I like to point out that it is easy for war mongers to be war mongers as long as other people are doing the sacrificing. At least people arguing for peace aren't expecting other people to suffer if they get their way." -- John Page, Gulf War Veteran
WICHITA, Kan. - One of the earliest accounts of an anti-war demonstration is found in Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Written in 411 BC, the play is a humorous look at the quest of one woman, Lysistrata, to end the Peloponnesian War. The protest is two-pronged. What most people remember of the play is that Lysistrata rallies the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until they end the war. More crucial to the success of the protest is that the old women of Athens take over the Acropolis, the site where the state treasury is stored. This of course means the military will be unable to fund the war they're fighting.
The Peloponnesian War lasted from 431 BC to 404 BC, a long war by anyone's standards. The word "Lysistrata" means "Army-disbander" in Attic Greek and, while the women's war protest was only a fiction, the play gives voice to resistance to never-ending war. More importantly, it shows the inseparable relationship of economics to war. Wealth from tribute and land holdings, as well as access to the sea and to silver mines kept hostilities alive for almost thirty years between Athens and Sparta.