USU 1320: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2013
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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The Athenians and the Ionians were closely related as peoples, a kinship evident to them in the type of Greek they spoke which sounded similar. A much different-sounding dialect of Greek called "Dorian" was spoken in Sparta and the Greek cities of Sicily, which helped to aggravate the Athenians' and Spartans' perception of one another as "foreigners," even though they had no real trouble understanding each other and both Ionians and Dorians were clearly Greeks. This unfortunate sense of linguistic "otherness" led eventually to their estrangement and the disastrous conflict which ended the Classical Age, the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431-404 BCE). Similar principles were at work in the American Civil War, where dialectal differences promoted social and political alienation, resulting in untold bloodshed.

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