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Classics - Essay Example

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It is important to put the dialogue into context so as to comprehend its importance. During the Polynesian war the Athenian empire had gained in…
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Download file to see previous pages... When the Athenians reached Melos they sent envoys to offer a proposition to the Melians. During the dialogue this proposition becomes clear.
The Melians, instead of allowing the Athenian envoys to make their proposition in front of all the people of Melos, brought them before the Magistrate and the Few, giving the reason that if the Athenians come as judges in their own right, then they should be brought before those who themselves hold a judging position of what is right. However, the Athenians state that they believe the Melians to have requested a quiet audience so that they may not influence the inhabitants of Melos, this they do not mind and go about setting out their proposition. Here, we see the subtleties of politics during this era and how important the masses were in determining what happens during the war. The Melians afraid that their people would choose submission has employed a more covertness means of debate; thus, denying the people of Melos to choose their fate.
The Melians see only two ways either they submit to Athenian rule and become slaves or they go to war and hope to win. However, the Athenians declare that the Melians are not completely right in their assumptions; for, the most important thing is to preserve the island of Melos. The only way to do this is to submit to Athenian rule, becoming a tributary of the Athenian empire but being left alone to carry on as before, preserving their culture and ways of living. They indicate that this would be an advantage to both parties; for, the Melians retain the safety and preservation of their country and the Athenians need not make war against them.
The Melians state that they do not comprehend why they cannot remain neutral, taking neither side but being friends to Athens. The Athenians explain that if they leave Melos to remain neutral the people of the Athenian empire will either believe Melos to be very powerful or the Athenians ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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