The Sicilian Expedition Reconsidered


  • Sotirios F Drokalos Independent Scholar, Italy



According to Thucydides, or the prevailing modern interpretation of his classic work, the Athenian campaign in Sicily was the main cause of the Athenian defeat in the Peloponnesian war. Modern scholars tend to favour this view, so much so that the Sicilian campaign is universally held up as a classic example of a strategic mistake. This essay attempts, through the lens of a structural realist or neorealist theory of International Relations, to demonstrate that this was not the case. In fact, the Sicilian expedition was a foreseeable and rational strategic choice which was in line with Athenian foreign policy, and was not the main cause of the Athenian defeat.