Thucydides and Xenophon

Links and notes based on History of Pelopennesian War and Anabasis

  • resistance to persian advance had led to the development of two alliances based on Athens and Sparta respectively
    • alliances alliances in name only - Athens and Sparta primus inter pares in respective alliance
    • alliances evenly matched - no obvious winner
      • Spartan league land based
      • Athenian league sea based
    • resolution only came about due to Athens unsustainable losses in Sicily
    • both states impoverished by costs of war and unable to maintain any degree of hegemony
      • led to the rise first of the Theban Hegemony, and after it' collapse the Macedonian takeover of mainland Greece
  • war created a professional cadre of mercenaries
  • mercenaries in service of various states afterward eg role in rise of Theban hegemony
  • mercenaries better disciplined and more effective than amateur city levies
    • Anabasis - effect of a demonstration by Greek mercenaries on Cicilian spectators
  • mercenaries available for hire elsewhere (Persian expedition)
    • increased Greek interaction with non Hellenistic cultures
    • eventually allowed Alexander the great's expansion across middle east
      • greater experience of conflict with non Hellenistic cultures
      • professional soldiers versus numerically superior but ill trained levies
        • cf Roman Legions versus various tribal levies etc
  • Evidence from Anabasis shows ancient sites in middle east still known though not recognised
    • cf comments about camping in ruined fortresses eg Larissa (aka Nineveh)
    • to what extent did this help guide c19 archaeologists?
    • what was the impact of the area being closed off under Islamic rule until C19
    • to what extent was knowledge obfuscated by being hidden in cuneiform texts and only gained second hand via hellenistic texts?
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