From Sentimental Idealism and Incompetent Realism Towards a New Greek Grand Strategy: Searching for Ariadne’s Thread



A characteristic example of the importance of Grand Strategy for the fate of a state can be found in the case of Athens during the Greco-Persian War (499 BC–449 BC). After the defeat of the Greek army in Thermopylae (480 BC), the Athenians sent an official delegation to the Delphic Oracle to ask for divine guidance regarding the best possible method to face the advancing Persian army. Pythia, Apollo’s priestess, offered the Athenian delegation the following oracle:

When all the other places are seized that are bounded by Kekrops and the secret groves of divine Kithairon, heavenly Zeus gives to the children of Triton a wooden wall that alone remains intact, to the benefit of you and your sons. Do not wait for the army of cavalry and infantry coming from the mainland, but retreat and turn your backs on them. You shall confront them again. (Souza 2003: 59–60)


Foreign Policy Sovereign Debt Diplomatic Relation North Atlantic Treaty Organization Grand Strategy 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MacedoniaThessalonikiGreece

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