↑ Read Format Kindle @A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War ⠩ By Victor Davis Hanson ⡜ ↑ Read Format Kindle @A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War ⠩ By Victor Davis Hanson ⡜ Chapter 1 Fear Why Sparta Fought Athens 480431 Our Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War is now 2,436 years in the past Yet Athens and Sparta are still on our minds and will not go away Their permanence seems odd After all, ancient Greek warring parties were mere city states, most of them smaller in population and size than Dayton, Ohio, or Trenton, New Jersey Mainland Greece itself is no larger than Alabama, and in antiquity was bordered by empires like the Persian, which encompassed nearly one million square miles with perhaps 70 million subjects Napoleons army alone had men under arms by 1800 than the entire male population of all the Greek city states combined In our own age, people died in Rwanda or Cambodia in a few days than were lost in twenty seven years of civil war in fifth century b.c Greece Nor were Greeks themselves especially lethal warriors, at least by later historical standards Rudimentary wood and iron of the preindustrial age, not gunpowder and steel, were their shared weapons of destruction Even the soldiers themselves who fought the war were not much than five foot five and 130 pounds They were often unimpressive middle aged men who would appear as mere children next to contemporary towering two hundred pound GIs Yet for ancient folk so few, small, and distant, their struggle during the Peloponnesian War seems not so old even in this new millennium During the weeks after September 11, 2001, for example, Americans suddenly worried about the wartime outbreak of disease in their cities In October and November 2001, five died and some twenty four others were infected from the apparently deliberate introduction of anthrax spores by unknown terrorists During the spring of 2003 a mysterious infectious respiratory ailment in China threatened to spread worldwide, given the ubiquity of low cost transcontinental airfare The panic that ensued in Washington and Peking during a time of global tension evoked ancient wartime plagues, such as the mysterious scourge that wiped out thousands at Athens between 430 and 426 Similarly, at about the same time, Sicily, Melos, and Mycalessus were all cited in contemporary media, as millennia later the world once again watched military armadas head out to faraway places, saw democracy imposed by force, and read of schoolchildren killed by terrorist bands But even before September 11 the Peloponnesian War was not really ancient history Scholarly books regularly appeared with titles like War and Democracy A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War, or Hegemonic Rivalry From Thucydides to the Nuclear Age Thucydides had long been assigned reading at the U.S Army War College And an array of statesmen such as Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau, and Eleuthrios Venizlos either taught or wrote about Greek history, in which the use of Thucydides war loomed large More recently, controversial thinkers known as neoconservatives the new conservatives were for a time influential in American strategic thinking, and the text that they purportedly consulted frequently was once Thucydides.1 What is it about this particular ancient clash that causes it to be called to mind during our present wars Why were the conflicts supposed lessons both astutely and clumsily applied to most of our own struggles of the last century Russiaor was it really Hitlers Germany supposedly resembled oligarchic Sparta in its efforts to destroy a democratic, seafaring America Did not the Cold War, after all, similarly divide up the world into two armed leagues, led by superpowers who had united for a time against the common enemy only later to face off for decades of bipolar hostilities Was the Sicilian expedition a precursor to Gallipoli, Vietnam, or any proposed great democratic or imperial crusade abroad Or does the disaster at Syracuse show, as Thucydides oddly concluded, what happens when folks at home do not support the troops abroad Because Thucydides first framed the important issues that haunt us still, we naturally return to his original and seemingly unimpeachable conclusions The Sorrows of War Why exactly is this rather obscure ancient war between minuscule Athens and Sparta still so alive, and used and abused in ways that other ancient conflicts, such as the Persian Wars 490, 48079 and Alexander the Greats conquests 334323 , are not Many intriguing reasons come to mind First, it was a brutal and very long struggle King Xerxes and his enormous Persian military were routed from Greece in about two years Alexander destroyed the later Persian Empire in a third of the time it took Sparta to defeat Athens Lasting twenty seven years, or almost a third of the fabled fifth century of classical Greece, the Peloponnesian War, like the Second Punic War, the Thirty Years War, or the Hundred Years War, was a mess that eerily crossed generations Those born after the first years of the war often fought and died in the fighting before it was over So the catastrophe devoured entire families across generations The carnage reminds us of imperial Britain tottering after the First World War, the end of empire, aristocracy, and unquestioned patriotism all inextricably tied to trenches that gobbled up the British elite The Peloponnesian War spared few Greeks, regardless of wealth or family connections The great houses of Athens, or so the postbellum lament went, were almost wiped out.2 Take the most famous branch of the exalted Alcmaeonid family Pericles, the spiritual and political leader of Athens, died of the plague at Athens in 429 in only the third season of the war His sister, also in her sixties, had perished a year before from the same epidemic, along with his sons Paralus and Xanthippus Neither of those young men reached thirty Later, a much younger bastard son, Pericles the Younger, was elected an Athenian general He was in part responsible for the great sea victory at Arginusae, some twenty three years after his fathers death Yet the younger Pericles was subsequently executed by an Athenian jury in an infamous scapegoating frenzy during the battles aftermath And Pericles nephew, the thirty two year old bright and upcoming Hippocrates, fell at the forefront of the battle of Delium 424 Thirty years worth of plague, political intrigue, general hysteria, and enemy spears or less wiped out the family of the most powerful man at Athens The war also started at the high water mark of Greeces great Golden Age 479404 Yet the attendant calamity ended for good such great promise that started with the defeat of the Persians 479 The capitulation of Athens 404 and the end of the fifth century Golden Age remain symbolically interconnected events to this day They are also loosely associated as well with the near contemporaneous trial and execution of Socrates 399 , the last and greatest casualty of a once wonderful world seemingly gone mad in a few decades Contemporaries, among them the comic poet Aristophanes, believed that with the end of the Peloponnesian War, Attic tragedy as emblemized by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides had lost its splendor Indeed, players in and observers of the war were the greats of Hellenic civilizationAlcibiades, Aristophanes, Euripides, Pericles, Socrates, Sophocles, Thucydides, and othersmany of whom flourished, were discredited, or perished because of their involvement in the fighting Much of the greatest classical literature, such as Aristophanes Acharnians, Euripides The Trojan Women, Platos Symposium, and Sophocles Oedipus the King, either deals with issues of the war or employs the conflict as dramatic landscape, leaving with us the depressing possibility that war, not peace, prompted the greatest explosion in the Greek creative genius, a frenzied outburst before a weary collapse Most Greeks saw the bloody struggle through the eyes of Athens, whose writers enjoyed a near monopoly on reporting, praising, and condemning the warshocked that in just three decades the entire dream of a cultural renaissance was brought to an end So north of the Isthmus of Corinth the fight was soon known universally as the Peloponnesian War, the conflict against those awful supermen who inhabited the southern peninsula of Greecenot, as the parochial Peloponnesians saw it, as a Spartan led struggle against imperialists in an Athenian War The Peloponnesian War pitted against each other two Greek states that were antithetical in nearly every respect Athens had 300 warships, a population of over 300,000 residents, a fortified port, a vast countryside, some 200 tribute paying subject states abroad, and plenty of coined money Sparta was landlocked About 160 miles to the south, it relied on an army of only 10,000 infantrymenless than half of them full citizensto enforce rule over 250,000 inferiors and serfs, and a hegemony of neighboring communities, without any tradition of either seapower or cosmopolitan culture Rightly or wrongly, the fighting was assumed to be a final arbitrator of the contrasting values of each Which would prove to be the viable ideology cultural and political liberalism or a tough, insular conservatism Does an open society reap military advantages from its liberality or succumb to a license unknown in a regimented and militaristic oligarchy And who is the most resourceful in an asymmetrical war when both sides either cannot or will not face each other in conventional battle the ships of a whale like imperial Athens or the ponderous armies of the elephant Sparta Thucydides Then there is the matter of Thucydides himself Greeces preeminent historian was not merely an analytical and systematic writer of a great extant military history of Sparta and Athens He was also a brilliant philosopher who tried to impart to the often obscure events of the war a value that transcended his age In his own boast, his narrative would prove to be a possession for all time, far important than the actual war itself.3 Precisely because of this didactic nature of Thucydides lengthy narrativepredicated on the belief that human nature is unchanging across time and space and thus predictablethe conflict of Athens and Sparta is supposed to serve as a lesson for what can happen to any people in any war in any age A central theme is the use and abuse of power, and how it lurks behind mens professions of idealism and purported ideology What men say, the speeches diplomats give, the reasons states go to war, all this in word logos is as likely to cloak rather than to elucidate what they will do in deed ergon Thucydides teaches us to embrace skepticism, expecting us to look to national self interest, not publicized grievances, when wars of our own age inevitably break out Still, Thucydides was not an abstract theorist but a chief player in the war he wrote about He nearly died of the plague and was cooped up in the city with tens of thousands of other Athenians who sought refuge there from the invading Peloponnesians He fought and lost to the cagey Spartan commander Brasidas as an Athenian general in the struggle over the northern allied city of Amphipolis For that setback he was unfairly exiled in his late thirties by an angry people back home 423 , whose leaders are later prominent in his own history Like Caesars and Napoleons, Thucydides writing is inextricably mixed up with his past life as a man of actionand he too sometimes refers to himself in the third person as a character in his own history In response to that injustice of expulsion, the historian traversed the Greek world for twenty some years of the war as an embedded reporter of sorts Thucydides was eager to hear from veterans the Peloponnesian and Boeotian sides of the story as well, and his subsequent balanced treatment is riveting The history is also full of bizarre examples of how ingenious Greeks diverted their singular energy and talent to find horrific ways of killing and maiming one another, from crafting a fire cannon to torch trapped soldiers to throwing overboard thousands of captured rowers Yet for all his personal autopsy and firsthand graphic detail, Thucydides can also be hard to read for a modern audience a difficult vocabulary, strange sounding names and places, often tedious listings of invasions and expeditionsand long, sometimes contorted speeches whose odd grammar and syntax seem almost impossible for even his contemporary audiences to have understood While it is fashionable lately to suggest that Thucydides was our first postmodern historian whose preconceived theories required that he invent facts in the interest of constructing objectivity, he is much too complex a mind for such a simple sham Modern readers are instead struck by Thucydides attempts at objectivity, by how this historian went to great lengths to interview combatants, consult written treaties, and look at records on stone Thucydides was an observer who at various times expressed admiration for the democratic imperialist Pericles But he also clearly liked the Spartan firebrand Brasidas whose brilliant career ended his own He waxed eloquently over the Athenian right wing coup of 411 and its eccentric godhead Antiphoneven as he praised the wartime resiliency of democracies And though a commander of sailors, Thucydides was nevertheless still enad with infantrymen Because his history is a classic of literature and philosophy, the war is known to us in a manner not true of subsequent larger and far bloody conflicts.4 Athens as America Contemporary America is often now seen through the lens of ancient Athens, both as a center of culture and as an unpredictable imperial power that can arbitrarily impose democracy on friends and enemies alike Thomas Paine long ago spelled this natural affinity out What Athens was in miniature, America will be in magnitude Like ancient Athenians, present day Americans are often said to believe that they can be opposed in nothing, and abroad can equally achieve what was easy and what was hard.5 Although Americans offer the world a radically egalitarian popular culture and, recently, in a very Athenian mood, have sought to remove oligarchs and impose democracyin Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraqenemies, allies, and neutrals alike are not so impressed They understandably fear American power and intentions while our successive governments, in the manner of confident and proud Athenians, assure them of our morality and selflessness Military power and idealism about bringing perceived civilization to others are a prescription for frequent conflict in any ageand no ancient state made war often than did fifth century imperial Athens So great were the dividends of envy, fear, and legitimate grievance against the ancient worlds first democracy that the victorious Peloponnesians who oversaw the destruction of the Long Walls of Athensthe fortifications to the sea symbolic of the power of the poor and their desire to spread democracy throughout the Aegeandid so to music and applause Again, most Greeks concluded that, as Xenophon wrote, Athens defeat marked the beginning of freedom for Greecewithout a clue that the victorious Sparta would move immediately to create its own overseas empire in the vacuum.6 Blinkered idealists in America who believe that the world wishes to join our democratic culture might reflect that at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, the general good intentions of people leaned clearly in favor of the Spartans and that the majority of Greeks were deeply hostile toward the Athenians From the Hardcover edition.The age of Pericles was also a time of famine, pestilence and atrocity a Thirty Year Slaughter In order to understand the lesson this offers for civilization, one must try to feel it as the Greeks felt it, and reflect it as they did In this dual task, Victor Davis Hanson once again demonstrates that his qualifications are unrivalled.Christopher Hitchens, author of Love, Poverty, and War Journeys and EssaysThis book will immediately become the standard companion volume in English to Thucydides Peloponnesian Wars Its own battle narratives are unexcelled but its singular merit is its comprehensive and detailed description of how the actual fighting was done, how generals led, and why each sideSparta and Athenswent to war The author is a man of action and a practicing farmer as well as the premier classical historian and military commentator of our day.Josiah Bunting III, author of Ulysses S Grant The Peloponnesian War was grand and tragic but the sheer misery of those who experienced it has often been overlookeduntil now From death by trampling to cannibalism, from preteen sized knights on ponies to deformed and ghostly plague survivors, from elegant galleys to bloodbaths in waterlogged death traps, the dark cones of classical combat are all brought to light by Hanson This is a groundbreaking book by a great historian.Barry Strauss, author of The Battle of Salamis The Naval Encounter That Saved Greeceand Western Civilization From the Hardcover edition. War Child War Child empowers children and young people in conflict areas by providing psychosocial support, stimulating education protecting from the effects of war WORLDWAR World I The Great United States One Centennial Commission Library Congress US National Archives UK Organization American Historians Antiwar To My Readers, m writing this brief note for two reasons my apologies long absence Yes, cancer gets you a doctor s note, but stilland please support our winter fundraising drive Loudness Wikipedia loudness or race refers to trend increasing audio levels recorded music which many critics believe reduces sound quality listener enjoymentIncreasing was first reported as early s, with respect mastering practices singles maximum peak level analog recordings such these is limited varying specifications electronic Marvel Studios Avengers Infinity Official Trailer Nov , There an idea In theaters April Subscribe Marvel Follow on Twitter Warhammer Online Sunset After five wonderful years, WAR came end December th, Gears Judgment Xbox Video Games Judgement not game fans are looking Baird Cole have lost their personalities They come out every so often, most part quiet somewhat lacking Trump attacks McCain like who weren t captured Jul He hero, said Trump hero because he remarks, after days Black Sabbath Pigs YouTube Oct Album Paranoid Song LYRICS Generals gathered masses Just witches at black Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers death construction cutest kitten win Click decide winner Can Refresh page drawVictor Davis Hanson Private Papers Victor Review near ISIS matter months losing percent its landed caliphate restoration defense budgeting, reestablished sense deterrence, stable recalibration allies were signature achievements James Mattis Review military historian, columnist, former classics professor, scholar ancient warfare As Institute fellow, has been commentator Hoover Institution Martin Illie Anderson Senior Fellow Institution his focus history Endowment Humanities fellow Center Advanced Studies Behavioral born September classicist, farmerHe modern contemporary politics Review, Washington Times other media outlets Articles Political Columnist noted historian social critic whose philosophies rooted classicism An author, contributing editor writes world affairs VDHanson Twitter latest Tweets HooverInst Classics Latest book Second Wars Stories Times Actually, pretty good year will be deplored pundits bad unpredictable Opinion Columns Blogs Fresno Bee Gloomy pundits, beware America defied doomsday predictions before Make Again oft caricatured slogan Donald presidency Greatness About professor California State University, Fresno, currently Stanford University Hanson Professor Greek Director Program author books, including Who Killed Homer A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War

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