CHW 3M 2012: What Do the Renaissance and Ancient Persia Have in Common?

If you recall, we have a few speeches remaining from yesterday. We will finish with Machiavelli; his work will serve as a nice lead-in to today’s work.

We will begin with a short lecture about Darius the Great, the second truly important ruler of the Achaemenid dynasty (the first was Cyrus). The lecture will involve magic, unusual deaths, back-stabbing,  cats, and missing ears. I guarantee you won’t forget this one.

To provide some context, here are the key terms we will use in today’s lecture:

  • Cambyses
  • Bardiya
  • Darius the Great
  • the Great Lie

Following this, we will attempt an experiment. You will play the role of an important leader at a pivotal moment of human history. Your first goal is to deliver a speech that will motivate your people to follow you. Will you:

  • unify the people? (think of Obama’s inauguration speech)
  • motivate the people (think of Churchill of Roosevelt)
  • deceive the people (think of Hitler or Darius. Please note that despite this initial similarity, these leaders were fundamentally different. As you will see tomorrow, Darius was a highly capable leader in the tradition of Cyrus).




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