The Melian Dialogue

The Melian Dialogue - Chad Peltier 08/22/09 Dr. Tir INTL...

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Chad Peltier 08/22/09 Dr. Tir INTL 4290H The Melian Dialogue The Melian Dialogue begins within the greater context of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, in which each empire attempted to increase its relative power vis-à-vis the other empire by absorbing colonies and territory from the other. Melos is one such colony of Sparta that Athens grew increasingly hostile towards, which resulted in an ultimatum visit by the two encamped Athenian generals Cleomedes and Tisias to negotiate a submission to the Athenian Empire before openly engaging in armed combat. Upon arrival, the two Athenian generals were brought before a small group of magistrates rather than the Melian citizenry as a whole, due to the perceived sway that the generals would have over the general population of Melos. The magistrates immediately doubt any possibility of goodwill to come from the meeting by pointing to the war preparations already in place around Melos and stating that “…all we really can expect from this negotiation is war, if we prove to have the right on our side and refuse to submit, and in the contrary case, slavery.” The Athenians then began to argue that by submitting to Athens, Melos might gain by “submitting before suffering the worst” (casualties from war with Athens) and
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The Melian Dialogue - Chad Peltier 08/22/09 Dr. Tir INTL...

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