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The Just and the Advantageous in Thucydides: The Case of the Mytilenaian Debate
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 78, No. 2 (Jun., 1984), pp. 485-494
Published by: American Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1963377
Page Count: 10
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As no passage in Thucydides is more important, so none is more dramatic than the Mytilenaian Debate. Having resolved to punish harshly a rebel city, the Athenians repent and reconsider. Exhorted by Kleon to maintain their original decision and by Diototos to abandon it, the Athenians must scrutinize the relatinship between justice and expediency. Diodotos, who processes to argue from interest only, narrowly prevails in the debate. There is, however, much more to his speech than meets the eye. For it proves misleading to say that he is arguing merely from interest--and then, on a deeper level, to say that he is arguing from justice. In fact no passage in Thucydides, including the Melian Dialogue, raises straker questions about the status of political justice.
The American Political Science Review © 1984 American Political Science Association