Athenian thesis melian dialogue


The Influence of Thucydides in the Modern World

V, The Athenians see no injustice in doing simply as their nature impels them to do.

Definitions of Justice in the Melian Dialogue Free Essays - smelkichliatemp.tk

Following their belief in doing what is necessary to strengthen themselves, even at the expense of others, is what brings Athens to Melos. The Melians, contrarilly, see justice as grounded in fairness. They contend that action based in reason is the true definition of justice. As a neutral state, Melos remained impartial up until it was confronted by Athens, and it is this confrontation which violates the Melian definition of justice.

Realism, Athens Melian Dialogue

According to the Melian definition of justice, Athens has no reason or right to inflict any harm upon them, nor to coerce them into the loss of their independence. Holding justice to be that which benefits the strong, the building of an empire serves to allow the mother nation-state to collect monetary benefits and resources from those states which it dominates. This collection enables the powerful polis to become more so and then further its sphere of influence.

Siege of Melos

Additionally, this definition of justice permits an ambitious city-state to spread, conquering not only the states which stand in direct opposition, but also any that could serve as a barrier to reaching absolute greatness. In order to act justly, in accordance with Melian belief, a nation-state must act with aggression only in instances where it is necessary for the safety and welfare of its citizens and only as defensive.

A just state could not openly provoke another state without cause, nor upset its independence.

Ultimately, it was not only a question of justice which lead to the genocide at Melos, but also one of power. Under the belief in that which served its own benefit as justice, Athens was spurred toward the indispensable pursuit of power, specifically power over the Melians.

Questions & Answers

The Athenian Empire was growing powerfully in the land of Greece. This probably aroused fears among other mainland states like Sparta and Corinth.

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This forced the land of Greece to split into two. All these suspicions led to what came to be known as the Peloponnesian War. In my opinion, this is the greatest war to have ever involved Greece.

It is even greater than the Persian Wars or the Trojan War. Come to the think of it, what are the causes of all these historical events? I believe it is the human nature. I hope my history will be useful to other historians who want to have a clear understanding of what really happened.

Mytilene Debate and the Melian Dialogue (Comparison Essay Sample)

This is so because, the human nature never changes. There will be other major conflicts in the future.


  • Conclusion.
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  • Melian Dialogue;

There are two occurrences that are very important for the understanding of war: the Mytilene Debate and the Melian Dialogue. On one hand, the Mytilene Debate is all about the difference in opinions between Diodotus and Cleon about the punishment towards the Mytilene City. On the other hand, the Melian Dialogue is about negotiations that took place between Athenians and Melians, about the city of Melos joining Athens. These two debates or negotiations are different in many aspects. To start with, the Mytilene debate is an event that took place when the Peloponnesian War.

It happened that the Mytileneans revolted against Athens and were allied to Sparta, after being allies of Athens for quite some time before the war. As a form of punishment, Athens decides to put a naval blockade around Lesbos, an Island.

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