Athenian Military Performance in the Archidamian War: Thucydides on Democracy and Knowledge

23 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008

See all articles by Josiah Ober

Josiah Ober

Stanford University - Department of Classics

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

Athenian military success in the Archidamian war is attributed by the Corinthians in book 1 of Thucydides to an inherent national character. Although the Athenians do manifest the characteristics of agility, speed, and common-good seeking that the Corinthians attribute to the Athenians, the source of Athenian exceptionalism is better sought in the development of democratic institutions and associated patterns of behavior. Athens did well in military operations because of its superior management of useful knowledge. Likewise, breakdown in knowledge management is a key reason for Athenian military failures in the latter part of the war.

Keywords: democracy, war, Athens

Suggested Citation

Ober, Josiah, Athenian Military Performance in the Archidamian War: Thucydides on Democracy and Knowledge (September 2007). Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics Paper No. 090702. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1298786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1298786

Josiah Ober (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Classics ( email )

Building 110
Stanford, CA 94305-2080
United States
650-724-0868 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

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