Athenian Military Performance in the Archidamian War: Thucydides on Democracy and Knowledge
23 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008
Date Written: September 2007
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
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