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The Athenian Empire was growing powerfully in the land of Greece. This probably aroused fears among other mainland states like Sparta and Corinth. This forced the land of Greece to split into two. All these suspicions led to what came to be known as the Peloponnesian War. In my opinion, this is the greatest war to have ever involved Greece. It is even greater than the Persian Wars or the Trojan War. Come to the think of it, what are the causes of all these historical events? I believe it is the human nature. I hope my history will be useful to other historians who want to have a clear understanding of what really happened. This is so because, the human nature never changes. There will be other major conflicts in the future.
There are two occurrences that are very important for the understanding of war: the Mytilene Debate and the Melian Dialogue. On one hand, the Mytilene Debate is all about the difference in opinions between Diodotus and Cleon about the punishment towards the Mytilene City. On the other hand, the Melian Dialogue is about negotiations that took place between Athenians and Melians, about the city of Melos joining Athens.
These two debates or negotiations are different in many aspects. To start with, the Mytilene debate is an event that took place when the Peloponnesian War. It happened that the Mytileneans revolted against Athens and were allied to Sparta, after being allies of Athens for quite some time before the war. As a form of punishment, Athens decides to put a naval blockade around Lesbos, an Island. Sparta did not come to aid the Mytileneans. This forces them to surrender to Athens, who debate on what punishment to give them for their resiliency.
On the other hand, before the Melian Dialogue happened during the conflict between Lacedaemon and Athens. Though Melos was a colony of Lacedaemon, they were neutral in the conflict. Despite this, Athens wanted to conquer them. It is then that the Melians decided to revolt. It followed that, Athens decided to send its people to head to Melos and persuade its people to join Athens, and be an ally in the Peloponnesian War. The negotiation that followed is what is referred to as the Melian Dialogue.
In my opinion, the Mytilene debate is different from the Melian Dialogue in that, the former was a debate between the citizens of Athens themselves, on which type of punishment to hand down to the Mytileneans for being allied to its enemy. However, the Melian Dialogue was a discussion that took place between two different entities; the Athenians and the Melians on the advantages and disadvantages of Melians joining the Athenians and be under them.
So the Mytilene debate was of no advantage to one side; the Mytileneans. They had just to wait for the outcome, as well as, the judgment that would be handed down upon them. However, the Melians had an advantage because they could actually choose whether to join Athens or face the consequences and see their end.
It is also a fact that the Melians and Mytileneans were two Islands who were neutral to Athens before the War, but became hostile to Athens in the event of the war, when they were forced to choose sides. However, the Mytileneans were depended on Sparta to come to their aid, while the Melians waited for aid from Lacedaemon.