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1. This is the main theme of Strasburger 1958. [BACK]

2. This decline is a major theme of, among others, Euben 1990b, 167–201; Deininger 1987, 113; White 1984, 84; Strauss 1964, 192; Meiggs 1972, 388–389; Cogan 1981a, 92; Pouncey 1980, 84. Connor 1984, 151 n. 32, succinctly compares the language of Thuc. 1.76.1–2 with that of the Melian Dialogue. [BACK]

3. On the sophistic background, see Deininger 1987, 123–130. [BACK]

4. See, for example, a recent and provocative contribution: Bosworth 1993. Bosworth does not browbeat his readers by asserting that any reasonable person would agree with the Athenian premises, and he does maintain some distance between his own opinions and those of Thucydides. Nevertheless, he tells his readers at the outset that the Melian Dialogue “emphasizes the delusive and destructive effects of patriotic catchwords,” and the article invites its readers to accept Melian foolishness as self-evident; similarly, Connor (1984, 153) remarks that whatever we may think of the Athenians, “this does not mean that we fail to see the Melians’ folly in attempting to resist the power of Athens.” [BACK]

5. On this, see the introduction. [BACK]

6. Strauss 1964, 200. [BACK]

7. E.g., Pouncey 1980, 88–89: “They first attempt to alter the rules with some redefinition”; Bosworth 1993, 35: “Interestingly the first response of the Melians is to circumvent the rules”; the scholia on Thuc. 5.90, however, stress the connection between expediency and justice that the Melians are trying to establish. [BACK]

8. The background of Thuc. 5.90 has attracted surprisingly little attention; even de Romilly (1979, 153) considers only the parallel with Odysseus in the Ajax. [BACK]

9. The Athenians also touch obliquely upon a part of this topos: Kyros resolves to save Kroisos at least in part because Kroisos had enjoyed a comparable share of good fortune and had thus been in some sense his “equal.” The Athenians reject the Melian advice on the grounds that Sparta, as an equal of Athens, would show restraint—thus assuming that the Spartans would follow a logic similar to that of Kyros. [BACK]

10. Plato begins the Republic by confronting the idea that justice consists of helping friends and hurting enemies (331e-336a). On this principle in Sophokles, for example, see Blundell 1989. [BACK]

11. The contrast between the two has attracted relatively little attention, as scholars have focused primarily upon Thucydides in isolation; note, however, Connor 1984, 156–157. [BACK]

12. Smith 1998. On the structure of this group of speeches and Herodotus’s emphatic placement of the argument about culture, see Lang 1984. [BACK]

13. Fornara 1971b, 86. [BACK]

14. Raaflaub 1987, 239–240. [BACK]

15. Fornara 1971b, 86. [BACK]

16. The counterexample of Skione has been cited since antiquity in connection with Melos as an example both of Athenian cruelty and of Thucydidean inconsistency (e.g., Isok. 4.122, 123.4, 5.2.2, 18.8). It is worth stressing, however, that Skione was fundamentally different from Melos: Skione was an Athenian subject state that had revolted. It is thus closer to Mytilene than to Melos. [BACK]

17. The phrase is from Raaflaub 1987, 239–240. [BACK]

18. Bosworth 1993, 30. [BACK]

previous sub-section
The Melian Dialogue
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