The Power of Athens


“The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta [Lacedaemon], made war inevitable.” – Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 1.
What is the meaning of this phrase? Using specific INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS theory and/or concept, how might we be able to best interpret this passage?

  1. One opinion is that Athens growth in strength made Sparta retaliate by the notion of “BALANCING” against Athens. The concept of Security Dilemma is also used in regards to this passage.Sparta had to take measures and prepare itself for any unfortunate event….just like Iran balances against the U.S in terms of power. Also growth in power in your rival will always escalate tension between both parties…ex. the cold war, Iran’s nuclear program.Also Sparta could be realists in the sense that they expect the worst case scenario and they have to prepare accordingly to that the type of logical basis.
  • step1) explain the quote in your opinion
  • step2) connect the the quote to Balancing, security dilemma, and realism
  • Step3) connect the athens vs spartans to current rivalries