Thucydides Sicilian Expidition Essay

Thucydides Sicilian Expidition Essay

Length: 1047 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Sicilian Expedition is the decisive event in the Peloponnesian war. In fact that is what motivated Thucydide's to record it in his historical records. Thucydides prophesized that it would be `the greatest in all Greek history' and "it was a major turning point for Athens',moreover, it was the `most glorious victory for the winners, and the worst calamity for the loosers.' The outcome was that Athens lost the war which lead to the eventual collapse of her empire and dignity. The Athenians lost the war due to their ill preparedness for the expedition, illogical and hasty decisions, and poor leadership during the expedition.

First of all, it is feasible to say that one of the most important reasons for the Athenian defeat was due to the fact that they were essentially not ready for another battle. The importance of prepraredness was exemplified by Percile's in his War speech, he was recollecting the Athenian ancestors success against the Persians and he stated it was "more good planning than good luck." The problem is that the Sicilian expedition was spontaneous and unanticipated, thus unplanned. As Thucydides recounts "that same winter, immediately after the destruction of Melos, Athens decided to attempt the conquest of the Greeks on Sicily."

However, they were not "well informed about the relative strength of their allies and their enemies in Sicily" . The Athenians had sent some ambassadors in early spring to Egesta to evaluate the situation. Instead of bringing back useful information, they brought back some ambassadors and sixty talents of uncoined silver (which was only one months pay for the Athenian naval fleet).

Although the Athenians were still not properly informed, they still set out a date to take o...

... middle of paper ...

...ion of their retreat; Demosthenes wanted to leave and save his troops, while Nicias' was afraid of the embarrassment he will have to suffer if they left. However, the vote was in favor of leaving, just as they were about to do so, a lunar eclipse occurred. A Thucydides tell us ."..most of the Athenians took the eclipse to heart and called on the generals to stop",a wise leader would have order his troops to keep going. Yet " Nicias who put to much faith in divination and such practices said he wouldn't consider moving..untill they waited twenty seven days prescribed by the soothsayers" . If the leaders were wise they could have escaped army and the losses would have not been so drastic. The outcome was that the procrastination of the Athenian army is what gave Syracuse and its allies the time to beat them at sea and on land, and there eventual crushing defeat.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Sicilian Expidition Essay

- The Sicilian Expedition is the decisive event in the Peloponnesian war, and in his account, Thucydides makes sure the reader is aware of this fact. Thucydides conveys the importance of this event through direct statements and also literary and narrative techniques in his writing. In the beginning of book six of his history, Thucydides makes an allusion to Troy, which stresses an air of historical importance for the narration of the Sicilian expedition. Although the Trojan war and the campaign in Sicily are very different in respect to time period and outcome, they do contain several similarities....   [tags: Politics]

Free Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)

Thucydides Of The Peloponnesian War Essay example

- The Melian dialogue is misunderstood. Several years ago I had the misfortune of taking an International Relations course with a professor with a steadfast devotion to realist ideas and principles, which ideologically dominated the course. To drive her point home with regard to ethics in the international sphere, she assigned us to read a small abbreviated passage from the Melian dialogue, the entire point of the useless thought exercise was to get us to understand “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must”....   [tags: Peloponnesian War, Ancient Greece]

Strong Essays
1139 words (3.3 pages)

Thucydides and Homer: Cultures Essay

- Thucydides and Homer: Cultures Thucydides and Homer, though they lived a relatively short 300 years apart, wrote about very different Greek cultures. While the Greeks who Homer wrote about in The Iliad were, in many respects, dissimilar to the Greeks in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, this stands in marked contrast to the profound similarities that exist between contemporary cultures and those that Thucydides wrote of. There are, however, similarities between modern cultures and those in Homer’s writing, as well as differences between modern ones and those in Thucydides’ writing....   [tags: Cultural Greece Thucydides Homer Papers]

Strong Essays
1806 words (5.2 pages)

An Analysis of Thucydides' Views on the Melian Dialogue Essay

- An Analysis of Thucydides' Views on the Melian Dialogue The Melian Dialogue is a debate between Melian and Athenian representatives concerning the sovereignty of Melos. The debate did not really occur-the arguments given by each side were of Thucydides own creation. Thus it is reasonable to assume that we can tease out Thucydides' own beliefs. In this paper, I will first extract Thucydides views from the Melian Dialogue and then analyze whether or not these views are well founded. Thucydides believed that the Athenians had the stronger argument....   [tags: Ancient History Thucydides Melos Essays]

Strong Essays
1591 words (4.5 pages)

The Role of Language for Thucydides and Sophocles Essay

- In Thucydides' On Justice, Power and Human Nature and Sophocles' Oedipus plays, they use language and speeches to convey the same things. The political orders in these works use their speeches to form a sense of purpose, sway political views and to manipulate for their own personal self-interest. In both of their works, Thucydides and Sophocles write of a speech that instills a sense of ambition. In On Justice, Power and Human Nature, Pericles uses the oration not only to respect the departed, but to instill in the Athenians national pride and a zest to fight....   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Free Essays
695 words (2 pages)

Thucydides’s Histories: The Impact of Stereotypes During the Peloponnesian War

- Thucydides’s Histories: The Impact of Stereotypes During the Peloponnesian War Corinthian representatives provide a constructive comparison of the Spartan and Athenian stereotypes at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war from 431 BCE to 404 BCE1. In The History of the Peloponnesian War, the Spartan stereotypes are confirmed by their action’s at first, however they soon surprise the opposing districts of Greece by overcoming the negative stereotypes placed on them. Contrary to the Spartans, the Athenians completely lived up to other’s expectations as a risk-taking society....   [tags: corinthian representatives, spartan, athenian]

Strong Essays
1367 words (3.9 pages)

The Power of Gods Essay

- The key to a successful Greek society is a balance between faith in the gods and faith in common sense. The Greek gods were simultaneously both responsible for the downfall and success of many Greek city-states. While providing immense support for daily and political life, the gods were often a huge hindrance in foreign affairs, especially in regards to war. In Greek life, the gods were the glue of the society, suppressing the selfish personalities common to Greece and pushing the society to work together as a cohesive unit....   [tags: greek societies, thucydides' history]

Strong Essays
1940 words (5.5 pages)

Thucydides Essay

- In the year 426, the tensions between the oligarchs (the rich minority) and the democrats (poor majority) rose so high, that it developed into a civil war. It had begun with the democrats tricking the oligarchs in to believing that Thucydides recounts the events that took place during the civil war in Corcyra. He claims that the civil war was just the first of many within Greece. Once word spread to the rest of the country with what happened in Corcyra, many civil wars broke out between many political groups (3.82) The varying political ideas among the two main parties created even more of a division than there already was, setting the two groups into a major civil war....   [tags: Ancient History, Greek]

Strong Essays
1353 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Is Thucydides a Realist

- The human condition and its significance to International Relations have been in debate for centuries. Classical Realist thought has focused on the inherently aggressive and selfish nature of man and assumed that it is these qualities that ensure war and conflict are inevitable aspects of human society. Alternatively, neo-realism emphasises the system structure of international politics. R.J. McShea discusses the significance of the human nature tradition throughout the study of international relations....   [tags: Ancient History]

Strong Essays
2634 words (7.5 pages)

Thucydides Essay

- Thucydides Thucydides ignored social, economic and cultural matters and excluded topics that he felt unable to write about, such as women. Further inadequacies can be found throughout the History, especially when the search for truth seems to have become subordinate to artistic considerations. The narrative is punctuated by speeches, the primary literary device used in the 'History' and these are unreliable and subjective. In refusing to verify his sources we are forced to accept or reject his testimony based on the satisfactory (or otherwise) nature of the account of the war as a piece of history....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1606 words (4.6 pages)