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The Greek City-States in the Fifth Century BCE: Persia and the Balance of Power

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Abstract

The Greek city-state system is often treated as an ‘analogue’ of the contemporary international system (Reus-Smit, 1999: 40). Among English School scholars, Wight (1977: 73) describes it as the ‘most complex and highly organised’ states-system prior to the contemporary one, and Watson (1992: 47) suggests that for several centuries, ‘aspects of Greek practice served as models for the European society of states’. Neorealists also refer back to the Greek city-states. During the Cold War, for example, Waltz (1979: 66) acknowledged the continuing relevance of Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, even in an era of nuclear weapons and super powers; and Gilpin (1981: 227) doubted whether contemporary students of international relations understand anything about international relations that was not already known to ‘Thucydides and his 5th century compatriots’.

Keywords

  • International System
  • World History
  • Balance Strategy
  • Internal Balance
  • English School

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9780230591684_3
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© 2007 Richard Little

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Little, R. (2007). The Greek City-States in the Fifth Century BCE: Persia and the Balance of Power. In: Kaufman, S.J., Little, R., Wohlforth, W.C. (eds) The Balance of Power in World History. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230591684_3

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