Life[ edit ] In spite of his stature as a historian, modern historians know relatively little about Thucydides's life. The most reliable information comes from his own History of the Peloponnesian Warwhich expounds his nationality, paternity, and native locality.
On one side was the Peloponnesian Leaguean alliance of Greek cities led by Sparta. On the other side was the Delian Leaguean alliance led by Athens. The people of Melos had ancestral ties to Sparta   but were independent.
Otherwise, the island remained neutral in the war. This sum could have paid the wages of a trireme crew for 15 months,  or bought metric tons of wheat, enough to feed 2, men for a year.
Melos had never paid tribute to Athens before, and they refused to pay now. The fleet that transported this army had 38 ships: This expedition was led by the generals Cleomedes and Tisias. The emissaries demanded that Melos join the Delian League and pay tribute to Athens or face destruction.
The Melians rejected the ultimatum. The Athenians laid siege to the city and withdrew most of their troops from the island to fight elsewhere. The Melians made a number of sorties, at one point capturing part of the Athenians' lines, but failed to break the siege.
Athens sent reinforcements under the command of Philocrates. The Athenians also had help from traitors within Melos. They then settled of their own colonists on the island. It now had a Spartan garrison and a military governor a harmost. Thucydides did not witness the negotiations and in fact had been in exile at the time, so this dialogue only captures the substance of what he believed was discussed.
In summary, the Athenian emissaries appealed to the Melians' sense of pragmatism, citing the Athenian army's overwhelming strength and their "reasonable" surrender terms, whereas the Melians appealed to the Athenians' sense of decency. Neither side was able to sway the other and the negotiations failed.
This dialogue is frequently cited by political scientists and diplomats as a classic case study in political realism. It demonstrates the foolishness of pride and hope, and that selfish and pragmatic concerns drive wars. Synopsis[ edit ] The Athenians offer the Melians an ultimatum: The Athenians do not wish to waste time arguing over the morality of the situation, because in practice might makes right—or, in their own words, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must".
The Athenians counter that if they accept Melos' neutrality and independence, they would look weak: Their subjects would think that they left Melos alone because they were not strong enough to conquer it.
The Melians argue that an invasion will alarm the other neutral Greek states, who will become hostile to Athens for fear of being invaded themselves. The Athenians counter that the Greek states on the mainland are unlikely to act this way.
It is the independent island states and the disgruntled subjects that Athens has already conquered that are more likely to take up arms against Athens. The Athenians counter that it is only shameful to submit to an opponent whom one has a reasonable chance of defeating.
There is no shame in submitting to an overwhelmingly superior opponent like Athens. The Melians argue that though the Athenians are far stronger, there is at least a slim chance that the Melians could win, and they will regret not trying their luck.
The Athenians counter that this argument is emotional and short-sighted. If the Melians lose, which is highly likely, they will come to bitterly regret their foolish optimism. The Melians believe that they will have the assistance of the gods because their position is morally just. The Athenians counter that the gods will not intervene because it is the natural order of things for the strong to dominate the weak.
The Melians argue that their Spartan kin will come to their defense. The Athenians counter that the Spartans are a practical people who never put themselves at risk when their interests are not at stake, and rescuing Melos would be especially risky since Athens has the stronger navy.
The Athenians express their shock at the Melians' lack of realism. They say that there is no shame in submitting to a stronger enemy, especially one who is offering reasonable terms.Just War Theory.
Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. Outline of History; Prehistory — Prehistory, the rise of civilization, and the ancient Middle East to c B.C.E.
Prehistory to c BCE — Unit 1: Prehistory and the rise of Civilization to c B.C.E.. FC1 — Biological, Cultural, and Technological Evolution in History; FC2 — A Possible Scenario of Human Evolution; FC3 — A Possible Scenario for the Evolution of the Family and.
The Peloponnesian War Essay - In ancient Greek history, we are able to find and learn about many important wars that took place. Arguably, one of the most devastating and important wars in Greek history was the Peloponnesian War.
CIVIL WAR. In "Democracy after Civil War: A Kantian Paradox," New York University, November 16, , Leonard Wantchekon presents a theory of "post-civil war democratization" which draws upon the model of political order among rational demons as well as sources from "classical political theory, contemporary democratic theory, and the state-building literature.".
Democracy is a tender topic for a writer: like motherhood and apple pie it is not to be criticized. One will risk being roundly condemned if he, or she, points out the serious bottleneck that is presented when a community attempts, through the democratic process, to set plans for positive social action.
The Peloponnesian War literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.