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The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (A New History of the Peloponnesian War) [Formato Kindle]

Donald Kagan

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Why did the Peace of Nicias fail to reconcile Athens and Sparta? In the third volume of his landmark four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War, Donald Kagan examines the years between the signing of the peace treaty and the destruction of the Athenian expedition to Sicily in 413 B.C. The principal figure in the narrative is the Athenian politician and general Nicias, whose policies shaped the treaty and whose military strategies played a major role in the attack against Sicily.

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  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 4382 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 400
  • Editore: Cornell University Press (14 gennaio 2013)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B00B18SSZY
  • Da testo a voce: Non abilitato
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  • Miglioramenti tipografici: Abilitato
  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #519.310 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)

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Amazon.com: 4.9 su 5 stelle  7 recensioni
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle The phoney peace and the disaster that should never have happened 13 marzo 2012
Di JPS - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina flessibile
This is the third volume of Donald Kagan's tetralogy on the Peloponnesian war, and it focuses on the period ranging from BCE 421 and the so-called peace of Nicias to BCE 413 and the utter destruction of the Athenian expedition against Syracuse. Kagan justitifies his treatment of this periiod by stating that "the epriod is further unified by its central character, Niceas (the leading Athenian politician and general over this period) whose policy dominated the first part, whose leadership dominated the second, and whose personality, talents, and flaws were so important for the shape and outcome of both."

The first part, which makes up about a third of the book, is titled "The Unraveling of the Peace". It shows that the two sides mainly made peace because they were exhausted, because the leading advocate for war on each side had been killed in the same battle and because Athens wanted to restore its financial resources whereas Sparta wanted to recover their elite Spartans taken a few years before at Sphacteria and ensure their supremacy in the Peloponnese at a time when their treaty with Argos - their main rival there - was just about to expire. As usual, Kagan is at his best when presenting, discussing and confronting the motivations and objectives of both sides and showing how unsurprising it was that what was portrayed as a 50 year peace was formally broken after 8 years only because it was a peace that Sparta, at least, had no real intention in keeping since it had no intention to execute one of its main clauses - the return of Amphopolis to the Athenians. By BCE 413, and because of Athens' Sicilian expedition, this peace was only formal.

The second part of the book, by far the largest, tells the story of the Athens' doomed Sicilian expedition against Syracuse. I won't try to paraphrase the book. Suffice is to say here that this expedition was an utter disaster and never should have been. It is in fact amazing to what extent this was the case. Almost everything that could go wrong did so, starting with a gross understatement of the Syracusans which lead to sending a first expedition which was, despite the portrait drawn by Thucydides, somewhat undersized and inappropriate in its composition (with too few cavalry and light troops, in particular). Then the expedition's command was divided, one of the main commanders (and the most dashing one - Alcibiades) was recalled shortly after the beginning of the siege, then precious time and energy was wasted, allowing Syracuse to send and receive help from Corinth and Sparta, and the litany of blunders goes on, and on, and on until the utter destruction of the previously reinforced expedition and Sparta's decision to restart the war and permanently occupy the fort of Decelia, on Athens' frontier, putting it on the defensive...

The contrast between the opening stages and the end of the book is tremendous. At the beginning, Athens had the advantage, if only a narrow one. By BCE 413, it was definitely and significantly weakened and on the defensive, largely because of its own blunders. As usual, Donak Kagan skilfully tells the events and privides in-depth analysis and explanations for each of them in a very readable way. As usual also, the book is well structured and has all the necessary maps, including, in this case, maps for the major battles. As usual also, Kagan's conclusion is very insighful and leads to a fascinating discussion of the message that Thucydides (our main source for the whole conflict) intended to convey and to what extent the main cause of the disaster was Niceas himself.

A superb read that is well worth five stars and still the most comprehensive and the best treatment of the Sicilian expedition that I know off...
5.0 su 5 stelle A Fine Summary of a Difficult Subject 18 agosto 2014
Di S. Smith - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina flessibile
The third of four volumes in the history of the Peloponnesian War really needs to be read in sequence, after the second volume on the Archidamian War. It covers a fairly short period of eight years from 421 to 413 BC which contained the Peace of Nicias and the disastrous (to the Athenians) Sicilian Expedition against Syracuse. Kagan's book has two themes.

The first theme is the Peace of Nicias and its failure. This was an unsatisfactory peace of exhaustion, whose terms were relatively favourable to Athens, but which were never implemented. Sparta refused to hand back to Athenian control its former tributary of Amphipolis and several of Sparta's Peloponnesian allies rejected the peace terms. The Athenians also broke the terms of the treaty by making alliances with Argos, Mantinea, and Elis. It is clear that there were Athenians and Spartans who wanted peace, but others who did not, and the early failure of both sides to fulfill their treaty obligations created distrust which made a gradual slide into outright war inevitable. The diplomatic and political manoeuvrings in this period were complex, but Kagan creates a clear path through these, explaining them thoroughly.

The second theme is the Sicilian Expedition, a wholly unnecessary intervention by Athens in Sicilian affairs motivated by greed. This part of the book probably reads better as it has a single focus, rather than the variety of events that led to the loss of the peace. Kagan describes the tragedy of the expedition, where Athens came near to an undeserved success but ultimately lost a whole fleet and its men in the disaster. It is difficult not to feel for the Athenians, even if they were the aggressor, so complete was their catastrophe.

The book also revolves around two leading Athenians. One was Nicias, the negotiator of the peace and an unwilling general in Sicily; the archetype of a man of significant but limited talents, who was not committed to the expedition and whose indecision contributed significantly to the tragedy. The second was Alcibiades, who actively encouraged, but did not take part in, the expedition. He was an enigma whose undoubted political and military abilities were subordinated to his power seeking. Unlike Nicias, he had little allegiance to Athens or its institutions, and harmed his home city as much as he aided her. Kagan skilfully brings out the contrasts between them.

The book is very well written, with adequate maps and, like the other three volumes of the history is well worth reading as the most accessible serious introduction to the subject
5.0 su 5 stelle he is like most American historians blames the war on Sparta or ... 14 maggio 2015
Di Les Dencs - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
It is repetitive, to long, he is like most American historians blames the war on Sparta or the allies. American historians can't see a democracy like Athens can't do wrong. Athens is responsible for the Peloponnesian war, and lost it because of it's radical democracy.
3 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Kagan's Inexhaustible Guide to the Peloponnesian War 13 novembre 2006
Di Unmoved Mover - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Copertina flessibile
The Peloponnesian War, along with the myriad feuds that latched on to the central conflict between Sparta and Athens in the latter half of the fifth century BCE, can be an exhausting subject. The civil and international politics involved in fostering and perpetuating the war rival even today's most complex conflicts.

In this, the third of four volumes on the subject, Kagan skillfully presents, comments on, and refutes the hypotheses presented by history and historians, while still managing a very approachable narrative. These books come in and out of circulation, so best to get ahold of them while they're available. Again, Kagan's work is superb

For the historian, or avid history buff (however you might self-identify), these works are a necessary addition to your library. The more casual reader might, however, consider purchasing Kagan's abridged work entitled simply "The Peloponnesian War." It includes the main thrust of the narrative, but with markedly less analysis of the political motivations included in these volumes.
4.0 su 5 stelle Nicias 17 febbraio 2015
Di N. Wood - Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato:Formato Kindle|Acquisto verificato
The text is full of obvious typographical errors. Mostly a single letter off. This is likely due to transfer to kindle. Otherwise this is a great read of one of Athens biggest blunders of the century.

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