Star Wars, America, and Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was made up of many different warring nations to include Sparta and Athens. These two nations grew over time where one became the most powerful army in the region and the other became the most powerful navy in the region. After studying ancient Greece, it is easy to compare the interactions of Sparta and Athens to Star Wars and also to the modern day United States.

Throughout the Star Wars movie series, they reference the “balance of the force” which is similar to Yin and yang and how Sparta and Athens coexisted. Much like the dark side and the light side of the force, the good side of the ancient Greeks and the bad side were all dependent on their point of view. There were two very powerful counties coexisting in a balance where no one was over powering the other by much. But then the “Death Star” came to the Ancient Greeks in the form of the Persian Empire. This was a large empire much larger and more powerful than the Greeks of that time. In a large battle, the Greeks were able to defeat the Persians much like the rebels in Star Wars were able to defeat any of the large space stations that got blown up.

After the Persian War, the Ancient Greeks formed alliances to rise up against a future Persian Attack similar to how the rebels banded together in Star Wars against the Empire. Athens formed the Delian League and Sparta formed the Peloponnesian League. All seemed good, except Athens wanted to grab power and decided to turn its alliance into an empire by moving the treasury to its capital and forcing its allies to pay tribute for protection against the Persians. This is similar to how Senator Palpatine grabbed power over time and became the emperor. However the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League went to war much like the sith and the jedi in Star Wars.

The United States is also similar to Ancient Greeks through democracy. Athens’ politics was heavily centered on democracy. The United States is also run by a democracy, but through representatives and the Electoral College. After the Persian War, Athens formed the Delian League and Sparta formed the Peloponnesian League in order to stand up against future attacks from Persia. Similarly, after World War II, President Harry S. Truman created the Truman Doctrine which became NATO. This is basically an alliance between North American and European countries to fight against Communism. Russia and other communist countries answered with the Warsaw Pact. Similar to the Peloponnesian War, The Cold War was inevitable due to Thucydides Trap. Thucydides explains, “The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable” (Thuc. 1.23). After the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact fell with the Soviet Union. NATO is still around just like how the Peloponnesian League lasted for some time after the Peloponnesian War. Similar to the United States, Sparta was always interfering with other countries affairs. Eventually the Peloponnesian League fell apart and Sparta was defeated by Thebes who was originally part of the Peloponnesian League. History repeats itself, this time at a global scale, will the United States and NATO fall the way Sparta did? Or will NATO and the United States continue like how they are constantly making new cheesy Star Wars movies?

~Brandon Hays

Word Count: 580

  • Thucydides 1.23

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