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By Donald Kagan

Why did the Peace of Nicias fail to reconcile Athens and Sparta? within the 3rd quantity of his landmark four-volume background of the Peloponnesian warfare, Donald Kagan examines the years among the signing of the peace treaty and the destruction of the Athenian day trip to Sicily in 413 B.C. The central determine within the narrative is the Athenian flesh presser and normal Nicias, whose rules formed the treaty and whose army suggestions performed a tremendous position within the assault opposed to Sicily.

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Fifty nine; Kagan, Archidamian conflict, 80-85. 314. 19. 1, four. 1 eight; Kagan, Archidamian struggle, 234. 325 . 36. 1 ; HCT I V, 38. 30 THE UNRA VEUNG O F THE PEACE In forty two I a Cimonian coverage used to be not attainable. C imon and his Spartan opposite numbers have been capable of construct at the contemporary reminiscence of wonderful and profitable collaboration among A thens and Sparta opposed to the Persians. In 479 Athens used to be no longer but an exceptional imperial energy and a danger to Spartan hegemony; the Spartans and Athenians had by no means fought a major conflict opposed to one another. A fter the Peace of N icias all used to be in a different way. contemporary thoughts have been of lengthy and sour wars among the 2 towns and of constant competition . there has been little, if any, goodwill on which to construct a permanent peace. belief couldn't be assumed yet has to be earned . In that feel the alliance can even have broken the possibilities for peace, for it allowed Sparta to proceed to disregard its duties below the peace treaty and thereby in­ c reased A thenian distrust. 33 N icias and h is affiliates didn't v iew the placement so darkly. that they had desired to settle for the Spartan supply i n forty two five and should have believed that occasions among four 2 five and forty two I had confirmed them correct. The fai entice of the Megarian and Boeotian campaigns and the defeats at Del ium and Amph ipolis confirmed the futility of extra battling. Why now not, they may have reasoned , supply peace an opportunity? seeing that Athens used to be in an improved place and Sparta it sounds as if used to be no longer prepared to ful fill its dedication, did it now not behoove the Athen ians to behave generously, to take step one within the desire of making a cl imate of mutual belief? Such emotions can be laudable and occasionally potent, yet in forty two I they have been silly. No mere gesture can make the Spartans fix Am­ phipolis, yet till they did so, such a lot Athenians will be disap­ pointed, suspiciou s, and indignant. the outcome m ust be to i ncrease instead of purple uce pressure . it truly is demanding to d isagree with Grote's evaluation that "there was once by no means any public advice of Kleon . . . so ruinously impolitic as this alliance w ith Sparta and hand over of the captives. "34 33Grote says that "the alliance, actually, avoided the peace from being fulfilled" (V I I , 7). My reliance on Grote right here and through the quantity can be obvious. even if his figuring out of Athenian politics i s too inflexible and formal, too such as the English politics of his personal day, his comprehend­ ing of the interval is splendidly clever and perceptive. 34Grote, V I I , eight . For the main energetic assault on Grote's interpretation see Meyer, Forrch. I I , three five 2 ff. A stricken PEACE 31 I f the attractiveness of the Spartan all iance used to be a mistake, it continues to be to invite what else Athens may have performed. at the as­ sumption that Spartan hostility and jealousy have been absolute to consistent with­ sist and that lasting. peace used to be most unlikely with out a significant switch within the stability of strength, a unprecedented, maybe distinctive chance looked as if it would manifest itself. The Athenians may well inspire a brand new coalition led via Argos and joined by way of the opposite democratic states of the Peloponnesus, El is and Mantinea.

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