Consistency or consensus

Thu Aug 13 16:11:49 2009

Hanson lists nineteen separate Athenian commanders that were killed or executed between 428 – 405. It would have been much more beneficial to have a single commander during the war; or at least a steady influence over the military operations for a substantial time period. … The Athenians switched commanders so regularly that it became difficult for them to obtain any allegiance from troops.

I’m not sure that, under the conditions we see in Athens, rotating command is such a problem. It was pretty much a world of amateurs. There were no professional politicians or generals. We just had wealthy farmers/landowners who also function as politicians and generals. The commander was not so much an authority as a moderator/executor of decisions often made by group consensus. I suspect that trying to find group consensus would have been a greater problem than the rotating leadership.


~ by severalfourmany on August 13, 2009.

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