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Raphael Sealey


Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1976, 575 pgs., index, maps, notes, descrptions of the ancient Greek and Roman sources. illustrations


Reviewer Comments:
This study includes the years from 700 to 338 BC. Note from his TOC headings on that the author accepts the modern standard presumption about a political group in a city being a 'state', although in ancient times the inhabitants considered themselves a 'society' frequently organized as a group of tribes owing their existence to god or gods, and did not yet develop the modern concept of 'state'. It seems to me that he simply uses this general modern term without analysis of what it means in contrast to the concept of polity in Greek thought.
Although the title is 'Greek City States', it also is a study mostly of Athens, somewhat less of Sparta, and very little in detail about the several hundred of other Greek societies organized around one or more cities and their environs. This is largely due to the great majority of historical references and information being about Athens or Sparta - Athenian or Spartan. The book is almost all political history (including military history) with some discussion of social history, less of cultural history and practically nothing about economic history. The author does include the political - military strategies pursued by the many identified leaders and supported or opposed by the populace. As does Thucydides, Sealey stresses the personality of each of the leading idividuals, their personal objectives and motivations, and their competitions (conflicts) with each other for political power.

In Chapters 9 - 10 he focuses on the developments in the Athenian and Spartan alliances and the reactions to those by leaders in those and other cities that increasingly led to the Peloponnesian War. Analysis of the causes of the war continue in chapter 11 and 12 -15 describe the wars in considerable detail. By using references to many sources other than Thucydides the author shows the reader that this is necessary to fill in many of these datails that, as famous as he is, Thucydides should not be relied upon for the whole story.




Part I The Development of the City State and the Persian Wars
Note on the Literary Sources for Part I


1: Greece ca 700


2: Tyranny in the early Peloponnese


3: Early Sparta


4: The Beginnings of the Athenian State


5: Solon and the Rise of Peisistratus


6: The Peisistratidae and the Reforms of Cleisthenes


7: Persia and Greece I: The Designs of the Persians


8: Persia and Greece II: The Hellenic League


Part II: The Era of Hegemonic Leagues
Note on the Literary and Epigraphic Sources for Part II


9: Divergence between Athens and Sparta


10: The First Peloponnesian War
Athenian successes ca. 460 - ca, 455 BC.
Egypt, peace and disaffection 454 - 451
Cyprus and Persia
The supposed crisis of 545-449
Disaffection 449 - 447
TheThirty Years' Peace


11: The Athenian Empire and the Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
The Empire
Athens and western Greece
Athens and the Samian Revolt
Athens and the northeast
The breakdown of the peace
Table D the family ties of Pericles


12: The Archidamian War and the Peace of Nicias
Hostilities opened
Early theaters of warfare
New theaters of warfare
Steps toward peace
The beakdown of the peace of Nicias


13: The Middle Stage of the Peloponnesian War 419 - 411 BC
Epidaurus, Mantina, Melos
The dispatch of the expedition to Sicily
The Sicilian expedition and its aftermath
The revolution of 411


14: The End of the Peloponnesian War 411 - 404 BC Warfare in teh straits 411- 410
The ascendancy and decline of Alcibiades
Arginusae, Aegospotami and the siege of Athens
The revolution of 404


15: The Corinthian War
The Spartan embroilment with Persia
The opening of the Corinthian War
Warfare at sea and an attempt at peace
The peace of Antalcidas


Part III: Leagues of More Equal Type
Note on the Literary and Epigraphic Sources for Part III


16: The Decline of the Spartan Hegemony, 386 - 371


17: The Theban Hegemony


18: The Rise of Macedon


19: The Final Struggle with Philip II


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