Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient and Modern

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient and Modern

Article excerpt

Since the EU does not want the UK to leave and will do everything to stop it leaving, it is becoming clearer by the day that the Brexiteers' hopes of a beneficial or even a remotely satisfactory withdrawal agreement are at an end.

Like the EU, Athenians knew how to deal with 'leavers'. After driving the mighty Persians out of Greece in 479 bc, the Athenians proposed that all the Greek city states unite to prevent the Persians ever returning. The means would be a pan-Hellenic naval force on constant patrol across the Aegean, headed by Athens, the leading Greek maritime power.

To bring this about, it was agreed that the city-states would provide Athens annually with either money or ships to build up a sufficiently powerful fleet to ensure Greek security across the region. The contemporary historian Thucydides reported that the first member to revolt from the League was the island of Naxos, c. 468 bc. It did not, or could not, come up with the money or ships required, but 'the Athenians insisted on obligations being exactly met'. …

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