How the Ancient Athenians outdid Isis

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Sir, It is not clear whether it is Roger Myerson or your correspondent who refers to the Athenians laying siege to the island [of Melos] and starving its inhabitants into submission (“Game theory in practice”, February 16), but according to Thucydides (History of the Peloponnesian War, Book Five, Crawley’s translation), the Athenians “put to death all the grown men whom they took, and sold the women and children for slaves, and subsequently sent out five hundred colonists and inhabited the place themselves.”

In other words, the Athenians outdid today’s Isis. “Starved into submission” hardly scratches the surface of the Athenians’ treatment of their fellow Greeks.

William A Koelsch

San Diego, CA, US

Emeritus Professor, Clark University


Letter in response to this letter:

Melian debate is essential reading for all diplomats and negotiators, even now / From Gautam Pingle

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