Thucydides and the Empire. The Fall of Melos
In a war the exercise of strength is followed by meaningless restrictions which scarcely deserve mention, such as the right of the people. (K. Von Clausewitz). This is, basically, what the Athenians tell the people of Melos while they are destroying them. The contrast between strength and right becomes - in the dialogue by Thucydides included in The Peloponnesian War - a philosophical debate between necessity and the nature and freedom of will. But is this presentation by Thucydides of the suppression of the people of Melos completely truthful? The documents in our possession leave room for doubt.