but I enjoyed the banter. If I were to do things differently I would have tried harder to get our group to meet outside of class rather than just establishing an email chain. I think the thing I am walking away from this experience is that it is nearly impossible to change people’s minds when there are certain key issues at stake. Like single issue candidates in our current democracy have made a bit more sense as to why people vote against their interest just to ensure another motive.
As the other half of Theozotides, I do agree with most of Lucca’s thoughts about our character and the game as a whole. I did find that some of the time in the Q&A section of speech debates that the actual issue was not specific enough or the assembly went off track and started debating unnecassary things said about a law. I too along with Lucca think that a meeting or two outside of the class with our faction would have been quite useful in order to streamline ideas and strategies for getting laws passed. Overall, the game definitely changed some of my ideas about ancient Athens. Obviously we as a class were not an exact replica of the Athenian Assembly but by following the rules and the procedures given to us it was interesting to see how in a modern context the Assembly might have functioned.
I was not able to accomplish the majority of my character’s goals. My faction (Followers of Thrasybulus) failed to get our laws passed on most assembly days. We won in that we passed some citizenship laws, which means the assembly got expanded and we could get more radical democrats into it. We failed to convict Socrates and execute him as well. I wish I had spoken to classmates outside of class to convince them to vote for our faction. I noticed a significant lack of support for our cause, which means either people were against our cause from the very start or they did not support specific people in the faction. If we had taken time to speak to them outside of class, we might have gotten an upperhand in some of the assembly days.
My character, Phormisius, did not accomplish all of our goals but was successful in the sense that most of the laws that our faction wanted to pass did pass. We proposed two laws during the game; Restricting citizenship to Athenians who own land and the creation of a governing council that makes major decisions. I think that our speeches were fairly successful and that we did a good job of addressing all the points that our faction wanted to bring to light. However, it was difficult both times finding points that would help persuade the other citizens that were not a part of our faction. I enjoyed playing this character and had fun embodying a character that has very different options from myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I was able to accomplish some but not all of my goals in the game. I did enjoy playing the game and it definitely did expand my knowledge and understanding of what it was like to live in ancient Athens. I really enjoyed getting the chance to participate in a new way and it was fun to get to see how everyone acted out their character. One aspect that I did not like was that even though we could debate and give speeches, since everyone had a set agenda it is very unlikely that someone’s mind will be changed.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing the game and getting to interact with my classmates and listen to people debate. I agree with Keira’s last point that the main agenda items did feel somewhat set in terms of how each faction was voting. I thought the laws introduced that were ‘extra’ were more interesting to see if they were passed or not, because we had to make judgement calls on if these laws helped our agendas without knowing for certain which way our character ‘should’ vote.
We accomplished almost none of our goals; only the rebuilding of the Long Walls was approved by the assembly. While me and my partner and the rest of my faction did the best we could, the Solonian faction was too large, and drew too much support from the followers of Socrates and some moderate democrats. Previously I was under the assumption that all citizens had their voices heard, but this activity made me realize that Ancient Athens was not a perfect direct democracy, but one filled with corruption and ruled by the rich and powerful. I feel as though there was almost nothing I could have done differently. The Solonians were staunch in their positions, and it was very hard to get the moderate democrats on our side. However, I do feel as though I should have talked to other people to make some compromises, as what happens in modern democracies.
One of the top goals for my character, Aristogeiton, was to pass the Reconciliation agreement, which ended up passing. Another goal for our character was to in some way silence Socrates, through our character was against any sort of real punishment for him, especially violent punishment. Socrates ended up not being convicted of the charges brought against him, and I feel this happened mostly because people voted based on whether Socrates should be punished, not based on whether he was actually guilty, even though his punishment would have been voted on separately. It was also hard to gauge which characters were willing to change their votes, for this vote and for the others. Overall I felt good about most of my characters’ stances—not that I agreed with all of them, but they were usually defendable/logical positions. The one stance that was hardest to reason was my character’s belief in not giving citizenship to slaves or metics while simultaneously arguing for progressive changes such as paying assembly members. Overall, I think that a better approach to the whole game would have been to collaborate more with the people in my faction and to have worked more as a cohesive group.
In playing a radical democrat, I felt like I did not have the favor of most of the members of the Assembly. Therefore, getting votes to sway was going to be nearly impossible as everyone had a preconceived idea of what they were going to vote on. It is for this reason that my faction and my character were not able to get as many goals passed as others. Faction members are pretty rigid in their absolutist approach to voting, so everyone was dependent on indeterminants to sway the arguments. While I feel as if these individuals are relatively fluid in their goals, this Assembly, they were mostly against my faction’s ideals so we were unable to achieve as much as we’d hoped for. While I love the character Thrasybulus, I wish I’d been an indeterminant. Many of my battles felt like losing ones whenever indeterminants were unilaterally opposed to my faction’s viewpoint. This made them feel less like indeterminants and more like an extension of a faction. I, therefore, would have liked to stir things up under this role as I’m surprised at my willingness to speak and listen to all sides.
My character Archinus had a 50% succes rate. while we were not able to pass our first goal of restricting citizenship from metics and slaves we were able to make sure a governing council did not rule. Participating in the game really showed how much democracy has changed. I think one thing that was interesting was within the second week we were able to see that half the class was always going to be for one law and the other half was going to be against so it was interesting to see who would be the outliers breaking the tie.
My character, Phormisius, Part of the Solonian Aristocrats was able to accomplish some but not all of his goals. It was hard to convince the people to vote for our ideas, since they often only benefited high class citizens, such as the law that citizens should only be landowners of Athens.
Phormisius’s ideas were not similar to my own, since he was against democracy, but in a way this made it more fun to play someone different.
As Aristocles, our main goals were to save Socrates from being found guilty and to create an oligarchy of highly educated philosophers to run the city. While we were able to save Socrates, we could not instill an oligarchy over democracy. As a faction, I believe Socrates’ followers succeeded in passing their laws. I enjoyed playing Aristocles because he is an incredibly smart individual who is one of the most well-known philosophers in modern times. He normally goes as Plato in his writing. I think we were able to portray his thoughts pretty well but I think we could have done better. I think we needed to explain things more thoroughly in order to get more votes. We faced a lot of backlash about the oligarchy from the Democrats however, they did not engage with our speech, making it hard to find ways to refute their reasons for not supporting us.
Overall I feel that the goals of my character, Simon, were fulfilled within the bounds of democracy. Our main goals were to make sure Socrates was not found guilty which succeeded and to get as close to Socrates’ ideal government as possible without instilling an oligarchy that would exclude people like myself. I feel that most of our points had a good amount of support from the majority of the assembly apart from the radical democrats. I feel our biggest successes individually and as a faction were not establishing payment for civil service, and making sure Athens wasn’t too ambitious in its foreign and domestic ventures while in a weakened position after the war. I enjoyed the character I played because he had an interesting position as a poorer and poorly educated person with the ideologies of a follower of Socrates. I felt that playing the game changed my view of Athens because I saw how different the perspectives that existed within the city were.
Grace and I were assigned the character of Herodion and our main goal was to improve the position of women in Athens, in some form, which we did accomplish. I was excited and a bit intimidated to be assigned this character because I was not sure that accomplishing this goal was something we were actually going to be able to achieve. Though Herodion is an almost entirely fictionalized character, I found the idea of people in Athens subtly championing gender equality in the face of a deeply misogynistic society to be a very compelling one. It’s really easy to buy into the notion that misogyny was just the way things were in Athens, that it was so embedded in the ideals of the society that no one could even imagine a world in which women were equal to men. But something that this class, as well as the game, has taught me is just because something was not a part of the dominant narrative of a particular historical period, it doesn’t mean that these complexities and ideas were entirely absent from that time.
I thought the fact that we brought the focus to education, through both our questions and replies and through the laws that we voted for, made it easier to pave the way to passing the expansion of education, which essentially made Athenian women citizens and eligible for Assembly within the context of the law that redefined citizenship. I am proud of what we accomplished with this character, even though I don’t know how optimistic I am about the chances of something like this having gotten nearly as far in actual Athens.
Playing as Callias we were able to achieve some of our goals. The more radical ideas of oligarchy and constraining citizenship were not passed, however, we were able to stop the restoration of the Athenian empire. In researching our character I was able to get a fuller understanding of his motives and beliefs. Callias was more complex than how he was portrayed in many plays, his love of education and knowledge stood out to me. Because of that, I think we became a lot more sympathetic towards the Socratic faction.
Lizzie and I were Damnippus, a supporter of radical democracy. For the most part we were able to act as our character, although certain topics, such as the exile of Socrates, we voted differently than our character would have as we voted against his exile. Our character had very little background information, so we were able to be creative in determining Damnippus’ background and position in society. I found myself carrying on discussions outside of class with other classmates, especially those who were in different factions from mine. If I could have done anything differently I would have liked to do more research outside of class to be better informed about what was happening in Athens at the time, and represent my character and his decisions better.
As one of Socrates’ followers, I think it’s safe to say that the game was fairly successful for me. Most of our objectives were met and Athens is definitely headed for a better future. Playing the game gave me a unique perspective on politics where citizens have an integral part in the running of the Assembly for example. It made me think about how I would best sell my ideas to my fellow citizens in order to bring about what I thought were the best outcomes for us as a collective.
Well said, Maya! As you touched upon, our character was almost entirely fictionalized, which I found very empowering. It gave us the room to go about accomplishing the goal of female empowerment in whatever way we chose. From the beginning, we wanted to establish female enfranchisement. We probably wouldn’t have achieved this without Aristocles’ law giving citizenship to the educated. One way we could have ensured female enfranchisement without this perfect storm is by meeting with other Athenians outside of Assembly, but overall I’m very happy we were able to accomplish.
My partner, Zoe, and I were the character Lysias, a wealthy metic. We achieved our main goal of gaining citizenship. This was very exiting as it allowed us to participate in the assembly for the remainder of the game. Although Lysias was an indeterminate, his views aligned most closely with the radical democrat party. Unfortunately, many of the laws supported by Thrasybulus and thew radical democrats did not pass which my character would likely be disappointed by. Nevertheless, the game was extremely informative of how the assembly functioned in Ancient as well as the different viewpoints that may of been held about various political topics. If I were to do the game again, I would try to collaborate with other classmates more closely to try and make some of the laws proposed by radical democrats to pass. Overall, participating in this game was a great experience!
Were you able to accomplish your goals and act as your character? How or why not?
How did you feel about the specific character you were asked to portray?
Did you carry on significant discussion or debate outside of the Assembly (meaning, outside of class)?
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Did participating in the game change or expand your ideas about ancient Athens?
Izzy and I portrayed the character of Aristarchus, a wealthy Aristocrat. Our main goals included limiting who could serve on the assembly to wealthy landowners, establishing an oligarchy, and preventing the restoration of the empire. While we were unable to completely limit the leadership, we were able to keep Athens from becoming an empire again. I enjoyed learning about Aristarchus and his motivations for the restricting leadership stemming from his bitterness towards democracy as a result of the mistakes made in the war against Sparta. If I were to do something differently it would have been to spend more time with the socratics so that we could find a middle ground on our goals and get more reformations passed. Overall, I loved playing the game and I learned a lot about the proceedings of politics in Athens.
My character, Lithicles, was very sly and had undercover missions he wanted to accomplish. For example, he wanted to use the trip to Persia as a way to gain absolute power over Athens and turn it into a dictatorship. There was also another undercover plan called the Spartan Gambit which was a different route we could’ve gone. This entailed getting the Socratic factions and Solonian aristocrats to name me as their leader and allow me to secretly negotiate with King Pausanias of Sparta. My goal was to bring a Spartan army back to Greece to get rid of the democrats. This act would have left me in ultimate power. While I wish we went this route to make it more interesting, I was still pleased by how things turned out for Lithicles. Although the Persian expedition failed, our last law to rebuild the walls passed, which was most important to Lithicles because of the familial connections there. So Lithicles didn’t end up in a great position of power, but he still succeeded in some aspects which was very fun to play along with.
Will and I were given the character of Damnippus for the game and I feel as though we were able to accomplish our goals for the most part. Our character did not have extremely strong views on some of the topics and this allowed us the ability to be more creative about how our specific character would react to the discussion topics taking into the account the little bit of background we had on Damnippus, while also taking into account the views of our faction. In terms of achieving our faction goals, I think we had a little bit of difficulty as it often seemed that our faction was part of the minority in terms of our opinions. This, however, did push us to have more significant discussions outside of class because we not only had to think about our own goals in each session, but also how to present these is a way that would not go completely against the goals of others in order to better persuade our opposition.
Overall I thought we generally achieved some of our goals, at least to the extent that I think our character would think himself in a good enough position to protect his own interests. I think that one challenge for my partner and me was how differing Callias’ positions are from most 21st-century views on the same issues. It felt almost strange to so vehemently oppose things like voting rights for all. I think the biggest takeaway for me from this game was thinking about how past societies would consider alternate values and ways of governing. The argument many people use to almost forgive those of the past for atrocities committed is saying such things as “that is just the way it was back then,” and this seems to carry much less weight for me now.
Zoey and I portrayed Lysias, an indeterminate metic. Our main goal throughout the game was to gain citizenship for ourselves. So that we could participate in the assembly by casting votes and performing speeches. We accomplished this goal, but it did not quite go as planned. Initially, we supported the law that all metics and slaves should be granted citizenship, but this law was met with resistance. A big obstacle that we and everybody else in the class had was persuading people to change their minds. Cause everyone remained loyal to their individual goals. As a result, we had to modify the law we supported and shift to a more neutral opinion that granted citizenship to educated people. I regret not pushing for citizenship for all metics, but Zoey and I decided it was nearly impossible because the factions were split relatively equally, and no one was changing their minds.
I played Lycon with Billy. I had a lot of fun with the game, although we failed to pass basically any law that was important to the character. Very little is known about Lycon so we were able to add in a lot of details about how we thought of them. As a character I like to think that he would have been very blunt and passionate. He also had no secrets to hide and was basically a character whose beliefs were the same view as the party’s. The game was a very engaging way to learn. It added a sense of magnitude and realism to what was actually happening in Athens at the time, which I greatly appreciated.
Clare and I were Lithicles. My partner and I were able to achieve one of our character’s goals. Neither of us were really experienced in politics, and were ultimately not able to gain a position of power in the game, however, we were able to rebuild the wall. This character was outside of both of our comfort zones, however, it was fun to think differently than I normally would. I wish that we had tried to incorporate reasons to invade Persia that were specific to each of the political parties in our speech.
As Zach mentioned, we achieved our primary goals of amnesty and acquitting Socrates, along with many of our minor objectives, such as education reform, halting remilitarization, and expanding citizenship.
Our primary contacts outside of class were those in the Socratic faction. We coordinated on laws and ensured we would enter on the same page. On the first day, we reached out to many indeterminate characters to figure out their goals and how we could accommodate them in our faction. As Crito specifically, Zach and I tried to make sure that the Socratic view was always raised.
The only thing I wish I could have done better was support Aristocles in instating philosopher kings. We supported their law but did not contribute to the arguments for its passing.
Me and Renn were Thucydides. I feel that overall we were able to complete our goals. We were able to complete our notes for our history book and were able to create our opinions based on our characters history. We both took Roman Revolutions together and even though they are similarly structured courses, I felt that this class definitely helped me understand Athens better and help contextualize the history we were taught in class. I really enjoyed having the hands-on way of applying what we learned this semester. I also really enjoyed how our professors were able to correct us when were getting off path in the game which made it a major learning experience.
Nora and I were Meletus, and I feel that we did a good job of accurately representing his viewpoints and positions on the issues presented in the assembly. I do wish we had been able to accomplish more in terms of winning votes, but the proposals of myself and my allies in the radical democratic faction would more often than not fall to more moderate proposals. I think that, although he was undeniably a flawed man, Meletus held many ideas and beliefs that were extremely progressive for his time. His positions of expanding citizenship, ensuring broader participation of the non-wealthy in democracy, and eliminating the possibility for the wealthy to wield excessive power are all excellent examples of his brand of progressive democratic personal philosophy. Outside of class, I frequently communicated with Nora about our plans for class, as well as participating in a group chat for the radical democratic faction. The only thing I would change would be to spend more time preparing rebuttals to opponents’ arguments. I think participating in the game really help me establish a better context for the events of the time as well as better understand the most prominent philosophies during this era.
Playing as Antaeus with my partner Ben, I felt like we were able to accomplish all of our goals. I think we were able to accomplish our goals because they didn’t really deviate from out factions goals. One goal we had was to acquit Socrates and I thought our faction did well to work together and accomplish that. Other goals we had were to create a cultural revolution where philosophers became more involved in government and to improve education for everyone. I think we were also able to accomplish these goals because our faction worked together to do so. Overall, I thought it was relatively easy to portray Antaeus because a lot of the character’s ideas were based on intellect and logic. Therefore, it was easy to actually believe what I was saying. I think it also helped that our character didn’t have much of a backstory so Ben and I could make up his backstory in a way that helped us to accomplish our goals.
I feel like we were able to accomplish some of our goals throughout this game but not all of them. We worked towards trying to gain an oligarchy in Athens which did not get passed, it was really interesting to see how other people voted on controversial topics like these and, therefore, it was hard for many of our controversial opinions to get passed. Playing this character was quite hard at times as we found ourselves defending a lot of Diognetus’ views which are considered controversial in this day and age. Diognetus was a very wealthy fellow who did want an oligarchy which was hard to think about, especially towards the start of the game. Playing this game really expanded my personal view of Ancient Athens and I actually found myself reading more about Athens and talking out of class with people about how we voted and whether or not the way we voted would be the same as how the actual Ancient Athens would have voted.
For my character this is an interesting question. Thucydides was not particularly politically motivated. Instead, his motivations lied largely in making a detailed historical account of each meeting. And we did that pretty well I think. While admittedly biased, the account was a fun way for us to engage in both the assembly and also our specific character. I liked this character a lot as well. I think he was interesting because he was both an inherently important political figure as an assembly member, but also not at all politically driven and had other, much more modest goals. It was really interesting seeing the assembly from this perspective.