How do Athens and the Athenians in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War resemble the Persians in Aeschylus’ Persians?

You may wish to consider any of these figures: Xerxes, Perikles, Alkibiades, Brasidas, and Nikias; Athens’ dealings with Mytilene and Melos; the arguments for invading Sicily and what happens there and in Athens.
While you should include some quotations from the primary text(s) by Thucydides and/or Aeschylus, you should not quote extensively from these, nor should your essay consist of an extended summary of the narrative of the primary text(s). Do not use secondary sources. This essay should be focused on your own argument and your analysis of specific details from the primary text(s), to present your understanding and interpretation of how these are engaged with the major themes of the course.

Please only use the book- History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides





Athens Vs Persians


The advent of the Pelonnesian wars caused a paradigm shift in the social, economic and political aspect of the Athenians and the Persians.  Following this a series of war between the Sicily, Melo and Mycalessus erupted that wiped out nations. Through the tales of Thucydides this paper gives an in depth analysis of the Athenians and Persians. These prevailing wars played a significant role in modern day politics, economic, international relations and democracies. This paper discusses the unique resemblance between the two cities.

Athens Vs Persians

The period between 490-431 BC is of great historical significance because of the social, cultural, political and economic changes that were experienced in Athens and Persia. There was also ravaging wars between the Sicily, Athens, Melos, Mycalessus evoked a series of plagues that destabilized the entire city of Greece. According to Thucydides, the wars in Athens spans across 480-431 BC, while the Persians wars take place between 490-479 BC. According to the conflicts in the two cities and armies engineered social, economic, political movements/affiliations that have had significant impact today on democracies and political orientation in many countries today.  The complexities of the modern world, therefore, has its roots from 490-431 B.C. Athens and Persian share a wide range of similar characteristics and features in terms of culture, artistry, commercialization. At the same time, certain features of the native Greeks differ significantly. This essay seeks to discuss the differences and similarities.


Athens and Persians both experienced robust cultural, societal, and commercialization changes during the advent of the Peloponnesian war.  By 480 BC Athens was actively in raging wars with Sparta. Ancient Greek was at war with the Sicily, Melos, and Mycalessus (Thucydides, 1957). It was a national calamity in Greek. Both Athenians and Persians were well equipped and adequately manned to engage each their enemies. The tribes had elite scholars, guides who offered guidance on the favourable areas to settle in and fertile areas to settle in when the wars become brutal and long. During this period, they set up robust measures to counter the massive hostility, displacement and scouring plagues that were used as weapons by their enemies. On the other hand, the Persians sought and camped in the most fertile lands to cultivate their crops before chaos erupted or other tribes displaced them.  For the most significant part, the tribes gained the most fertile soil, which was the primary source of food. Following these, the tribes established key migration patterns According to thyclucides, the Hellas, which were the significant settlements sites, became home to the present day Athenians, who are predominantly the earliest Greek inhabitants.

“For there was no mercantile traffic and he people did not mingle with one another without fear, either on land or by sea, and they each tilled their own land only enough to obtain n a livelihood from it, having no surplus of wealth and not planting orchards, since it was uncertain especially as they were yet without walls, when some invader might come and despoil them. And so, thinking that that could obtain anywhere the sustenance required for their daily needs, they found it easy to change their abodes, and for this reason were not strong as regards either the size of their cities or their resources in general.”

Furthermore, these tribes were not alienated to any social class. It was only after some time that Hellen son of Daurion in the Hellas to the adoption and assimilation of socio-economic classes amongst the Athenians and Persians. Social class instigated colonization of the lesser tribes in ancient Greek and its neighboring countries. The minority in the community practiced piracy to drive away from people inorder to take control of the unguarded sea, land and cities to maintain power. In terms of weapons, all the armies in Athens and Persians were heavily armed with guns to protect themselves. The elite tribesmen encouraged the army officials always to carry guns on the journeys. This idea of weapons arose after the intensified wars after the invasion of the Xerxes in Greece. Fashion and accessories was also a significant feature for both tribes. In Athens, the wealthly were the first to wear costumes and apply ointments after engaging in recreational activities such as wrestling, athletics. On special occasions, the Athenians would hold athletic competition, and the winners were awarded loin clothes as a trophy.


Despite the similarities, certain features in Athenians and Persians, as described by Thucydides, differ. The Athenians are described as conquerors rather than liberators in the development of the ideology of modern-day Greece. Athenians are viewed as the primary contributor to internal disputes amongst the cities. For instance, the scouring plagues that spread over ancient Greek are termed as contingencies that led to the destruction of social institutions.

Also, the Sicily expedition, which caused a paradigm shift in political realism and nationalism in Athens. Throughout the war of the Peloponnesians, the Persians adopted robust measures to conquer the Greco-Persian battles. The Persians were adamant on gaining a key diplomatic advantage to take over Greek. In Aeschylus, the great defeat of the Persians at Susa completely shutters the Persian dream hence restores the glory and pride of the ancient Greeks.  The Persians were mostly religious; they incorporated religious beliefs into their activities. For example, During the Persian defeat, Darius the Great translated the Aeschylus as a punishment from God for constructing a bridge over the Hellespont to create a way for the Persian army. Athens, however, did not base their victories on religion. Instead, the constant search for greener pastures, use of arms and amalgamation of land and sea formed a strong resistance and eventual victory.

“The weakness of the olden times is further proved to me chiefly by this circumstances that before the Trojan War, Hellas, as it appears, engaged in no enterprise in common. Indeed, it seems to me that as a whole world it did not yet have this name, either, but that before the time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, this title did not exist , and that the several tribes, the Pelasgian most extensively, gave their own names to the several districts: but when Hellen and his sons become strong.”

Furthermore, the raging wars in Athens caused a paradigm shift in the cultural, social, and economic development of the city. The once magnificent buildings, towers were wiped out, all the family members of the Pericle lineage, a famous and spiritual leader of Athens, died. As a result, there was a rapid decrease in population.  The acquisition of the Attica, especially during plentiful harvests destabilized the cities commercial activities.


According to Thucydides, the Peloponnesian war had similar effects and repercussions on both Athenians and Persians in that both tribes focused on culture, commercialization, and weapons.  On the other hand, Persians believed that their defeat at Susa was because God was angry at the inappropriate use of the Hellespont for advanced, military action. On the other hand, Athens believed that circumstances drove their victory. Following this, Athens’s limited use of the arms leads to the emergence of new cultures and social movements that have shaped modern-day Greece. These social, cultural, and economic changes in Persian and Athenians are ubiquitously used by neoconservatives across the world to interpret conflicts.


Thucydides. (1957). History of the Peloponnesian War. Massachusetts: Havard University Press.



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