Thucydides on Athens’ Democratic Advantage in the Archidamian War
Posted: 10 Jul 2009
Date Written: July 9, 2009
In book 1 Thucydides’ Corinthians attribute Athenian military success in the Archidamian war to an inherent national character. They emphasize the characteristics of agility, speed, and common-good seeking. Thucydides’ readers come to realize that the Athenian “democratic advantage” stemmed from a superior capacity to organize useful knowledge. Knowledge management in military affairs can be learned; the Athenians fared poorly in the later stages of the war in part because they failed to countenance the possibility that their own techniques could be adapted by their rivals.
Keywords: democratic advantage, Collective action, knowledge management, Thucydides, Corinth, coordinated cooperation, social knowledge, Athens
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