The Melian Dialogue

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The Melian Dialogue is Thucydides account of the argument between the Athenians and the Melians. The arguments to some extent are Thucydides own creation and reflect his personal view on the invasion. Thus it is considered to be a secondary source of information. As per this dialogue between the Athenians and the Melians, the Athenians come to the Melos Island with an intention to take over the Melians. The Athenians present Melians with the option of becoming a colony to them, or to be destroyed. The reason for this ultimatum stems mainly from the fact that Melians extended their support to Spartans during the Peloponnesian War and now were a potential enemy to the Athenians. Their freedom would mean a sign of weakness of the Athenians. After a long series of arguments, Athenians finally attack the Melians and defeat them. All the Melian men are slaughtered and the women and children forced to slavery. The Melians present a lot of arguments to the Athenians. First they argue that they have always been a neutral nation and that must be respected. Melians offered them to be their friends and not enemies as this would be beneficial to both. But the Athenians rejected their offer by saying that they would not be much affected by their hostility but on the other hand their friendship would prove a sign of their weakness and they would be considered coward to allow such a small and insignificant island to not be ruled by them. The Melians questioned the justice of the Athenians by asking that how fair it is to treat a neutral nation equally with its colonies or rebels. But the Athenians refused to look at things from their point and argued that by conquering the Melians they would not only increase their size but also security. The second argument presented by the Melians was that in case of a war, the Spartans would come to their rescue as a return of favor done

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