of Contents. We will thus provide a unique opportunity for the audience to encounter the text in a more visceral and robust way than usual, viewed from multiple perspectives, emphasising multivocality and evoking multiple meanings and questions – and you are all warmly invited, whether your interest is in the reception of Thucydides, the reinterpretation of classical texts in performance, the broader issues of power and justice or the capacity of theatre to provoke thoughts and bring issues to life. We can instead see it as a powerful means for Thucydides to explore these complex issues and competing values, with the historical setting giving the debate additional power and pathos rather than being in contradiction with it. Read your article online and download the PDF from your email or your account. These were two the most powerful cities in Greece, and the war between them was extremely great and cruel (Bosworth, 1993). Request Permissions. The Dialogue, while recognizing the right of the Melians to be what they are, was never intended to be an indictment of the Athenian attitude, which is presented as closely related to the Periclean speeches and as a development of, rather than a deviation from the political thought of Thucydides' ideal statesman. For example, the trap most prominent in contemporary debates is found in Book One, Chapter 23, Section 6 abbreviated as 1.23.6. We’ll be moving into Phase Two, which I will write about in due course…, Posted in Events, Research in Progress | Tagged classical reception, Melian Dialogue, politics, theatre, Thucydides | Leave a Comment. A US war with China, even in victory, could be as calamitous as Sparta’s over Athens. Project MUSE is a leading provider of digital humanities and social sciences content, providing access to journal and book content from nearly 300 publishers. It has an attractive logic grounded in the utility of brute force to overawe and, if necessary, annihilate adversaries. The expedition brought Athens new enemies and raised the alarm of Sparta and other former adversaries by adding to their doubts about Athens’ commitment to the 50-year treaty signed seven years previously. The Athenians had essentially obtained Spartan acquiescence to their original war aims. One approach, that followed by game theorists, is to focus on the situation itself, and I have developed two card-based games focused on contests in which different sorts of imbalance are built in. The trap of expecting people to execute a strategy that goes against their nature. Attendance is free, but numbers are limited, so please register HERE. Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War* (431 to 404 B.C.E.) Was the latter writing only of men, or also of nations, when he wrote that “Men take revenge for small offenses; for large ones they cannot”? The revolution within Corcyra serves as a microcosm for the viciousness of the whole war. The question remains, however, to what extent their realism coincides with Thucydides’ own viewpoint. But citing the Melian dialogue as Thucydides’s normative signature misleads. Both Thucydides and Macchiavelli teach us to fight with our heads. Recall that as with “fear, honor and interest” (1.76.2) many of the most famous quotes of the Melian dialogue are expressions put into the mouths of Athenian speakers and not part of the author’s directly attributable commentary. The Principles of War for the Information Age (p. 207). “So bloody was the march of revolution…” (2.82.3) that in Corcyra, the bonds of humanity frayed horribly and violence coursed to extremes. ( Log Out /  With critically acclaimed titles in history, science, higher education, consumer health, humanities, classics, and public health, the Books Division publishes 150 new books each year and maintains a backlist in excess of 3,000 titles. The Journals Division publishes 85 journals in the arts and humanities, technology and medicine, higher education, history, political science, and library science. And, just as in that classic conflict, there are large powers and other groups around the edges. Can the U.S. and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap, CULTIVATING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ONE STUDENT AT A TIME, START WITH BOOK THREE: FINDING UTILITY IN CLAUSEWITZ’S ON WAR, LEADERSHIP ROLE MODELS IN FICTION REVISITED: A WHITEBOARD. Purchase this issue for $44.00 USD. Through exploring potential interpretations, settings and stagings for dramatic renderings of the dialogue, we will offer new understandings of the work that extend beyond traditional academic readings to provide a more deeply resonant and emotionally rooted basis for engaging with the text. 1540 Nördlingen). The Lignadis production is more striking, with the Melians (in dark suits) standing within an upturned table as if in a cage, being harangued by an unseen speaker via a microphone – but still quite simple and static. Hopkins Fulfillment Services (HFS) Graham Allison’s use of one Thucydides trap provides but a narrow and incomplete perspective. This is the overarching trap related to the underlying potential for great power war and the great tragedy war engenders. As shorthand, a trap is a choice that suggests a negative situation, peril, or catastrophe into which the protagonists placed themselves, individually or collectively. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association And yes, it is also true that the simplest addition to the ongoing wars would be very difficult. The Melian Dialogue presents the usual Thucydidean concentra-tion of speech and thought. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. Thucydides provided an account to last for all time. There are many polities and peoples on the outskirts of the story that periodically become embroiled in the plot, none more important than the Persian Empire – the region’s most powerful entity. Further, we can not only abstract the Dialogue from its historical context to emphasise its relevance to modern wars, but consider how unbalanced power relationships can be found in many situations besides inter-state conflict – state and citizen, employer and employee, husband and wife, parent or teacher and child. The Sicilian expedition (books 6 and 7) might be characterized as the flip side of the Spartan trap: The power and success of Athens and the greed it inspired in the hearts of its people. All of them should command the attention of strategists, commanders, diplomats, and other national security professionals. Change ). Once the Athenians trapped the Spartan forces, the Spartans offered Athens favorable terms. This concludes with the public performance of versions of the Dialogue in different iterations exhibiting shifting theatrical and philosophical interpretations. *Author’s Note:  All references to Thucydides’s work are taken from The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War, edited by Robert B. Strassler. New York: The Free Press, 1996. However, such readings tend to be simplistic and deeply problematic. Required fields are marked *, The United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. Thucydides, an exiled Athenian naval commander cum historian, provided one of history’s most valuable analytical works on war. Realism is, in the reading, represented by the Athenians. Consequently, many have tagged Thucydides as an exponent of what we know today as classic realism. The Melian Dialogue is a link between Euripides and Plato. Thucydides sometimes does provide commentary suggesting his view of the lessons to be gleaned; but, tantalizing though they may be, they are few and far between. The number of additional traps suggested above is a distillation meant to challenge a narrow reading and to suggest further exploration. Since we should credit many Thucydidean traps, I suggest retitling the trap that has gained vernacular hegemony as the Spartan trap.

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