(This is a fairly long piece about a war most people have never heard of, but there is a wonderful lesson of history here. For more on the sophists see Stuff from Way Back #20. The dates are BC.)
“Now we can see it clearly – like the light at the end of a tunnel.”
General Henri Navarre
commander of the French forces at Dien Bien Phu
History can often be hauntingly familiar, even across the 2500 year divide that separates classical Athens from America in the second half of the twentieth century. A case in point is the catastrophic Peloponnesian War (431-404) between the Athenian Empire and the Spartan controlled Peloponnesian League, a conflict that to a great extent ruined the Greek world.
The Athenian Empire was naval based, taking in virtually all the island and coastal city-states of the Aegean, and constituted a wealthy trading block. …
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