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An Athenian general by the name of Thucydides was exiled out of Athens for losing a battle in about 500 BCE. After he left the city, he wrote about the dialogue between Melos and Athens called the Melian Dialogue. In Athens, 5th century BCE they were becoming an empire of ancient Greece. Alcibiades, who was also an Athenian general, was planning a trip over seas to take over Sicily. Athens needed money so they sailed all the way to an island called Melos to persuade them to pay the tribute. The Melian Dialogue is a conversation where Athens uses Rhetoric (the art of persuasive speaking) and argues the point of Physis (survival of the fittest) to persuade Melos into paying the tribute. In the end Melos doesn’t agree to pay the tribute and to be an ally with Athens so Athens takes over Melos, kills all the men, and sells all the women and children into slavery. Athens warned Melos and created a strong argument which makes Athens justified in what they did to the island of Melos.

In the Melian Dialogue, Athens makes a strong argument around the idea of physis. “This is not an idea that we made ourselves, nor are we the first to act upon it when it was made. We found it already in existence, and we shall leave it to exist for ever among those who come after us” (Thucydides 105). In other words what Athens is saying is, we are not the first to act upon “Natural Law”, that the strong will do what they must do to stay in power for as long as possible. Therefore It is not their fault they attacked Melos, it was all because of “the survival of the fittest” and Athens was the fittest. If it wasn’t for Athens doing things like attacking Melos they wouldn’t be where they were at the time as an empire of ancient Greece.

When Athens first reaches the island of Melos to discuss about why the Melians wont pay the tribute they say, “So we are…...

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