As history's first democracy, classical Athens invented political discourse. The Athenians, however, could not separate the political from the private sphere. Father-son relations, whether good or bad, were a major theme of public as well as private life. Perhaps most-often associated today with Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus , father-son conflict appears in a wide variety of Athenian texts: in the writings of other tragedians and comic playwrights (Euripides, Aristophanes), in oratory, in the myth of Athens' national hero, Theseus; even in the trial of Socrates. What is a historian to make of such widespread interest in the disquieting subjects of patricide, father-beating, murdering one's son, and intergenerational jealousy and political divisions? Professor Strauss argues that these themes are to be read as metaphors for the sweeping changes brought on by democracy, the sophists, and the Peloponnesian War - indeed on one level that war was conceived of as a struggle of fathers and sons. Thus family ideology had a powerful influence on the Athenian mind.