Thucydides on Athens’ Democratic Advantage in the Archidamian War

Posted: 10 Jul 2009

See all articles by Josiah Ober

Josiah Ober

Stanford University - Department of Classics

Date Written: July 9, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Ober, Josiah, Thucydides on Athens’ Democratic Advantage in the Archidamian War (July 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1432141

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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