The Archidamian War (A New History of the Peloponnesian War)
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This book, the second volume in Donald Kagan's tetralogy about the Peloponnesian War, is a provocative and tightly argued history of the first ten years of the war. Taking a chronological approach that allows him to present at each stage the choices that were open to both sides in the conflict, Kagan focuses on political, economic, diplomatic, and military developments. He evaluates the strategies used by both sides and reconsiders the roles played by several key individuals.
strategy they had accepted. His careful explanations of why Athens had to avoid great battles on land were forgotten in the anger and frustration of the moment, and they accused Pericles of cowardice because he would not lead them out against the enemy.Sl Of these attackers one was surely Cleon, who had opposed Pericles for some years. 32 Hermippus makes that clear in his comedy the Fates, produced probably in the spring of 430. He addresses Pericles as follows: "King of the Satyrs, why won't you
Athenian fleet, and the Plataeans, the Messenians who inhabited Naupactus, the Zacynthians, and most of the Acarnanians, who supplied infantry and money when called upon.a3 They could also count on the cavalry of the Thessalians 34 and, if it should be necessary to counter the western allies of Sparta, they had their own allies in the west, Rhegium and Leontini. 35 In addition they could call on the considerable resources of their tribute-paying imperial allies for money and men. That empire
to kill all the adult males of M ytilene and sell the women and children as slaves. We may imagine that there were several speakers, and there may even have been other proposals, but Thucydides tells us only of the motion of Cleon and that the chief opposing speaker was Diodotus son of Eucrates. In this debate a split appeared between the two factions, the moderates represented by Diodotus, following the cautious policy of Pericles, and the more aggressive faction led by Cleon. Sparta'S rejection
prospects on Sicily better, Laches was ready for the next step. He took Mylae, a small town west of Messina and subordinate to it, and then he took Messina itself. 13 This stunningly important victory that at one stroke gave Athens control of the straits, encouraged defections from Syracuse, and threatened her position on the island. During the summer many native Sicels who had been dominated by the Syracusans were encouraged by the Athenian successes to rebel and join forces with Athens and her
restoration.so Another reason to believe that Pleistoanax played no important role before 421 is that in that year Thucydides singles him out as being most influential among those Spartans seeking peace and mentions him among the signers of the peace that was concluded. sl In 423, however, when the Spartans made a truce in the hope of bringing about a lasting peace, Thucydides makes no mention of Pleistoanax, and he was not among the signers.32 We must agree with Gomme that "his position in