Remparts et philosophie aux Ve et IVe siècles av. J.-C.
Levystone, David Xavier
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The main disciples of Socrates criticise the use of city walls. However, their attacks are less grounded in a deep strategic reflexion than related to the traumatic consequences of Pericles' strategy at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. The Lacedemonians' opposition to the erection of surrounding walls is more likely linked to their aristocratic ideology and interests than to moral imperatives. Though Plato and Xenophon's motives are to avoid political divisions in the city, their positions on fortifications reveal their aristocratic bias and the question of the walls appears to be part of a more general questioning on the spatial and political organisation of the city. On that issue, Aristotle criticises Plato from a pragmatic point of view and defends the use of walls, but under strict conditions only. The Spartan and Socratic critique of the building of the walls, as well as Aristotle reluctance to fully accept them, could be traced back to a common Greek archaic ideal. © 2018 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.