Surrender in Ancient Greece

Paul Cartledge

in How Fighting Ends

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693627
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741258 | DOI:
Surrender in Ancient Greece

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Ancient Greece comprised 1000 or so political entities at any time between about 600 and 300 BC. Wars between the Greek citizen-states were pretty much endemic, the most notorious and destructive being the so-called ‘Peloponnesian War’ between Sparta and Athens and their respective allies (431–404). This chapter explores the nature of Greek interstate and international warfare, and unpacks the Greeks' ideas and vocabulary of surrender, with special reference to the relationship between man-made laws and overarching religious sanctions. Four case-studies, drawn from the Atheno-Spartan Peloponnesian War and its immediate aftermath, illustrate the spectrum of behaviours from brutal reprisals including outright legal enslavement to the Western world's first general amnesty.

Keywords: Greece; citizen-states; surrender; law; religion; Peloponnesian War; enslavement; amnesty

Chapter.  8839 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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